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Oregon Senate In 'Holding Pattern' As Injured Senator Mulls Comeback

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Oregon Legislature

A key Oregon state lawmaker could return to the capitol as early as this week. Democratic Senator Betsy Johnson broke her pelvis in a car accident last month. Her absence has delayed some potentially close votes.

Something that's been happening a lot in the Oregon Senate recently is Senate Democratic leader Diane Rosenbaum, moving to postpone a series of votes on hot button topics: Medical marijuana and childhood immunizations among them.

Majority Democrats say they're in a bit of a holding pattern as they await the return of Betsy Johnson. Without her, the Democrats have lost the 16th vote they need to pass legislation without the help of any Republicans. Johnson is participating in some committee hearings by phone. But she's eager to get out of physical rehab.

"I have gotten to feel like a caged tiger in this facility," Johnson says. "Not that they haven't taken good care of me. But my impatience to get back to Salem is beginning to show."

Johnson says she could make a trial run to the capitol this week in a wheelchair, but isn't sure when she'll return full time.

On the Web:

Profile: Sen. Betsy Johnson - Oregon Legislature