NATIONAL NEWS

As Oregon Senate GOP boycott hits ‘crucial point,’ governor begins talks

May 24, 2023, 4:33 PM

Hundreds of bills awaiting action in the Oregon Senate are held in a battered bookshelf on the Sena...

Hundreds of bills awaiting action in the Oregon Senate are held in a battered bookshelf on the Senate floor, unable to move forward to a vote because of a protest by Republicans, Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Salem, Ore. The leader of Republican senators whose walkout of the Oregon Senate has prevented a quorum for almost three weeks said Tuesday, May 23, 2023, that they're not coming back until the very last day of the legislative session next month. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek has begun meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders in the statehouse to try to end a three-week-old boycott by GOP senators. Her office said Wednesday this year’s troubled legislative session has reached “a crucial point.”

No progress was announced, however, with only one month remaining in the session that began Jan. 17. Because of the walkout, over 100 bills that have emerged from committees remain in limbo. Both the Senate and House must also approve state budgets for the next two years before the session closes by a June 25 deadline.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Sen. Tim Knopp said on Tuesday the boycotters are not returning until the session’s last day, when they intend to pass “bipartisan” budgets and bills.

The walkout, which began on May 3 ostensibly because bill summaries weren’t written at an eighth grade level as required by a long-forgotten law, has focused on a sweeping measure on abortion rights and gender-affirming care that the conservatives particularly object to, and a gun safety measure that would raise the minimum purchasing age of AR-15-style rifles and some other firearms from 18 to 21.

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.

“The governor recognizes that we are at a crucial point in session. She has been listening to all concerns and gathering all perspectives … She will continue meeting with legislative leaders in the coming days in hopes of finding a resolution,” said Anca Matica, the Democratic governor’s spokesperson.

Kotek met separately with Democratic and Republican caucus leaders on Monday, with most Republicans dialing in instead of appearing in person. She has not ruled out ordering the Oregon State Police to bring the boycotters to the Senate floor to reach a quorum in the 30-member chamber. Then-Gov. Kate Brown in 2019 instructed state police to track down and round up boycotting senators, but most had fled to neighboring states — out of the officers’ jurisdiction.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Tim Knopp told reporters on May 3 that legal action would be taken if the state police try to forcibly bring boycotters to the Senate floor.

Knopp recalled that in the 2019 boycott, he got a call from then state police Superintendent Travis Hampton while hiding out in Spokane, Washington. Knopp suspected that Hampton was trying to “triangulate” Knopp’s location with the call, but the superintendent replied that he already knew Knopp’s whereabouts.

“And he said, ‘You’re out of our reach,’” Knopp said.

Knopp said if the governor deploys the state police this time, “they would probably make calls. They would probably visit homes.”

“We don’t believe they have a legal authority to detain or put hands on anyone. Should that happen, legal action will be taken immediately,” Knopp said.

Under a ballot measure passed by Oregonians last November, Knopp is among nine Republican senators and the Senate’s lone Independent who have become disqualified from being seated in the Legislature after their terms expire because they have 10 or more unexcused absences this year. That limit was set by a ballot measure that almost 70% of Oregonians voted for last November and is now part of the state Constitution.

Some of those senators who want to seek reelection in 2024 are expected to file court challenges to the ballot measure once they can begin filing as candidates in September.

National News

Associated Press

Mechanical issues prompt 2 Delta Air Lines flights to divert, return to airport

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two Delta Air Lines flights were diverted over the weekend because of mechanical issues, the FAA said Monday. Delta flight 927, en route from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to Atlanta, was diverted to St. Louis shortly before noon Saturday because of an issue with cabin pressure, the airline said in a statement. […]

14 minutes ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

22 minutes ago

FILE - An overwhelmed residents surveys the damage following flooding caused by the remnants of Hur...

Associated Press

Vermont seeks federal damage assessment for floods caused by Hurricane Beryl’s remnants

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is seeking an assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked down bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. The flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Beryl happened a year after the state experienced catastrophic flooding that left some victims still […]

30 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Butle...

Associated Press

Federal judge dismisses Trump classified documents case over concerns with prosecutor’s appointment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal judge presiding over the classified documents case of former President Donald Trump in Florida has dismissed the prosecution because of concerns over the appointment of the prosecutor who brought the case. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted the defense motion to dismiss the case on Monday. Lawyers for Trump had […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Simone Biles and the U.S. women celebrate as the 2024 team is named at the United States Gym...

Associated Press

US Olympic fundraising team sets audacious goal of raising $500 million by 2028

The fundraising arm for the U.S. Olympic team is revving up a donation drive aimed at raising $500 million by the time the Summer Olympics return to Los Angeles in 2028. Organizers rolled out the program Monday, hoping to use the momentum of this year’s Olympics, which begin July 26, to bring in funds for […]

2 hours ago

A general view during rehearsals at the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum, Su...

Associated Press

The Latest: RNC set to begin in the aftermath of Trump assassination attempt

The Republican National Convention kicks off this week, with delegates and officials descending on Wisconsin amid the tumult that follows a Saturday assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump as he prepares to become the GOP’s official nominee. The quadrennial event takes place not only as Trump leads a party in lockstep behind him, but […]

3 hours ago

As Oregon Senate GOP boycott hits ‘crucial point,’ governor begins talks