Issues

The Oregon SystemEver since Oregon introduced the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall — aka "The Oregon System" — the General Election ballot has typically been quite full, what with candidates for elective offices in several different government jurisdictions accompanied by often-contentious issues to decide. While recalls almost always lead to special elections at which voters decide whether or not to remove an official from office and/or replace said official, issues presented to us through initiative petition or referendum (from legislature or through petition), almost always appear on the General Election ballot.

On this year's General Election ballot will appear seven measures on which voters will make decisions. Two of the measures were referred to the public by the Legislature because the Oregon Constitution requires the public to approve all amendments to it. One of the measures was a law passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor but reaches the ballot because a sufficient number of voters signed a petition demanding a public vote to decide its ultimate fate. The remaining four measures are initiatives proposed by citizens without the "benefit" of the "normal" legislative process. While the Marion County Republican Central Committee has formally declared its position on two of the seven measures, one should be able to come to a reasonable limited-government, conservative Republican position on the other five without too much difficulty.

Saving for collegeMeasure 86 — This is a referral of SJR1 (2014), which seeks authorization to float general obligation bonds to fund a state-administered endowment to provide financial assistance to Oregon residents pursuing a post-secondary education. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler is heavily promoting the measure; there is also a PAC-supported Facebook community. There is no organized opposition. In deciding how to vote on this question, ask yourself if you really want the State of Oregon to enter into a new arrangement with itself just so it can dig ever deeper into the pockets of every Oregon taxpayer.

Moonlighting judge?Measure 87 — Because the Oregon Constitution currently prohibits any individual from being employed simultaneously by multiple branches of government and forbids state court judges from receiving compensation for military service while on the bench, the Legislature passed SJR 203 (2014) to amend the Constitution by repealing those two provisions. There is no organized support or opposition to this measure. In deciding how you will vote, ask yourself if you really want state court judges, supposedly already overworked, to go out moonlighting in a second job.

Don't drive illegallyMeasure 88 — As soon as the governor signed SB 833 (2013) into law, Oregonians For Immigration Reform and allied groups, including Marion County Republicans, jumped into action to gather signatures on a petition to refer the law to Oregon voters so they would repeal it. The Marion County Central Committee officially urges all voters to vote "NO" on Measure 88. Measure supporters (Yes on Safe Roads PAC) have their website. In addition to the OFIR site linked above, opponents have organized the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses PAC. Vote NO to repeal this bad law.

The Undead ERAMeasure 89 — Perhaps buoyed by the legal successes of LBGTQ factions and considering that Oregon ratified the proposed federal amendment in 1973, aging feminists have reconstituted their crusade to insert language into Oregon's constitution barring state government bodies from denying or abridging equality of rights on account of one's sex. Really? Oregon voters rejected a similar measure in 1994 but the Secretary of State certified the second-highest number of signatures of all four initiatives qualifying this cycle. There are no online resources for either side.

Primary ballotsMeasure 90 — The Marion County Republican Central Committee, Oregon Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians all oppose this measure. For anyone active in and loyal to one's party and the principles on which it stands, opposing this unified primary proposal is a no-brainer. Supporters cynically say that adoption of it will increase both voter and candidate participation while ignoring epic failures in both Washington and California this year. Supporters are all out on this: website, Facebook, and Twitter. Be sure to visit our coalition website, join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Marijuana leafMeasure 91 — Who could not have guessed that approval of 2012's medical marijuana measure would lead to this one asking us to take the next step: recreational use? It appears that any opposition is "up in smoke". Those urging for the decriminalization of marijuana have for years claimed that the State could benefit through regulating all aspects of production and distribution, not to mention the taxes and fees it would collect. Update: Although somewhat late to the game, strong opposition has organized around law enforcement and addiction prevention groups. There is still hope.

GMO labelingMeasure 92 — Garnering the highest number of signatures to qualify for the ballot, this measure hits a really hot button in Oregon. Even though food producers extensively test seeds to derive the greatest benefit, purveyors of GMO myths continue to scare the public into believing they are being poisoned to death. When asked about the person who might die as a result of an allergic reaction to an engineered food product, one should reply, "What about the vast number of children who had a meal only because of an engineered food product?" Oregon's version of the national "GMO — Right to Know" campaign supports the measure and has the only online resource. The No on 92 Coalition has more recently formed to oppose the measure.


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