Democrats Slam Door on Open Process

The following is a press release from Sen. Roger Beyer, 1-24-07:

Democrats Slam Door on Open Process

Salem, OR — After years promising the “most open, accessible session in a generation[1],” Democrats in the Oregon Legislature are turning their backs on an open process merely three weeks into session. With a party line vote Monday night, the Joint Committee on Land Use Fairness adopted rules that prohibit a process for offering amendments. The amendment process is historically an important part of Oregon legislative policy committees and enables the minority party to give a voice to the perspectives and view points of all Oregonians.

“Tuesday’s actions will be remembered long after the words of the past few weeks have passed,” said Senator Roger Beyer (R-Mollalla), a member of the Joint Committee. “We have been robbed of our voice. The opportunity for a minority party to air the perspectives of all Oregonians is a foundation of democratic governments throughout history and around the world. “

Minority reports allow dissenting members of a committee to bring policy alternatives to the floor of the House or Senate when a bill is voted out of committee. It is a powerful check and balance on the single voice and will of leadership and gives all members of the legislative process an opportunity to bring the will of Oregonians before the Legislature as a whole.

“After tonight, I am deeply concerned that the will of Oregon voters will be not be honored,” said Larry George (R-Sherwood). “The tone of leadership’s discussion on Measure 37 has been deeply partisan, and it now seems they are ready to perform an end run on the 61% of Oregonians who voted to fix a broken land use system.”

CONTACT: Michael Gay