SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The sergeant at arms of the Oregon Senate has a new regular duty these days besides assuring protocol and decorum are followed by staffers and visitors: Searching the state Capitol for Republican senators who have been staying away and have brought the legislative body’s business to a halt.
The tactic by the minority Republicans is rare in Oregon, but has been used throughout history, sometimes creating comical scenes. Abraham Lincoln once leapt out of a window in an attempt to deny a quorum when he was a lawmaker in Illinois. In Washington three decades ago, U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Oregon) was carried feet first into the Senate chamber after Democrats ordered the arrest of Republican senators who were denying a quorum.
The Oregon standoff entered its fifth day Monday, caused by GOP senators’ anger at a bill that raises taxes on some businesses to fund education.