Oregon governor authorizes state police to bring GOP lawmakers back to capital for climate vote

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) authorized the state police to bring Republican lawmakers back to Salem after several left the state to avoid a vote on a climate bill. 

GOP state senators walked out this week after voicing concerns over the bill’s impacts on a number of “energy intensive, trade-exposed” businesses in rural communities. Though the bill has already passed the House and Democrats hold a supermajority in the state Senate, Republicans have the numbers to deny a quorum in the upper chamber. 

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“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 said in a press release. 

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would 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.” 

The climate bill seeks to create a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in several public sectors. It would be the second state to enact such legislation, after California. 

Oregon state Sen. Brian Boquist (R) on Wednesday appeared to threaten violence if state police were sent to return Republicans to Salem. 

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