The Oregon Senate Minority Leader said he is proud of what was accomplished, including protecting the tax kicker that’s coming to Oregonians in 2024.
“People are going to get the largest refund credit that they’ve ever gotten in the history of Oregon when they file their taxes in 2024. And it’s going to be about $5.5 billion,” Knopp said.
For the next session, he plans to focus on affordable housing in Central Oregon.
“And a big issue for that is supply and being able to work through regulation and rules and a faster timeframe to be able to basically make more housing available for people,” said Knopp.
Of the 10 senators who refused to attend Senate floor sessions in an effort to block Democratic bills in this past session, six face reelection in 2024 — including Knopp.
But while the men say they plan to run, whether they will be allowed to do so remains unclear. That’s because voters passed a ballot measure in 2022 that disqualifies lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences from reelection.
The senators who walked out say the measure is flawed. While the public sector unions that pushed Measure 113 intended it to block absent lawmakers from running for their next term, the language says lawmakers with at least 10 unexcused absences cannot hold office “for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.”
Since elections in Oregon are held before a lawmakers term is completed — not after — Republicans say the constitution plainly allows them to serve another term before penalties take effect.
Knopp says the courts will ultimately decide whether the language means he can run in the next election.
“I think the key element was they wanted to create a penalty when people didn’t provide a quorum,” Knopp said when asked what he believed voters were voting for when they passed Measure 113. “But, you know, if the question was, ‘Do you want to stop unlawful, unconstitutional, uncompromising activity by the majority’ I think people would also say ‘Yes.’ And so, you know, we had a choice to make, and I believe we made the right choice and we’d do it again.”
An attorney for Knopp and Boquist has asked the Secretary of State’s Office for a formal ruling laying out how it would implement Measure 113.
A spokesperson for newly appointed Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade said last week that the office had not decided whether to issue a ruling on how Measure 113 will work in practice. The spokesperson, Ben Morris, said the office was awaiting advice from the Oregon Department of Justice.
Griffin-Valade’s decision will dictate how the senators planning to seek reelection move forward, said John DiLorenzo, the Portland attorney representing Knopp and Boquist.
If she determines the lawmakers cannot seek reelection, they could appeal directly to the Oregon Court of Appeals. If Griffin-Valade declines to issue a ruling, the lawmakers will have to wait and see how the secretary responds when they file for office.
You can see Sen. Knopp’s full interview in the player below.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.