A group of state senators in Oregon have gone on the run to try to block climate change legislation in the state. And now the Governor has tasked the police to track them down.
The rules of the Oregon State Senate require that 20 members are present to vote on legislation. The Democrats currently hold a majority – 18 of 30 seats – but are still at risk from a lack of voting quorum. And that is what has happened in the case of legislation aimed at combatting climate change, which the Republicans oppose.
With the annual session due to expire on June 30th and any bill not passed by then automatically falling, the missing legislators have vowed to stay away. Police don’t have the power to follow them to Idaho where they are believed to be staying.
However, there is more to the story than this. There are several other key votes – including funding for key state agencies – which also have to be taken before the session runs out.
So the President of the State Senate – a Democrat – has announced that he believes the climate change bill is dead in the water and has urged Republicans to return to vote on other measures. Some Democrats have also indicated they might not fully support the proposed cap and trade measures and so there may be a chance for Republicans to vote down the bill. Republicans, however, smell a trap and are still in hiding.