Kevin Mannix: Success with crime campaign

By Kevin Mannix,

With the election behind us, and the 2009 legislature having to contemplate tight budgets, we need to remember that the people have spoken quite loudly in favor of tough anti-crime efforts. While Measure 57 is weaker than Measure 61, Measure 57 still represents a step forward. In terms of general concepts, here is the ballot title that voters affirmed with a 61% YES vote:

Increases sentences for drug trafficking, theft against elderly and specified repeat property and identity theft crimes; requires addiction treatment for certain offenders.

Not only did Measure 57 receive 61.4% of the vote, it received over 1 million votes: more than Barack Obama and more than Jeff Merkley. Now, the challenge is to make sure the Oregon Legislature does not backslide on Measure 57. The good news is that a Mannix constitutional amendment from 1994 (Measure 10) requires a two-thirds vote of the House and a two-thirds vote of the Senate for any legislation which reduces a prison sentence established by a vote of the people. Measure 57 is protected by that provision.