Republican legislators serving Douglas County think the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders are gone too far and it’s time for the Legislature to step in.

So far, though, they haven’t persuaded many of their Democratic colleagues.

State Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, said it’s not that he directly opposes Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders. The problem is that balance is missing, balance that the Oregon constitution requires, he said.

“These executive orders have allowed the Executive Branch to override existing regulations without any citizen input or legislative oversight,” he said.

At least five House bills have been brought forward this session that have attempted to rein in the governor. Some would limit the time an emergency can be unilaterally declared before triggering legislative oversight, while others would shield individuals or businesses from the governor’s restrictions.

Republicans last week attempted to push three of these bills out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote, but those efforts failed.

For now they’re stuck in committee awaiting further action.

House Bill 2713 would limit the governor’s authority during a declared state of emergency to 60 days, unless the Legislature authorizes a continued state of emergency.

Cosponsors of that bill include Leif, Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek, and David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, all of whom serve districts that include parts of Douglas County.

On May 5, Republicans pulled the bill out of the Rules Committee to the House floor, but a motion to debate on it failed 25 to 31.

Smith is the chief sponsor of a second bill, House Bill 3177, that would limit the governor’s ability to impose restrictions on restaurants, gyms and indoor recreational facilities.

That bill is cosponsored by Leif and is in the Economic Development and Prosperity Committee.

After a two-hour hearing last week, the bill was pulled to the House floor, but a motion to debate on it failed on party lines 35 to 21.

Smith said he’s surprised this bill didn’t get any Democratic support, since the hospitality industry is diverse and tourism has been billed by environmentalists as an alternative to natural resources industries.

“Being a recovering restaurateur myself it’s maddening to watch so many families and so many businesses hurting and especially considering that we’ve been pushed into a hospitality driven economy,” he said.

Smith formerly owned the Port and Starboard Lounge and Restaurant in Port Orford, which had built by his grandfather in the 1970s. Smith ran it from 2002 until he sold it in 2015.

House Bill 2243, with Leif and Hayden as cosponsors, would require the governor to convene the Legislature before extending her own emergency powers.

Leif argued the bill would help restore checks and balances in Oregon and said so much authority should not be concentrated in one office without accountability.

The bill was pulled out of the Rules Committee to the House floor. An effort to persuade legislators to debate on it was also unsuccessful, but by a narrower 27 to 28 margin.

“There is a growing bipartisan support to pull back some of the emergency powers granted by the legislature to the Governor. At present, the efforts are mostly focused in the more rural parts of the state,” Leif said in an email.

Two additional bills have been assigned to committees that never have taken any action on them.

One of those is House Joint Resolution 18, which would have terminated the state of emergency on COVID-19. It was referred to the House Rules Committee in March. Leif and Smith were cosponsors of that bill.

Smith said he doesn’t think that resolution is dead yet.

“There’s tremendous amount of pressure to have a hearing, of course, on our side of the aisle. We’re waiting to see if we can and then if not we’ll try to pull that bill to the floor as well,” he said.

The other is House Bill 3243, which would have pushed the due date for paying COVID-19 violation civil fines back 50 years. That bill, with Leif as a cosponsor, was referred to the House Judiciary Committee in March.

Leif said state departments such as Oregon Occupational Safety and Health, or OSHA, are starting to change their COVID-19 guidelines without legislative input.

He said OSHA officials refused to appear at a hearing called by legislators recently on the department’s plan for changing its mask and other safety rules to permanent status.

OSHA has adopted a permanent rule that would continue COVID-19 safety measures established under a temporary workplace rule in November.

Despite the “permanent” label, the rule will be up for consideration again in July and regularly afterward until it is no longer needed and can be repealed, OSHA said on its website.

Smith said it’s the 90 legislators in the building who are supposed to make policies, but the governor and OSHA are making their own without checks and balances.

