One of the most controversial pieces of legislation of the Oregon 2020 short legislative session continues to divide lawmakers in Salem. Announced as a top priority for the Democratic majority, the bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions has been moving fast through the Senate and cleared the legislative budget committee on Monday, February 24th.
However, by 11 a.m. the same day, just one Republican was present at the Senate floor session, falling short of the quorum necessary to conduct business and vote on bills under the state Constitution. Accordingly, the Senate President adjourned the chamber until Tuesday morning.
Senate Republicans have complained that the short legislative session does not allow for the necessary discussions that must take place to enact such a complex piece of legislation, and have argued that the bill should be referred to voters, which Democrats have so far opposed.
Democrats have made some concessions to Republicans, including by exempting some rural areas from added fees on gas and diesel. However, Democrats have also voted down many amendment proposals.
It is unclear how long the standoff will last this year, and how other bills will be affected by the walk-out. With the legislative session ending on March 8th, lawmakers have now less than two weeks to find a compromise.