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  • The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously ruled that legislators who obstructed business in the state Senate last year cannot immediately run for reelection, affecting nearly all of the chamber’s Republicans.
  • The decision stems from a standoff last year when 10 Republican state senators participated in a six-week walkout, the longest in state history, in attempts to stymie Democratic majorities.
  • Despite legal challenges and federal lawsuits, the court upheld a voter-approved measure aimed at punishing lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences by disqualifying them from running in the next election.


  • Legislative walkouts have been a recurring tactic used by Oregon Republicans to bring business to a halt, with the GOP staging walkouts each of the last four years to oppose Democratic proposals.
  • In response to the walkouts, labor unions supported a ballot measure in 2022 to penalize lawmakers missing 10 or more legislative days without an excuse by barring them from running in the next election.
  • Two Republican senators who participated in the walkout chose not to seek reelection, while the remaining eight fought to remain on the ballot for the upcoming election year.

Legal Proceedings:

  • The affected lawmakers argued that the punishment should not apply until their next term, citing the wording of the measure. However, the Oregon Supreme Court disagreed, affirming the Secretary of State’s interpretation and upholding the measure’s intent as understood by voters.
  • Despite federal lawsuits claiming violations of First Amendment rights, a federal judge denied their request for a preliminary injunction in December.
  • With legal options dwindling and a deadline for election paperwork approaching, Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp announced he would not seek reelection, acknowledging the loss in court and the unlikelihood of relief from federal legal action.


  • The ruling may give Republicans an opportunity to block business in the state Senate again this year, as many of the disqualified lawmakers come from solidly GOP districts.
  • The decision could impact the partisan breakdown in the 30-member chamber, potentially affecting the balance of power if Democrats win central Oregon’s district, where Knopp resides, and maintain other seats to secure a supermajority.


  • Despite the setback for affected lawmakers, the ruling underscores the consequences of legislative walkouts and highlights ongoing tensions between Oregon’s Republican and Democratic parties.
  • The decision may shape political dynamics in the upcoming election year and influence legislative strategies in the state Senate.