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Utopia Talk / Politics / Is this it? Will the war begin now?
Sun Jun 23 16:10:27
Why a group of US state senators are being hunted by police

Eleven Republican senators from the state of Oregon are in hiding.

They walked out of Salem's Capitol building on Thursday and state police have been given authorisation to track them down.
This bizarre series of events has unfolded amid a deep rift between the state's rival parties.

Oregon's Democrats, who have a clear Senate majority, want to pass landmark climate change legislation. Local Republicans have fled to stop that happening.

This weekend, the state capitol had to shut down altogether amid apparent security threats from militia groups.

Why did the politicians flee?

Oregon Democrats are trying to become the second US state to pass an ambitious "cap and trade" climate plan.

House Bill 2020 would set overall limits on state carbon emissions, with permits or allowances auctioned off to polluting industries.

The plan aims to encourage businesses to switch to green technology, with the goal of slashing emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Under it, petrol and diesel prices are expected to go up. Republicans say these changes will disproportionally affect rural Oregonians, like farm workers and loggers. They argue the plan should be referred to a state-wide ballot so "every Oregonian has a voice".

Democrats hold 18 of the 30 seats in the state senate, but 20 senators have to be present for a vote to take place.

On Thursday, the 11 Republicans who currently hold seats failed to show up for floor proceedings after negotiations broke down, blocking the legislation's progress.

Democratic Governor Kate Brown then authorised state police to try to locate them.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their back on their constituents who they are honour-bound to represent here in this building," she said in a statement. "They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do."

The Republicans released a statement explaining their walkout.

"Oregonians deserve better. It's time for the majority party to consider all Oregonians - not just the ones in Portland," Senate Republican Leader Herman Baerschiger Jr said regarding the rural-city divide.

This is the second time they have recently walked out - winning concessions on gun and vaccination laws after another incident last month.

Other boycotts have also been known to happen elsewhere, including by Wisconsin Democrats in 2011.

Where are the senators now?

They are rumoured to have fled into neighbouring Idaho - where police are not authorised to look for them.

The current legislative session is due to end on 30 June and the Republican whip has said they will "run out the clock" on it "until this storm of false narratives and intimidation passes".

Before the walkout, Democrats had already said they would be willing to use police to try to force absent Republicans to come back.

One lawmaker, Brian Boquist, responded angrily. Speaking to a local news outlet on Wednesday, he said police should "send bachelors and come heavily armed" if they were to try to arrest him.

"I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple," he said.

His comments were condemned by Democrats who said "threats like these are unacceptable".

The senators are being ordered to pay $500 (£390) each for every day they are absent. An online fundraiser to pay their fines has so far raised almost $38,000 (£30,000) as of Sunday.
What has the reaction been?

State Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, said police had established a possible militia threat and recommended the closure of the Capitol on Saturday.

Another Democratic lawmaker, Sara Gelser, tweeted that they had been notified "we were physically in danger".

Self-described "patriot" groups had reportedly planned a two-day "Rally to Take the Capitol" event on Facebook for the weekend.

Online comments by members of militia groups also pledged to provide armed security and escorts to the Republicans, US media report.

It's not the first time that militias and libertarians in the state have made headlines. In 2016, a militia group was involved in a stand-off with federal agents for weeks at an Oregon wildlife refuge.

In recent days, the @Oregon_GOP Twitter account has been mocking the militia claims and sharing content from protests and locals who support their walkout.

But with the Republicans still in hiding, the rift shows no sign of ending any time soon.


What a third-world shithole.
the wanderer
Sun Jun 23 16:14:34
the Republicans should be imprisoned

indefensible behavior
Sun Jun 23 16:34:08
How much would gas go up? Rural citizens dont make what urbanites do.
the wanderer
Sun Jun 23 16:45:32
Brian Boquist should just be shot... threatening lethal violence over having to do his job
Sun Jun 23 18:27:04
Rural citizens also pay a fraction of housing costs (and thus property tax) vs. urbanites.
Sun Jun 23 22:37:45
tw the shill at it again - ignoring that Democrats have done the same in the past without massive overreaction.
Sun Jun 23 22:38:47
Republicans make a last stand based on science-denial.

Rugian and Sam would be proud.
the wanderer
Sun Jun 23 23:42:27
there's no massive overreaction, these dissidents have hijacked gov't to impose minority rule

they deserve a visit from law & order
Mon Jun 24 01:01:37
What would happen to you if you didn’t show up for work? Yes you would get fired. If these senators refuse to do their job that they are being paid to do, they should get fired and the state capitol should just continue on without them.
Mon Jun 24 01:07:18
”Oregon's Democrats, who have a clear Senate majority, want to pass landmark climate change legislation. Local Republicans have fled to stop that happening.

This weekend, the state capitol had to shut down altogether amid apparent security threats from militia groups. ”

^ This is what defines a third world shithole.
Mon Jun 24 02:26:14
Boohoo tw. I'm sure you were shedding the same crocodile tears when minority Democrats pulled the same antics.

Because yeah, this is such a pressing bill that they can't wait for citizens to vote on the initiatives themselves, so they need the pigs to escort legislators to ram it through RIGHT NOW

Lulz tw, you're getting as bad as Cuckhat
the wanderer
Mon Jun 24 12:09:43
can they do it every bill? what's the cut-off? who's deciding?

also, making it a referendum to the public doesn't make it better, you just get a flood of misinformation then misled people voting
Sam Adams
Mon Jun 24 12:58:25
"to impose minority rule"

Which is worse than rule by a distant out of touch liberal city?
Mon Jun 24 13:02:30
Massive cap and trade legislation is not "every bill", and it clearly hasn't been been used for "every bill", just a handful of times over the past two decades.

"making it a referendum to the public doesn't make it better, you just get a flood of misinformation then misled people voting"

Jesus, dude. Your descent into utter madness is honestly kind of terrifying.
the wanderer
Mon Jun 24 13:14:12
so ignore it & hope they don't abuse it too much?

also, what are you disagreeing w/ about a referendum on a controversial issue? literally every ad will be deliberately misleading... just like every political ad ever

and we are in an age of particularly high misinformation spreading
Mon Jun 24 13:53:57
Or change the rules regarding quorum. It was never a high-priority issue until the governor mobilized the police to force legislators to come back.

Also, it's hilarious that you think this issue should be decided by 18 people instead of the populace because of mUh fAkE nEwS...knowing that the legislators in question are the product of the same populace.
Mon Jun 24 15:24:21
That kinda ignores that politicians generally have staff that can actually research legislative proposals to get at least a somewhat neutral opinion on the matter. How many regular citizens would bother to do any research whatsoever?
large member
Mon Jun 24 15:39:09
There are inherent safeguards in representative democracy that are bypassed when using plebiscite rule.
Mon Jun 24 15:45:48
And yet we still have politicians spouting off about women shutting down rape pregnancies and ghost gun .30-caliber clips.

Cap and trade is a fairly simple issue, but it has broad effects, and the economic impact is much greater to a logger than to a programmer. In any case, it seems that the staffed legislators have already made up their minds.
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