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Senators with 'hissing' oxygen tanks outpace younger House members

Rep. Dan Rayfield made reference to senators' more advanced age, while Sen. Betsy Johnson noted how slow the House is at moving bills.

SCREENSHOT - Reps. Bill Post, R-Keizer, and Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, discuss the House members' lounge during their show, 'Behind the Scenes' at the Oregon Capitol in Salem May 19, 2017.SALEM — Despite their more advanced collective age, the Oregon Senate seems to be more efficient at policymaking than their younger colleagues in the House of Representatives.

The contrast plays out daily on each chamber's floor, with senators moving rapidly and gracefully through bills and the House adjourning for lunch before even sinking their teeth into a long list of legislation.

Rep. Dan Rayfield and Sen. Betsy Johnson made reference to the differences during their respective shows May 19.

During "Behind the Scenes" with Rayfield and Rep. Bill Post on YouTube, the representatives described senators raiding the Oregon House members' lounge for hot breakfast on Wednesdays.

"What scares me is when the senators come in with their oxygen tanks, and it's hissing. It just catches me off guard," Rayfield quipped, referring to senators' greater average age.

"Because they've been here for longer, you know, and they're more deliberative, much more deliberative, so it does take a lot of oxygen," Post bantered.

THE DAILY ASTORIAN - Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose (File photo).Meanwhile, on "This Week with State Senator Betsy Johnson" on KOHI AM 1600 in St. Helens, Johnson noted the backlog of bills in the House.

"There is such a wide gap between where the House is and where the Senate is," Johnson said.

"It was so funny because on the House side they have three pages of bills. …I'm going to guess there's something close to 90, and they're not working tomorrow, and they've got all this backlog of bills," Johnson said. "We came onto the floor today with 10 bills. We worked through them very expeditiously. Not everyone was unanimous, but there was thoughtful debate."

Paris Achen
Portland Tribune Capital Bureau
email: pachen@portlandtribune.com
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