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Eugene Lawmaker Says GOP Walkout Could Be “New Norm” For Oregon Politics

Senator Floyd Prozanski

As the walkout by Oregon Senate Republicans continues, longtime Eugene Democratic Sen. Floyd Prozanski says he thinks the tactic could signal a “new norm” for Oregon politics.

Senate Republicans have left the state in protest of a bill that would regulate carbon emissions. Their absence denies the majority Democrats a quorum, meaning the Senate can’t meet to vote on bills.

Prozanski says he understands that the minority party is frustrated with the cap-and-trade bill. “But that’s the debate that we should have on the floor. And then we should have a vote (on the floor)," he said. "And then if the individuals of this state believe those who are in control who are leading and making these decisions have made the wrong decision, that’s what the ballot box is for.”

It’s the second time this session the GOP has made themselves scarce in protest of a bill. In May, the walkout was over a bill to tax businesses to pay for educaiton funding. That time, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown cut a deal with the Senate Republicans to kill two unrelated bills that GOP lawmakers disliked.

Prozanksi worries that created a precedent. "I think that you're potentially seeing what could be a new norm, one that could reward the vocal minority members that are more radical," he said.

With the legislature required to adjourn by June 30, the walkout threatens the future of more than 100 remaining bills, including some that are co-sponsored by Republicans.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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