OR appeals court says lawmakers must testify

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Although the Oregon constitution protects state lawmakers from being sued for what they say in the heat of debate, an appeals court says they can be ordered to testify on other matters related to governing.

The decision Wednesday means Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem and former House Speaker Dave Hunt of Gladstone can be compelled to testify in a case involving six anti-war protesters. They were arrested in January 2009 during an all-night vigil on the Capitol steps.

The Oregonian reports (http://is.gd/5tGz5V ) Courtney and Hunt helped rewrite the rules on overnight demonstrations, but they refused to testify in the trespass case.

Lawyers for the demonstrators say the rules were changed to stifle speech the leaders didn’t like.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com