Senate Pres. Wagner is face of blame over walkout

By Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist:

The wheels are potentially in motion for the Democrats and bureaucratic machine to turn on Senate President Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) and make him the scapegoat for the walkout.

Democrats are choosing to put the full force of the government behind HB 2002, which will undermine the nuclear family and make experimental procedures on minors legal. HB 2002 would allow a child of any age to have an abortion without parental knowledge. It would also allow minors to have irreversible sex-change treatments without parents knowing. As these senators said, “Democrats claim this is an expansion of Oregonians’ ‘rights,’ but what it would really do is put young girls and women in harm’s way. Whoever gets an underage girl pregnant needs to be in jail. Instead, these criminals would be able to coach young women and girls about how to get an abortion, destroying the life and the evidence of wrongdoing, and have protection under the law.”

Republicans and Independents do not want the government taking the place of parents. Democrats do. Republicans and Independents are willing to work on bipartisan bills and the state budget if the partisan issues are pushed to the side. Democrats in control are not willing to do this for the good of all Oregonians.

As one senator said, “Stopping the legislative process, due to a lack of quorum, is not “unconstitutional.” It is a tool, used throughout history to prevent the tyranny of the majority and protect the rights of the minority. It ought to be obvious to everyone that without this tool minority voices, and those we represent, would be silenced.”

Oregonians saw the machine swiftly reject Shemia Fagan over one month ago, and it could certainly happen again with the Senate President Rob Wagner. If it benefits the government bureaucracy to get him out of the way to perpetuate their power, the special interests pushing HB 2002 could make it happen. Wagner did not “play the game” effectively. As stated in a previous newsletter, “Had Wagner and his cronies waited longer between floor sessions, the chances of a weak-kneed Republican breaking rank would’ve increased. Isn’t it obvious?” The threat of a weak-kneed Republican breaking rank is possible as not all have hit the 10-days of unexcused absences.

As Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) told the Oregon Capital Chronicle: “If we do nothing on abortion this year, if 2002 doesn’t pass, nothing changes as it relates to abortion access in Oregon for Oregonians… The idea that somehow that there is an emergency over access is literally wrong, and they know it, but they want to continue to use talking points to convince people that somehow there’s a critical emergency here.”

Gov. Tina Kotek appears to have washed her hands of the matter and is backing down from negotiating with the 13 senators who are denying quorum. The special interests must be giving her a pass because she’s a new governor. The Oregon Capital Chronicle reports that her focus is on the state budget saying, “‘I believe the situation is now back in the hands of legislative leadership to see if they can make any headway. I won’t speculate on what happens next. I’m going to focus on the budget.”

This statement puts the responsibility ball squarely back in the legislature and in the hands of Senate Pres. Wagner and Sen. Majority Leader Katie Lieber (D-Beaverton). For a hot minute there, it seemed like the media was unsettled about Wagner. And the new $325 daily fines launched at the 13 senators is coming off as a last-ditch effort to appease their special interests, to show that they are “doing something.” However, the $325 daily fine will add up quickly. This fine is more than how much these senators make per day, which is an average of $250 plus per diem (which is different for everyone as these senators have varying great lengths to drive to Salem from their homes) as reported here, “Each day, senators are paid the equivalent of $253 a day during the session in salary and per diems to cover travel costs.”

Meanwhile, Republicans and Independents hosted an oversight committee that seeks to hold government and its bureaucratic machine accountable. This is an exciting thing to see happening because despite being in the minority, these legislators want to keep the legislature moving good ideas along and investigate government corruption. This committee is a way for legislators to hold space for Oregonians to share public testimony, even if it’s not necessarily in their favor; a key component of the First Amendment. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”—Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

These legislators have even created a tipline for Oregonians to share their experiences with government corruption. More info here.

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