Although there is a crushing backlog of work in the state legislature, the Republican leadership has already slumped into summer-vacation mode. Last Monday, July 11--for a second time in two weeks--Republican leaders of Oregon's House of Representatives took off early, declaring a "three-day recess." That decision brought the state capital to a grinding halt from Tuesday through Thursday.

Just the week before, Speaker of the House Karen Minnis (R-Wood Village) and Majority Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby) had also suspended the session for another three-day vacation. The move is a sneaky tactic that intends to stall progress on certain bills with the hope the legislative session will end before legislators can vote on those bills. (The session ends once the state's budget is prepared; any bills that do not reach the floor for a vote simply expire and won't have an opportunity for a vote until two years from now when the next session begins.)

"We have a lot of work left to be done," complained Chip Shields, a first-time representative from North Portland. A healthcare bill that would help individuals save money on prescription drugs is one of the bills being held up by the Republicans' bullshit tactics. That bill passed the Senate 19-11 in May. Also, SB 1000, which would legalize civil unions, has passed the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House.

House Democratic Leader Jeff Merkley (D-Portland) has spoken out about the majority of Republicans who are taking a "snow day in July." But, since the Republicans control the House, there is little Democrats can do except wait out the "recesses."