By Paradise Afshar, CNN
(CNN) — Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek said Wednesday that nine days of negotiations with state Senate Republican leadership in an attempt to end the longest walkout by lawmakers in state history had reached an impasse, according to a statement from her office.
“Today, the Senate Republican walkout is entering its fifth week and is already the longest in Oregon history. There is still a window for Senate Republicans to return to the table and achieve some of their policy goals for the session and deliver for Oregonians, but it is getting more narrow by the hour,” the Democrat said in a statement.
A group of GOP senators began their walkout on May 3, denying a quorum and delaying discussions over gun safety, reproductive health and gender-affirming care legislation, among other state issues.
Kotek said she has held meetings in recent days with all four legislative caucuses, along with five meetings with state Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp but that no resolution had been reached.
“After a week of productive conversations and continued attempts to work with the Senate Republican caucus to revive a number of their priorities, I am disappointed that Senator Knopp has made clear to me that there is not a path forward unless House Bill 2002 is substantially amended or dead. It is clear from my conversations that negotiating on House Bill 2002 is not an option. The bill has already passed the House and is scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate, where it has broad support,” she said.
As CNN previously reported, Republican senators’ absence from the statehouse delayed action on HB 2002, a bill relating to reproductive rights and gender-affirming care, and HB 2005, a gun control measure. State GOP leadership said the lawmakers were “engaging in a constitutional protest” of bill summaries not being written plainly.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Knopp said Republicans had “entered good-faith discussions with the Governor over the last several days,” and suggested that a quorum may not be reached by the last day of the legislative session.
“If Democrats want us to provide a quorum before June 25th, they must agree to follow Senate Rules, follow the law, and work to put forward constitutional, bipartisan bills that don’t violate a parents’ sacred right to love and care for their child,” Knopp said.
In response, state Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber told her colleagues to “do their jobs” and called for “public, transparent votes on every bill and budget that comes to the Senate floor.”
“Our message is the same as it was on day one: these Senators need to do their jobs,” she said in a statement. “The people of Oregon have to show up to work every day, their legislators should too. Disagreement is a part of our democracy, but walking out on the job and holding the entire state hostage isn’t fair to the people of Oregon.”
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