As we hoped, the Oregon Senate Republicans have left the building.
After a testy hearing on SB 1530, the bill that will cost anyone who uses energy far more than many can afford, most Senate Republicans walked out.
It should be noted that Democrat Senator Betsy Johnson, the only pro-gun Democrat in the Senate voted against SB1530 and for amendments that would have made it less onerous. Senate President Peter Courtney added himself to the committee for this one bill just to cancel out her vote.
The one Republican Senator who refused to leave was Tim Knopp.
Knopp, you will recall, also refused to leave during the first Republican walk out last year. After hearing from many of you, he did agree to walk out the second time the Senate Republicans left.
It was those walk outs that defeated some of the worst gun control bills in Oregon history.
It should be noted that last year, after we let our supporters know that Knopp stayed on the floor with the gun grabbing Democrats, Knopp told people who contacted him that he stayed behind to “represent Republicans” and “negotiate” for them.
None of this was true. We had some angry calls and emails from people who accused us of misrepresenting Knopp’s motivation.
If his office tells you that he, once again, stayed behind at the request of his caucus or leadership, we strongly recommend you ask them whether that’s true.
So what does this mean? First it means that your emails and calls to the Senate Republican leadership paid off. Unless one more Republican defects and joins Knopp on the Senate floor, they can conduct no business.
The anti-gun bill that is still in play in the House, HB 4005, the gun lock down bill, could still pass the House if the House Republicans don’t walk out. But it cannot become law unless it passes the Senate and it can’t pass the Senate if the Republicans are not there.
This is what makes Knopp’s decision to stay so dangerous. If the State Police are ordered to “compel” the missing senators to return to the floor, they only need to take one into custody, drag him (or her) back to chambers and the Democrats can pass anything they want. And they will.
We are, by no means, out of the woods yet.
The legislature may stay in session until March 8th (although it may legally end sooner.) That’s plenty of time for the Democrats to try to figure out a way to pass anti-gun bills and other dangerous legislation. But for now, the longer they stay out, the more deadlines will pass and the greater the chance we have of having this session end with no successful attacks on your rights.
Thank you all you have done to protect gun rights in Oregon.