Oregon Senate Republicans halt radical transgender and abortion legislation by denying a quorum for vote.
By Eileen Griffin
Republican State Senators in Oregon are standing for families and refusing to vote for radical bills in the legislature.
The Oregon Senate walk-out started on May 3, the Statesman Journal reports. With Republicans, and one Independent, refusing to vote, the Senate has not had the required 20-member quorum to pass legislation.
Republicans object to several pending bills that interfere with families and take away parental rights over their children, The Center Square reports.
No Threshold, No Limits
One reason for the Republicans’ walkout is legislation that has passed the state House of Represenatives, HB 2002, whichallows children, regardless of age, to have an abortion without informing their parents. Currently, the state of Oregon allows children over the age of 15 to access these services. The bill, if passed, would eliminate the age threshold.
The bill also broadens access to transgender services for youth and expands the services insurance companies are required to cover in the category of transgender medical care.
Other measures to which Republicans object include SJR 33 and SB 27, which would eliminate any definition of marriage in state law and would prohibit the state from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender procedures, and abortion.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Kopp told the Capital Chronicle Republicans were primarily interested in protecting minor children. They do not want expanded transgender services for children, and they object to allowing minors access to an abortion procedure without parental notification.
Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek (D) was sworn into office in January as the first openly lesbian governor of the state. The Oregon governor’s website says she has played “a key role in making historic progress for the LGBTQ+ community by passing statewide protections and access to benefits.”
Kotek declared an impasse over HB 2002, which is a top priority for Kotek, as well as Democratic legislators.
“After a week of productive conversations and continued attempts to work with the Senate Republican caucus to revive a number of their priorities, I am disappointed that Sen. Knopp has made clear to me that there is not a path forward unless House Bill 2002 is substantially amended or dead,” Kotek told the Statesman Journal.
State Senator Kim Thatcher (R) told Heartland Daily News the Republicans have tried talking to the Democrats.
“They are unwilling to make any changes to the bill,” Thatcher said. “They will not even consider any amendments.”
Oregon Senate President Rob Wagner (D) approved a request to impose fines on the Republicans for lack of attendance, The Center Square reports. The fines started June 5.
Republicans are standing their ground despite the pressure and the fines.
“We are protesting the lawlessness and corruption of the Democrats who have controlled our state for decades,” wrote Sens. Daniel Bonham and Kim Thatcher wrote in an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner. “This is the only tool we have left to stand up and defend Oregonians.”
‘State Knows Better than Parents’
Thatcher told Heartland Daily News that what the Democrats want would result in young girls, under the age of 15, having medical procedures, such as an abortion, without parental consent or notification.
“The change in the law would remove that floor (age 15),” Thatcher said. “Access would be provided at any age. The reality of that situation is that if a girl is under age 15, there is a crime happening. There is something really wrong and it puts the girls back into a horrible situation.”
What is happening in Oregon, like other Democrat-run states, is an erosion of parental rights.
“They are substituting the state for the parents,” Thatcher said. “They think the state knows better than parents. Families are the basic foundation of society. In my opinion, the family has been attacked. This is just more of that—splitting the family. This (the Democrat agenda) will divide families and communities. They are taking a big chisel to the family.”
‘Doing Our Jobs’
Thatcher said most Oregon residents probably have no idea how extreme this agenda is.
“We are a blue state, but I didn’t see any of them run on providing hormone blockers to children when they are under 18,” Thatcher said. “I don’t think most people in Oregon, if they knew, would be on board with this.”
The walk-out denies the legislature the quorum they need to hold a vote on the floor. Without the cooperation of Republicans, the Democrats cannot pass their agenda.
“Look at what tools you have available,” Thatcher advises other Republicans in Democrat-run states. “Not everyone has the quorum rule, but when you want to do something, you have to look at the rules and the tools available closely. There may be some things you can use to push back. You need to use what you have to stand against things that are really bad.”
While the Senate Republicans in Oregon have many other concerns about how the Democrats run the state, this has “put it over the top,” Thatcher said.
“We are still doing our jobs,” Thatcher said. “We are here. We attend meetings, talk to constituents and we do the state’s business. We are just not going to pass extreme, partisan, unconstitutional, and unlawful bills.”
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