“I’m adamantly opposed to that and the super majority obviously isn’t. It’s very frustrating,” Smith said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(22) comments

melrosereader

Rather than complain about the governor why not do something to help us right here in Douglas County. Wear your darn mask! And get vaccinated!!!

mworden

American, in response to your previous comment, I specifically asked why people in Douglas County who lean right and who are in the vast majority would be afraid to register as Republican. A response about a Cato poll does not answer that question.

We had no riots in Roseburg. I know of know incidents of radical liberals attacking MAGA hat wearers on Jackson Street. Yes, the GOP headquarters were repeatedly vandalized. The GOP officials blamed the hateful libs. Then the culprit was caught and turned out to be a registered Republican.

For most of the pandemic, conservatives right here in Douglas County have been shouting at people to stop "living in fear," take off your masks, if you're scared then you stay home and let the rest of us fearless conservative carry on as usual. That comes from the likes of Senator Dallas Heard and our own Rise right here in the comment section, as well as the Citizens Against Tyranny.

So I'm taking the liberty of shouting it back at conservatives who are too fearful of liberal harassment to register their true party affiliation. Stop living in fear. It's truly paranoid to think radical liberals are going to look up your party registration and come and harass you.

The true sign of a bully is someone who can dish it out, but can't take it. I'm not talking about you, American, because you seem able to dish it and take it. But I'm pretty tired of being told to stop living in fear because I believe covid is a contagious disease. Hearing that local conservatives are too afraid of radical libs to register their true party affiliation is an absurdity. I gave you documented, not anecdotal, incidents of organized conservatives aggressively confronting Dems here in Douglas County. I highly doubt there are any documented cases of the reverse. Please, stop living in fear.

American

Mike, I was referencing the article by John Kudia, 'Have Conservatives Gone Dark' as it appeared in the 'American Thinker', and I was quoting from there, and have done so accurately. No where in that article are the stats given as you have referenced them. If you are referring to a different article from a different source, please be up front about it. Otherwise, I would suggest that it is you who are being misleading.

I also acknowledged that this article was from August 2020. You seem to think things have changed since then (I agree), and are no longer relavent (I disagree). If anything, since then we have had several more months of violence and intimidation against conservatives to reinforce that fear of expression. However, I will acknowledge that many conservatives have finally had enough and are now speaking up more freely against the socialist rhetoric of the liberal left, even at their own peril. I hope that trend continues.

My comments were simply giving ONE explanation as to why some conservatives were not comfortable with registering their party affiliation. I stand by my comment, and have provided credible evidence to show why my opinion is not unfounded. And that is all that I'm going to say about it, Mike. This conversation grows tiresome, and you do not present any convincing arguments as to why my comments are anything but honest and accurate.

Mike

You referenced the Cato Institute poll in your comment which is where you said the Kudia article originated from. It appears both you and kudia misrepresented the Cato information. If you wanted to be accurate with your misrepresented data, you shouldn't have mentioned the Cato poll and just referenced the Kudia article.

American

As requested, Mike, here is the link to the article I quoted:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/08. Under 'Monthly Archives', select 'August 2020'.

John Kudia references the Cato Institute poll, saying that, "62% of Americans overall are afraid to express their political views. This includes 77% of conservatives, but an average of 47% of liberals and strong liberals. This is an amazing statistic. Less than half of liberals are afraid to express their political views, while over three quarters of conservatives fear doing so."

Mike

Why do you continue to misrepresent what the Cato Institute article says? The exact quote, " Majorities of Democrats (52%), independents (59%) and Republicans (77%) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.­­"

I find it entirely possible a high percentage of people who rip off their masks, espouse their belief in the big lie and Jewish space lasers in public like MANY in the Republican Party today, are simply too embarrassed about their Party's recent craziness to speak openly.

The Cato survey was performed a year ago and before the election. I'd be interested to see if it has changed in the past year.

American

Oh, brother, mworden.

Not surprising that my comments have been sarcastically characterized in your comment as 'bizarre paranoid thinking'. In fact, your whole diatribe is expressed in belittling & dismissive tones that are the hallmarks of the liberal left when presented with an opinion that doesn't fit the narrative they want to promote, and in this case, is woefully lacking in facts and reality.

