Politics

Oregon GOP Lawmakers Stay On The Lam

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Republican state senators from Oregon stayed in hiding for the fifth day, missing weekend legislative sessions and Monday’s 10:00 a.m. roll call.

Eleven Republican Oregon state senators walked out on June 20 to prevent a voting quorum in protest against HB 2020, a cap and trade climate bill, and have stayed away since Democratic Gov. Kate Brown authorized Oregon State Police to return the lawmakers to Salem, according to CBS News.

“My caucus and I continue to stand firm and remain out of the state. We are working for our constituents and all Oregonians,” state Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. said in a Saturday statement to Portland’s KOIN.

The Republican walkout means the Senate cannot conduct business because legislation cannot be passed without a 20 senator quorum.

HB 2020 establishes a state limit on greenhouse gas emissions and sets up an auction system for pollution “allowances.” Republicans argue the plan dramatically raises operating costs for specific industries and believe it should go to the voters before it becomes policy.

State Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, is charging each Republican senator $500 per day absent, his spokesperson Carol Currie told CBS. A GoFundMe page to help senators with the fines and expenses has raised $41,000. (RELATED: GoFundMe Raises Thousands For GOP Lawmakers Fined For Fleeing State. There’s Just One Problem)

“If they were trying to bring us back, threatening to arrest us and impose fines isn’t going to work,” state Sen. Tim Knopp, a Republican who claims he’s been in three states over three days, said to CBS.

The Senate convened Monday at 10:00 a.m., but couldn’t achieve quorum without the 11 Republican members and adjourned until noon. Republicans have vowed to “run out the clock” until the legislative session ends on June 30. Brown has threatened to call a special session if work remains.

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