Boquist conduct hearings stoke partisan tension even after session ends
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
The acrimony in the Legislature has continued after session’s end, threatening the bipartisan support necessary to build on this year’s education achievements.
On July 8, the Senate Special Committee on Conduct held a hearing on allegations against Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas. He attended the hearing and informed committee members that he had filed a lawsuit against the Senate, saying, “I look forward to seeing you all in court.” It appears that the strained relationship between Senate minority Republicans and Democratic leadership will continue well into the legislative interim.
“If you send the state police to get me, hell is coming to visit you personally” Boquist told Senate President Peter Courtney in a June 19 floor speech.
After Gov. Kate Brown said she might send Oregon State Police to bring back Senate Republicans, Boquist told KGW: “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
The statements could be considered legislative branch personnel policy violations, and the Senate Conduct Committee has been convened to deal with the fallout.
Boquist is not backing down. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the Senate, at the direction of Courtney, was going to send invoices to senators who walked out. Boquist reportedly sent Courtney a check for $3,500 to cover the invoice so that he could take the issue to court.
For education advocates and school board members, this news is not good.
The 2019 legislative session represents the best session for public education in decades, and the Student Success Act promises to provide much-needed funding and accountability for our schools and students. This fighting between Republican and Democratic senators poisons the dialogue and makes finding consensus much more challenging.
We need consensus because Republican or Democrat, every Senate district contains at least one school district. Most contain many. School district issues will languish and students will suffer if legislators cannot be in the same room to work together to solve the state’s problems.