The minority party said they refused to work through the night to "fast track" the Democrat agenda.

PARIS ACHEN - Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, leaves the chamber Feb. 24, 2016, after Republicans refused to show up for a floor debate and provide a quorum.Republicans stood up their colleagues in the Senate Wednesday evening in a show of protest against the Democrat majority's policy agenda this session.

Senate President Peter Courtney said he was forced to cancel the 5 p.m. floor debate because the Senate lacked a quorum. Twenty senators must be present to reach a quorum. Only 18, all Democrats, were present.

"My fellow senators, I guess they are not coming," Courtney said. "I want to thank you for being willing to come here and do the work."

"This does not make (me) happy," he said. "It makes me sad."

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said in a statement that Senate Republicans "will not work late into the night to fast track an agenda pursued by the Democrat majority that features back room deals between Democrats and special interests and numerous broken promises of collaboration and compromise."

He said the Republican senators would return to the chamber Thursday morning.

Courtney's office noted that the evening debate would have been unnecessary if Republicans had not insisted at the beginning of the session that every bill be read aloud in its entirety.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, said all but one of the bills up for consideration Wednesday evening had unanimous support in committee from both Democrats and Republicans.

"Yet they can't move forward; it's frustrating," Dembrow said.

The 35-day session, which began Feb. 1, has sparked bipartisan conflicts over controversial bills such as raising minimum wage and doubling the state's renewable energy mandate.

By Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau Reporter
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