Senate Republicans have been absent for five days from Oregon’s capitol in Salem to deny Democrats quorum to pass a bill that would put a cap on carbon emissions. Many of the Republican deserters are hiding out across Oregon state lines, which means that Oregon police are not able to retrieve them.
No, this isn’t the plot to the next wacky Coen Brothers film—this is happening in real life.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Senators Cliff Bentz (Ontario, Ore.) and Tim Knopp (Bend, Ore.) have been living on the lam in Idaho.
Bentz claimed that since going into hiding, the Republican Senator has changed hotels twice, and has even bought a burner phone to throw the heat off of his trail. He also stated that he would be willing to stay in Idaho for months if necessary.
Senator Knopp originally traveled to Washington to go into hiding, but figured that Democratic Governor Jay Inslee wouldn’t be too keen on providing shelter. “What better way to energize that campaign than to return intransigent Republicans so they can vote on climate change?” he told the WSJ. “I was like, I’ve got to get out of here.”
Since leaving Washington, Knopp has settled down in Idaho for the time being, and is keeping up on Senate activities by watching on his iPad.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has been fining each missing Senator $500 for every day they are absent from the Legislature, but that is that most she can do, as Oregon law enforcement doesn’t have the jurisdiction to go find them. The police force in Idaho, a Republican-controlled state, has said that they will not help search for the Senators, stating that they have not yet broken any laws.