The politics of the cap-and-trade debate has reverberated throughout the capitol for weeks, influencing decisions on virtually every measure introduced for the session, and the drama is showing no signs of coming to an end.
On Monday, Democrats agreed to slow down the process for advancing the controversial legislation, delaying a final budget committee vote until today, saying additional hearings may help their colleagues better understand the policy. The delay created an opening for the legislature to try to fast-track measures to the governor’s desk and mitigate some of the collateral damage in advance of a walkout.
While much of the attention has focused on the looming threat of a walkout by Senate Republicans, House Republicans have also been using parliamentary tactics to protest the session. House Republicans have not been granting a suspension of the rules for bill readings, requiring long and tedious floor sessions during a time the majority party had been trying to expedite measures through the chamber. These delays came at a critical moment for the session. The deadline for scheduling bills for work sessions (votes) in the second chamber was Thursday and, if Republicans could slow down the transmission of measures, the chambers would be unable to schedule hearings and votes in regular policy committees.
Senate Republicans continued to elevate their threats of walking out of the session as the week drew closer to an end. The Statesman Journal reported several senators had purchased airline tickets and were preparing to leave the state and walk out of the session if the cap-and-trade measure advanced from the budget committee. Ultimately, the goal post on the cap-and-trade legislation was moved again to Monday and leadership has been maneuvering measures out of the chamber to clear the way for the politics to play out.