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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Rory McCanuck's Avatar
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    Why a group of US state senators are being hunted by police

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48737711

    Why a group of US state senators are being hunted by police

    23 June 2019


    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".

    Climate change: where we are in seven charts
    Final call to stop 'climate catastrophe'

    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."
    Skip Twitter post by @tammyNOonHB3063

    @ORSenateRs @SenateRsHiding @Oregon_GOP @marioncogop 🙌🏻🙌🏻 #IStandWithSenateRs #Oregon11 #HB2020 #orpol pic.twitter.com/AscIWEoGoz
    Tammy Bennett (@tammyNOonHB3063) June 23, 2019

    Report

    End of Twitter post by @tammyNOonHB3063

    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.
    Don't blame me, I didn't vote for that clown. Oct 20, '15

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  3. #2
    Senior Member RangeBob's Avatar
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    So that's a republican controlled 'democratic controlled senate'.

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    Even though it’s just a political stunt, I say Good for them for trying to force a public vote.
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

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  7. #4
    Go Canucks Go! lone-wolf's Avatar
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    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.
    The internet loves him

    sendbachelors.png
    the wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept

    Aptet aut mori

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lone-wolf View Post
    The internet loves him

    sendbachelors.png
    I would argue that’s a pretty irresponsible thing for a law maker to say to the media about a group of people only trying to do their job.
    It puts the police in a tough position, allow someone to make threats on the lives of their officers (and do nothing), or go make the confrontation and have things escalate to killings.
    What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787

  10. #6
    Senior Member RangeBob's Avatar
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    In Canada, police can't stop an MP on the way to a vote.
    But I don't think that Canada has a law that talks about police fetching an MP to a vote. Indeed, I'd suspect that other laws would cause the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalPost
    state police have been given authorisation to track them down.
    On what grounds?
    What law is broken by not showing up for work?
    Are senators an emergency service, legally not entitled to represent/strike, if someone has declared a "Climate Emergency" ?

  11. #7
    Go Canucks Go! lone-wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingerguy View Post
    I would argue that’s a pretty irresponsible thing for a law maker to say to the media about a group of people only trying to do their job.
    It puts the police in a tough position, allow someone to make threats on the lives of their officers (and do nothing), or go make the confrontation and have things escalate to killings.
    How about another politician wanting to use the police as weapons against their fellow politicians?
    I think the representative's response to the threat was appropriate.
    "just doing their job"
    They need to find a new job if being lackeys for the government and bringing violence to people's doorsteps isn't what they want to do.

    America was founded by people who shot at the cops.
    the wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept

    Aptet aut mori

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    Senior Member Doug_M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingerguy View Post
    It puts the police in a tough position, allow someone to make threats on the lives of their officers (and do nothing), or go make the confrontation and have things escalate to killings.
    Is there a law the Republican Senators are breaking that warrants arrest? If not the police should be telling the Democrat Senators to stuff it. If so it'd be all over the news.
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  15. #9
    Canadian ForcesMember Billythreefeathers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingerguy View Post
    I would argue that’s a pretty irresponsible thing for a law maker to say to the media about a group of people only trying to do their job.
    It puts the police in a tough position, allow someone to make threats on the lives of their officers (and do nothing), or go make the confrontation and have things escalate to killings.
    disagree,,, he is simply stating that he will not become a political prisoner in his state,, he is a free man

    the police should do absolutely nothing ,,, why would they, this is a political battle not a rioting looting mob of old men and ladies who happen to be Senate Republicans

    let the governor come and drag him back to the capital if he wants him so badly
    CSSA

  16. #10
    Senior Member Battle Beaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swingerguy View Post
    I would argue that’s a pretty irresponsible thing for a law maker to say to the media about a group of people only trying to do their job.
    It puts the police in a tough position, allow someone to make threats on the lives of their officers (and do nothing), or go make the confrontation and have things escalate to killings.
    I think it's pretty irresponsible for the Governor of the that state to send POLICE after people who fail to show up at their jobs. Normally a person not showing up for a job would be fired. But these are senators, voted in by the people. They can't be "fired" until the next election.

    I think the best thing to do is put this proposed legislation to a state wide ballot.
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