Sen. Lynn Findley, center, stands with Cheryl Cruson (left), Treasure Valley Community College board chair, and board member, Betty Carter (right). (The Enterprise File)

VALE – A Mount Vernon man has launched a petition to recall state Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale.

Patrick Hales said he hasn’t started to collect signatures yet but decided to be the chief petitioner for the recall effort because of two actions by Findley. The state Elections Division has not approved the petition for circulation yet.

Hales said he believes Findley should have done more to resist Senate Bill 554, a contentious gun bill that requires the owners to secure weapons with a trigger or cable lock, inside a locked container or a gun room.

Hales believes Findley should have walked out of the Senate during the debate of the bill, helping deprive the chamber of the necessary quorum to debate the measure. Hales said he believes Findley tacitly supported the bill by staying for the debate.

Hales said a second reason he wants to recall Findley is because of Senate Bill 865. That would make it illegal for a person to serve as a legislator and also serve as an officer of a state political party. Senate Bill 865 appeared to be aimed at two lawmakers – state Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Myrtle Creek, and Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls.

Heard is the current chair of the Oregon Republican Party while Linthicum is the party’s treasurer.

In an interview last week, Hales explained that the gun legislation was the most egregious issue.

Hales said gun law, which passed the Senate 17-7 and has been signed into law by Gov. Kate Brown, represents a “patchwork” of laws aimed to restrict Oregonians’ right to keep arms.

“I wanted Sen. Findley to walk out, and he didn’t. These patchwork kinds of laws are doing everything to limit our Second Amendment rights,” said Hales.

The Oregon Firearms Federation also criticized Findley and other GOP lawmakers regarding the bill.

“The Republican senators who stayed on the floor for the vote on SB 554 were the servile enablers of their Democrat overlords,” the organization said on its website.

Findley said he argued against the legislation for an hour on the Senate floor and then voted against it.

“I absolutely don’t agree with it and a majority of my constituents don’t,” said Findley.

Findley said he was aware of the recall petition. However, he said he is concentrating on the legislative session which is set to end June 28.

“At this time, I will focus on what I was elected to do. There is a lot of stuff to do, and this is a distraction, and I won’t be distracted,” said Findley.

Findley said there are several major bills still to be debated before lawmakers leave Salem.

“There is work to do on the budget, major policy bills, a major energy bill. There are multiple things. There is a lot of stuff that is moving that is very, very important to Oregonians,” said Findley.

Findley said he joined with state Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, to introduce Senate Bill 865 at the request of constituents.

“It became a distraction. It was the focus point of way too many things. We needed to pull the bill and we did that,” said Findley.

Hales, a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran from Seneca, said he is a Libertarian but otherwise unaffiliated with any political groups. Hales said his intent with his recall petition is clear.

“At the very least it is putting notice in that we are watching and paying attention, and this is important to us,” said Hales.

Hales must get 8,289 valid signatures from voters in Senate District 30 – which includes Baker, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Malheur and Wheeler counties along with portions of Deschutes, Lake and Wasco counties – by Sept. 13.

According to Aaron Fiedler, press secretary at the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, if at least 8,289 signatures are submitted, the Elections Division has 10 days to complete the verification process.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] 

Previous coverage:

Legislators lash out at governor's new mandates on Malheur County businesses

The road is a second home for Vale's Findley

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