Will Courtney face a coup d'etat?
Peter Courtney — the Senate's longest serving president — may face a coup d'etat when Senate Democrats elect officers Friday at Salishan Resort in Gleneden Beach, Willamette Week reported Wednesday.
Senate Democrats, who won a 18-12 supermajority over Republicans Nov. 6, will ask Courtney to change the rules for allowing bills on the floor, or face a challenge to his longstanding position, according to Willamette Week.
Courtney, who was elected Senate president in 2002, has typically barred legislation from a vote on the floor unless a pre-vote count indicates it's guaranteed to pass. In some cases, he has required the support of at least one Republican, some Democrats have said. The practice has made the Senate more moderate than the House and fostered bipartisanship but has stymied Democrats' ability to hold a vote to put certain senators on the record as a "no." That was the case when some Democrats tried to pass tenant protection laws in 2017. Former state Rep. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas, is believed to have unseated longtime Sen. Rod Monroe at least partly because of his opposition to those proposed laws, which never came to the floor for a vote in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Democratic leadership for the Oregon House of Representatives will be relatively unchanged in the 2019 legislative session.
Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, has been nominated to continue as Speaker of the House. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, was reelected as House Majority Leader.
That chamber also gained a supermajority, picking up three seats for a total of 38 Democrats.