Do Emergency Sessions Subvert the Initiative Process?

With each passing day of the unconstitutional, twice-called “emergency” February legislative session, it becomes clearer it is taking place to promote biennial sessions. Beyond the urgency to deal with unlicensed counselors or therapists, I ask OregonCatalyst readers: Is legislation enacted during such “emergency” sessions immune from alteration or repeal by the initiative process?

This question pops to mind due to a disturbing trend that has developed in Washington. Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center highlights, Evergreen State Legislators are attaching emergency clauses to controversial, but non-emergency, legislation in order to eliminate the people’s right of referendum on that legislation. State lawmakers have routinely abused the exemption by attaching such a clause to more than 700 bills since 1997, including 75 during the 2007 legislative and special sessions.

Read Mercier’s report “Ending Abuse of the Emergency Clause: Restoring Our Right of Referendum“ to learn more about the subversive public servants to our north. Alos read the Feb. 8, 2008, page B1 Oregonian article, “Bill to ban unlicensed therapists advances.” You, like me, will wonder how a year ago, the Oregon legislative sages knew this issue would storm the state.

  • Jerry

    Of course the “emergency” session is an end-run around the state constitution and the initiative process. This is the primary reason these “politicians” are conducting the session.

    They are not to be trusted – from either party – not one bit.

    Something is VERY rotten in Salem.

  • rinowatch

    All you have to do is read the text of SCR1, the enabling bill for this Illegal session.


    Furthermore, my exchange with Rep. Dennis Richardson further clarifies that there actually is No Judicial oversight available to curtail the current ILLEGALLY operating legislature or for this Assault on the Oregon Constitution to happen again in the future.

    “”The constitutional language at issue in Kadderly (Article IV, section 1) allowed — and still allows — the Legislative Assembly to attach an emergency clause”….

    There is NO “Emergency Clause” in SCR1…..I rest my case (maybe…)

  • Jerry

    These people are very, very bad and the sooner we call come to realize this, vote them OUT, and get on with our lives the better off we will all be.

    There is no point trying to work with them – they abuse our sacred trust every day. Just get rid of them at the ballot box. In the meantime, hang on for a wild ride that will hurt Oregon more and more each passing day.

  • Steve Plunk

    When three southern Oregon legislators all admit there is no emergency and this is a “test drive” for annual sessions how can they claim it’s constitutional? There is no emergency and we all know it as well.

    To be honest we need help. We need some idea, some way of getting the message to the legislature that we are not happy about this. Our complaints have so far fallen on deaf ears so we need a new approach. Anyone? Anyone?

    • rinowatch

      Try this Steve,

      *Conservative Majority Project*


      • Anonymous

        Everybody should check it out. If you want sanity back in our government

  • Bill Sizemore

    I have half the signatures needed for a measure that fixes the problem. Larry Geore and I are sponsoring a measure that requires a three-fourths vote of the House and Senate to declare an emergency. That will end frivolous abuse of the emergency clause and end phony special sessions called by politicians who want to get around the constitution and meet every year.

    • rinowatch

      Here’s hoping your efforts on this don’t get suspended by the “Evil one”.


      Mr. Sizemore, I will sign that petition. Did you file the lawsuit you said you were going to about the new rules? or were you able to produce the records required under the new anti-initiative law initiated by the liberals?

    • dian

      Will that petition be on line. I haven’t seen one circulated here and I would love to sign it.

  • devietro

    The emergency clause is a real threat that gets abused all the time in many states. I am certainly not Sizemores biggest advocate but his initiative on this matter is a good one. Lets fix the system instead of complaining about it.

  • Friends of Meatpuppet

    I am sick of all of the politicians and armchair quarterbacks whine about the illegal session. If the democrats did or are doing something illegal then have them arrested or prosecuted. Stop crying about it and do something. Write them a ticket, throw them in jail, get an injunction from a wacky judge. Just stop crying about it. As far as the initiative process goes, well tough luck it is dead and processed to death. There are so many rules now that it takes a lawyer to follow the rules. Gonna cry about that now?

  • Don

    Only if they put an emergency clause on the bill does it void any referendum possibilities. Otherwise, the Oregon Constitution, which guarantees the right to refer a recently passed law to the voters, holds. That being said, most of the key laws in this BS session are that way, so…

  • Susan

    Remember that SCR1 was ruled invalid by the OR courts. They actual enabling document for this session was a call to an “emergency session” issued by Merkley and Courtney. It was that which the courts held was a valid basis for calling a session.

    • rinowatch

      That’s fine, but you don’t yell fire where there is NO the fire, get CAUGHT yelling fire, and then light a match to START a fire.

      That’s what these two despicable men did, especially Sad Sack PC.