Oregon Democrats have supermajority, but learned its limits

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Months after Oregon Democrats toasted sweeping election wins, they’ve learned the limits of power after the Legislature’s most acrimonious session in memory.

Republican lawmakers boycotted the Senate — twice — killing several major Democratic measures, including legislation to curb climate-changing emissions.

Now, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown says she may resort to using her executive powers.

The Republicans used a tool available to them in the Oregon Constitution stipulating that two-thirds of the Senate and House must be present to convene.

Brown told reporters this week that the so-called quorum rules might need to be changed.

Politicians and observers worry that the hardening of positions and use of extreme tactics may defray democratic values.

Only three other states have similar rules. Lawmakers in the minority party have weaponized them, though rarely.

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Associated Press writers Rick Callahan in Indianapolis, Indiana; Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee; and Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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