Senator Brian Boquist, R-Dallas seems to have threatened Oregon State Police with armed confrontation if they attempt to enforce Governor Brown’s order that Republican senators be returned to the state capitol. Boquist is among the Senators participating in Thursday’s Republican walkout.
“This is what I told the superintendent,” Boquist said, referring to OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton. “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.” The quote was taped by KGW television.
Senate Republicans fled the state capitol Thursday over cap and trade legislation that Democrats would have passed. By walking out, Republicans deny Democrats the minimum number of senators required to conduct legislative business, even though Democrats currently have a supermajority in the both houses of Oregon’s legislature.
In response, Governor Brown has ordered state police to sequester Republican Senators so business can be transacted. Absentee senators could also be fined $500 for each day away from their duties. Many Senate Republicans have fled the state, seeking to evade Oregon State Police jurisdiction.
Republicans also walked out in May over a $1 billion a year education bill. In that instance, Democrats traded with Republicans to get them back to the capitol. The exchange included Democrats giving up a gun control bill, and legislation that would have required children attending public schools to be vaccinated, regardless of parental philosophic objections. Democrats also pared down the funding for public schools as a further inducement to get Republicans back to their seats.
Later, after the education bill was finally passed, the Republicans disclosed they intended to throw the bill’s enactment into question – that they would gather signatures to force the matter into a general election ballot measure. The education bill is an integral part of fixing a shortfall in Oregon’s public employees retirement system, or PERS.