Republican Oregon State Senators Flee The State To Avoid Vote. The Governor Sends State Police To Find Them

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Oregon’s Democratic governor sent state police to round up Republican state legislators on Thursday as they tried to avoid a quorum for a vote on a wide-ranging climate bill — but some had already fled the state.

“I think [Senate Republicans have] all left if they’re not already on their way out,” Jonathan Lockwood, spokesman for Oregon Republicans, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a phone interview Thursday. “The reason they’ve left the state is because it’s obviously harder for the state police to drag them back to the Capitol.”

For example, Republican Oregon state Sen. Brian Boquist reportedly fled to Idaho, according to The Associated Press. (RELATED: 28-Year-Old Woman Sues Hunter Biden Over Child Support For Alleged Love Child)

“This is what I told the [Oregon State Police] superintendent,” Boquist said according to The Oregonian. “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.”

A police car drives with lights flashing. Shutterstock image via Tiko Aramyan

A police car drives with lights flashing. Shutterstock image via Tiko Aramyan

The Republicans, who are in the minority in the state Senate, walked out on a school funding tax package in May and came back after reaching a deal with Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to table measures dealing with gun control and vaccinations, reported The AP. But Brown’s tone seemed averse to compromise in her statement on involving state police Thursday.

“The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out,” she said in a statement. “The Senate Democrats have requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back their colleagues to finish the work they committed to push forward for Oregonians.”

This standoff was triggered by a cap-and-trade proposal designed to cut Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans want the issue to go to voters instead of being passed by the state legislature. They walked out on state Democrats after more than eight hours of negotiations late Wednesday night, according to state Republicans.

“One of the worst things about [the proposal] is it would allow the governor to put our state into binding contracts with other states and even other foreign governments,” Lockwood said. “Senate Republicans have every right to deny a quorum because Democrats broke their pledge on resetting cap-and-trade talks.”

The cap-and-trade proposal has generated fear among many business owners and would be the second of its kind in addition to California’s, reported The AP. Oregon state senators have a little more than a week left in the legislative session and need to vote on the state budget.

The legislative body needs 20 senators for a quorum.

Brown has served as governor of Oregon since 2015 after defeating Republican Knute Buehler. She announced in October that she would sign an executive order banning offshore drilling in her state as a rebuke to the Trump administration’s energy agenda.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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