I refer those of you who wish to be enlightened, to an article by John Kudia in the 'American Thinker', who refers to a 2020 poll done by the Cato Institute, which found that 77% of conservatives (in the poll) were afraid to express their political views, and with good reason. They watch night after night as riots occur in our American cities. To quote the article, "Police are attacked, businesses are looted and burned, statutes are pulled down, and innocent bystanders or motorists in their cars are harassed or worse. They know that wearing a MGMA hat or shirt in the wrong neighborhood may get the attacked and beaten. They know that a Trump yard sign or bumper sticker may get their house or vehicle vandalized. They know that if they say or post the wrong thing on social media, they may be tarred as a racist, misogynist, homophobe, xenophobe, etc and could possibly lose their job or career. The commonsense reaction to these kinds of threats is to either fight back or go dark." To take the 'safer' alternative does not represent delusional, unfounded paranoid thinking; it is a rational choice in the face of the reality of what is happening today. What is irrational is to deny the that these things are happening, or that they are insignificant.

BTW, since I'm at it, I have these comments to make as well:

1) Neutralcomment: you're going to have to change your 'stage' name, since nothing in your comment resembles a neutral position. However, if one would substitute the 'democratic party' for 'republican party', your comment would make perfect sense. (And talk about 'living in fear'!)

2) Mike: You think Douglas County is becoming more of an island everyday? Since many rural Oregon counties are also largely conservative, I would say that in the 'ocean' of geographical Oregon, that places liberal Portland/Salem as the island. Unfortunately, the their dense populations force the rest of the state to march to their drumbeat.

3) Momos: the article all these comments were based on was about what our elected representatives were doing in Salem. I think they are proposing some reasonable legislation. I don't think the liberal majority will want to pass any of it, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be proposed. Our representatives should stand up for our views; that's why we elected them. These are obviously not the people you voted for, since you refer to them as 'irrelevant' and 'losers'. Just sounds to me like sour grapes that your choices lost here.

Mike

1. I searched but could find no article by John Kudia in the 'American Thinker.' Care to post a link?

2. The 2020 Cato Institute poll you reference also says 62% of ALL Americans, not just conservatives, are afraid to express their political views. Quoting Cato, "In fact, there have been shifts across the board, where more people among all political groups feel they are walking on eggshells."

https://www.cato.org/blog/new-poll-62-say-political-climate-prevents-them-sharing-political-views

Momos

I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I think for myself. I vote for the person or the issue, as should every American. I voted for Knute Buehler. I voted for Peter Defazio. Voting a party line is just intellectually lazy. It's sad to watch people live in constant fear of an imagined boogeyman, like a child fearing the monster under their bed. You're right, though, it does work well in Douglas County. So we get people like Heard that do nothing to improve our situation.

American

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, for the rest of the story:

Momos, before you get too giddy over your Party Affiliation statistics, think about these statistics from Douglas County in the Nov 2020 elections:

Donald Trump: 67.29%

Joe Biden: 29.78%

Our Oregon State Representatives: Hayden, Leif, & Smith each won by more than 70% of the vote. Wright won by almost 65%.

Our State Senators: Heard won by more than 70%; Anderson won by almost 60%.

Local positions up for re-election also trended towards conservatives, most by more than 90%!

So before you start declaring triumph for the numbers of Democrat Party registrations, understand that many conservatives don't necessarily register as Republicans, but as Unaffiliated or even as Other. Why? For one reason, like me, they don't want to be targeted for harassment by socialist Democrat extremists. I'll bet even some of your moderate Democrats, like my brother, didn't vote for some of the far left extremists in the Democratic Party, either.

Reference for statistics: or-douglascounty.civicplus.com

Mike

A lot has happened since those election statistics were established last November (e.g. big lie, ripping mask off at the capital, Citizens for Tyranny, 61 of the 71 Douglas County total coronavirus deaths, voting no on every house bill). Its unknown whether people would have voted the same way today. If so, it would be proof Douglas County is becoming more of an island every day.

mworden

Oh, brother, American.

