Oregon’s Democratic governor, Kate Brown, has dispatched state troopers to find missing Republican senators and bring them back to Salem to legislate.
All 11 Republican senators are in hiding, at least some of them out of state, in order to prevent the Senate from having the quorum it needs to operate. They can’t abide the Democrat-backed carbon cap and spend bill that is up for a Senate vote today.
When Republicans failed to show up on the Senate floor for today’s 11 a.m. session, Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem, a Democrat, asked the sergeant at arms to search the Capitol for the missing lawmakers. That search proved fruitless.
In response to the walkout, Courtney formally requested that Brown dispatch Oregon State Police troopers to round up the missing Republicans.
Brown quickly granted that request. “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,” she said in a statement. “They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown deployed the state police Thursday to try to round up Republican lawmakers who fled the Capitol in an attempt to block a vote on a landmark climate plan that would be the second of its kind in the nation.
Minority Republicans want the cap-and-trade proposal aimed at dramatically lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to be sent to the voters for approval instead of instituted by lawmakers. Negotiations with Democrats fell apart late Wednesday prompting conservatives to pursue a walkout, said Kate Gillem, a spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Thursday.
Some members have even left the state to avoid a vote, Gillem said. State police don’t have jurisdiction beyond state lines.
Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the chamber, but need 20 members present for a quorum.
Those opposed to the cap-and-trade plan say it would exacerbate a growing divide between the liberal, urban parts of the state and the rural areas, which tend to be more conservative. The plan would increase the cost of fuel, damaging small business, truckers and the logging industry, which is already in freefall due to federal environmental protections, they contend.