- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Oregon state legislature adjourned Tuesday after House Republicans joined their Senate counterparts in walking out over cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change.

The walkout came as Republican legislators accused the majority Democrats of attempting to ram through the aggressive emissions restrictions on industry and business, arguing that the proposed limits should be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide.

House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said in a statement that her party was “taking a stand, with working families, in opposing Cap and Trade and this rigged process.”

“From the first day of this short session, it has been clear that Governor Brown and the majority party have not had an interest in respecting the legislative process and have repeatedly refused to compromise,” she said.

The House walkout came a day after Senate Republicans staged their own exit, denying Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to reach a quorum and conduct floor business, including reading and passing bills.

“One, we wanted to show solidarity, and two, to basically prevent the damaging effects of this bill and what it would do to the future of Oregon,” said Republican state Rep. Greg Barreto.

Oregon House Republican spokeswoman Tayleranne Gillespie said the House had not declared sine die, which marks the end of the legislative session. This year’s five-week “short session” is scheduled to end March 8.

Last year, Senate Republicans blocked cap-and-trade legislation with a walkout that prompted Gov. Kate Brown to order the Oregon State Police to round them up. Some Republicans escaped capture by fleeing the state.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown tweeted that she was “disappointed that the Republicans have chosen to shut down government,” accusing them of being “against the democratic process.”

House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner issued a statement Tuesday calling on Republican legislators to “come back to work.”

“House Republicans walking out on the people of Oregon in service to oil companies, polluters and other special interests is cowardly,” said Ms. Warner. “We are here continuing to do our work. Republicans need to come back to work and do the job Oregonians elected them to do.”

Ms. Drazan called the statement a “[c]lassic Democratic smear,” while Mr. Barreto said Oregonians have “the right to vote on this life-changing bill.”

At this point, Republicans plan to continue their walkout until the end of the 2020 session.

“The plans and preparation are for the end of the session, depending on what kind of negotiations are handled by leadership,” said Mr. Barreto.

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