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Oregon measure aims to limit legislative walkouts

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s public sector unions are pushing a ballot measure that would limit the ability of the minority party in the Legislature to use walkouts to block legislation.

Republicans have used the tactic frequently at the Capitol in recent years to try to thwart the agenda of Democrats, who have firm control of both the state House and Senate.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that under the proposal, a lawmaker who is marked unexcused by a chamber’s presiding officer 10 or more times in a single legislative session would be barred under the state Constitution from seeking re-election.

On Friday, backers of Initiative Petition 14, dubbed “Legislative Accountability 1,” said they submitted 183,942 signatures to the Oregon secretary of state.

To qualify for the November ballot, state elections officials will need to determine that at least 149,360 of those signatures are from registered Oregon voters.

“It’s long past time that there were rules in place to make sure politicians show up to do their jobs,” Oregon Education Association President Reed Scott-Schwalbach, one of two chief petitioners, said in a statement Friday.

Because of the proposal’s reliance on unexcused absences, the law would place a lot of power in the hands of the speaker of the House and the Senate president, the two presiding officers who decide whether or not a lawmakers’ absence is excused.

Excused absences are fairly routine in Salem, with lawmakers filing requests with presiding officers explaining why they are unable to attend. They are not granted in cases where lawmakers are absent in order to block legislation.

Associated Press

Comments

13 Comments

  1. Blocking bad legislation is as much a part of a legislator’s job as is working to pass good legislation. When a walkout is the only way to block bad legislation, lawmakers are properly doing their job by being absent.

    1. Apparently the unions don’t have enough control of Oregon. If this were to get voted into law, I’m sure they could pick a day when some are not available, then hold a vote and count them missing in action. 10 marks against you your out? They will do 10 votes in 1 day!!!

      1. Sooo much losing for the totally failed Oregon gop that they don’t want to play anymore!!! LOL!! Just like their dear leader big fat failed and fired Donnie the orange snowflake!!!!

    2. Thats accomplished by not voting for the legislation. When you dont like a law and you dont vote for it, that was your attempt to stop it. If it passes anyway, you accept your side lost and move on. Walk outs are childish and waste time. Abolish them.

      1. You mean like when the voters overwhelmingly voted no on giving illegals a driver license, and the law failed by better than 2:1…. but democrats did it anyway? That’s called Usurpation. Do you understand what our Founding Fathers had to say and the steps they gave to fix the problem?

    3. Nope. Show me a job, any job, where you are allowed to walk off if you don’t agree with decisions that are made…or simply being considered.

  2. Democrats have used this same tactic before when things were not in their favor, now they want to change the rules, interesting how that works. So, until they are about to lose power, this law will be used to punish adversaries, but they will change it back when it favors them. Got it. I myself can not see how it will be constitutional but the courts will decide that.

  3. People forget the Governor Brown and the democrats have used the “walk out” in the distant past. It is not a new thing and both parties have utilized it to STOP bad bills. Removing this would allow a Super majority (like we have now) to run rough-shot over the law/constitution to push bills that would not pass a more balanced legislature.

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