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State Representative
Southern Klamath & Lake Counties

Failure To Lead

The 35-day Short Session officially concludes at midnight on March 8th. Unfortunately, it was a Session of failure and poor leadership. Governor Kate Brown’s Cap & Trade was the centerpiece of this failure. Rather than focus on shared-values and budget priorities, such as addressing homelessness, health care, housing, wildfire prevention, education and public safety, Democrats instead made their special interest issue of Cap & Trade top priority. The Republican caucus members on both the House and Senate chose to leave the state in order to deny quorum, thus protecting their respective districts from the harmful economic effects of Cap & Trade.

The Republican stance was not only about the issue of Cap & Trade, but how the legislative process was abused to push this unpopular bill forward. While Democrats claim this 2020 version of Cap & Trade took into account Republican concerns, not one Republican amendment was adopted — not one. Democrat concessions merely delayed a few of the impacts from significantly higher energy prices.

E. Werner Reschke

Democrat leaders used Cap & Trade to take other priorities hostage

Oregon’s legislative process is to be deliberative (slow, methodical) and transparent for public input. Furthermore, Oregon’s constitutional requirement for 2/3 of members to be present in order to conduct business is a high percentage in order to compel both parties to work together — not for one party to dominate the other. A quick five week Short Session does not allow for a proper deliberative and transparent process that such a complex policy requires.

After Cap & Trade was moved — without a public hearing — from one committee to another; after Democrat leaders cut-off a video feed of Republicans questioning state agency directors about Cap & Trade; after Democrats added an additional person to a committee in order to have enough Yes votes to move Cap & Trade to the Senate Floor; and after no Republican amendments were given public hearings or adopted, Republicans had little choice but to leave the state in order to stop the process.

While Republicans were out of the state, leaders of both parties talked several times. When the deadline for Cap & Trade to become law had passed, Republicans agreed to return to Salem to vote on a list of priority budget bills put forth by Democrat leaders, only to have Democrat leaders abruptly end the session — killing almost every bill. The way the Democrat super majority party operated the Short Session is inexcusable. Bills in which both parties were willing to debate and vote on should have been scheduled first, before Cap & Trade. Instead, Democrat leaders used Cap & Trade to take all other priorities hostage. When their plan didn’t work, they killed everything, which directly hurts the people of Oregon.

Often when two parties cannot resolve a dispute, an arbiter is brought in to settle the matter. In this case, after two consecutive sessions where the Cap & Trade dispute could not be resolved by the legislature, Republicans asked for one simple thing — refer the bill to the voters — as arbiter, to settle the issue once and for all. Democrats refused even to do that.


The 2020 short session will not be remembered as an example of democratic leadership but of the super majority’s failure to lead and govern. It didn’t have to be this way. Fortunately, this November Oregonians can express their disgust with this failure to lead and vote to bring back a fair and balance process to Salem.


State Representative
Southern Klamath & Lake Counties

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1456
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-384, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.EWernerReschke@OregonLegislature.gov
Website: www.oregonlegislature.gov/reschke



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