Oregon Republicans end carbon bill walkout

Republican legislators returned Saturday to the Oregon Senate after a nine-day walkout protest against a sweeping climate bill. 

Nine of the Senate's 12 Republicans returned Saturday after Democrats did not have the 16 votes necessary to pass the statewide carbon cap, according to The Associated Press. After the return, senators voted 17-10 to return the proposal to committee, effectively killing it for the legislative session, according to the AP. 

Democrats hold 18 seats in the Senate, and Republicans hold 12, but at least 20 lawmakers have to be present to meet the quorum to vote on legislation. The legislation was passed by the Democrat-controlled state House. 

Republicans portrayed their move as a victory. 

“Our mission in walking out was to kill cap and trade,” Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger (R) told reporters Friday, according to the AP. “And that’s what we did.”

During the walkout, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown (D) sent state police to return the Republicans to the Senate. After that, the lawmakers left the state to exit Oregon State Police jurisdiction. 

Senate President Peter Courtney (D) said Tuesday that the bill did not have the necessary votes to pass after the walkout had begun. 

"What I'm about to say I say of my own free will. No one has told me to say this,"  he said. "HB 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor. That will not change."