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Oregon-Northwest

Oregon Senate hit by another GOP lawmaker boycott, now over COVID-19

(Update: Adding video, more comments from Knopp, says it was 'one-day deal')

Knopp says Democrats 'afraid of people that don’t agree with their agenda'

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republican lawmakers boycotted an Oregon Senate session Thursday morning, using a tactic they had employed in the past two years to assert their will by stopping work in the Democratic-led Legislature.

This time, it was over the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod said the Legislature “has abdicated too much responsibility” to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. He demanded legislation aimed at school reopenings, vaccine distribution, economic recovery and government accountability.

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner accused Senate Republicans of irresponsible actions against democracy. Oregon’s 2020 legislative session imploded after Republicans boycotted over a climate change measure. Republicans also conducted two walkouts in 2019.

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who remained on hand during some of the previous Republican walkouts, joined his party this time.

Knopp voiced his frustration with Democrats in an interview with NewsChannel 21.

"They have essentially schools mostly shut down," he said. "They have a lot of our small businesses shut down, and the governor had moved vaccines from the rural area into the metro area and left our seniors and many other people without the ability to get vaccinated.

"We are not happy about it. Our constituents are not happy about it. They let us know. And we protested that today. It was a one-day deal."

Knopp also told NewsChannel 21 the Democrats' press release on the matter (included at the end of this story) "is laughable and hypocritical. Democrats have missed 15 session days already this session. We agree, they should get back to work and open the State Capitol to the people we serve."

"They say they are afraid of COVID-19," Knopp continued. "I believe they are afraid of people that don’t agree with their agenda. It’s easier to pass their agenda when they lock out opposition to it."

Andrea Kraus, communications director for the Senate Majority Office, disputed Knopp's claims of Democratic no-shows.

"Democrats have attended sessions on the Senate floor whenever called upon," Kraus told NewsChannel 21. "They have not denied a quorum once (or 15 times), by walking out on the job – as the Republicans and Senator Boquist chose to do today."

Informed of her comment, Knopp said: "They just call it scheduling. If they were keeping a regular schedule like every other session, they have walked out 14 days. They didn’t show up for work. I know this because I’ve been in the building nearly every day, and they haven’t been."

Senate President Peter Courtney said he didn’t see the boycott coming.

“I did not expect this. I was not notified of it,” the Democrat told the half-empty Senate chamber.

Eighteen senators were present, two short of a quorum. All the Republicans were absent, as was a former Republican who is now an Independent.

Courtney made a final effort to start the session: “I’m going to ask the Republicans to come to the floor and participate in floor sessions.” He waited a few beats. No one came.

“Very regrettable,” Courtney said before adjourning.

Girod, in his statement, demanded legislation aimed at school reopenings. Brown has already made that a priority by getting teachers vaccinated ahead of seniors 65 and older. But Girod insisted that evidence suggests teachers don’t need to be vaccinated to reopen schools.

“That decision almost certainly cost lives,” Girod said, writing on behalf of Senate Republicans.

He also demanded bills on “vaccine distribution, economic recovery and government accountability.”

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner blasted the boycott as an attack on democracy.

“Senate Republicans continue to sabotage Oregon’s democracy and undermine the will of voters,” the Portland-area Democrat said in a statement. “Lives are at stake as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet the Senate Republicans continue their anti-democratic walkout tactics.”

Courtney said the Senate would now meet twice a week, on Wednesday and Thursdays, to advance bills coming out of committees.

Whether Republicans will appear is an open question.


News release:

Majority Leader Rob Wagner Statement
on Senate Republicans Walking Out on the Job

SALEM – Today the Oregon Senate Republicans and Senator Brian Boquist (I-Dallas) walked out on their responsibility to serve their constituents when they refused to show up to work for today’s floor session. Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) released the following statement in response.

“Senate Republicans continue to sabotage Oregon’s democracy and undermine the will of voters. They have abdicated the oaths of office many of them took just weeks ago. They continue to accept pay, benefits and daily expenses from Oregon taxpayers all while completely obstructing the business before the Legislature – the people’s work.

“We have tremendously important work this session. Lives are at stake as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet the Senate Republicans continue their anti-democratic walkout tactics.”

“Senate Republicans walked out in 2019, again in 2020, and now they are walking out on 2021. Oregonians are exhausted by Senate Republicans’ irresponsible actions against democracy. The Senate Republicans are denying their constituents the representation they deserve to have in the Senate.

“This must stop. Oregonians will hold Senate Republicans accountable and responsible for walking off the job. There will be consequences for their breach of the public trust. We will advance new rules and laws that will deter future walkouts and provide accountability for all elected officials who refuse to show up for Oregonians.”

Coronavirus / Government-politics / News / Top Stories

The Associated Press

KTVZ news sources

Comments

52 Comments

  1. For crying out loud. The elected lawmakers of the party of tRump now thinks it is completely its own agent with its own rules??
    This article is right. These folks are getting paid by the taxpayers to play hooky. If you don’t like a measure or a bill -vote against it but go to work !

    1. When your vote doesn’t count our matter what is there point? The whole state is now round by Portland politics. Look how well that is working for them? “Woke” politics are driving the state into a tail stopping off higher and higher taxes, deeper divisions, social unrest and job losses. Covid is now used as a weapon for reduction of freedoms and leverage to promote the extreme left agenda. It’s as if the current thinking is kill jobs, make more people people reliant on the government while taxing those who aren’t now and more.

