Sen. Findley: Setting the Record Straight

By Oregon State Senator Lynn Findley
(from full newsletter here)

Senate Republicans recently noticed that the Senate is not complying with the Oregon Constitution, Senate Rules, and statute (OR Const. Art. IV §21, SR 13.02(5), and ORS 171.134).

I am not a lawyer, but the following things are clear to me:

-Almost all bills are not complying with the readability law.
-The courts are refusing to take any action on this issue.
-If the Oregon Supreme Court is correct, then bills are valid even if passed unlawfully.
-The legislature must enforce the law on itself.
-The majority party gets to decide what is legal or not.

This is morally and ethically wrong. Oregonians do not get to pick and choose what laws are enforced on themselves. If an agency realizes they have not been enforcing an old regulation on businesses, the regulation is not considered invalid.

As a Senator, I swore an oath to upload the laws and constitution of Oregon. My oath is sacred to me. I refuse to join a quorum of the Senate if our actions will trample on the rule of law.

This is going on at a crucial time for Oregon. The Secretary of State recently resigned over ethical concerns. The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission is embroiled in scandal. Now we are learning that the Senate is willfully violating the law. It seems that leadership in Oregon government feels they can do no wrong and are above the law. We are in the middle of an accountability crisis, and it is time that something is done about it.

There have been questions about Measure 113. The ballot measure was passed last year and bars legislators from seeking reelection if they have more than 10 unexcused absences during a session. My oath to uphold the constitution is more important to me than being reelected.

Being absent from some floor sessions does not mean that I’m not working. I’m still attending my committees, making phone calls, answering emails, taking meetings, and working on policy. Last week I went home to take care of needs in my district. While I was there, I would have attended committee virtually. But President Wagner doesn’t allow it.

By denying quorum we have drawn attention to Democrats willfully violating the law. There are a variety of ways we can either comply with the law or make changes to it if necessary. What is important me to me is that Senate leadership is held accountable.