Governor Sends Police After GOP Lawmakers in Hiding

Senators try to deny a quorum to block bill
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2019 4:48 PM CDT
Governor Sends Police After GOP Lawmakers in Hiding
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has deployed state police to find legislators in hiding.   (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

The heat has been turned up on Republican state senators who went into hiding to prevent a climate bill from passing. Oregon State Police troopers have been dispatched to bring them back to the Capitol. "They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do," said Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, per Oregon Live. All 11 GOP senators have left the building, and some have left not only Salem, but the state, to prevent a quorum. GOP senators have voiced 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 law.

Keeping the Senate from having a quorum is about the only way Republicans can block it: The legislation has passed the House, and Democrats have a supermajority in the Senate. The state constitution allows the majority party to “compel” lawmakers' attendance. The response to that idea from Sen. Brian Boquist on Wednesday was ominous, per the Hill. "Send bachelors and come heavily armed," Boquist said he told state police. "I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple." Democrats said the hiding Republicans will be fined $500 a day; an online fundraiser to help defray that has hit $3,000. The Senate president apologized on the floor to the citizens of Oregon for taking troopers "off the streets to look for" politicians. (More Oregon stories.)

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