Oregon’s governor just deployed cops to round up Republican lawmakers in wild, bizarre chase

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Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, a Democrat, has been forced to exercise her executive powers and deploy the state police to find and corral Republican state senators who decided to simply leave the Capitol rather than vote on a climate change bill, reports The Associated Press.

The GOP minority doesn’t want to vote on the cap-and-trade measure at all and insists it should be left up to voters in the state to directly decide whether it should pass or not. The bill would push the state to substantially lower emissions over the next few decades.

Democrats hold 18 seats in the state senate but must reach quorum at 20 in order to hold a vote, which is what allowed the Republicans to adopt this asinine strategy. Until police find the rogue senators and bring them to heel the legislation cannot proceed. As usual, we find conservative politicians prioritizing profits and corporations over stopping an impending environmental disaster.

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Yesterday, Governor Brown gave the AWOL Republicans a fair warning by saying that she was in “close communication with Oregon State Police” and “prepared to use all resources and tools available.” The Oregon State Police are legally empowered to force the senators into their police cruisers and drop them off at the Capitol.

Some of the Republicans have lashed out at the governor’s use of law enforcement to enforce the law.

“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,” State Senator Brian Boquist said yesterday, shamelessly alluding to killing police officers. Somehow the GOP claims to be the party of “law and order” yet its elected lawmakers have no excuse flouting the legal system when it suits them. Like a common outlaw, Boquist is reportedly hiding out in Idaho outside the Oregon State Police’s jurisdiction.

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“I beg and beseech my fellow legislators to come to the floor. I need you, the Legislature needs you, the people of Oregon need you to pass budgets to take care of our citizens. I cannot do it without you. We cannot do it without you,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney on the Senate floor.

Until quorum is reached, and with barely a week left until the legislative session ends, the body cannot move forward on the cap-and-trade bill as well as the budget, housing measures, paid family leave, or tax increases. Clearly, these Republicans cannot be trusted to carry out their elected duties and the people of Oregon should hold them accountable at the ballot box.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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