BREAKING: Power-sharing proposal begins to emerge from bipartisan group of legislators

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

For the last couple of weeks, House Democrats and House Republicans have been meeting to work out a power-sharing arrangement - led by caucus leaders Rep. Dave Hunt and Rep. Bruce Hanna.

In recent days, there's been a lot of scuttlebutt that the discussions haven't been smooth - with both sides actively rejecting proposals from their opposites.

Consequently, there's a bipartisan group of legislators that has been working, outside the formal negotiations, to develop a power-sharing agreement that would work for everyone.

I'm continuing to seek details, but here's what I've been able to confirm:

As a partisan swashbuckler, I've been fantasizing about some GOP renegade that would throw control to the Democrats. After all, it would be a lot of fun - and the prospect of continuing to control the legislature is attractive. (Of course, being on the losing side of that equation would be a terrible outcome.)

The more I think about it, the more I realize that that's a prescription for civil war (and not the fun sort of Ducks/Beavers Civil War that's underway this weekend.) Oregon is in the midst of tough times -- and we need a legislature that's focused on governing, on developing policy that can create jobs and balance the budget, not one that engaged in political brinkmanship and conspiracies.

(I was in California in 1995 when their Assembly went 40-40 and lots of exciting drama unfolded - a story I've been meaning to share here on BlueOregon - but ultimately, it led to chaos and a deep level of mistrust that still infects their Assembly today.)

As Governor-elect John Kitzhaber said a few weeks ago:

"If the Republicans or Democrats pick off one or two members of the other party," he said, "you're going to end up with 28 or 29 really angry Republicans or 28 or 29 really angry Democrats who are likely to just shut down. And that does not create the capacity to actually govern."

So, I'm enthusiastic about what I'm hearing. If a bipartisan group of legislators from across the ideological spectrum can organize the House and move on to the critical policy discussions that need to happen, well, I'm all for it.

I'll keep you posted as I learn more.

  • (Show?)

    Some outstanding legislators in the House from both sides are already demonstrating what leadership means rather than persistent ideology. Oregon is in deep economic trouble. There is no business as usual. The new normal is survival. I appreciate the pairing of Peter Buckley and Dennis Richardson. Theirs is an example of two sharp minds, thoughtful discourse and both keep their word.

  • (Show?)

    This would be pretty interesting/exciting if it works... not to mention a glimmer of hope, given what's going on between the Ds/Rs right now on a national level in Congress.

    • (Show?)

      I would agree. If the GOP elected office holders here in Oregon break with the Federal level movement conservative ideologues and actually try to work with Democrats in good faith, it would be damn near historic.

      Here's hoping.

      • (Show?)

        once they figure out where all of the missing ballots from S. Oregon went then it will be even d and r in the senate too... It is the democratic agenda that has been rejected perhaps the democrats should take the hint and begin to try to work in good faith with the GOP.

        • (Show?)

          Nothing but malcontent conspiracy theory nonsense, without a single hint of impropriety of the vote much less any shred of evidence what-so-ever.

    • (Show?)

      I guess context is everything. Is this a rogue group of legislators trying their hardest to create a workable solution? Or is it "a Republican power play"? I assumed the former initially, based on this post, but maybe should have been more cynical.

      In the end, I think most folks (including me) don't really care about the process for how a power-sharing arrangement is developed. They just want some assurance that things aren't going to be a total mess come January -- that the legislature will actually be able to get things done and address the budget issues once the session starts.

  • (Show?)

    As much of a partisan Democrat I am, even I recognize incredible opportunity this presents us as a state. I guess it would come down to the details. Who would the two parties nominate to share the speaker-ship?

  • (Show?)

    Whatever happens, we need to have both parties truly sharing power in the House. Any attempt by one side to cut a deal with one or two from the other side will break down in committees and trying to get actual legislation through. Dems still have an edge in the Senate and with the Governor so there is no reason to not work with the House Republicans.

    My sense is that there are now a enough Republicans that actually care about getting things done that this is more practical than it may have been in past sessions. Democrats lost the majority and now we have to work with the Republican members and not pretend that we still maintain a majority.

    • (Show?)

      What concerns me about the particular proposal is the idea that it would include the elected leadership of the Republican caucus, and a Democratic member selected in some other way. Doesn't sound like "sharing" right off the bat.

  • (Show?)

    and now we see how valuable Jefferson Smith's work with Bob Jensen was last session: the water bill that was the most impressive piece of non/bi (whatever) partisan work in a very long time ( trust was created in their work, not to mention that the post-Minnis Dems have been more fair to Republicans than she & Wayne Scott ever were.

    anyone who remembers Oregon pre-M5 remembers a time when Ds & Rs tended to work for the state's common good. they had partisan fights, but they actually did try to govern the state properly. of course, that was when most Oregon Republicans were moderate or liberal & not extremists. it's a good thing to see a re-emergence of those leaders.

  • (Show?)

    I find it interesting that partisanship and/or extremism is always blamed on the opposite party, negating any responsibility for one's own unwillingness to work together.

    • (Show?)

      Please cite any major legislation the GOP compromised with the Democrats on at the Federal level in past decade (I can name dozens where the reverse is true).

      Thanks in advance.

      So you claim of equivalency of merit from both sides laying the responsibility for the poisonous politics at the Federal level is simply not grounded in reality.

      • (Show?)

        they weren't even asked to the dance Mitchell. I realize this thought will be lost on you and most people here but there are some issues there is no middle ground on. Cap and trade comes to mind the GOP would have jumped on board with actual health care reform (as opposed to HC Tax) had they been asked. The tide for this country is finally starting to come back in and I find it strangely satisfying and humorous that as the tide takes the garbage of the pelosi reid et al congress back out to sea NOW we start hearing from you guys how important it is to work together. lol

        • (Show?)

          Total false claims. The GOP were asked to work with the Democrats on Healthcare, and they offered up more than 300 amendments to the bill, many of which were included. In fact the basic structure of the bill which became law, was Bob Dole's plan as the counter proposal to "Hillary care" back in 1994 which was also the same basic format as the Mitt Romney plan in MA, all of which came out of the Heritage Foundation think-tank over a decade ago.

          That is but one example where not only did the Democrats compromise over and over to get GOP support and got exactly ZERO votes for it.

          Stimulus bill was another. Dems allowed hundreds of GOP amendments, vote after vote on it in order to get the GOP on board which yielded exactly ZERO GOP votes.

          Once again, facts and reality simply do not support your fantasy belief that the GOP was not approached.

          Hell, that is one reason why the Democratic base is so livid about the Democratic leadership and the White House. They are constantly watering down bills, over and over to try and get GOP votes.

      • (Show?)

        If you really want to suggest that Democrats aren't partisan, then I have no desire to engage in an honest debate with you. Your comments only prove my point further.

        • (Show?)

          Never said Democrats aren't partisan. If you actually read what I said, I pointed out the FACTS that the Democrats have compromised and watered down bill after bill, trying to garner GOP support for legislation, and they get a unified "no" vote at the end of the day.

          Your comment proves you didn't actually read or comprehend what I wrote.

  • (Show?)

    Just a reminder to Kari and all the commenters. The Oregon Constitution does NOT require the Speaker to be a member of the House. In other words a majority of the 60 legislators could name an outsider -- not a member of either party -- to preside over the House this session. I have no idea who such a Solomon might be, but it is surely a better choice than a partisan deal.

connect with blueoregon