New York (CNN) Nearly a dozen Republicans in Oregon’s Democratically-controlled state Senate walked out during a floor vote on an environmental bill on Monday, the latest skirmish in a long-running inter-party fight that’s roiled the statehouse.
At issue are disagreements on HB 1530, a cap and trade climate bill that had been approved by a Senate committee earlier in the day and was headed to the Senate for a full vote. The senators’ absence left the legislative body one senator short of a quorum, blocking the chamber’s proceedings. There were 19 Democrats present, and 20 lawmakers are needed for a quorum.
Oregon’s Senate Republicans argue that the Democratic majority is refusing to make amendments to the bill or “let the people decide” on the legislation.
“Senator (Peter) Courtney’s actions leave no other option for Senate Republicans but to boycott and deny quorum because cap and trade is on the way to the Senate floor,” Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr. said in a statement. “Democrats refused to work with Republicans and denied every amendment that was presented. Pay attention Oregon — this is a true example of partisan politics.”
The Republicans claim the bill is set to hurt 2 million people across 26 counties in the state as it looks to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.