Do What You Can Do 6/27/19

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Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”                    —Helen Keller

Welcome to the June 27 edition of Do What You Can Do... at a challenging moment for figuring out what there is to do.

What's Up

Logger Protest on the Steps of the Capitol

The Walk-Out Continues:

I write these words in my office to the blaring of airhorns from dozens of log trucks circling the Capitol. A few hundred people have been rallying on the front steps, listening to speakers telling them that HB 2020, the Climate Bill that Republican Senators say they had to kill by leaving Salem, will destroy their jobs, communities and way of life. 

First, to the most-asked question of these couple of days, especially by absent Senate Republicans: when Senate President Peter Courtney announced on the floor Tuesday that the bill doesn't have the 16 votes it needs to pass, was he saying that the bill's definitely dead? On a normal planet, I would say yes. But the clear message of this last week, which has included a shifting list of Republican demands, is that, beyond the fact that we have to adjourn by midnight Sunday, literally nothing is certain about the last laps of the session. By the time you read this, the answer should be clear. Unless it isn't.

Logger Protest on the Steps of the Capitol

One of the darkest parts of this whole experience, as I mentioned last week, is what seems to be the purposeful and strategic misleading of people about what the climate bill does and doesn't do. If you've been following the struggle you've heard again and again how it will destroy--say it again, DESTROY--rural Oregon and Oregonians, how Portlanders are forcing their mindless agenda on the rest of the state with no concern for the consequences, how Republican suggestions for amendments have been roundly scorned and ignored (today's press release from the absent Republicans talks about "the decades-long zero compromise negotiation that the Democrats have become legendary for.

To keep my "no needless gasoline on the fire" goal, I'll skip describing what comes to mind when I read those words. What's true is that a major reason this bill's been years in the making and has a near-record volume of amendments is that its sponsors worked so long to address rural and timber industry concerns, and acted on so many Republican suggestions to deal with them. My Senate colleague, Michael Dembrow, who worked harder than anyone else thorough this process, just complied this list of HB 2020 provisions aimed to make this process work for rural Oregon and respond to Republican concerns. There's even more he could have said. 

Senator Michael Dembrow

Senator Michael Dembrow (D-23)

Is Anything Else Happening?

Not really. The big bills described in earlier newsletters--paid family leave, campaign finance reform, increasing the rental house supply, the death penalty, and new mental health funding--are lined up on the Senate floor, ready to go. If two or more missing Senators come back tomorrow or Saturday (and social media posts this afternoon say that's probable), we could move them through the chamber in a kind of hybrid of a lightning round/marathon right up until midnight on Sunday. All the uncertainty of the past week will be over in the coming hours. 

I'll do one last report in the coming days, and plan to stay in touch during the interim that begins Monday. Thanks for following Do What You Can Do through this strange and eventful session. Your feedback, and especially your responses to "What Do You Think," have been great.

Oregon Capitol Building at Sunset

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Have you checked out Capitolizing? It's the weekly podcast where Senator Shemia Fagan and I answer two questions every week: What do we do here in the Capitol, and Why the hell should you care?

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Our best to you for now. Please remember to do what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden
Chair, Campaign Finance Committee 
Senate District 3 (Rogue Valley)

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301
Podcast: Capitolizing