Oregon state Senate President Peter Courtney (D) announced Tuesday that House Bill 2020, a plan to enact a cap-and-trade climate bill in Oregon, was dead for this session, and a few hours later, Gov. Kate Brown (D) confirmed the bill's demise. The Senate's 11 Republicans, who fled the state a week ago to stymie the legislation by denying the 18 Democrats a quorum, "have blocked a bill that provides a better future for our state and for our children, and the tactics they employed to do so are not just unacceptable, but dangerous," Brown said in a statement.
"Unfortunately the chaos and corruption of Washington, D.C., are coming to Oregon, my Oregon," Brown told The Washington Post. "Oregon government used to function. They literally shut down the legislative branch. Eleven people took their marbles and went home." Brown challenged the Republicans to "prove me wrong" by coming back to work so the Senate can consider the remaining 125 bills before the legislative session ends on Sunday. "Are they against climate change legislation or are they against democracy?" she asked. "If they are not back by Wednesday afternoon, we will know the answer."
Senate Republicans don't seem inclined to return. Sen. Herman Baertschiger (R), speaking over the phone from an "undisclosed location" in Idaho, told reporters "it saddens me that we have to do this," but "this session has been horrible. It has been anything but bipartisan." His caucus fled the Senate in May, too; after Democrats agreed to drop two bills, on gun control and vaccinations, Republicans agreed to return and stay until the end of the session. After they fled again, one senator, Brian Boquist (R), appeared to threaten to shoot any State Police officer who came to collect him, and right-wing paramilitary groups sided with the Republicans, leading to the Capitol shutting down on Saturday. Peter Weber