Tensions boiled over in the Oregon Capitol this week as Republican state senators vanished in an effort to delay a vote on a climate change bill they oppose. On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, ordered the state police to find them and bring them back.
It was only the latest chapter in a season of partisan division and frustration in the nation’s statehouses, where, for the first time in more than a century, all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party. In Oregon, where Democrats dominate both chambers, Republicans were unapologetic about their efforts to slow the state’s adoption of an emissions-reduction program by disappearing — and keeping the Democrats from having enough lawmakers present to call a vote.
Brian Boquist, one of the Republican senators who went missing, issued what sounded like a warning to any police officer who might try to arrest him.
“Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” Mr. Boquist said he told Travis Hampton, superintendent of the Oregon State Police. “I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.” [Continue reading…]