    1. frankly, you have no right to complain about anything ever again if you promote this sort of subversion of the will and government of the people – you don’t like the way things are going? – get involved, and do it legally – campaign for people you want representing you and get them elected, and make sure they have enough integrity to actually follow the law – you lazy, entitled whiners are all “rule of law”, except when you don’t feel like it – pathetic

      1. Did you read the article Tio?

        Do you understand how government works?

        They want to work! They want to represent all of the people!

        By keeping the emergency declaration, the Queen is hoarding all of the power herself.

        Unbelievable that you liberals are comfortable giving her so much power.

        1. have i read the article? – what part of what i wrote is in conflict with the content of the article? – do i even understand how government works? – you writing such things makes one question if you did, and if you do – then you go off on your usual i hate the governor stuff – ok, that’s your right, but for gosh sakes man, get some self respect – get someone you approve of elected, get some representatives you like elected – here’s the rub – the people of the state elect our government – if the things you are pushing are so good and righteous, why is it that the people of the state who voted don’t seem to agree – you can go on all day calling people you don’t like whatever label stimulates you at the moment, but it really doesn’t mean anything – that’s about you, not the people you attack – ;

        1. so, you must have some reason for writing that – present it, i will wait – could it be that you need to project your moral pragmatism on others because actually looking at head on is an unpleasant experience?

      1. – and sometimes subverting the legal process cool! – is that the moral pragmatism you passive/aggressively accuse others of? – do you even notice what you do?

  2. Still running away from your responsibilities? No wonder the Democrats have a near supermajority. Maybe if you’d stick around and be willing to negotiate a little instead of playing the victim, you’d get a little more of the needed support from moderates.

  3. You guys are dumb. You keep saying “not working” or “undermining public trust”, but they are doing exactly what their constituents want….that is trying to undermine ridiculous democrat policies.

    1. call people dumb – cool – if they were big boys and girls they would be working, not opting for running out ‘cus it’s too hard – step or step aside – do you just quit whatever it is when it gets hard too?

  4. Totally sick of this, fight for your causes. If they don’t show up then don’t pay them. Being in the minority is hard but don’t shirk your responsibility to govern.

  5. Obama often said- “I didn’t know”… Barney Lerten wrote a story about the DC Capitol uprising- “nobody saw this coming”… Now- “Senate President Peter Courtney said “I did not expect this.” Dumbkoffs and half-wits the whole lot ! Cmon Man… it’s your job to know- to be in the loop- to know what’s goin’ down ! P-Poor excuse for ignorance- it’s what you get paid the bigly bucks for. If you can’t keep up- then drop out ! That’s all I have to say.

  6. So why is this AP story blocked to comments ? “Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday extended Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency until May 2 as confirmed COVID-19 cases drop but hundreds of new cases continue to be reported daily.” Kovid Kate Klown (KKK) has just extended her Martial Law on the State- and KTVZ doesn’t want you to comment on it ! Shameful relationship between these two !

    1. FACTS: AP stories, since the launch of this new platform in late 2019, that automatically go into the system (mostly their state broadcast roundups) have never had comments turned on by default. However, we of course we posted the governor’s announcement this morning. It was breaking news, in fact, and in top stories until newer reporter stories moved it down the page by mid-afternoon. https://ktvz.com/news/coronavirus/2021/02/25/gov-brown-extends-covid-19-state-of-emergency-another-60-days-to-may-2/

          1. The dump CNN- and join the rest of the planet that considers that organization a krap heap ! As for my complaining- it seems that my elbow to your bony ribs has produced more than two dozen comments on that story… so yeh…yer welcome !

            1. Nah I’m pretty sure you are conflating your own wishes with the rest of the planet. The rest of the planet doesn’t feel like you. That is how adolescents think. Grow up.

            2. Well, I caught KTVZ fabricating data about a week ago and they have not responded at all. They compared a survey of the general public to a survey of a select few to determine the growing popularity of the vaccine. It was a fraud and they have refused to explain it or show the data, which of course does not exist. They wonder why we only go to the media for giggles and not for journalism.

    2. I have noticed how most liberal sites have removed comments. Including on the Biden WH Youtube. They don’t want their sheeple to see how most of the country really feels. They can continue to print propaganda with no consequences.

  7. Trumplicans taking the easy cowardly low road as usual. It’s the new unprincipled Trump Party platform – ignore the issue (like Trump did with Covid), apply some magical thinking, point fingers, promote alternative facts, and soon a lie will replace the original issue. It’s too hard a job for these cultists to show up for their duty, debate and create solutions. They were sent to do our bidding. They’re not doing it if they walk out. Period.

    1. Remember that time Trump wanted to impose a travel restriction on China to slow the spread but Nancy Pelosi said it was racist and encouraged people to go to China town without masks. It happened, there is video. Remember that time the media said BLM riots where not super spreader events but all other gathering are, cuz……..science:)

  8. Current policies are working better than they are in other states. Oregon ranks 4th among the 50 states in terms of fewest cases per 100,000 residents. So we’re getting a very good result, and republicans whine.

    1. Have you seen the stats in FL? Completely open and no mask mandate and their % of deaths to population (a population full of elderly more than OR) is astoundingly better than any of these locked down blue states. Another reason Dementia Joe wanted to ban travel into FL to punish Desantis for not locking down his state. You liberals really need to think about how you want to live the rest of your life. Free and open or with a boot on your neck dictating every move you make!

      1. Of course, they never fired any scientists for failing to manipulate data. Never raided anyone’s home to regain said data. Yep. Everything’s above board there. Baaaah!!!

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