Saturday, June 29, 2019

Rural Oregonians Protest Cap and Trade, Legislators End Walkout

Oregonians brought more than 2,000  trucks, tractors and other vehicles to the state Capitol this morning to protest climate bills and other legislation they say will threaten their livelihoods.

Trucks circled the Capitol, honking. The Capitol steps, mall and surrounding streets were thick with protesters.

Farmers, ranchers, loggers and others whose jobs are dependent on natural resources say the legislation — House Bill 2020, also known as cap and trade — will increase their fuel and energy costs while having a minimal impact on the climate.
Logging trucks line up in front of the Oregon Capitol.

“We’ve got climate problems to deal with, obviously,” said Mary Hewitt, 19, waving her sign among a group of other young protesters. Hewitt comes from a family of truckers, fishermen and other working-class people. “So many of my peers have come out supporting these bills. They think they’re fighting for the environment, and I get it. But this is not the way to help the earth. Ride a bike to work. Walk more. Recycle. But don’t crush me and my family. We’re people, too.”
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Oregon capitol,
 at a protest of a cap-and-trade climate bill
Meanwhile Republican legislators seem to have won their battle against the bill, but continued to stay away out an an abundance of caution, and a  lack of trust in their Democrat colleagues.
When Senate Republicans walked off the job June 20, aiming to block a cap on carbon emissions, their walkout made national news. This was the second time this session the Senate Republicans fled the state Capitol to deny Democrats a quorum.

Republicans have now been absent from the statehouse more than a week, and the Capitol is at a standstill with just three days left in the legislative session. According to Gov. Kate Brown, dozens of crucial bills are still waiting for Senate approval.

Senate President Peter Courtney announced Tuesday that House Bill 2020 no longer has the support among Democrats needed to pass. In response, Brown issued a statement in which she appeared to acknowledge the bill was dead.

But GOP senators are not convinced that the bill is dead — and they aren’t coming back yet. They said in a statement Tuesday that because several Senate Democrats have vowed to push the cap-and-trade legislation through this session, “this signals that HB 2020 is not dead.”

The statement also said that GOP senators demand that Brown and the Senate Democrats must promise that any carbon bills must be referred to the state ballot so the people of Oregon can make the final decision on them.
At least a legislature that can't legislate can't do any harm.
2016 Presidential Election vote in Oregon

Like much of the west, the vast majority of Oregon's area is rural, and there conservative politics prevail; however, the liberal population centers in Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene dominate the state's legislature, Congressional representation and presidential vote.

It's good to see the rural folk in Oregon stand up against the majortarian urban interests who rule the state without much consideration for their lives.

UPDATE: While I was assembling the post, the Republicans came back: Oregon GOP senators return after 9-day walkout. I guess we'll see if the Democrats can be trusted.
Republican lawmakers returned to the Oregon Senate on Saturday, ending a walkout that began on June 20 over a carbon emissions bill they said would harm their rural constituents.

The minority Republicans returned after Senate President Peter Courtney said the majority Democrats lacked the votes to pass the controversial legislation. The House had previously passed the bill, one of the centerpieces of Oregon's 2019 legislative session, which is scheduled to end on Sunday.

The departure of the 11 Republicans had prevented the Senate from reaching a quorum to vote on the bill that was aimed at countering climate change. They left the state after Gov. Kate Brown ordered the state police to bring them to the state capitol. Meanwhile, more than 100 bills have stacked up in the Senate.

Gideon John Tucker (February 10, 1826 – July 1899) was an American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician. In 1866, as Surrogate of New York County, he wrote in a decision of a will case: "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session."

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