SALEM, Ore. - (Update: Adding Knopp's interview with KTVZ)
State Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, issued a statement late Thursday and also spoke with KTVZ regarding his decision to join other GOP senators and walk out of the legislative session in its closing days over what they call a refusal by Democrats to negotiate the terms of climate change legislation.
Knopp told NewsChannel 21's Arielle Brumfield by phone that the GOP senators are ready to stay out "until we resolve the stalemate. We believe we can get to a bipartisan solution if everybody is willing to compromise. The session ends at June 30 at midnight, and I know people are prepared to stay out that long."
Hopefully, Knopp said, "Negotiations can continue and people can get to a reasonable consensus."
Here is a news release he also issued, in full:
“Enough is enough. This is my life” read a loaded log truck parked in front of the Capitol on Wednesday. It, and many others, had gathered to protest HB 2020, the majority party’s proposed cap & tax plan that would decimate timber, manufacturing, and other industries in Oregon that employ thousands of rural Oregonians.
Even after agreeing and failing to reset the bill, seeing Oregon’s industry workers and rural residents demonstrate their opposition, and eight hours of negotiations on components of the bill, Senate Democrats moved to pass this legislation that will threaten the livelihoods of thousands of Oregonians for an “imperceptible” change in the United States’ carbon footprint, according to Oregon Climate Scientist Dr. Philip Mote.
Senate Republicans have chosen to use the last option available to protect our constituents by denying the Senate a quorum to pass HB 2020.
Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) gave the following statement on the decision to protest the vote.
“In order to end the previous Senate stalemate, Senate Democrats agreed that this legislation would be reset. We were led to believe that we would have real opportunities to negotiate and make sure the voices of all Oregonians were being considered,” Knopp said.
“The Senate Majority Leader calling our protest a “slap in the face” to the very workers whose jobs, rights, and livelihoods are at stake, only further demonstrates the majority party’s disconnect with rural Oregon. Our caucus will continue to stand up for the constituents that have elected us to represent them.
"I believe in the importance of reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, HB 2020 is an expensive, inefficient, and constitutionally flawed bill. It imposes an increasing gas tax that starts at 22 cents per gallon and could double the price to heat a home with natural gas, which is unaffordable for too many Oregonians.
"I will support a bi-partisan solution that respects the jobs, livelihood, and concerns of the constituents that I represent and who make their living in manufacturing and natural resources,” Knopp's statement concluded.