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Senate Republicans Demand Transparency and Accountability

SALEM, Ore. – Today, Senate Republicans are protesting the behavior of Senate President Rob Wagner, who is knowingly and willfully violating Senate Rules, Oregon statute, and the Oregon Constitution. We demand that transparency and accountability be a part of the legislative process as intended.

During Monday morning’s floor session, Senate Republicans pointed out that bills being considered by the Senate violate the law by being noncompliant with Senate Rule 13.02 (5), ORS 171.134, and Article IV Section 21 of the Oregon Constitution. The Senate recessed and when it reconvened that evening, the Presiding Officer ruled that it did in fact comply. He failed to provide any reasoning to substantiate the ruling despite many objections. Republicans have attempted to appeal the ruling several times.

Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) released the following statement:

“Let’s be clear – Wagner’s ruling was inappropriate, unjustified, and unlawful. It unequivocally violates Senate Rules, Oregon’s Constitution, and Oregon statute. We will not sit by and allow these actions without consequence.

Since the beginning of the Session, I have argued that Wagner is untrustworthy, deeply partisan, and lacks the necessary skills to run the Senate in a bipartisan fashion. That has been proven true every step of the way, and his behavior this week may be the clearest demonstration yet.

We have made a simple request: that bills comply with the law. Senate Rules are clear and Senate Democrats are violating them. It is the responsibility of the clerks in both chambers, as well as Legislative Counsel, to ensure a measure summary complies with Oregon Revised Statutes, Chamber Rules, and the Oregon Constitution.

Laws are to be plainly written and easy to understand. When the majority of bill summaries written demand a post-graduate degree to understand what the bills do, we disenfranchise Oregonians across the state and violate the law in the process.

It’s apparent that there are those in state government who think they can skirt around the rules to facilitate their extreme agenda by any means necessary.

We cannot allow the Senate to operate in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner, nor can we allow this reckless behavior to continue. In an act of deep partisanship, Wagner ruled with total disregard for the integrity of the Senate to dictate his party’s extreme, unconstitutional agenda onto Oregonians at all costs. It is for these reasons we were compelled to take the unprecedented step of voting to remove Wagner from his role as Senate President, and why we are engaging in a constitutional protest today.”

To comply with state law, every bill must return to its original sponsor so Legislative Council can redraft the bill summaries. The bill must then be sent back through committees to be reconsidered before being heard on the Senate and House floors.

There will be a media availability in the Senate Republican Office (S-323) at 12pm.


Ashley Kuenzi, Senate Republican Office | Ashley.Kuenzi@oregonlegislature.gov

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