Irrespective of your view on the walkout, right or wrong, there is work not being done here in Salem.
Oregon has made the national news with the Republican walkout. The Democrats’ latest move to subpoena House Republicans to appear in the House Rules Committee on Thursday, March 5, will keep the headlines coming.
Without a compromise this year, Oregon students will feel the impact. Important education-related bills won’t get a vote unless both chambers can do their business.
House Bill 4044, which helps small and remote schools, is among the most urgent. A few small schools accept foreign exchange students to study and live in dorms in the district. Currently, districts can count the students as residents for the purposes of State School Fund calculations. That exception as well as additional funding weights for small high schools are about to expire.
HB 4044 would protect those schools’ funding, but the bill sits waiting for action by the House. It will remain there until one of two things happens: The House gets a quorum and can do business or the constitutional deadline of March 8 ends the session, killing this bill.
All eyes will be on the House Rules Committee on Thursday.
“This is an extraordinary measure brought on by the extraordinary actions of the House Republican caucus,” said Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, the House Rules Committee chair, in a news release.
It is not clear whether the House Republicans can be found to be served subpoenas or compelled to show if they are served.
If Republicans returned to the floor, the House could pass some bills already passed by the Senate, such as a measure affecting lunch reimbursement rates and Senate Bill 1522, which includes important technical fixes to past education bills.
Bills in the Senate would still be stuck until Senate Republicans return.