Ten Republican senators in Oregon cannot run for reelection, the state’s top court ruled on Feb. 1. The court found that the senators are banned from reelection under a constitutional amendment approved in 2022. That means ninety percent of the state’s Republicans are banned from the state legislature. Democrat progressives want to rule alone.
The amendment, Ballot Measure 113, states that lawmakers who miss at least ten legislative days without an excuse cannot seek reelection.
The ruling applies to ten Republican senators in the 30-seat body.
The decision sparked a lawsuit from some Republican senators, but the Oregon Supreme Court sided with the secretary of state.
The Federalist reports the boycott denied the legislature a quorum.
“Last year’s boycott lasted six weeks — the longest in state history — and paralyzed the legislative session, stalling hundreds of bills,” the Associated Press reported. If enough lawmakers walk out, they can deny the quorum required to legally pass legislation. Through their walkout, Oregon Republicans extracted concessions from Democrats on bills related to firearm transfers and medical procedures for abortion and transgender-identified people.
“Because the text is capable of supporting the secretary’s interpretation, and considering the clear import of the ballot title and explanatory statement in this case, we agree with the secretary that voters would have understood the amendment to mean that a legislator with ten or more unexcused absences during a legislative session would be disqualified from holding legislative office during the immediate next term, rather than the term after that,” the new ruling states.
THE REPUBLICANS DISAGREE
“We obviously disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling. But more importantly, we are deeply disturbed by the chilling impact this decision will have to crush dissent,” said Mr. Knopp on Thursday.
The measure says disqualification applies to “the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.”
Mr. Knopp had challenged the interpretation of the measure.
“We believe the plain language of Measure 113 allows for members to run again in 2024 elections,” he said in a previous statement. “We disagree with the Secretary of State’s determination and will challenge it in court.”
Democrats have staged boycotts like this in multiple states over the years. They’ve even tried it in Washington, DC.
The Oregon 2022 law does what the Republican Senate Minority Leader said it does: it crushes dissent. That was the goal of the law and why they are trying to use similar targets on Trump.
Oregon's Supreme Court has just blocked 10 Republicans from running for reelection.
State senators violated Oregon's constitution, the state's top court ruled. pic.twitter.com/RT0WeaQ8YP
— Facts Matter (@FactsMatterRB) February 3, 2024