On Feb. 24, for the third time in under a year, Republican state senators walked out to deprive the Oregon Senate the quorum needed to vote on bills. The intent was to prevent a vote on a cap-and-trade carbon reduction bill, but it prevents the Legislature from passing any laws at all.
Fed up with lawmakers abandoning their duties, several Oregon unions helped draft prospective ballot initiatives to sanction the legislative deserters, and turned in initial signatures March 3.
Initiative Petition 63 is a constitutional amendment that defines 10 or more unexcused absences from a floor session as disorderly conduct, and disqualifies a legislator from running for a House or Senate seat in the subsequent election. Initiative Petition 64 levies fines of $500 a day on a lawmaker who walks out, and prohibits them from profiting from walkouts by stopping their salaries and per diem payments. It also prohibits lawmakers from using or accepting political contributions to pay their fines or other expenses for walking off the job.
Chief petitioners are Service Employees Local 503 Vice President Andrea Kennedy-Smith, a paralegal and union steward in the state Child Welfare Department; and Oregon Education Association Vice President Reed Scott-Schwalbach, a Spanish teacher in the Centennial School District.
NW Labor Press:
I was in attendance February 6 at the Cap and Trade workshop. I listened to the reading of the bill. It is a very bad bill for Oregonians. Two amendments were proposed to let we the citizens of Oregon vote on this measure. They were defeated. If I pay a tax, I want to vote on it.
The proponents of the bill avoided answering questions as to how it would affect the people, ie, higher fuel prices, etc.
Then, while debating the issue, the proponents deliberately drug out the time, by debating legal protocol.
I am very proud of our senators that walked out. They are our representatives, and by doing so, were representing us. These senators need to be praised.
Yes, there are other bill that needed to be addressed, nevertheless, this was seen as the only way to protect we the citizens of Oregon, from a horrendous measure.
To propose a bill to “punish” our representatives for representing us, is wrong. By the way, it was interesting to me, that the bill ignored the Cap and Trade issue.
Once again, I support the walkout. It was done with the best interest of the people.
Gene D. Lord. (Retired) local 1005.
Thank you. I can’t help but wonder – if the Democrats walked out would the unions propose the same?? Republicans had the integrity to do what had to be done for ALL OREGONIANS not just a few. I can’t help but wonder what is in it for unions if cap & trade is forced on us?? We will all pay – not just for fuel. The Dems could have brought all other Bill’s to the table first. Instead they held them ransom. The cap & trade bill is nothing more than a scam to steal from all taxpayers including all union people. The Republicans were working FOR US NOT AGAINST US. They earned their pay.