Oregon lawmakers sprinting to finish their work in Salem ran into a brick firewall on Wednesday.
A widespread network outage at Oregon’s Department of Administrative Services froze the Legislature in place as its members were already trying to make up for time lost in a six-week walkout by Senate Republicans.
With no internet, the Legislature lost its ability to perform many administrative functions. The government’s main legislative website crashed, making tracking and reading bills and amendments impossible for most. And members of the public keen on watching proceedings remotely were frozen out.
The outage, announced in an email to Legislative staff around 9:40 am, was labeled a “severity 1″ incident by state information systems staff. It reached far beyond the Capitol, impacting the Secretary of State’s Office and the departments of transportation, corrections and human services, among others.
Service was restored to many agencies by 12:30 p.m.
Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, told senators the incident was caused by a firewall update. A spokeswoman for DAS said Wednesday afternoon that the agency has “no reason to believe that was the cause” and that it was still looking into the matter.
What’s undisputed is that lawmakers delayed votes for hours at a time the Legislature can little afford to waste time. Following a six-week walkout by Senate Republicans that ended last week, lawmakers are hustling to pass hundreds of bills by Sunday, when they are required to adjourn.