Senate President Peter Courtney Welcomes Republicans Back to Senate Floor, Kills Climate Bill

Three Republicans are absent as senators move controversial House Bill climate legislation, House Bill 2020, to a committee where it will expire.

Sen. Peter Courtney

Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) welcomed the Senate Republicans back to the Capitol this morning nine days after they walked out to deprive the Senate of a quorum and 39 hours before the 2019 session is scheduled to end.

The first significant order of business for the chamber was to dispatch with House Bill 2020, the cap-and-trade legislation that was the ostensible reason the GOP senators walked out on June 20.

Republicans only came back after Courtney and Gov. Kate Brown stated publicly that HB 2020 was dead. But as long as the bill remained on the floor after third reading, senators could technically pass it—and some critics worried that might happen.

But shortly after 9 am, when Courtney convened today's floor session, Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), who supported the bill, glumly rose to make a motion that the bill referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Once there, it would be dead.

There was no discussion of the motion.

Ten Democrats, led by the bill's chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), voted against the move, but several Democrats joined Republicans to move the bill.

Two Republicans, Sens. Girod (R-Stayton) and Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls), were absent, and a third, Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), was excused.

When Courtney banged down his gavel on the 17-10 vote, the biggest controversy of the 2019 session was over.

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