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Oregon Senate Democrats Will Try To Change Quorum Requirement

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Democrats in the Oregon Senate say they want to reduce the ability of lawmakers in the minority to grind legislative business to a halt.

The Oregon Constitution requires that two-thirds of the members of each legislative chamber be present in order to conduct business. Last year, Senate Republicans walked out twice to protest bills they opposed. Their actions left the Senate without enough members present in order to vote on bills. In both cases,

Now, majority Democrats want to change the threshold for a quorum to a simple majority, which would put Oregon in line with most other states.

Sen, James Manning, D-Eugene, said the walk-outs were the wrong way for Republicans to get their point across. “That’s not the way we’re supposed to do this," he said. "We’re supposed to be there to represent the people. And by them not wanting to participate, it puts us in a bad way.” 

The constitutional change would have to be approved by Oregon voters to take effect. Republicans say they’re considering another walk out in next month’s session.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. 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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