Democrats end legislative session amid Republican walkout

SALEM, Ore. – Democrat leaders in the Oregon State Legislature ended the latest session after a Republican walkout over cap-and-trade legislation.

House and Senate Republicans left Salem last month to stop SB 1530, a climate action bill that would force greenhouse gas emitters to obtain “carbon credits” for when they emit carbon dioxide.

SB 1530 was first on the list for the legislature’s annual short session, followed by bills regarding emergency funding for flooding in northeastern Oregon and budget matters.

Oregon Republicans took affront with the schedule, which would force a vote on the climate bill before any other legislation could be heard. So they left the capitol, thus denying a quorum.

Republicans offered to come back and vote on everything but cap-and-trade legislation, but they were denied.

House Speaker Tina Kotek said the only offer she and her fellow Democrats were giving was: come back and do your job.

On March 5, Senate President Peter Courtney put an end to the stalemate and slammed down his gavel, saying, “This session is functionally over.”

Kotek said she expects the legislature to convene soon to address emergency issues not related to the climate change bill.

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