After three special sessions some House Republicans had some reflections on how the session went. It says something about the session that the focus was not on what was done, but what was not done, and how the session proceedings impacted and were impacted by the Oregon Constitution.
House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby said, “The destruction of property and violence during protests under the banner of any cause is unacceptable and must end. But, while state troopers defended the Capitol building from violence at our door, Democrats were attacking our legislative process from within. In an unprecedented, surprise move, Democrat leadership refused to allow any motions to adopt amendments to the eviction moratorium bill. To be clear, other legislation was amended in committee, but this legislation stood alone—there would be no motions made or accepted to amend. The votes were theirs—democrat leaders control it all. But in this special session, it was not enough to control outcomes. They chose to silence ideas.
As Oregonians who were locked out of the building, protested and demanded their rightful place in the halls of government, democrat leaders locked the minority party out of the lawmaking process inside the building.
We came to the Capitol to pass meaningful and productive legislation for hardworking and hurting Oregonians. Communities ravaged by wildfires, small businesses, schools, renters and housing providers needed help and we responded with bipartisan support. We continued funding for Oregon’s COVID response and provided critical COVID liability protections for our schools—a key step to safely reopening to in-person learning.
But the people of Oregon cannot continue to pay the price, with a closed Capitol, closed meetings and backroom deals. This must end.
The legislature must be responsive, transparent and accessible. We have more work to do for Oregonians and they must be at the table. It is their right to fully participate. It is their right to come to the Capitol to stand on their principles and through testimony or protest, challenge the status quo and change the course of our state. The secrecy, the backroom deals and the suppression of public participation and minority party input must not and cannot continue in the 2021 Legislative Session.
I hope Speaker Kotek and President Courtney will renew their commitment to a transparent and accessible Legislature as we work to support Oregonians next year. The Legislature is the people’s branch, and it’s time it started operating that way.”
Additionally, State Representative E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin said, “The 3rd Legislative Special Session of 2020 was another disappointment for those who wish to be free and live free. Even the fact there was a 3rd special session is a glaring example of the wrong direction this state is headed. Oregon’s state government continues to think the answer to failing businesses, and the inability to pay rent is to paper over the real problem with more government regulations and more spending. The solution to the disaster of 2020 lies in letting people be free to earn a living, giving people a real choice how to educate their children and allowing families to decide how best to navigate the virus outbreak from China themselves. Top down government rarely benefits the people, but instead consolidates more power to those in charge.”
Representative Bill Post, R-Keizer is featured in the video below, which he summarizes, “I was once again, very upset that the public and lobby were locked out of the building during the Third Special Session. This is beginning to look like a pattern and it’s a pattern that is not good for Oregon. None of the bills we passed will really make the kind of impact that just plain opening Oregon back up would do. Let Oregon businesses follow the guidelines that have been set, using their best practices and care for the public and let’s get this economy back under way.
The Legislative branch has been passed by the wayside by the Executive branch. That is not how good government works and I am embarrassed for the Legislature that we apparently don’t have the back bone to demand the Governor work with us as equal partners. My SB 1801 floor speech on Monday, sums up my feelings overall.”