GOP state lawmakers leave Oregon to avoid vote on high-profile climate bill: report

GOP state lawmakers leave Oregon to avoid vote on high-profile climate bill: report
© Getty Images

Republican state senators in Oregon left the state this week to deny Democrats the quorum to vote on a climate bill that is set to pass over GOP objections, The Oregonian reported on Thursday.

According to The Oregonian, the measure, also known as H.B. 2020, has already passed the Democratic-led state House and has the support of Gov. Kate Brown (D).

ADVERTISEMENT

Although Democrats hold a supermajority in the state Senate, they are unable to vote on the measure if a certain number of the chamber’s 20 Republicans don’t show. 

GOP state senators reportedly threatened to walkout earlier this week over concerns about a number of “energy intensive, trade-exposed” businesses in rural communities that could be hurt by the measure, including timber companies. 

As a result, Brown reportedly threatened to dispatch Oregon State Police to find them for the vote.

Oregon state Sen. Cliff Bentz told the newspaper he was one of a number of Republicans who opted to get outside of state police jurisdiction after sour negotiations with Democrats on Wednesday.

"In a few moments, I will not be in Oregon,” Bentz told the paper at 7 a.m. on Thursday morning, shortly before the vote.

Oregon state Sen. Brian Boquist (R) also suggested in an interview with a local news outlet that he would shoot troopers who attempted to seize him by Brown's orders.

“This is what I told the superintendent,” Boquist said referring to Travis Hampton, the superintendent of the Oregon State Police. “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.”

Brown reportedly has plans to call a special legislative session next month to bypass Republican efforts to thwart the climate measure.

"I am prepared to use all resources and tools available to me as governor to ensure that Oregonians are being served by their leaders,” Brown said. “We will stay in Salem to work until our job is done."

Updated at 2:04 p.m.