REDMOND, OR -- Oregon’s Senate Republican Leader says there may not be a short session in 2024. Speaking to the Redmond Kiwanis Wednesday, State Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) hinted at the possibility, because of unexcused absences in the 2023 session. In a video of the presentation provided by the Redmond Kiwanis, Knopp says he's proud of the bipartisanship that came out of negotiations to end the Republican walkout, "We’ll be able to work with each other if we should have a short session. And I say 'if' - nothing is guaranteed because - So, the Senate President tried to drive a very quick count on unexcused absences for our members." Knopp did not elaborate on why the session, scheduled to begin February 5, could be canceled. But he went on to say he wants increasing housing supply to be the focus, if it occurs, "I think that’s what our short session, should we have one, should be about, is creating more supply of housing because I don’t think the new compassion for Oregon should be ‘Here’s your tent, there’s the sidewalk.’"
Knopp also said he’s pleased with the outcome of the Republican walkout during the 2023 legislative session, which was the longest in state history and the second longest in U.S. history. He told the group the session started off in a bipartisan manner, but devolved quickly, "The breaking point really was, one of our staff people found out that the bill summaries on every single bill were not meeting state law. And, who would’ve thought, if you had delved into the rules and the law, you would’ve known this. But, even our legislative counsel was unaware." He did not mention GOP opposition to several controversial abortion and gun control bills. But said the negotiations that followed led to the two sides coming together and passing critical bipartisan legislation, including funding education and housing programs.
The Bend Republican blamed Oregon's closed primaries for increasing partisanship, "I went to the state central committee for the Republicans, and - I gave an amazing speech, by the way. And basically advocated for us to open our primary in 2022. And it was rejected by just a few votes." He said it prevents the large number of unaffiliated voters from taking part in primary elections, "It is unfortunate that we don’t allow people to be welcomed in to vote for our candidates in the primary. And so, I think at some point that’s going to happen. It’s time has not yet come, but I think it will."