After the tumultuous ending to the 2019 legislative session, which saw GOP senators flee the state in order to avoid a vote on a controversial carbon emissions reduction bill, there have been a lot of questions about when and whether Democrats would try again.
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) provided an answer today.
Speaking at a Portland Business Alliance post-session wrap-up along with state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Clackamas) and business lobbyist Shawn Miller, Burdick told the audience that lawmakers will bring the bill back in next year's short session, which begins on Feb. 3.
Although WW did not attend the event, Burdick confirmed via text message that she'd told the audience House Bill 2020, also know as "cap and trade," will return.
"Yes," Burdick wrote. "But of course it will have a different bill number."
Her comments mark the first official confirmation the concept will be back in front of lawmakers.
It's not entirely surprising, as Democrats have been trying to pass some version the bill for 12 years.
HB 2020 passed the House this year following a six-hour debate but Senate Republicans then left the Capitol in order to deprive the Senate of a quorum and make a vote impossible. While they were gone, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) announced that his caucus, which includes a supermajority of 18 senators, did not have enough "yes" votes to pass the bill, even if Republicans returned.
Opponents of the bill, including truck drivers and loggers, rallied furiously against it in three Salem protests and have formed a movement called #TimberUnity.
But Burdick says Democrats are undeterred.
"I'm sure work will continue on the language," she said in a text, "but I don't anticipate any structural changes."