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Previous story Oregon Dems and GOP see Texas statehouse walkout differently Next story
  Andrea Kennedy-Smith, a chief petitioner in the proposals to impede legislative walkouts in Oregon, did not return a message.   “Our position has been consistent,” the Senate Republican Office said in a statement. “Quorum rules are the last tool available to promote bipartisan cooperation, whether we agree or disagree with the policy being protested.” The statement suggested Democrats’ silence on the Texas situation had been “deafening.”  


Story by DIRK VANDERHART - Story Source
Published on Thursday July 15, 2021 - 10:35 AM
 
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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — With Democrats in the Texas House fleeing the state this week to block a Republican bill curbing voting access, the comparisons with Oregon have been inevitable.

Like Oregon, the minority party in Texas can shut down legislative action by blocking the majority from achieving a two-thirds quorum needed to conduct business. Like Oregon, Texas' majority party has accused the minority of blocking key priorities and taking a taxpayer-funded vacation, rather than serving their constituents. And like Oregon, lawmakers in the minority have insisted they are doing what's right to serve their districts.

One major difference: In Oregon, unlike Texas, it is Democrats who reign supreme. And that's made for something of an awkward reckoning, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

RELATED TOPICS Joe Biden Health Texas Oregon Coronavirus pandemic Voting rights Oregon Dems and GOP see Texas statehouse walkout differently By DIRK VANDERHART yesterday SALEM, Ore. (AP) — With Democrats in the Texas House fleeing the state this week to block a Republican bill curbing voting access, the comparisons with Oregon have been inevitable.

Like Oregon, the minority party in Texas can shut down legislative action by blocking the majority from achieving a two-thirds quorum needed to conduct business. Like Oregon, Texas' majority party has accused the minority of blocking key priorities and taking a taxpayer-funded vacation, rather than serving their constituents. And like Oregon, lawmakers in the minority have insisted they are doing what's right to serve their districts.

One major difference: In Oregon, unlike Texas, it is Democrats who reign supreme. And that's made for something of an awkward reckoning, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

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Republicans here have welcomed the comparison, seeing the Texas standoff as proof the "nuclear option" presented by walkouts is a commonsense tool for a minority party. Democrats say the two states shouldn't be lumped together.

"It's one thing to take a principled stand on something as sacred as the right to vote," Hannah Kurowski, a spokeswoman for Oregon House Democrats, said in an email to OPB. "It's another thing entirely to do what Oregon GOP lawmakers have done, which is to shut the Legislature down year after year after year because they are mad voters reject their extreme ideology."

Kurowski suggested that comparing the two states is a "false dichotomy" because the issues in Texas involve the rights of historically marginalized communities of color to vote, and Oregon's standoffs did not.

"There really isn't a comparison to be made," she wrote.

As Oregon Republicans have hastened to point out in recent days, that's a more nuanced view than Democrats here offered when Republican lawmakers refused to show up in 2019, 2020 and for a single day in this year's session.

Most of those walkouts were rooted in Republican opposition to a bill that would have reduced Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions — a step Republicans argued would cut jobs and hike prices in their districts. Republicans in the Oregon Senate have also walked out to protest a new business tax and the closure of schools due to COVID-19.

But Democrats have insisted that the walkouts by Oregon Republicans were part of a larger attack on democracy that verged on hijacking the state's system of governance.

"We must acknowledge the walkout for what it is: subversion of democracy and a dereliction of duty," state Sen. Ginny Burdick, then the Senate majority leader, wrote in an Oregonian op-ed in March 2020. "To call walking out on your oath of office "leadership' is insulting."

Days later, while announcing the session was prematurely dead because of Republicans' obstruction, House Speaker Tina Kotek said Republicans were "in clear violation of their one constitutional duty: to vote, on bills, on this floor. They are denying Oregonians their right to a functioning legislature by walking off the ...