State lawmaker who opened Capitol doors stripped of duties

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek on Monday stripped a Republican state representative of his responsibilities and called for his resignation after he let rioters into the state Capitol during a special legislative session in December.

Security video shows Rep. Mike Nearman, of Independence, opening the door on Dec. 21 into the Oregon Capitol building, which was closed to the public because of the pandemic, during a session in which demonstrators, some armed, attacked authorities with bear spray, broke glass doors and called for the arrest of Gov. Kate Brown.

“Representative Nearman put every person in the Capitol in serious danger,” Kotek said in a news release. “As we tragically saw last week during the insurrection at the United States Capitol, the consequences could have been much worse had law enforcement not stepped in so quickly. I believe he should resign immediately.”

Kotek stripped Nearman of his committee assignments, rescinded his commission appointments, and will bill him $2,000 for damage done after he let people inside, according to the news release.

Nearman has agreed to forfeit a badge granting access to the Capitol, give 24-hours notice before arriving there, and not allow “non-authorized personnel” access to the building. Nearman read those terms on the House floor Monday afternoon, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Nearman is also the subject of a criminal investigation. One of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans, he was sworn in for his fourth term Monday.

He did not immediately respond to a email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The Legislative session officially begins Jan. 19.

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