SALEM — The stalemate between Republicans and Democrats in the Oregon Senate continued Monday morning.
No resolution was publicly apparent, as Republicans continue their protest of House Bill 2020, which would establish a market system to cap the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
They contend the bill could economically harm the rural communities they represent.
Democratic Senators met briefly both Monday and Sunday morning, after canceling an expected meeting Saturday due to what legislative leaders were told was a “credible threat” from a militia group.
Oregon State Police did not release details about the alleged threat, but Tim Fox, OSP public information officer, said they monitored all available policing and intelligence sources.
Fox said the warning came after OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton’s review of information that together “indicated the safety of legislators, staff and citizen visitors could be compromised if certain threatened behaviors were realized.”
Dallas resident Gene Henshaw attended a protest at the State Capitol on Sunday.
“There was no militia,” Henshaw said. “It was all very respectful and congenial.”
People lined the street and gathered on the steps, he said.
“It was very peaceful,” Henshaw said.
The main purpose of the event, Henshaw said, was voice their opinion to let voters vote on the cap and trade issue.
Henshaw added there “were plenty of state troopers” but nobody protested against them.
“Everybody was in good spirits,” Henshaw said. “Nobody was getting evil and mad. They were just trying to get a message across.”
Henshaw said he participated on Sunday because of “the serious effect” the cap and trade bill will have on agriculture.
“It’s important folks in rural Oregon had a say,” Henshaw said. “We’re in the minority, as far as political power. We don’t get as much clout as some others do. I thought it was important to lend a voice to that cause.”
The Senate’s 11 Republicans reportedly remain out of the state.
There are 18 Democrats, all of whom were present Monday, but the Senate needs 20 members to meet.
Gov. Kate Brown has asked OSP to track down wayward Republicans so that the Senate could meet and vote on the greenhouse gas bill.
State troopers can’t collect the senators once they’ve crossed the state’s borders, but the State Police said last week said they were using “out of state resources” without elaborating.
Republicans said Sunday that they’re holding firm.
“My caucus and I continue to stand firm and remain out of the state,” said Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., of Grants Pass, in a written statement. “We are working for our constituents and all Oregonians. Thank you to everyone who has expressed support.”
The House and Senate passed what’s called a “continuing resolution,” which will fund state government at current levels until Sept. 15 if they’re unable to pass the rest of their budgets by the legislative deadline of June 30 — when state lawmakers must pack up and go home.
Brown plans to sign that bill, according to her office.
Itemizer-Observer reporter Audrey Caro contributed to this story.