Kedrick Wills

Col. Kedrick Wills, director of the Idaho State Police, shown at the Idaho State Capitol on March 1, 2019.

After an Oregon state senator on the lam in Idaho — part of a group of 11 GOP senators trying to avoid a vote on a climate change bill by denying their Democratic counterparts a quorum back in Salem — claimed that Idaho Gov. Brad Little is protecting the runaway lawmakers here, the governor’s office indicated today that it’s made no such commitment. “Our office did not put out a comment on that,” said Marissa Morrison, Little’s press secretary, who referred the inquiry to the Idaho State Police.

ISP spokesman Tim Marsano provided this statement from ISP Director Col. Kedrick Wills: “Idaho State Police is not involved in the search for Oregon lawmakers, as these individuals are not suspected of breaking any Idaho laws.”

Asked if the ISP has received a request for help in apprehending the lawmakers from the Oregon State Police, Marsano said, “No.” Nor has ISP refused such a request, he said.

Asked about ISP's policies about responding to requests for assistance from other states' law enforcement agencies, Marsano said in an email, “ISP can arrest individuals who have outstanding warrants issued by a court in another state. That isn’t the situation here.”

Oregon Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, in a live interview with National Public Radio host Steve Inskeep early this morning, said, “All's I can say is that I am out of the state of Oregon in the state of Idaho. And we are in a protest against House Bill 2020, which is a carbon tax bill.”

When Inskeep asked him, “Out of the state of Oregon — so do you believe you are out of the long arm of the state police?” Knopp responded, “I have been told that they know where we are but we are out of their reach. And the governor of Idaho has said that they are not going to participate in bringing us back to Oregon.”

Morrison, who was with Little today in eastern Idaho on a grazing tour, said, “As for our office, the only thing I know is what ISP said, is that they’re not seeking the senators.”

The 11 GOP senators don’t want to vote on the bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gases in Oregon by 2050 by capping carbon emissions and requiring businesses to buy or trade for an ever-dwindling pool of pollution “allowances,” according to the Associated Press. Oregon would be the second state to enact such a law; California was the first. The minority Republicans don’t have the votes to stop the bill, but the presence of at least two of them is needed for a quorum so the Senate can convene and do business.

In addition to the carbon bill, the Salem Reporter reports that more than 60 bills that have passed the Oregon House are in limbo, including 29 co-sponsored or carried on the floor by Republicans; all will die if they don’t pass by a June 30 deadline.

Meanwhile, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, told the AP late Monday that the fleeing solons must return if they want to negotiate with her, saying, "To say that Republicans haven't had a seat at the table is hogwash, baloney and a lot of other things that I can't mention in polite company.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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