SALEM, Ore. — The ongoing Republican walkout in the Oregon Senate has stretched on for more than a month, and it certainly feels like a record-setter.
Without enough Republicans in Salem to form a quorum, Democrats can't pass any bills in the Senate even though they hold a majority in the chamber — and that's been the status quo since May 3.
But there have been nearly a dozen walkouts in Oregon's past, some of which have had quite dramatic impacts including sinking the entire legislative session in 2020. So does the current standoff really take the crown?
Is the current Republican Senate walkout the longest legislative walkout in Oregon's history?
Yes, the current legislative walkout is the longest in Oregon's history, and it's not even close.
WHAT WE FOUND
The longest of Oregon's previous walkouts lasted nine days, making the current walkout the new record-setter by a considerable margin. As of Tuesday, the current walkout has persisted for 35 days. For a full breakdown, check out our list of prior walkouts.
Side note: The length of a walkout can be counted in calendar days, weekdays or days where there was a failed roll call vote. For consistency, we're counting calendar days to compare the various walkouts, but the current walkout is the longest no matter how you slice it.
What sets the 2023 walkout apart, particularly from other recent Oregon Republican walkouts, is that it started much earlier in the session and is also trying to run out the clock on a specific bill: House Bill 2002, which would increase protections for abortion and gender-affirming care.
The two most prominent prior walkouts were in June 2019 and February 2020, and they both targeted cap and trade legislation, but both of those walkouts started with less than two weeks left in their sessions, so they didn't need to drag on very long to run out the clock.
Another walkout in February 2021 kicked off with months left in the session, but Republicans billed it as a general protest against former Gov. Kate Brown's executive actions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, not targeting any particular legislation, and they voluntarily returned after five days.
The current session is constitutionally mandated to end on June 25, so the longest this walkout could potentially stretch is 54 calendar days. But if prior walkouts are anything to go by, it may not last quite that long.
Republicans have offered to return on June 25, but only to vote on their preferred list of bills. If that scenario played out, it would end the walkout at 53 days — but Senate President Rob Wagner has already declared that Democrats won't kill off HB 2002 to get the Republicans to come back.
The Republicans made a similar last-day offer to end the 2020 walkout, but Senate and House Democratic leaders opted to end the session several days early rather than allow a last-day showdown to play out.
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