Republican members of Oregon’s state senate skipped town on Thursday to avoid voting on a sweeping climate change bill – and now Gov. Kate Brown’s authorizing the state police to bring them back.
Earlier this week, the Democratic-controlled Oregon House passed a carbon reduction bill aimed at capping greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade regulation system. House Republicans voted unanimously against it, along with two other Democrats.
On Thursday, Oregon Senate Republicans, who also oppose the bill, made good on their promise to stage a walkout ahead of the vote. Sen. Tim Knopp (R) told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) that they would be fleeing to different states.
This protest prompted Senate President Peter Courtney (D) to request that the state police fetch his GOP colleagues, and Brown followed suit.
“As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request,” Brown said in a statement to OPB. “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.”
“I do not believe the state police will be able to find any of our members,” Knopp, who plans to travel through at least three different states, told OPB. “So, instead of the Democrats putting efforts into finding bipartisan solutions, their answer is to waste state police resources to try and track down legislators and arrest them. It sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy.”