Republican lawmakers in Oregon face a $500 per day fine beginning Friday if they don’t return to the state capitol and do their jobs. Additionally, one of them threatened to murder police officers sent to round them up.
Earlier this week, every Republican state senator fled the state capitol to avoid having to take a vote on climate change legislation. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, ordered the state police to round up the fugitive lawmakers and return them to the capitol.
“The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out,” Brown said in a statement. “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.”
State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) chimed in, saying, “The taxpayers are paying them to do a job for their constituents and they are not doing that job.”
In the state Senate, Democrats hold an 18-12 majority. However, under Oregon law, 20 senators must be present for a quorum, meaning no votes can take place unless at least two Republicans join all the Democrats. By fleeing, Republicans have obstructed all legislation from moving forward.
One lawmaker, state Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas), threatened to murder police officers if any attempted to apprehend him and take him back to Salem to vote.
“Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” Boquist told KGW, a local news team. “I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
Boquist has threatened to murder cops to avoid voting on a bill to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The Oregon Republican Party seems to be just fine with that, endorsing Boquist’s approach in a tweet.
The $500 per day fines begin Friday and will be taken from lawmakers’ salary and per diem accounts until enough Republicans show up to make a quorum. Hopefully, that will happen without any bloodshed.
Published with permission of The American Independent.
IMAGE: Oregon Governor Kate Brown, photo by Josh Goldberg via Wikipedia Commons.