Legislature Should Not Move Forward With Policy To Raise Costs For Oregon Families During Ethics Investigation
Salem, OR – Legislative Republican leaders today called for House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney to suspend any discussion of Low Carbon Fuel Standards from the session calendar due to recent allegations that Cylvia Hayes received a $118,000 payment for her role in promoting a Low Carbon Fuel Standard policy for the state of Oregon.
“I watched the Governor’s press conference today,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane. “He indicated that the Ethics Commission will answer whether Cylvia Hayes violated law by being paid by private interests to advocate policy changes to the Governor. Ms. Hayes received payments to influence the Governor on, among other things, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program overseen by the Department of Environmental Quality. SB 324 will, in effect, implement this controversial program permanently. Due to the investigations on the conflict of interest and the many unanswered questions that remain, SB 324 can no longer be evaluated on merit alone. Therefore, the Legislature must suspend our work on SB 324 until the Ethics Commission's work and all investigations are completed.”
As recently as this week, Democrat leadership indicated that they plan to move forward with a vote on Low Carbon Fuel Standards early in the session and have scheduled a public hearing for the proposed legislation on the first day of session, Monday, February 2, raising further questions about the rushed policymaking and reported involvement of former legislators and clients that stand to benefit from the program. In addition to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard proposal that would increase costs for middle-class families, legislative Democrats intend to propose other bills to raise gas prices for Oregonians, including a carbon tax on fuels and a gas tax to fund various transportation and infrastructure projects.
“For the Democrats to run this bill right at the start of session is irresponsible and harmful to Oregon families, given the cloud of secrecy surrounding its conception and advocacy,” stated Senator Ted Ferrioli, the Senate Republican Leader. “The Legislature should be focused on the priorities that matter to Oregon taxpayers, including a transportation package that improves public safety and infrastructure for all Oregonians. Democrats should know that moving forward with a party-line vote on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard will affect any future opportunities for bipartisan cooperation throughout session.”