Gov. Brown sends police to find walkout GOP senators: ‘They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do’

KGW | 6/20/2019 | Staff
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SALEM, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday authorized Oregon State Police to round up GOP senators who have staged a walkout in protest of the cap-and-trade energy conservation bill.

"The Senate Republicans have decided to abandon their duty to serve their constituents and walk out," Brown said in a statement.

Senate - Republicans - Back - Constituents - Building

"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," she said. "They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”

In an awkward opening of the Senate, President Peter Courtney called it the "saddest day of my legislative life," to ask Brown to use troopers to find the senators. The Thursday Senate session began with only Democrats answering roll call.

Senators - State

No Republican senators have shown up and some even left the state.

"In a few moments, I will not be in Oregon,” Sen. Cliff Bentz of Ontario told The Oregonian just after 7 a.m.

Spokeswoman - Senate - Republicans - Members - State

A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans confirmed some members left the state because state police don't have jurisdiction outside Oregon. Oregon State Police can force any senators they track down in Oregon into a patrol car to return them to the Capitol.

OSP said Brown has authority under Oregon law to direct the agency to provide assistance with bringing back senators to the Capitol for quorum.

Democrats - Oregon - Control - House - Senate

Democrats in Oregon control both the House and the Senate. Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the chamber, but need 20 members present for a quorum.

“While we obviously have many tools at our disposal, patience and communication is and always will be our first, and preferred, option," OSP said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Legislators - Floor - Session - Friday - Money

The missing legislators will be fined $500 for each floor session they miss starting Friday, with the money taken from salary or...
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