First, you are absolutely right about the majority of voters here leaning heavily to the right. I see no chance of a Dem in Douglas County receiving more than 40% of the vote regardless of how people are registered.

Let me ask this, because I am truly baffled: Why would conservatives who are so heavily in the majority be afraid of the small number of Dems here? I seem to remember that it was Tea Party activists who confronted a bunch of senior citizen Dems having a picnic at a public park, waving signs and following them home right here in Douglas County back when Obama was prez. They showed up at Dem headquarters downtown to protest ObamaCare, but didn't have much to say when the Dems dared them to burn their Medicare cards to show the sincerity of their convictions. They beat a quick retreat.

If our good neighbors are worried about socialist extremist Dems looking up their voter registration and then harassing them ... seriously, folks, get some help. That's bizarre paranoid thinking, sorta like the guys who lined the streets in June 2020 holding guns in K-Falls to protect against the antifa army that never arrived. There is no antifa army. There are no radical Dems looking to invade K-Falls or looking for your voter registration in order to target you. Do conservative believe everything posted on social media by anonymous sources? Oh, yeah ... QAnon.

Never mind.

But if people are hiding their GOP affiliation out of fear of extremist Dems, socialists and antifa harassing them, all I can say is Stop Living in Fear. You're going to scare the children.

Neutralcomment

The republican party is doing the only thing they are capable of doing. Pandering to their base. They don't know how to govern and they don't know how to lead. They know how to enrich themselves and lather up their constituents with lies. If the Republicans had an ounce of honor or integrity, they would have helped the scientists get the truth out by standing side by side with the democrats and instructing their constituents on the best way to deal with this pandemic.

Instead they lied. They latched their lips firmly onto Trump's center cheek and lied to the American people. Had they told the truth, led by example, shown some spine and integrity, and encouraged the republican voters to follow the guidelines WE WOULD BE DONE WITH THIS NOW!.

Instead, we'll get to watch as these people lie about vaccinations so they can drop the masks that they've fought so hard against and our numbers will go back up. At least this time they'll only be killing themselves.

melrosereader

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S

The Twit Team is at it again . . . why don't they just sit down and stfu about the Governor. She's got more intellect in her baby toe than the entire Republican Party in Oregon. We submit into evidence . . . Dallas Heard, Gary Leif, Tim Freeman and Chris Boice as Exhibits A to D.

garyd

[thumbup]

melrosereader

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roseburgian

Noted constitutional scholar Gary Leif.

Momos

Republicans are fast becoming totally irrelevant in Oregon. Yet they still waste their time pursuing things they know will never happen...why? Here's the facts about Party registration as of February 2021.

Party Total voters Percentage

Democratic 1,047,988 35.45%

Unaffiliated 958,826 32.43%

Republican 747,937 25.30%

Other 201,552 6.82%

And now Heard is driving the clown car, speeding toward the cliff. LOL. Adios, losers.

NJ

As it's described it sounds as though State House and Senate Republicans want to add another level of bureaucracy to the process of extreme disaster control and limit the authority the Governor during those times. Are Republicans really making the point that if they don't like you, they will flood the chamber floors with frivolous bills? Like our Legislators don't have anything to do. Clean up the wording of the Governor's authority during pandemic and leave the State House and Senate out of it.

Marine Vet

“These executive orders have allowed the Executive Branch to override existing regulations without any citizen input or legislative oversight,” he said. Kinda like VOTING RIGHTS in REPUBLICAN STATES RIGHT.?

Mike

Just 45% of House Republicans say they've been vaccinated while 100% of congressional Democrats say they've gotten the shot.

How many Oregon State senators and representatives have been vaccinated?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/just-45-of-house-republicans-say-they-ve-been-vaccinated-while-100-of-congressional-democrats-say-they-ve-gotten-the-shot/ar-BB1gJPYE?li=BBnbcA1

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