OREGON LAWMAKERS SPAR OVER PROSPECT OF WALK-OUT PENALTIES
Story by Jamie Parfitt - Story Source
SALEM, Ore. — After Oregon Senate Republicans started the legislative floor sessions with a walk-out, Democrats are proposing a rule change to ensure that lawmakers who avoid votes don't get their per diem pay.
The first floor vote of the 2021 legislative session was set to happen on February 25, but Senate Republicans were absent from the chamber — protesting the state's coronavirus restrictions and touting their own remedies to the state's pandemic ills.
On Thursday, Senate Democrats proposed their response to the practiced walk-out tactic, introducing an amendment to Senate chamber rules that would allow the Senate President to fine absent and unexcused senators for the amount of their per diem — $151 a day. These payments are separate from a lawmaker's salary.
"Each of us was elected to serve our constituents and all Oregonians. The centerpiece of legislative service is showing up on the Senate Floor to do the people's work," said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner. "State Senators receive daily – taxpayer-funded – pay for fulfilling this basic responsibility. If they are unwilling to fulfill that responsibility, they should not receive that pay."