Just do your job, Oregon Republicans

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The Oregon Republicans have walked out multiple times to prevent a carbon-capping bill from passing

Anna Frazier, Climate & Environment Editor

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Imagine this: You show up to work. Your boss says to you, “I want you to do [insert the top priority on your job description].” You turn around and run away to Idaho.

You would be in some serious trouble, but maybe you’d slide by with an “I’m sorry” or two. Then, when your boss asks you to do another key part of your job, you run away again. You’d definitely be fired.

Now amplify this situation to the Oregon Legislature, where the boss is the population of Oregon and the fleeing employee is the Republican Party. Why should the Oregon Republicans be allowed to do this, not just once, but multiple times?

The Senate and House Republicans walked out on February 24th and 25th, respectively, to avoid voting on a cap-and-trade bill that would regulate carbon emissions in the state. 

When legislators are sworn into office, they promise to uphold the United States Constitution and the State of Oregon Constitution. If these governing documents serve as their “job description,” where is the article that allows them to neglect their responsibilities?

To put it simply, the House and Senate members are elected to represent parts of the state. If the majority of the elected representatives (and ideally the majority of their respective constituents) support a measure, and it is passed with a majority, then the two houses are serving their exact purpose.

This situation is akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum when they don’t get what they want. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s an issue of following through with one’s duties.

Their absence continued through the end of the short-session which was Sunday, March 8th, forcing an end to the contested bill. Instead, lawmakers of both parties met on Monday as an emergency board to appropriate funds for COVID-19 response, flood damage relief, and emergency resources.

Much to the Republicans’ probable dismay, Governor Kate Brown is expected to issue an executive order regulating Oregon’s carbon emissions despite the tensions in the Legislature. Maybe next time, they should just do their job.