Power-sharing proposal features Barker and Hanna as co-speakers (updated)

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Over at the Oregonian, Jeff Mapes reports that the power-sharing proposal from the group working outside the formal negotiations would name Rep. Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) and Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) as the co-speakers. (See my posts yesterday here and here.)

Barker confirmed the basic outlines of a power-sharing proposal that has reportedly attracted the written support of seven Democrats and seven Republicans. It calls for equal membership on committees and proposes that Hanna and Barker quickly appoint a working group to develop a new set of rules for governing the House in advance of the session.

"People are getting anxious to get things moving so that everything is organized before we get down there in January," said Barker. He added that while "some people view it as a power grab," he has made it clear that he expects this to be his last term in the House and that it would be fine with him if lawmakers settle on another co-speaker.

As I did, Mapes notes that this bipartisan group - equally divided between Rs and Ds - is frustrated at the pace of the formal negotiations:

Proponents of the deal say they came up with the proposal because official negotiations between teams led by Hanna and the current speaker, Democrat Dave Hunt of Gladstone, have not made much headway.

Obviously, Republican leader Bruce Hanna would be one half of the co-speakership - while Democratic leader Dave Hunt would not be. Here's the response from his team:

[Geoff] Sugerman, Hunt's spokesman, said the supposed bipartisan proposal is "basically a Republican power play... I don't think the Republicans should be able to choose the Democratic nominee for co-speaker, anymore than the Democrats should try to choose the Republican nominee for speaker."

However, some legislators argue that a co-speaker should be able to win at least 31 votes, which requires support from both sides.

What Sugerman appears to be talking about is a fairly intricate parliamentary question. Should the two co-speakers be each required to separately earn 31+ votes? Or should the two caucuses be able to each select their own nominees (with as few as 16 votes internally) and then the two co-speakers would be voted on by the House in combination?

I'll leave that question for all of you to digest and debate.

Update, 2:45 p.m. This is a bit of inside baseball, but it's an important detail: I've learned that Rep. Barker has decided to remove himself as a named co-Speaker from the power-sharing proposal - but offer himself to the Democratic caucus as a possible co-Speaker nominee through the regular caucus process of considering their candidates. Rep. Mary Nolan called me and said that Barker is "ever the statesman", working hard to make sure that the full caucus is included in the deliberative process.

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    Glad to see this step. I was concerned that it was a rump group and would divide the caucus. Good move by Barker.

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      likewise glad to learn that that's been sorted. Didn't really know how to respond before the 2:45 update given that Mary's description of Rep. Barker fits what little I know of him.

      Looking from outside baseball, I'd like to see Dave continue in the slot rather than have him driven out by invalid Republican pique over issues from the last session.

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    Barker is a good choice, Hanna in this situation I don't think he's a good fit. Maybe someone like Jenson, Smith, Berger, Gerrard, might be better fits with the political realities we currently are operating in.

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