House GOP leader: Cap-and-trade had constitutional problems
As the House minority leader, Christine Drazan, who represents Charbonneau, was a key voice in the Republican caucus's decision to walk out and, in turn, deny a quorum over cap-and-trade legislation. The bill would have set a carbon emission cap for companies, mainly manufacturers and fuel suppliers, and allowed them to trade emission allotments. It also likely would have led to fuel cost increases.
Proponents of the bill say it's a necessary measure to combat climate change. On the other hand, Drazan stated that the bill might be unconstitutional, would financially harm Oregonians and should have been referred to voters via a ballot measure rather than voted on by the legislature. She also said Republicans were granted little opportunity to play a role in shaping or amending the bill.
"It became clear (early on in the session) that the bill didn't have to abide by the rules of other pieces of legislation," Drazan said. "It had constitutional problems. The way it was structured would have harmed Oregonians financially, changed the economic face of our state and didn't have any standard nonpartisan professional analysis to show how much it would cost in taxes to Oregonians."
According to an analysis performed by the office of state rep. Michael Dembrow, medium and high income earners would have seen costs go up substantially more than low income earners as a result of the legislation.
The decision to walk out meant that many proposed bills that had bipartisan support languished without a vote. Drazan herself chief sponsored a couple bills that stalled after the Republicans fled the capitol building.
The Canby resident proposed a bill that would have required school districts to notify the parents or guardians of a student when that student has experienced bullying, harassment, intimidation or cyberbullying and a bill that would have reduced prior authorization requirements for insurance providers.
"Like so many others it (the prior authorization bill) was a bipartisan effort," Drazan said. "These are a couple examples of the long list of bills we had time to get to and had a commitment (from legislative committees) to pass."
Though her party stalled the session by denying a quorum, Drazan blamed Democrats for the unproductive session.
"I think that Democrats had an opportunity to manage that entire building differently," she said. "I think it's indefensible we were there for three weeks and they only passed three bills in three weeks between two chambers. That means they were holding back that legislation instead of moving it forward."
Republican legislators have now denied a quorum during consecutive sessions. Drazan said she hoped it would never happen again.
"You will never see another denial of quorum as long as single party rule supermajority doesn't abuse its power," she said.
Drazan also did not appreciate Gov. Kate Brown's executive order designed to reduce carbon emissions following the session.
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