The bizarre saga coming out of the state of Oregon may finally be coming to an end after Republican lawmakers had the State Police sent after them by the liberal Democratic governor.
GOP senators refused to show up to the State Capitol building in Salem recently in protest of a massive climate bill say would have destroyed several of Oregon’s key industries — such as farming, trucking, and logging — through increased taxes and regulations. And citizens weren’t being given a chance to vote on it.
“It will probably put most of us out of business,” said logger Jon Golly.
In the Democrat-controlled Senate, they feared they’d have no chance to vote the bill down. By not showing up to work, they hoped to delay voting until a compromise could be worked out with Democrats.
Then Gov. Kate Brown sent the Oregon State Police after them. Knowing ahead of time that would happen, the Republican lawmakers fled, with some of them hiding out in neighboring Idaho. They planned to stay in hiding until the legislative session ended on June 30.
But with a couple days left, Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. (R-Grants Pass) returned to the Capitol and indicated that the rest of his party would follow in order to hold a weekend session with Democrats, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
Why? Because the Democratic leader of the Senate revealed that the climate bill didn’t have enough support from Democrats either to pass.
Some senators in hiding feared they were being lured into coming back to the Capitol as part of a trap, but Baertschiger assured them that, “The Senate president says it [H.B. 2020] will be dead, the governor says it will be dead, and members of the Democratic caucus will be voting ‘no.’”
“Finally this week, the governor called me, said she wants to talk to me, we have to resolve this,” the Republican leader said, according to The Oregonian. "And I came back to Oregon by myself.”
That spells a huge victory for Republicans and, at least, a short-term victory for the many truckers, loggers, farmers, and their supporters protesting outside the Capitol for days. Republicans will also be able to vote on other budget bills when they return for the final weekend of the session.
“Most of those [bills] are good,” Baertschiger said. “There are a handful of bills that we are having a conversation about, but I think that … those need an up-and-down vote.”