Shit is really getting wild in Oregon (and, I guess, directly outside of it). Last Thursday, 11 Republicans in the state senate managed to help kill a historic carbon emissions cap-and-trade bill by staging a walkout, making it impossible for the legislative body to vote on it. Now the bill is dead—in the end, state Democrats said they wouldn’t even have enough votes to pass it, with or without the 11 walkouts—but the Republicans are still hiding out from the state police the governor sent to track them down.
According to CBS News, it’s unclear whether the Republican state senators will bother returning to the state capital before the end of the legislative session on June 30. ABC News reports that the other state senators don’t even know where their cowardly counterparts are right now:
“We’ve heard rumors all over the place,” Rick Osborn, the communications director for the Oregon Senate Majority office, said of the Republicans whereabouts. “We’ve heard Idaho. We’ve heard Montana. We’ve heard Washington. I think I heard about somebody in California. I don’t know if they’re together or separate but they appear to be out of the state.”
Governor Kate Brown deployed state police last week, but so far the search has been unsuccessful. This means there are dozens of bills that still need to be voted on, including a new business tax for education bill that will cost Oregon’s K-12 school budget $266 million if the vote on it is postponed, per the Oregonian.
That bill is reportedly one of the reasons Republicans haven’t returned to the state senate, as they’re pushing for Democrats to delay that vote until November 2020, punching that aforementioned hole in the public school budget. Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger told the Oregonian his caucus was not trying to delay that bill, but, you know, no one’s showing up to work. So, now Oregon’s Republican state senators have presumably held not one bill hostage this year, but a grand total of three, having staged a similar walkout over an education bill in April. Your tax dollars at work, folks.