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article imageOregon GOP lawmakers go into hiding to avoid vote on climate bill

By Karen Graham     Jun 20, 2019 in Politics
Salem - Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, has dispatched state troopers to find missing Republican senators and bring them back to Salem to legislate.
Republican state Senators literally went into hiding, some even going so far as to leave the state to keep a climate bill from passing. All 11 Republican lawmakers walked out en masse yesterday to deny Democrats the quorum needed to vote on a climate bill that is set to pass over GOP objections.
According to The Oregonian, the measure, also known as H.B. 2020, has already passed the Democratic-led state House and has the support of Governor Brown.
When the GOP lawmakers failed to show up at 11 a.m. for the vote on the climate bill today, Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem, a Democrat, asked the sergeant at arms to search the Capitol for the missing lawmakers. When they could not be found, Courtney formally requested that Brown send the State Police to bring them back.
Oregon State Troopers were dispatched to round up the wayward lawmakers and bring them back to the Capitol. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their back on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building,” Brown said in a statement. "They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”
The GOP Senators were voicing concern about the potential effects of the bill, which would create a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in several public sectors. California has a similar bill. Oregon's Constitution allows the majority party to “compel” the attendance of absent members of the legislature. This procedure has rarely been used.
But because the state legislature has a Democratic "supermajority," keeping the Senate from having a quorum for the vote by being absent was the only way to block the vote. Democrats said the hiding Republicans will be fined $500 a day; an online fundraiser to help defray that has hit $3,000.
One state Senator, Brian Boquist (R), suggested in an interview with a local news outlet that he would shoot troopers who attempted to seize him by Brown's orders, according to The Hill.
“This is what I told the superintendent,” Boquist said referring to Travis Hampton, the superintendent of the Oregon State Police. “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
More about Oregon, Gop senators, quorum, climate science, Louisiana State Police
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