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Oregon Governor: Trump Seeking To Provoke Violence With Portland Arrests

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is up in arms after camouflaged federal agents were discovered to be patrolling the streets of Portland, inciting violence and abducting protesters in what she described as a naked attempt by the Trump administration to provoke violence for political gain.

"Trump is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa," Brown, a Democrat, tweeted Thursday night. She accused Donald Trump and his administration of seeking to portray racial justice protests as dangerous uprisings to help get his base out to the polls.

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Oregon Senate Republicans Literally Hiding From Climate Bill Vote

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.

Oregon Governor Blasts Federal Response To Refuge Standoff

(Reuters) — Oregon’s governor blasted the federal government’s response to the occupation of a wildlife refuge by a group of armed men saying the situation was “absolutely intolerable” and costing the state about $100,000 a week.

Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said she had been asked by federal officials to limit her public comments about the protest which began on Jan. 2 at the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and that she had no wish to escalate the situation.

“But I will say this … The situation is absolutely intolerable and it must be must be resolved immediately. The very fabric of this community is being ripped apart,” Brown said on Wednesday at a news conference.

“The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and under-served by federal officials’ response thus far.”

The takeover at Malheur was the latest flare-up in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over the U.S. government’s control of millions acres of land in the West.

The occupiers have declared their move is in support of two local ranchers who were returned to prison this month for setting fires that spread to federal land. The ranchers’ lawyer has said the occupiers do not speak for the family.

Law enforcement officials have so far kept their distance from the buildings at the refuge, 30 miles (48 km) south of the small town of Burns in rural southeast Oregon’s Harney County, in the hope of avoiding a violent confrontation.

One of the occupiers was arrested last week after he drove a government vehicle to a local supermarket.

Brown called the situation a “spectacle of lawlessness” which must end and said she had conveyed her very grave concerns to the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House.

“Federal authorities must move quickly to end the occupation and hold all of the wrongdoers accountable,” the governor said. “And until Harney County is free of it, I will not stop insisting that federal officials enforce the law.”

The chair of the local Native American tribe has also called on the federal government to remove the occupiers.

Brown said the standoff was costing Oregon about $100,000 per week, mostly in additional law enforcement costs, and that she has asked her finance officials to “scour the budget” so they could subsidize the expense to Harney County.

“We will be asking federal officials to reimburse the state for these costs,” she said.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by Alan Crosby)

Photo: Occupier Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Oregon Enacts The Nation’s First Automatic Voter Registration

By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

SEATTLE — Oregon, which 15 years ago held the first presidential election conducted totally by mail, built on its history as a ballot box innovator when Governor Kate Brown signed a bill this week enacting automatic voter registration for all eligible citizens.

As secretary of State, Brown championed what she called “New Motor Voter,” a first-in-the-nation bill to register all Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card. Those provisional voters will be notified by mail and given 21 days to opt out.

“It was my top priority,” she said Monday as she signed the legislation. “And I am thrilled that I am about to sign this into law as governor. … Virtually every eligible Oregonian will be able to have their voice be heard.”

The secretary of State’s office estimates that the new law will add around 300,000 voters to the rolls; currently about 2.2 million voters are registered in the state, according to the Oregonian newspaper.

Brown said that the new law will modernize how the Department of Motor Vehicles and the secretary of state’s office function.

“During testimony on the bill, a legislator said to me, ‘It’s already so easy to register, why would we make it easier?'” recounted Brown, who was sworn in as governor a month ago, after John Kitzhaber resigned in disgrace. “My answer is that we have the tools to make voter registration more cost-effective, more secure and more convenient for Oregonians.

“Why wouldn’t we?”

Oregon’s push to register as many voters as possible goes back to 1981, when the state Assembly approved voting by mail for local elections, at the discretion of each county. In 1998, voters passed Ballot Measure 60, making Oregon the first state in the country to conduct state elections entirely by mail.

The secretary of State’s website explains why, with a photograph of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his view on the matter:

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Photo: Rob Boudon via Flickr