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House Republicans May Walk Out
Speaker Kotek plus a COVID exposure means Secretary Fagan could draw the lines

Editor's note: A previous article indicated that it was probable that redistricting would not be completed by the Legislature. This is not conclusive and this article has been edited to reflect that. We apologize for the error

Sources inside the Oregon Capitol have confirmed that the House Republican caucus are considering not supplying the necessary members for a quorum to complete the special session and enact a redistricting plan. The Legislature must complete the plan by Monday or it falls to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan (D-Portland) to create maps for the Congressional, State Senate and State House districts.

The upset is over a broken deal that was made in the 2021 regular session between the Republican caucus and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland). The agreement was that the Republicans would get an even number of seats and chairs as their Democratic colleagues on the House Special Committee On Congressional Redistricting in exchange for not forcing the constitutional requirement that each bill be read in its entirety before passage and that Republicans would not walk out on the session.



Surprisingly, Speaker Kotek restacked the House Redistricting Committee so that it has one Republican and two Democrats, depriving Republicans of their veto leverage on the committee.

Additionally, House Republican insiders have revealed that there has been a COVID-19 exposure to many of the House Republican Members, who, by Legislature COVID-19 personnel rules, are required to quarantine -- regardless of vaccine status or natural immunity from having survived the disease. The quarantine requirement would make it impossible for members to attend the session prior to the Monday deadline.

Speaker Kotek's actions are seen as very risky by most political observers, as she has announced that she will run for Governor in 2022 and has a larger -- and more politically diverse -- constituency than her North Portland District who may take a dim view of this breach of integrity.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-21 12:51:56Last Update: 2021-09-21 18:46:07

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