Senators walkout over reproductive healthcare


ACLU of Oregon

Courtesy of the ACLU of Oregon, members drop off pink slips that show their discontent with the Senate walkouts.

By Aishiki Nag, Staff Writer

     In 2022, the Oregon Legislature passed a special measure to allow the general public to vote on Measure 113 This measure would ban legislators from rerunning for a consecutive term if they acrew over 10 unexcused absences. This was a necessary measure after Republican lawmakers continued walking out on bills that they ideologically opposed to stall and kill a bill, instead of publically voting against it. 

     American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 75 Associate Director, Joe Baessler, a proponent of this bill said, “Oregonians just understand it on its face. You don’t show up for work without a reason and you lose your job like anyone else. That makes it super popular and fair, and so it will pass.”

     Although Measure 113 passed with 68.32% support, the Oregon Legislature is currently stalled over GOP walk-outs. May 15 marked the tenth day of the GOP-Senate walkout over HB 2002, a bill proposed to codify access to reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming healthcare. This disqualified four Republican Senators Daniel Bonham, Cedric Hayden, Dennis Linthicum, and Brian Boquist. Although the reasons for the walkout are debated amongst the republican party, supporters of the walkout cite the opposition to HB 2002. This bill raised concerns from many conservative-leaning advocacy groups such as Oregon Right to Life, however, many senators also cite the inaccessibility of the language of the legislation as unconstitutional and not “plainly worded.”


     Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp said in a statement, “Laws are to be plainly written and easy to understand. When the majority of bill summaries written demand a postgraduate degree to understand what the bills do, we disenfranchise Oregonians across the state and violate the law in the process.” The law referenced is the Senate Rule 13.02 (5), ORS 171.134 and  Article IV, Section 21 of the state constitution, which states “plainly worded, avoiding as far as practicable the use of technical terms.”

     ACLU of Oregon and Basic Rights Oregon delivered over 800 “Pink Slips: Notice of Termination” to Senators who have refused to show up for work, filled out by upset constituents in Oregon. Although there were hundreds of personalized messages and slips delivered, none of the Senators returned to work to receive the messages from their constituents. 

     May 19 marked the fourteenth day of the walkout, and disqualified an additional six Republican senators, Sen.Tim Knopp, Lynn Findley, Bill Hansell, Kim Thatcher, Art Robinson, and Suzanne Weber, from re-election. This would mean nearly one-third of the current Oregon Senate is disqualified from running for re-election in the upcoming election. 

     Democrats have also refused to jettison, or to get rid of, two of the main contentious bills over reproductive healthcare (HB 2002) and the central gun safety bill (HB 2005), continuing the walkout. 

     Do you think the summary of the bill is too difficult to read and requires a postgraduate degree? Read the summary, and let us know what you think in the poll below.

Do you think the summary of the bill is too difficult to read?


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