Oregon’s Democrat Governor Authorizes Police to Round Up Missing GOP Lawmakers

Enough Republican state senators returned to the Oregon Senate in Salem on Monday, May 13, 2019, to end a standoff in its fifth day, in which GOP senators kept the Senate from reaching a quorum. Seen here, from left in the foreground, are Republican senators Fred Girod, Dennis Linthicum, Herman …
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky

Oregon’s Democrat Governor Kate Brown authorized state police to find the state’s missing Republican lawmakers after they failed to show up for a vote on a climate bill.

Eleven of the Oregon Senate’s GOP lawmakers deliberately failed to show up to the capitol, effectively preventing Democrats from passing a climate change-based cap and trade bill, officially known as H.B. 2020.

As the Hill notes, the bill “seeks to create a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in several public sectors.”

Republican state lawmakers released a statement Thursday, describing their eight-hour negotiation attempt as “fruitless.”

“After more than 8-hours of fruitless negotiations late into last night, the Democrats failed to offer a reset on House Bill 2020,” the statement read.

Upon realizing their absence, Senate President Peter Courtney requested the sergeant at arms to locate the lawmakers, to no avail. Courtney followed up with Brown, who gave state police the green light to find the missing lawmakers and bring them back to the capitol.

Brown released a statement, accusing the missing Republican lawmakers of abandoning their obligations to constituents.

The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out. 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. As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request.

Brown added that it was “absolutely unacceptable” for Republicans to “turn their back on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building.”

“They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do,” she added.

The missing lawmakers will also face a $500 per day fine.

According to Oregon Live, Oregon’s constitution “allows the majority party to ‘compel’ the attendance of absent members of the legislature.”

It appears Republican state lawmakers knew it could come to this.

“We have endured threats of arrest, fines, and pulling community project funds from the Governor, Senate President, and Majority Leader,” Senate Republican Leader Herman Baerschiger Jr. said.

“We will not stand by and be bullied by the majority party any longer. Oregonians deserve better. It’s time for the majority party to consider all Oregonians – not just the ones in Portland,” he added.

This is not the first time this type of ordeal has occurred. In 2011, Wisconsin Democrats blocked a Republican-backed anti-union bill by failing to show up for the vote and fleeing the state.


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