VIDEO: Oregon Republicans walk out on state Senate over climate change bill, governor threatens police roundup


Republican state senators in Oregon continued to engage in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship over the weekend with Democratic lawmakers, remaining away from the capitol and threatening a lawsuit over a $500-per-day fine from the Senate president. At the center of the debate is a climate change bill.

Eleven Republican senators fled the Legislature — and in some cases, the state — to thwart the passage of a cap-and-trade proposal that would dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The minority GOP caucus wants the plan to be sent to voters instead of being instituted by lawmakers — but negotiations with Democrats collapsed, leading to a headline-grabbing walkout.

The article goes on to state the following:

Portland, Oregon, affiliate KOIN-TV reported a Sunday morning Senate session promptly adjourned because only 18 members showed up, as 11 Republican senators are still not participating. The Oregon State Senate is made up of 30 senators: 18 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Republican Jackie Winters died last month and has not yet been replaced.

Because the Republican walkout has prevented the 20 senator quorum in the Senate, laws cannot be passed in a legislative session scheduled by law to end on June 30.

In a dramatic move on Thursday, Governor Kate Brown authorized the state police to round up and bring back the missing state senators. According to KOIN-TV, Brown said she will call a special session if Republicans “run out the clock.”

Carol Currie, a spokeswoman for Senate President Peter Courtney, confirmed that each missing senator was hit with a $500 fine Friday morning, which will be renewed each day they continue to delay a vote. She said in an email that “they will receive a bill for the amount owed.”

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