A majority of Republican Senators on Monday walked out of the Oregon State Capitol in an effort to deny Democrats a quorum and doom a contentious climate change bill. This was a repeat action the GOP took last year to kill similar climate change legislation, a maneuver that prompted threats of having state police forcibly return lawmakers to the Statehouse, Fox News reports.
The walkout prompted Democratic Gov. Kate Brown to accuse the Republican lawmakers of “being against the Democratic process.” Democrats maintain a majority in both chambers of the state Legislative Assembly.
“If they don’t like a bill, then they need to show up and change it or show up and vote no. They should make their voices heard rather than shut down state government,” she said at a press conference.
Large trucks supporting the GOP lawmakers drove around the state Capitol in Salem blowing their horns.
The so-called cap-and-trade bill calls for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 45% below 1990 emissions levels by 2035 and to at least 80% below by 2050.
The bill would force big greenhouse gas emitters to obtain credits for each metric ton of carbon dioxide they emit. Opponents say fossil fuel companies will wind up offloading increased costs to customers. A proposal by Republicans to put the matter before voters in November failed Monday before it was sent to the Senate for a floor vote.
“Just give them the right to vote,” Republican state Sen. Fred Girod said.
After the rejection, only 19 senators — all Democrats — remained on the floor, one shy of the minimum to proceed.