Furor in Oregon Senate over ban on coyote-killing contests

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Voices were raised and tears were shed in the Oregon Senate amid stinging talk over the divide between rural and urban Oregonians, and conservatives and liberals.

The catalyst for the anger on Wednesday: a bill banning coyote-killing contests, which happen in the sparsely populated, high desert of eastern Oregon. Republican lawmaker Dallas Heard declared the bill “is an assault on us.” Senate Republican leader Herman Baertschiger, Jr., said he wouldn’t tell his colleagues from Portland what to do about homeless people defecating on sidewalks.

When Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, asked the lawmaker to tone down his remarks for decorum’s sake, Baertschiger claimed his right to free speech was being violated.

The bill passed 17-12, sending it to the House.