BEND, OR -- Bend State Senator Tim Knopp says the Republican walkout, that occurred in Oregon's last legislative session, to protest of Cap and Trade, was totally justified. He explained how rural residents would have to carry a disproportionate share of the expense, if the Cap and Trade bill were allowed to pass the legislature. "We were quite unhappy with what they wanted to do, and our constituents said, 'do whatever you can to stop this bill,' and so, that's really what it was about." Cap and Trade doesn't lead to a healthier planet, Knopp claims, and that's why the Republicans denied Quorum to keep it from passing. He says improving the environment needs to be a District by District issue - the same solutions won't work for the different areas of Oregon where geography and infrastructure can vary widely.
State Senator Herman Baertschiger says relying on Cap and Trade to solve the problems with the environment won't work. He says replacing fossil fuels is the most plausible step, and giving people a reason to try something new should be a priority. "The State should start looking at how to incentivize that, and embrace that, especially as new technology comes forward, with clean energy. And I think we can do it in a way that doesn't turn our economy upside down." He says one obvious way is through electric cars. He says the vehicles are getting better all the time, and many Oregonians should be able to use that technology. Oregon Governor Kate Brown wants 20,000 electric cars on the road by 2020, but Baertschiger says that many is unlikely.
Senator Herman Baertschiger says he's not positive Cap and Trade will come back to the floor any time soon, even though Oregon's Governor Kate Brown is determined to see it passed. "You know, I've had some conversations with the Governor and the Senate President last week, and I don't know. I really can't tell you what they're going to do, because I don't think they know what they're going to do right now." The Republican walkout created a Denial of Quorum, which made it impossible for the Democrat Super Majority to vote on the bill
But, Knopp says the last session wasn't all just about the Republican walkout. He says bipartisanship prevailed in the passing of Kaylee's Law, the Redmond Affordable Housing Act, and working toward an Oregon with less dependence on fossil fuels. He admits there were disappointments, too. "And there were other things that were bipartisan that were pretty major issues in the legislature, and it just so happened, that on a couple of these pretty significant ones, the majority decided that they wanted to just enact their agenda, and our constituents don't necessarily agree with that agenda, and so we have to do everything that we can do to have our voices heard."