Oregon Republicans Continue Walkout as Democrats Push Anti-Parent Abortion, Trans Bills

Oregon Senate Republicans began a walkout on May 3, ultimately stalling floor sessions in response to far-left legislation that would allow minors to have abortions and access transgender drugs and procedures without parental consent in the state.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp said in an update this week that boycotters will not return until the session’s last day, “when they intended to pass ‘bipartisan’ budgets and bills,” on June 25, the Seattle Times reported

The walkout hit the three-week mark on Wednesday and is reportedly the longest in Oregon history. Republicans carried out boycotts in 2019, 2020 and 2021 — and Democrats did so in 2001 — to prevent a quorum of two-thirds of members,” according to the report. 

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp enters the Senate chambers at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Oregon, Thursday, May 4, 2023. Four Republican senators and one Independent senator had unexcused absences, preventing a quorum for the second day. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

More than 100 bills are stalled because of the walkout. Anca Matica, Democrat Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek’s spokesperson, said the governor “recognizes that we are at a crucial point in the session” and has been “listening to all concerns and gathering all perspectives.” 

Knopp released a statement on Tuesday announcing the boycotters’ return date and accusing President of the Oregon State Senate Rob Wagner (D) of “attempting to silence our voices.”

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“Democrat leadership, including President Rob Wagner, are threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get their way. That is no way to govern,” Knopp said. “We guarantee that we will be back before constitutional sine die to address the issues most important to Oregonians — homelessness, affordable housing, public safety, cost of living, job creation, and fully-funded education. We are not interested in facilitating an agenda that is unlawful, uncompromising, and unconstitutional. This has not changed.”

He continued:

Republicans have face intimidation and retaliation from the Senate President and the special interest groups that installed him as President. In exposing and standing against the culture of corruption perpetrated by top Oregon Democrats, we have requested that an independent investigation into the broad reaching potential wrongdoing of the Democrats be conducted. President Wagner and his special interest supporters are attempting to silence our voices to obstruct the truth from being revealed to the public. We will continue to stand for accountability, transparency, and the people of Oregon. 

We are the last line of defense to hold the majority accountable.

Then on Wednesday, Knopp released another statement slamming Wagner.

“President Wagner could end this peaceful, constitutional protest today, and he is choosing not to. He and his special interest supporter insist on an uncompromising, unlawful agenda that neither addresses nor alleviates the needs of our state,” he said.

“In exchange, critical investments and key legislation addressing homelessness, affordable housing, behavioral health, public safety, job creation, and education are currently being sacrificed,” he continued. “We have heard President Wagner repeatedly try to convince both his colleagues and Oregonians that he believes good ideas come from everywhere. It turns out, apparently good ideas only come from the hyper-partisan special interests pulling his puppet strings.” 

On Tuesday, Wagner told local reporters that he would not allow Republicans to return right before the end of the session.

 “We’re here to do the people’s work. All the bills should be considered. This is our democracy. People need to show up on the floor,” he said, adding that the GOP senators should come to the floor and debate the legislation they object to. 

The report notes that all but three Senate Republicans appear to have disqualified themselves from running for another term under Measure 113, which prevents lawmakers with at least ten unexcused absences from being reelected.

“Sen. Dick Anderson, R-Lincoln City, has only one unexcused absence while Sen. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, has four. Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, remains excused for medical reasons,” according to the report. “It is expected that Republicans will challenge the voter-approved measure in court.”

The bill at the center of the controversy is HB 2002B, which allows girls of any age to get abortions without informing their parents, unless the girl gives written permission for her parents to be informed.  The bill also eliminates the crime of “concealing the birth of an infant,” and allows minors to access sex-change hormones, puberty blockers, and sex-change procedures, covered by their parents’ insurance plans but without parental consent.

An attorney for the Oregon Legislature notably confirmed during an April House committee meeting that a 10-year-old girl or a “minor of any age” would be able to have an abortion without parental consent if the bill is passed.

LifeNews, a pro-life news site, noted that the state already has “very few restrictions on abortion.”

“[I]ts governor has been working with leaders in Washington and California to expand elective abortions even more, including by devoting millions of taxpayer dollars to destroying unborn babies’ lives. Last year, the state legislature approved $15 million to pay for women in and out of state to travel for abortions and increase the number of abortion facilities in the state,” according to the report.


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