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'Militia Threats' Force State Capitol to Shut Down

It all stems from a cap-and-trade climate bill
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2019 9:30 AM CDT
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In this file photo, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to reporters in front of pictures of previous state governors in Salem, Ore.   (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)
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(Newser) – Oregon's state capitol is closed Saturday, and it's no holiday. State senators say they made the move after getting threats from militia groups opposed to a cap-and-trade climate bill, the Washington Post reports. State Senate President Peter Courtney announced the shutdown Friday: "The Oregon State Police have advised us that there might be a militia threat tomorrow, so the Capitol building will be closed," his spokeswoman told the Willamette Week. "We don't have any details beyond that one." This after eleven Republican senators fled the state Thursday to prevent the Democrat-led legislature from making quorum and passing the bill. Gov. Kate Brown then sent state police to haul in the missing lawmakers, but none have yet returned.

Then local Republicans planned to protest at the Capitol on Saturday with lawmakers there, and militia groups threatened to take part, which led to the shutdown, per the AP. Tensions rose further when State Sen. Brian Boquist, a Republican, told state police to "send bachelors and come heavily armed" when they try rounding him up. Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, also a Democrat, didn't take that lightly: "His comments have created fear among employees in our workplace," they said in a statement. The proposed bill would greatly lower fossil fuel emissions by 2050, but opponents say it would raise fuel costs, hurting loggers, truckers, and small businesses. (Read more climate change stories.)

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