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Top Democratic leaders say Oregon cap-and-trade bill doesn't have the votes to pass

The measure in question, HB 2020, is intended to reduce fossil fuel emissions through a cap on carbon.

SALEM, Ore. — On Tuesday morning, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney suggested that HB 2020, the climate change bill that prompted GOP senators to flee the state six days ago, doesn't have enough votes to pass.

"House Bill 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor," Courtney said. "That will not change."

Later Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick confirmed that the bill is likely dead for this legislative session.

Read HB 2020, the cap-and-trade bill

Burdick told reporters that there isn't enough support within the Democratic party to pass what would be the second statewide cap and trade plan in the nation. Burdick says that it was her sense that "the votes were never there" even before the Republican walkout.

The Senate would still vote on the measure if Republicans returned. Burdick says it would likely be a procedural vote to send the proposal back to committee.

Credit: Pat Dooris, KGW
Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (file photo)

Since the GOP walkout began, Courtney has opened the morning floor session each day, gaveling it open and immediately gaveling it postponed for the day.

But on Tuesday, Courtney instead made an impassioned plea for the GOP senators to return to chambers. He said no one directed him to make his remarks. "It's just Peter," he told his Democratic colleagues on the floor.

Credit: Pat Dooris, KGW
Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (file photo)

Courtney said there are more than a hundred bills held up by the stalemate that affect "every facet of our lives." Most all of them have been crafted by a process that included both parties, he pointed out. Especially painful for him are bills left languishing that protect children.

"I can't stand children suffering," he said.

Bills remain that help solve mental health issues, farming, economic development, mental health and other needs, he said. Courtney, who has spent most of his adult life in the legislature, said that the bipartisan budget work this session was the best he has ever witnessed.

"Please senators, come to this floor," he said in closing.

VIDEO: Protesters at Capitol call on GOP senators to return to work

On Tuesday morning, protesters at the state Capitol called for Senate Republicans to return to work.

Executive director Reyna Lopez, executive director for Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, or PCUN, the Oregon Farmworker Union, helped organize the event.

Lopez said Republicans fleeing the state hurts Oregonians. Not only are they disabling a vote on the cap-and-trade bill, but also other bills that are being held up by their absence.

Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger says Republicans need further assurances that the legislation is at a "complete end." The Minority Leader adds that he still needs to have further conversations with Democrats so that "Republicans feel comfortable with the process."

RELATED: Oregon Senate Republicans want assurances that cap-and-trade bill is dead

Currently, 140 bills are frozen. Thirty-four of those bills deal with budgets. The current Senate session ends Sunday, June 30 at 11:59 p.m.

"I think that right now, they should be passing budgets, they should be making sure people are getting their healthcare, they should be making sure foster kids are taken care of, and instead, they deserted their post, they deserted Oregonians," Lopez said.

On Saturday, state police recommended closing the Capitol on Saturday after anti-government groups threatened to join a protest planned inside the building. The militia threat never materialized and less than 100 protesters showed up over the weekend.

LEARN MORE: What is cap-and-trade?

More coverage of Oregon GOP walkout

Gov. Brown says climate change bill talks hinge on GOP return

'They deserted Oregonians': Protest calling for GOP senators to return to Salem planned for Tuesday

Republican leader says Senate Democrats 'lacked the courage' to face protesters at Oregon Capitol

Dozens show up Saturday at Oregon Capitol to support Republican senators who walked out

Militia threat shuts down Saturday Oregon Senate session amid walkout

Q&A: How will Oregon State Police go about finding GOP senators who walked out?

Oregon Senate convened again Friday with no Republicans as walkout over cap and trade continues

Walkouts in Oregon politics are rare but not unprecedented

Oregon Republican senators threaten to sue over $500 daily fines for walkout

Gov. Brown sends police to find walkout GOP senators: ‘They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do’

Oregon Republican senators walked out over cap and trade. So, what’s next?

Social media reacts to GOP walkout over cap and trade

'It would be a death knell': Eastern Oregon truckers weigh in on cap and trade

‘Send bachelors and come heavily armed’: GOP state senator responds to Gov. Brown’s police threat

Loggers and truck drivers rally in Salem to protest cap-and-trade bill

Republicans: 'All options' on table to stop cap and trade

Oregon House approves cap-and-trade program to tackle climate change

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