State Legislative Walkout Continues as Frustrations Over Inaction Grow

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State Capitol BuildingPhoto byDavid Jiang via CC SA 4.0

Democrats within the state legislature are reportedly growing ever more frustrated with their Republican counterparts as the GOP has continued its month-long walkout from the body, as hundreds of bills remain stagnant due to the absence.

Now, Democrats are moving to enact fines in order to try and persuade Republicans to come back to the state senate, an action that they believe may start to finally grease the wheels on the locked-up legislature.

Republican Walkout Seizes Legislature

Democrats moved to levy fines of $325 against state senators every time their absence prevents the body from achieving its two-thirds quorum, which essentially sends the legislative body into gridlock.

The procedural move was based on the senator's average daily pay, as Democrats try to make the case that the Republican walkout has amounted to the elected officials not properly tending to their elected jobs.

“Oregonians work for a living every day, and they don’t get paid when they don’t show up,” said Senate President Rob Wagner, speaking to the body. “We have a huge stack of bills sitting right over there on that cart, just waiting for us to take them up, to debate and to vote.”

The walkout prevented a vote again on Thursday, as the State Senate was unable to achieve its quorum, however, Democrats were able to enact the procedural fines through a loophole in the state constitution that allowed those in attendance to pressure absent members into coming to vote.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Tim Knopp says that his fellow Republicans will not arrive back to the body until the last day of the legislative session on June 25th, when they will reportedly pass a budget and any "bipartisan bills."

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