Oregon Republican Senator Brian Boquist told police to be ready for a shootout if they attempt to enforce Democrat Governor Kate Brown’s order to compel his attendance for a contentious vote on climate-change legislation.
Democrats have a supermajority in the state legislature, but cannot approve a bill that would impose carbon caps in the name of combating climate change without at least the presence of Republican lawmakers. After days of heated debate, the GOP chose to boycott the vote, prompting Governor Brown to authorize Oregon State Police to round up the senators and force them to participate.
Oregon Republican Senator Brian Boquist was having none of it, telling a reporter in response to the governor’s threat that he would not be a political prisoner, and said the state troopers should prepare for a shootout.
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.
Boquist previously warned the governor that “hell is coming to visit you personally” if she issued the order to police. Some Republican lawmakers have reportedly left the state altogether.
Governor Brown released a statement on Thursday denouncing the GOP walkout and explained her decision to compel a quorum, or the minimum number of senators required for votes to go forward in the Oregon State Capitol.
“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” Brown said. “As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request.”
Brown added it was “absolutely unacceptable” that the lawmakers would “turn their backs on their constituents.”
The bill, which remains stalled due to the Republican walkout, would have implemented a cap and trade program to limit carbon emissions in the state, and allow companies to exchange emission “allowances.”
Update Friday 10:45: Republican senators were still absent Friday morning, extending their walkout from Senate floor sessions into a second day. It’s unclear how much negotiation is happening between Senate Democratic leadership and the absconded GOP.
Oregon state senator @BrianBoquistGOP said if R's walk out to stop a vote on Cap and Trade and @OregonGovBrown sends state police to bring him back, they should be single and well armed. Your take? pic.twitter.com/Fcu8NXXl8h
— Pat Dooris (@PatDooris) June 19, 2019