Non-partisan elections? Open primaries? Drunk voting!

The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature made recommendations to make all legisilative races non-partisan. First politicians don’t want to be held accountable for their votes, now they don’t want to be held accountable to their political parties. Let’s try secret balloting next .

The Panel also recommended changing to open primaries where any voter can vote for any candidate of any political party. Some hoped that this change would help increase voter turnout — especially independents (a way to beat that double majroity rule?)

Panel member, Barbara Karmel, was quoted as saying “”I believe it is the job of this commission to change the story of the Legislature” (no signs of power hungry citizens here).

The panel also recmmended that legislators be sober when voting. This idea was recommended by Steve Doell of Crime Victims United after being hit with second-hand beer breath during the 2005 Session. The one unfortunate aspect of prohibiting lawmakers from being drunk during voting is that they will have no excuse for their off-the-wall legislation they pass and come to regret in the morning (i.e. 24-hour school speed limits).

Are these the golden suggesstions that will improve our Legislature? What ideas do you suggest?

  • Steven Plunk

    Open primaries meant to increase turnout is wrong. It invites all sorts of malfeasance when spoilers cross over to dilute votes in opponents primaries. What part of this did this committee not get? Truly politically educated and engaged people will vote. That’s really all we want to vote.

    Ideas for a better legislature would start with limiting the numbers of bills the executive branch could bring before our representatives. These bureaucrats gum up the works with all the junk bills and the hearings that they need so a great amount of business gets put off until June or July when the liquor flows apparently. Who do they represent, us or the Dept. of Whatever?

    The elected representatives should also be given a limit to the number of bills they may introduce. I remember my local rep. introducing a bill mandating cloth diapers. Pardon the pun but what a crappy idea. A limit would keep the reps. focused on important business.

    It’s also time to allow internet input on committe hearings. Not all of us can take time from work to go testify for 10 minutes in Salem. The difficulty of making that trip leads most of us to not testify and allows the executive branch bureaucrats to dominate the hearing rooms. They are being paid to testify with tax dollars so in many cases we are paying them to lobby bills that are contrary to our interests as citizens. That’s wrong.

    This committee was a dumb idea to start with when a little direct citizen input would have injected many better solutions to the problems in the legislature. We are talking but are they listening?

  • Veritas

    Does that mean Kate Brown and Laurie Monnes Anderson will have to stop having their drunken margarita parties on Sine Die? Ask about the “Closed for Dinner” sign on the Democratic leader’s door that day. Maybe then Kate will realize she should brush her hair occassionally and that sweatpants are not a good look for her.

    They’ll also have to confiscate the bottle of bourbon from Vicki Walker. Forget her daughter and girls gone wild – has anybody noticed how Vicki Walker is the biggest drunk in the legislature? Seeing her drunk or stoned (you make the call) on the House floor during the 2001 session was pure magic. The stories about Vicki Walker and her dark dance with the bottle are legion.

    And how about good ole’ Ginny Burdick and Rick Metzger. Trolling (and landing) for high priced lobbyists to quench their thirst for big money grappa. In vino veritas. How true.

    To be fair, I’m sure there are Republicans who indulge the strong drink. However, since they’re mostly all old, they retire early, leaving the boozing up to staffers. There is a certain legislator with a very public incident, but he’s been punished enough.

    Pox on all houses (and Senates) I guess.