Oregon Republicans walk out over climate bill opposed by trucking industry

Cap-and-trade Oregon rally

In a replay of last year’s drama over climate change legislation, Republicans in the Oregon Senate staged a walkout Monday morning to slow a Democratic bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions, OregonLive reported.

Under the state Constitution, a two-thirds majority of the Senate must be present for a vote to take place. So while Democrats have a supermajority, they need at least two Republicans present to conduct business.

But only one Republican, Sen. Tim Knopp of Bend, showed up for an 11 a.m. floor session Monday, according to OregonLive. The boycott took place after the bill passed through the Joint Ways and Means Committee earlier in the morning.

The debate over the Oregon climate legislation, known as Senate Bill 1530, mirrors a bitter fight that took place last year, when Senate Republicans fled the capital, effectively killing a controversial plan to cap greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the new bill made concessions to some of the groups that opposed last year’s bill, the trucking industry continues to rally against the legislation. Two weeks ago, more than a thousand truck drivers and loggers participated in convoy and rally in protest of the proposed policy.

In an interview earlier this winter, Jana Jarvis, chief of the Oregon Truck Association, told FreightWaves that her association supports referring the cap-and-trade bill to voters in the form of a ballot measure.

“If Oregonians really want this bill, it needs to go to them,” she said.

Earlier Monday, Democrats voted down a proposal to refer the climate plan to voters. 

This is a developing story.