Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the ten Republican State senators who staged a walkout last year are now barred from running for reelection. 

In 2023, GOP members of the Oregon Senate set a record for the longest walkout in the history of the state, which lasted six weeks and delayed the passing of hundreds of bills that covered topics including abortion, trans healthcare and gun rights. 

Now, the state senators are vowing to appeal the ruling in federal court.

Voters passed Measure 113 in 2022, which amended the state constitution to bar lawmakers from office if they have more than 10 unexcused absences.

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The measure was adopted to stop boycotts that stall important bills. Republican lawmakers argued over the semantics of the amendment, which states that those who have more than 10 unexcused absences will not be able to be re-elected “the election after the member’s current term is completed.”

GOP senators argued that the vague language of the measure suggests that it does not apply to the upcoming election, but to the election in 2028.

Five of the GOP senators barred from re-election sued – Tim Knopp, Daniel Bonham, Suzanne Webber, Dennic Linthicum and Lynn Findley. Knopp stated that this ruling left him “deeply disturbed.”

Rob Wagner, the Democrat Senate president, supported the decision by the Oregon Supreme Court and praised the state for making the public aware of how the measure is to be applied. Many political advocacy groups shared this sentiment, displeased at how easily GOP lawmakers used walkouts to delay the passage of significant bills supported by the majority of senators. 

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