GOP claims House Speaker Breaking Rules

Press Release from House Republican Office 5-9-07:

SPEAKER MANIPULATES RULES TO PASS BILLS AFFECTING BUDGET
Democrat Fee Increases Get Free Pass, While Republican Policy Bills Get Buried

SALEM””House Speaker Jeff Merkley (D-Portland) is bypassing the Joint Ways and Means process to advance bills with a significant impact on the 2007-09 state budget. The issue arose as the House debated SB 105, which raises certain Department of Environmental Quality fees by as much as 138 percent while adding over $244,000 to the agency’s budget.

House Republicans are questioning whether Democratic leadership is manipulating the process to pass its agenda, while burying bills sponsored by members of the minority party. House Rules give the Speaker discretion in referring bills to committee, and for those bills impacting the state budget, the Speaker traditionally attaches a “subsequent referral” to revenue or appropriations committees. Conventional practice has been to send any bills with a fiscal impact of $50,000 or more to the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

“[SB 105] is a fee bill that has a spending limitation attached to it that is well over $50,000– but Ways and Means has never seen this or looked to see if this fee increase is substantiated and has never seen the spending limitation that goes with it,” said Rep. Jerry Krummel (R-Wilsonville) said during debate. “I have a bill that has a zero fiscal impact on General Fund or any other any funds, yet it has a subsequent referral to Ways and Means coming out of the Speaker’s Office. It may have had the subsequent referral so it could be sent there to die. I think there’s an inconsistency here.”

Rep. Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village) asked the Speaker to clarify his policy on bills affecting the state budget, but he refused. “Whatever the Speaker’s policy is on bill referrals, he needs to be consistent,” she said.

House Republican Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby), a former Ways and Means Co-Chair, said it’s important for revenue and appropriations committees to review legislation that impacts the state budget. Passing bills without considering how they fit into the budgetary framework promotes fiscal mismanagement.

“The Speaker is opening the door to millions of dollars in wasteful spending,” said Rep. Scott. “The passage of SB 105 shows he is willing to pass fee increases and spending bills without public participation and scrutiny of the Ways and Means Committee Members. What is the Speaker trying to hide from the public and members of the House?”
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  • Jerry

    Of course the Dems are manipulating. That is what they do. Repubs better wake up and fight back just as dirty.
    None of these morons can be trusted.

  • Steve Plunk

    Why not shut it down? Just walk out and let everything stall until the process regains a measure of fairness.

    To be honest if the legislature never passed another bill I wouldn’t mind a bit. As the old saying goes, when the legislature is in session get the women and children off the streets. They are generally dangerous to all.

  • Jerry

    The Repubs are too weak, scared, pussy-footed, and bumbling to walk. They are so weak they may as well not be there.
    I agree that the less Salem does the better off we all are.
    I am so saddened about what is happening to Oregon vis-a-vis these morons in Salem that I am unable to even describe it.
    These weak, hapless, luckless, loser politicos are all sick.

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  • baldeagle

    The Republicans are getting a taste of their own selfish medicine after 12 years of doing their own thing, burying and bottling bills, refusing to meet or even think about other ways to conduct the business of the state. So far they can gloat over supporting big tobacco companies instead of the Healthy Kids act.

    • CRAWDUDE

      2 wrongs don’t make a right, they’re doing because the other guys did it to them is your typical 3rd grade logic. Fits perfectly with liberals in this state of confusion!

      • Anonymous

        I’m glad you can finally admit that the Republicans were wrong for soooo long.

    • db lulu

      There are three significant differences between Republican Leadership and Democrat Leadership:

      1) the Republicans didn’t make much vaunted claims about conducting an “open” and “bi-partisan” government.

      2) Once the Republicans agreed to rules, THEY FOLLOWED THEM.

      3) Sure Republicans buried bills BY FOLLOWING THE RULES.

      Apparantly, Democrats only consider rules to be general guidelines.

      The Democrat leadership promotes a chaotic process that will lead to some very bad intended and unintended consequences.

      And just as an aside, the House was in Republican hands from 1991 – 2005, which is 14 years and the Senate was in Republican hands from 1995 – 2001 which is 6 years. I am not sure where you came up with 12.

      • CRAWDUDE

        I’m not sure where Bald Eagle comes up with most of his mis-represented stats and fact lulu.

  • Anon

    DB LULU, please get your facts straight:

    First, the House was in R hands for 16 years (1991-2006). Those were 16 years of cutting school funding, cutting State Troopers, failing to enact a Rainy Day Fund, and killing lots of good bills that Oregonians wanted.

    Second, House Republicans actually DID claim to be open and bipartisan, they just failed to be either open or bipartisan.

    Third, when House Republicans agreed to Rules, they would then turn around and amend those rules to accomplish their partisan goals. One example: killing the right of 31 members to withdraw a bill to the House floor, which had been in place since Oregon statehood until Karen Minnis, Wayne Scott, and crew deleted it in 2005. House Democrats brought back this rule when they won the majority.