The Oregon Senate was again unable to conduct business because of a Republican boycott of the Legislature over major climate change legislation.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Senate President Peter Courtney announced a lack of quorum Sunday.
Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, adjourned the session without a quorum until Monday at 10 a.m. PTD after the state’s 11 GOP senators failed to appear, CNN affiliate KOIN reports.
“Again, I ask the senators that are not here to please if you would come to the building, and we have budgets we need to pass that are for all of Oregon,” Courtney said before adjourning.
Republicans fled the Capitol last week to deny the majority Democrats a quorum for the climate bill, intended to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
Oregon Senate Republicans said in a statement Thursday that they decided to stage a walkout and leave the state “to protest cap and trade because it should be referred to the ballot so every Oregonian has a voice.”
Unlike last week, Courtney didn’t ask the sergeant-at-arms to search the building for absent Republicans. He says staff members to conduct such a search don’t work Sunday.
The Capitol was closed Saturday on the recommendation of State Police, after anti-government groups threatened to join a protest planned inside the building.
One of the groups, the Oregon Three Percenters, had joined an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016.
The Republican state lawmakers are reportedly facing $500 fines for every day they don’t return to the state legislature.
The landmark climate bill significantly lowering fossil fuels used in the state is set to pass the Democratic-led legislature if enough lawmakers are present to hold a vote.
The passage and signing of HB 2020 would have Oregon join 11 other states that use market-based approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would place a “cap,” or an overall limit on emissions, and then would provide a mechanism to sell fuel providers “emission allowances.” State Republicans argue that the measure should be referred to a state ballot rather than voted on in the state Legislature.
The state Senate reportedly scheduled two sessions Saturday but was forced to cancel them because of the militia protests.
This article was edited by TheBL.
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