Voting Republican

There are four House members and three senators who represent portions of Deschutes County in the Legislature. All are Republicans. According to The Oregonian newspaper, GOP House members voted with the party an average of 84% of the time, while GOP senators voted with the party an average of 85% of the time. Below are the percentages for the Deschutes County contingent, with percentages rounded out.

Note: Many bills in the Legislature do not have a partisan split, with both Republican and Democratic majorities voting the same way. Divergence from the average could be votes with the Democrats, or votes against the combined Democratic and Republican position.


Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend 82%

Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond 86%

Rep. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles 87%

Rep. Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte 84%


Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend 95%

Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario 90%

Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls 75%

SALEM — With the Legislature gone until winter, Salem returns to its summer populace — the governor, state agencies and tourists. But the effects of the chaotic 2019 session continue to echo through the Capitol. Catching up on the end times:

Brown and bills

The governor has 30 days from the end of the session on June 30 to sign or veto policy bills. The governor’s office reports that through June 27, Gov. Kate Brown had signed 524 bills. Dozens more are backed up from the end of the session. The Legislature introduced an estimated 2,768 bills and resolutions in the 2019 session.

The governor has the power to veto entire policy bills, which would require an override vote of two-thirds of the Senate and House in separate votes. Since Democrats hold a 38-22 advantage in the House and 18-12 majority in the Senate, the Legislature and the governor were in sync on most issues, making vetoes unlikely.

Brown can remove emergency clauses on bills, the controversial language put into legislation “declaring an emergency” and making the bill law immediately upon signing. Otherwise, most legislation goes into effect Jan. 1.

The governor has more flexibility on budget bills, with the power to veto specific expenditures — known as line items — without having to reject the entire funding bill. If Brown wants to issue a veto, she must inform the Legislature five days before the actual veto is made — a chance for advocates or opponents to weigh in before it is a done deal.

No special session expected

When Senate Republicans walked out June 20 and it looked like the 2019 session might have to adjourn June 30 without votes on about 150 bills, Brown said she would call a special session for July 2 — the following Tuesday — to take care of any unfinished business. The return of the 11 GOP senators on June 29 and the marathon two-day session that weekend seems to have erased the need for coming back before the regularly scheduled 2020 session starts in February.

But Brown mentioned a special session in her post-­adjournment press conference. While nothing is in the works, her office said late last week the option still exists — as needed.

Carbon cap coming back

House Bill 2020, the carbon emissions cap bill that motivated the Republican walkout, was killed by Democrats to get the GOP back for the final two days of the 2019 session. But it’s not gone for long, Brown said last week. The governor said she could order some provisions of the law into effect with an executive order.

Whenever lawmakers return — either a special session or the 2020 session in February — a new version of HB 2020 is likely to come back. “I believe the bill needs some fine-tuning, but I don’t think it needs to be entirely rebuilt,” Brown said..

Back to bucks

In one of the quirks of the Legislature, the House and Senate have different rules on campaign fundraising during the session. During the 160 days of the 2019 session, senators have been free to raise funds for their future campaigns. But a rule in the House bars members from passing the hat while in session. With the adjournment, expect to see money-raising rev up for the remainder of the summer. Candidates can’t formally file to run for office until September, but campaign finance committees can be created and registered with the Secretary of State’s Office any time.

Mike McLane goodbye

When the Legislature meets next year, it will be without former House Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte.

On May 31, Brown named McLane to a judgeship on the circuit court for Jefferson and Crook counties. The judgeship comes with a $140,776-per-year salary. McLane accepted with the proviso that he would finish the 2019 session of the Legislature before resigning to take his seat on the bench.

McLane stepped down as minority leader late last year after the November election returns showed Democrats winning a supermajority that would allow them to pass tax bills without Republican votes. McLane retained his seat but relinquished the House GOP’s top job to Rep. Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass.

McLane, 54, was first elected to represent House District 55 in 2010. After one term, his fellow Republicans voted him minority leader in 2012. A lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard, McLane was known for his tersely formal parliamentary battles with House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland. Kotek has a tendency to draw up her forehead to indicate incredulity, and said during the goodbyes at the end of the session that she had “given the eyebrow” to McLane several times over the years.

When he becomes a judge, McLane will also relinquish his position with the Bend law firm Lynch Conger McLane.

Under state law, the person appointed to fill out McLane’s term must be a Republican. Commissioners from the counties that McLane represents will choose his successor. House District 55 includes all of Crook County and portions of Deschutes, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties.

How do you like it? No, No, No

The Legislature may not have its own version of James Bond, but as of June 30, the last day of the session, “Dr. No” is Rep. E. Werner Reschke. The Republican from Klamath Falls won the unofficial title for casting the most “no” votes in the House during the 2019 session.

Reschke voted what’s officially recorded as “nay” 277 times during the 160-day session. He takes the title from Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, who cast the most negative votes in 2018. During the last long session in 2017, the champion of the thumbs-down was Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer.

— Reporter: 541-640-2750,