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Nuclear disarmament passes Senate without Republican votes

Senators take a break from PERS, the budget, education reform and other pressing state issues to tackle non-binding A bomb measure.

COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE - "Urging Congress to lead global effort to reduce threat of nuclear war" — sounds like something every legislator in Oregon can get behind, doesn't it?

However, they say the devil is in the details, and the symbolic statement ended up passing the Oregon Senate without any Republican support on Monday.

Republicans objected to language in Senate Joint Memorial 5 about eliminating nuclear weapons altogether.

"I'm not pro-war, but to abandon nuclear weapons is suicide in this world," Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, said.

The legislation, which is non-binding and would serve only as an official statement from the Oregon Legislature if it were to pass, states that "nuclear weapons pose a threat simply by existing," describes the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington as "a nuclear sacrifice zone that threatens the health and environment of our region," and urges Congress to cancel plans to build new nuclear weapons and to instead press for "a verifiable and multilateral agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals."

"In order to survive climate change and pursue social justice, we will need our brightest scientific minds and limited resources to no longer be squandered on weapons," it adds.

Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr., R-Grants Pass, quoted the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur's remarks on "the crucible of war" and how to achieve peace.

"If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door," said MacArthur, who famously suggested using nuclear weapons to cripple Communist forces during the Korean War.

"Those words still describe our situation on this planet, because we have not devised some greater and more equitable system," Baertschiger said.

All Democrats present voted in favor of SJM 5. All Republicans present voted against it. It passed 16-10 and now goes to the House for consideration.

SJM 5 was requested by Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.