GOP Oregon lawmaker who threatened police during climate bill boycott hit with formal complaint

A Republican Oregon state senator is facing a formal complaint after he threatened state police following GOP lawmakers' decision to boycott a vote on a climate change bill.

State Sen. Brian Boquist (R) was hit with the complaint Saturday for suggesting earlier this month that he would shoot state troopers sent by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) to round up lawmakers who had skipped out on the vote.

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State Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Conduct, told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Saturday that he had filed a formal complaint against Boquist, adding that a hearing would be held early next month, according to The Associated Press.

He did not offer details or indicate what degree of punishment Boquist could face.

“I will not make any comments as to what’s alleged or what’s in the report because it is pending before the committee,” Prozanski told the news outlet. “As the chair, I do not believe it’s appropriate for me to make comment until we, as a full committee, take what actions we’re going to take.”

Boquist was one of several GOP lawmakers who refused to return to the statehouse to vote on a landmark climate bill that would have implemented cap and trade regulations. He later suggested he would shoot state troopers sent to bring back GOP lawmakers.

“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.” 

Brown had hinted that state troopers might be sent to round up the uncooperative lawmakers, saying in a statement that she was “in close communication with Oregon State Police.”

The Democratic-led state Senate ultimately was forced to drop the legislation after it did not have enough lawmakers present to hold a vote.

Democrats have an 18-12 majority in the state Senate but needed at least 20 members present in order to vote on legislation.

Republican legislators returned Saturday to the Oregon Senate after the nine-day walkout protest.