Oregon’s Democratic Gov. Kate Brown instructed state police on Thursday to round up Republican state senators who fled the state capitol ahead of a vote on job-killing cap-and-trade legislation.
Taking a page out of the Democrat Party’s playbook, as seen in Wisconsin in 2011, the GOP lawmakers engaged in some gamesmanship of their own by leaving Salem and preventing the Democrats from being able to establish quorum.
Democrats hold 18 of the 30 seats in the Oregon state senate, but chamber rules require 20 members to have a quorum to vote on legislation.
Brown issues a statement online explaining her order as a result of an impasse being reached.
“The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out,” the statement read. “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.”
“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.”
OR Gov. Kate Brown sending the State Police after Republican state senators who fled to avoid voting on cap & trade plan pic.twitter.com/erYTkRn5VG
— Reid Wilson (@PoliticsReid) June 20, 2019
The Cap and Trade bill passed the state House earlier in the week, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The legislation did not get a single Republican vote, and even two Democrats voted against it.
Republican senators released a statement on social media commenting on their actions.
“Senate Republicans made the decision to walkout and have left the state to protest cap and trade because it should be referred to the ballot so every Oregonian has a voice,” read a tweet that included the release.
Senate Republicans made the decision to walkout and have left the state to protest cap and trade because it should be referred to the ballot so every Oregonian has a voice. #capkillsjobs pic.twitter.com/Cwszwvdsbx
— Oregon Senate Republicans (@ORSenateGOP) June 20, 2019
“Protesting cap-and-trade by walking out today represents our constituency and exactly how we should be doing our job,” said Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. “We have endured threats of arrest, fines and pulling community project funds from the governor, Senate president and majority leader. We will not stand by and be bullied by the majority party any longer.”
The Oregon State Police are walking a fine line as they express their intent to get Republican senators back to Salem.
“The departure of the senators leaves the Senate without the minimum number of members required to constitute a quorum, so the legislative process has stalled,” OSP said Thursday, according to Fox News. “While we obviously have many tools at our disposal, patience and communication is and always will be our first, and preferred, option.”
“OSP has assisted in resolving a similar situation in the past, and, with the help of diplomats from both sides of the aisle, the department has done so in a peaceful, gentle, and process-supporting way which allowed members of our Legislature to return to work without forfeiting the good relationships essential to moving forward collaboratively and productively.”
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