Dems haven’t learned from Kitzhaber-Hayes scandals


Oregon House Republican Office

House Democrats kill comprehensive, meaningful ethics reform proposals
Impeachment resolution, HJR 31, remains stalled in senate

Salem, OR – On nearly party-line votes, House Democrats yesterday voted down 5 Republican-sponsored bills aimed at restoring trust, accountability and transparency in state government. House Republicans introduced the comprehensive ethics package in April as a meaningful and clear contrast to the proposals put forth by Governor Kate Brown. The killed bills sought to establish clear guidelines for public officials, hold public officials accountable for unethical conduct, and update antiquated, hard-to-navigate public records request processes.

Democrats rejected Republican attempts to pull House Bills 3331, 2790, 2791, 3505, and 3043 to the floor for a vote. Despite calls for swift, bipartisan action on ethics reform this session, each House Republican-sponsored bill received just a single public hearing and no additional action. In contrast, Governor Brown’s 3 ethics proposals have moved quickly through the Legislature.

“It’s ironic that House Democrats killed Republican-sponsored ethics reform bills on the same day that they celebrate the signing of one of Governor Brown’s proposals,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “Partisan politics has once again hijacked the legislative process. By refusing to move these good, common-sense bills, the Legislature has done a great disservice to Oregonians, who expect and deserve government that is transparent, accountable and honest.”

The bills that House Republicans pulled to the floor yesterday include:

HB 3331, which authorizes the Legislative Assembly to appoint an independent counsel by joint resolutions (Failed 27-33)

HB 2790, which requires that statements made by certain witnesses to a committee of the Legislative Assembly be made under oath and therefore subject to crime of false swearing (Failed 26-34)

HB 2791, which includes false statements made to legislative committees by certain persons in crime of unsworn falsification (Failed 27-33)

HB 3505, which requires public bodies to establish public records retention schedules that require a minimum three-year retention of public records (Failed 27-33)

HB 3043, which provides that upon being sworn into office, or for other stated reasons, the Governor shall file declaration with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission declaring identity of First Spouse and identifying official policy-making or agenda-setting duties of First Spouse, if any  (Failed 28-32)

Additionally, HJR 31, a bipartisan resolution that creates a process to impeach statewide elected executive branch officials in the state of Oregon remains stalled in the Senate after passing the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. Chief sponsored by Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem), House Republican Leader Mike McLane and House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-Eugene), the resolution has not yet received a public hearing in any Senate committee.

Democrats that supported at least one of yesterday’s bill pulls included Representatives Brad Witt, Paul Evans, Susan McLain and Carla Piluso.