A landmark piece of climate change legislation that stalled after Republican senators fled to Idaho to avoid a roll call is likely dead, the top Democrat in the Oregon Senate said Tuesday.
But despite the Republicans’ stunt, the Senate president said it was his own party that did not have the votes to pass the sweeping legislation. It appears Republicans high-tailing it to the hills with police in pursuit are more organized than Democrats who actually show up to work.
“What I’m about to say, I say of my own free will. No one has told me to say this,” said Democratic Oregon Senate President and possible hostage Peter Courtney, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. “House Bill 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor. That will not change.”
Gov. Kate Brown, who last week ordered state police to track down missing Republicans, also conceded Tuesday that the legislation was dead, but she blamed Republicans for blocking 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.”
Climate activists turned their backs on Courtney as he spoke on the Senate floor. Democrats who supported the law appeared frustrated and even “livid” with Courtney’s declaration, OPB reported. They wouldn’t even speak to reporters.