After the Oregon state senate failed to reach the quorum last month, the body disqualified an additional six Republican senators from running for re-election in accordance with Article IV, Section 15 of the Oregon Constitution.

The list of senators who have reached 10 unexcused absences and are now barred from re-election includes Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Vale), Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena), Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Sen. Art Robinson (R-Cave Junction), Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) and Sen. Susanne Weber (R-Tillamook).

As a result of these absences and others, only three of Oregon’s Republican senators are now eligible to run for re-election. Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) confirmed that the senators were not present, conveying his concern for the lack of progress being made by the state Legislature.

“This walkout must end,” Wagner pleaded. “The people of Oregon desire it. Democracy demands it.”

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Republican senators are staging a walkout in opposition to “deeply partisan” bills that protect the rights to abortion and gender-affirming care. Sen. David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) was one of two Republicans present on May 18 and praised the efforts of his fellow party members, calling them “selfless” and thanking them for “defending the political rights of every Oregonian in the state.”

Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp sent out an emailed statement that day, claiming the party would return before the session ended, only to vote on the “bipartisan” bills, as state law requires the Senate to pass the budget before the end of the year.

“While Democrats are laser-focused on the issues that do nothing but divide,” Knopp wrote, “we are focused on the real issues… homelessness, affordable housing, public safety, cost of living, job creation and fully-funded education.”

Wagner, along with Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D-Beaverton), were offended by the Republicans’ offer to return with such little care for their colleagues. They asked the Republican senators to provide them with demands, and the Republicans gave them a list of bills they wished to have killed. This list includes House Bill 2005, Senate Joint Resolution 33 and Senate Bill 27, according to Lieber.

These bills concern gun control, same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Wagner and Lieber did not schedule any additional meetings with the Republicans, saying they needed to “catch their breath.”

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