Two weeks into the 2020 legislative short session, and the walkouts have already begun. This one involved the Republican members of the House House Committee on Energy and Environment — of which, there are only three: committee vice-chair Daniel Bonham, of The Dalles, Rep. E. Werner Reschke, of Klamath Falls, and Rep. David Brock Smith, of Port Orford.
With six Democratic members remaining to move the legislation out of committee, the move was merely symbolic. The disagreement, of course, was over the House’s version of the proposed cap and trade bill, HB 4159.
“In a symbolic gesture, we have decided to step out of the room and not take a vote on a bill that would devastate Oregon’s economy,” Bonham said in a press release. “We have tried to engage with our colleagues on this issue, but have repeatedly been denied the opportunity to represent our districts in this conversation.”
Republicans say the controversial bill, and its Senate equivalent, SB 1530, would “increase costs of living for Oregonians across the state.”
“Cap and trade will raise costs of living on all Oregonians, drive business out of the state, and hand control over to unelected bureaucrats,” Bonham said. “Oregonians are being denied access, and we won’t stand for it.”
In a separate release from House Republicans Thursday, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, from Canby, denounced House Speaker Tina Kotek’s decision to move the bill out of committee without a public hearing.
“This move denied Oregonians the opportunity to provide testimony and discuss this very complicated legislation,” Drazan said. “The cap and trade proposals currently in front of the legislature give unelected
bureaucrats the power to raise costs for businesses and Oregon families.”
I call on the Speaker to allow public hearings on HB4159 which was moved from the energy and environment committee to the rules committee today. This is an insider game and an abuse of the short session. #orleg
She called on Speaker Kotek to schedule public hearings on the bill and “give Oregonians an opportunity to be heard.”
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