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Walkout Fine Proposed for Senate
Needs a chamber vote

In a sign that they fear another disruption to their agenda -- possibly the spate of firearms regulations pending in both chambers -- Senate Democrats have introduced a proposal to amend Senate Chamber Rules to allow the Senate President to fine state senators who are not excused from a Senate Floor Session and choose not to attend, walking out on Oregonians and abandoning their oaths of office. The amount of the proposed fine – $151 – is equal to the per diem payment that legislators receive for expenses of working in Salem for the session.

“Walking out on Oregonians is unacceptable and it’s an affront to democracy. Even worse, when Senate Republicans walk out, they continue to accept a paycheck and compensation for their daily expenses,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego). “Oregonians aren’t paid when they don’t show up for work. It is unprofessional to walk out on the job and unethical to accept daily expenses when you didn’t show up for work – and stopped others from doing their jobs. Voters in Oregon expect senators to be held accountable when they refuse to show up and do the work that Oregonians sent them to Salem to do. When lawmakers take their oath of office, they swear to uphold the constitution and do the people's work.”

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) went on the offensive in response:

“As Republicans, we believe rules should be applied fairly. This rule change doesn’t go far enough. No senator should be receiving their per diem when the public is shut out of the democratic process and their Capitol.

“The Democrats think that just because they control the schedule, they can walk out whenever they want. By scheduling minimal floor sessions, they have held up the people’s work for weeks now. We have important work to do this session, but it is being held up by the Democrats. Oregonians deserve better than these performative gestures to appease radicals in their own party.”

“Each of us was elected to serve our constituents and all Oregonians. The centerpiece of legislative service is showing up on the Senate Floor to do the people’s work,” said Senator Wagner. “State Senators receive daily -- taxpayer-funded -- pay for fulfilling this basic responsibility. If they are unwilling to fulfill that responsibility, they should not receive that pay.”

The change to Senate Rule 3.10 proposed today will need to be taken up for a vote of the chamber in order to be in effect.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-03-11 13:02:01Last Update: 2021-03-11 14:01:52



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