Oregon's top lawmakers close the state capital after receiving threats from militia groups that the authorities say are planning to demonstrate there in support of the 11 Republican senators who fled the state to avoid a vote on the climate State Senate President Peter Courtney (D) told his colleagues on Friday that the Oregon State Police had informed him that there was a credible threat to him, the rest of the remaining senators – all of them are Democrats – and the building staff
"It was, of course, a credible threat because Sen. Courtney would not shut it down for no reason," Courtney's spokeswoman Carol Currie told The Washington Post.
The state police officer confirmed the danger in an emailed statement.  "We have monitored information during the day, indicating the safety of lawmakers, staff and citizen visits may be compromised if certain threatened acts were realized," wrote Ca pt. Timothy Fox.
Friday evening's threatening escalation was the latest in a bizarre feud between state democrats and republicans who have repeatedly collided times during this legislative meeting.
Early Thursday morning, every GOP senator, allegedly to the Idaho line, bowed rather than idiotically in the chamber as their opponents passed a sweeping coupon-and-trade bill. Gov. Kate Brown (D) responded by directing citizens to coral republicans and returning them to the state's house.
Democrats have a super majority in Oregon that gives them the rare opportunity to pass the law of their dreams – but without Republicans, they cannot achieve a quorum. No quorum, no voice. GOP senators said they had two options: Allow a bill to pass, they said would ruin their constituents, or run for it.
"We will not be bullied by the majority party anymore," Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, jr. Said in a Thursday conference. "Oregonians deserve better."
Critics of the cap-and-trade measure say it will increase fuel costs and have a disproportionate impact on truckers and loggers, many of whom live far from the state's largest cities.
The rift has become a proxy for the deeper division between the state's ultra-liberal city cloves and its scattered rural areas with proud libertarian stripes. Currie said she feared the militia groups that threatening action could be associated with the anti-state activists who led an armed occupation of a federal wildlife response in the state more than three years ago.
Led by Idaho rancher Ammon Bundy in 2016, a dozen rogue fighters t urned to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – a federal nature reserve established in 1908 – into a militia stronghold. They demonstrated their support for infamous ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father-son duo sentenced to five years in prison to save the government and set fire to federal land.
Bundys threatened to occupy the "year" reserve in protest. Their efforts lasted 41 days.
The news of the state's house closing on Friday called on the state Republican party to suggest that democratic leadership canceled the meeting out of "a fear that Republican voters might turn out."
Sen. Sara Gelser criticized the statement on Twitter and wrote that she and her colleagues "were informed that we were physically in danger."
"I will continue to show what voters sent me to do," she continued. "R is obliged to reject violent threats. I want all colleagues and employees to be safe no matter how they vote."
The alleged threat of the military groups was the second apparent mention of violence to state policy in recent days.
Sen. Brian Boquist, one of the Republicans currently on the lamb, sent a warning to the state police Wednesday.
"Send bachelors and came heavily armed," Boquist said. "I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple."
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