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Oregon GOP Walkout Targets Bills On Abortions For Children, Gun Control


Oregon GOP Walkout Targets Bills On Abortions For Children, Gun Control

By not showing up for duty, Oregon’s Republican state senators are thwarting Democrats’ attempts to pass bills on gun control, abortion and so-called “gender-affirming care.” Oregon Senate rules require that two-thirds of members be present for before votes on legislation can be held. Senators joining the no-show campaign are playing with fire, as they could find themselves disqualified from serving additional terms. 

Outwardly, Republicans claim their boycott is aimed at forcing Democrats to comply with a long-obscure 1979 law requiring bill summaries to be written at an 8th- or 9th-grade reading level. However, that position is widely understood to be a creative pretext for blocking bills that Republicans consider extreme. Credit a GOP senate staffer who dug up the 44-year-old law that’s seemingly been ignored ever since enacted. 

Plenty of empty desks in the Oregon Senate on May 11, as only two Republicans showed up (Dirk VanderHart/OPB)

Hundreds of bills are now stuck, but the blockage is primarily motivated by Republican opposition to two particular Democrat proposals. The first of them is House Bill 2002, which would:

  • Let minors of any age get an abortion without parental notice, much less permission
  • Order private insurers and Medicaid to pay for more services under an umbrella of “gender-affirming care” 
  • Require student health centers to dispense abortion and emergency contraception drugs 
  • Deploy mobile “health clinics” to carry out abortions and gender transitions in rural areas

Republicans are incensed by the package. “Oregonians do not want more of their taxpayer dollars going to something they fundamentally disagree with,” said Rep. Christine Goodwin told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Ask them how they feel about a mobile abortion truck parked in their neighborhoods.”

Of course, it’s not just taxpayer dollars at stake: The mandates for private insurers would mean higher premiums for all Oregonians covered by private policies, compelling them to indirectly fund gender swaps for fellow citizens. 

Gun control advocates protest the GOP’s Oregon Senate walkout (AP via New York Post)

Republicans are also trying to derail House Bill 2005, a gun control bill that would: 

  • Increase the minimum age for buying certain semiautomatic firearms from 18 to 21
  • Criminalize possession of untraceable firearms, which gun control advocates label “ghost guns”
  • Require background checks for private firearm sales

Democrats and Republican leaders have been holding closed-door meetings, but the Democratic Senate leader says his side won’t budge on the abortion and gender-switch bill.

The longer the boycott lasts, the closer various Republicans put themselves in jeopardy of disqualification from additional terms in office. Last year, by a resounding 68% to 32% tally, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that imposes that penalty on legislators who rack up 10 unexcused absences. The measure was motivated by repeated walkouts.  

When Democrats in Texas and Wisconsin carried out similar walkouts to block legislatures from achieving a quorum, they were celebrated as heroes. However, Republicans are being condemned for using the same tactic in Oregon. 

It is abundantly clear that there is a concerted effort to undermine the will of the people and bring the legislature to a halt in violation of the constitution of the state of Oregon,” said Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner.  

Tyler Durden
Sat, 05/13/2023 – 18:00

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