Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has sicced the state police on 11 Republican state senators after the lawmakers left the Capitol in protest Thursday to avoid a vote on cap-and-trade.
What are the details?
The Democratic supermajority in the Senate was set to pass carbon cap-and-spend legislation, but the GOP lawmakers made a last-ditch effort to sabotage it by fleeing Salem and denying the upper chamber its necessary quorum for voting.
State Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. issued a statement Thursday morning, saying, "Protesting cap-and-trade by walking out today represents our constituency and exactly how we should be doing our job. We have endured threats of arrest, fines and pulling our 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," Fox News reported.
Gov. Brown held a news conference following the Republicans' protest of the climate bill, telling reporters, "It would have been historic for Oregon, historic for the country, and frankly historic for the world. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans failed to show up and failed to do their jobs."
"After many hours of well-intentioned, respectful negotiations on Wednesday, the Senate has come to an impasse," the governor continued. "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," she added. "As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats' request."
The governor's declaration didn't go over well with Republicans. According to the Washington Post, Sen. Brian Boquist (R) told the superintendent of the state police, "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."
Oregon State Police confirmed they were "fully committed to executing" the governor's request, saying in a news release that the department "is utilizing established relationships to have polite communication with these Senators. While we obviously have many tools at our disposal, patience and communication is and always will be our first, and preferred, option."
The Oregonian reported that in a follow-up statement Thursday evening, OSP said that "'several' Senators had been contacted and that the agency will 'go to great lengths' to avoid physically arresting and handcuffing lawmakers," noting that troopers are receiving assistance from "out of state resources."
The Senate Democrats have imposed a $500 per day fine on each of the GOP senators until they return to work. As of this writing, a GoFundMe page to support the Republican senators had already surpassed its $20,000 fundraising goal.