Oregon’s top 6 measures that could heat up 2014

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by Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog

Legal weed, gay marriage, immigration and labeling genetically modified foods. Oregon would be hard pressed to find a more contentious 2014 ballot.

Oregonians have until July to collect signatures for initiatives they want placed on the 2014 ballot, but the election already looks to be stacked with high profile measures that are sure to put the Beaver State in the national spotlight.

“There’s still a lot that could change,” Brittany Clingen, ballot measures project director for Ballotpedia, told Northwest Watchdog. Ballotpedia is a nonprofit, non-partisan encyclopedia of state, local and federal politics and elections.

CROWDED BALLOT: Oregon is poised to be a battle ground for nationally contentious issues in 2014.

Given the national spotlight on the potential measures, it’s likely proponents will get their signatures, she said. Clingen said Ballotpedia is in the the process of updating the ballot measure information.

ImmigrationThis one’s already set for the ballot. Advocates seek a public vote on a law passed in the last session that  gives “driver privilege cards” to those who don’t have the documents required to get a driver’s license. The driver’s card would be restricted from being used for identification or voting.

Same-sex marriage: Oregon joins at least eight other states that will have gay marriage on the ballot in 2014. Those eight states are already certified, with measures to legalize or ban gay marriage. The Oregon measure, which collected the needed signatures to make the ballot earlier this month, would repeal a state constitutional amendment passed in 2004 that banned same-sex marriage. The initiative, called the Oregon Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative, would also protect religious institutions from being forced to perform same-sex weddings, Clingen said.

The Oregon Family Council has also filed an initiative that would protect businesses that refuse customers based on sexual orientation. The initiative comes as a response to Oregon going after a bakery that refused to  make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding.

Legal weed: Proponents of legal recreational marijuana are hoping the Oregon Legislature will send a legal weed measure to the ballot in 2014, but if not, they plan to collect the signatures. Oregon could follow Washington and Colorado, the first two states to legalize the drug for recreational purposes.

GMOs: Measures to label genetically modified foods have now failed in California and Washington. Oregon is up next and proponents might try a measure based on the ones that have already failed, Clingen said. Requiring foods with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such met with serious contention and is expected to be a national fight despite the early losses. Spending on both sides of the measures totaled a record $31 million in Washington.

“I’m sure if the Oregon one gets on the ballot that will be very expensive,” Clingen said.

Proponents have a possible alternative ballot measure that seeks to address some of the points brought up by the opposition in Washington, such as exceptions for certain foods.

“Oregon is cognizant of that,” Clingen said.

Jackson County voters will also take up GMOs in the only ballot measure that looks to ban the crops. The Legislature put the kibosh on letting local governments take that up during a special session this year, but Jackson County had already started work on it and was grandfathered in.

Right-to-work:  Oregon could also be the next state to take up the feverish topic of right-to-work laws. The Public Employee Choice Act would allow public workers to opt out of joining unions or paying dues.

Liquor privatization: Grocers in Oregon are pushing for an end to the state-controlled liquor system. Voters could be asked in 2014 whether the state should privatize the system, meaning liquor could be sold in  stores larger than 10,000 square feet,  in addition to beer and wine, which is already sold at grocery stores. The state decided earlier this year to allow liquor stores to sell beer and wine. Oregon would follow Washington, which privatized its alcohol in 2012. Oregon is one of 18 states that controls liquor sales.

Contact Shelby Sebens at [email protected]

Northwest Watchdog is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in 2014 Election, Initiative & Referendum, Voting | 53 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    I’m going to try putting an Argument Against in the voter pamphlet opposing the Oregon Opportunity Initiative scheduled for vote in November 2014. This initiative would have the state pay 5% in interest costs, and borrow large amounts in new debt. The money would go to sponsor a select number of college scholarships. The initiative would reduce other public services, because resources are hardly unlimited.

  • Dan Meek

    No such measure is schedule for a vote in November 2014. It is just an idea from Treasurer Ted Wheeler.

  • DavidAppell

    How does the Oregon Family Council feel about businesses that refuse customers because the customer is Jewish?



    • 3H

      or.. what if a business refuses to serve Pentecostals? Lutherans? Catholics? Four Square? Mormons?

      • .

        Appell’s clock lacks all its numbers.

      • carloada

        Then they will soon be out of business.

    • carloada

      Read the signs in the stores everywhere: “We reserve the right to refuse service to any one”. The right to be on private property is revocable at any time, by the proprietor, for any reason, or no reason. You have mistaken this for a race issue, as you prefer.

      • 3H

        They can refuse the right to provide service to anyone, but not for any reason. David has not mistaken this for a race issue, but has identified it as a civil rights issue.

        • carloada

          If you think you have a civil right to be on my property, then me and my 12ga would have to disagree.

          • 3H

            It’s not all about you, you know. That wasn’t the point I was making, but evidently you hijacked it to let me know you own a shotgun. I’m impressed. Bravo.

          • carloada

            Not at all: it was provided to you, my courtesy, as an example. I’m just trying to convince you that private property rights are very much more important than civil rights, or the racism the OP thinks exists. IOW, on someone else’s property, your civil rights cease when you, yourself are deceased.

          • DavidAppell

            You speak, arrogantly, like a member of the majority, who suffers no discrimination and who lacks the empathy to imagine those who do.

          • carloada

            Indeed, people do come from all walks of life. So what’s your point? Oh, you seek to discredit me based on my socioeconomic status. Nice try on a straw man argument.

          • 3H

            I’m aware of the fact that property rights trump civil rights — took this nation nearly 100 years just to end slavery.

            I think it’s telling that your first response to someone violating your property rights is to shoot them.

  • Sally

    If right to work passed, which it won’t, people will leave the unions in droves. When people actually have to write a check each month to the union thugs something funny happens. They don’t.

    • 3H

      If that is true, then why aren’t more unions being decertified? A majority of workers can request that they not be unionized.

      • carloada

        Fear, decert is a leap of faith for union members.

        • 3H

          Fear? Perhaps. More likely most union members are happy being represented by unions. They see the value in holding management to a contract.

      • guest

        Remember when OPEIU Local 11 was ousted from Conway?

    • DavidAppell

      Union wages & benefits are usually higher than for those not in unions.

      • guest

        ‘Startling’ with the AFSCME, SEIU, ripe on down to the OEA and ILWU thugs.

        • DavidAppell

          Thugs? Workers freely assembling for their own best interest are thugs? Are capitalists who assemble for their own best interest also “thugs?”

          • 3H

            No.. they must be thugs. Anyone who organizes to protect their workplace has to be a thug. They should really just trust the CEOs who have their best interests at heart, and certainly know better than they do about what they want or need.

          • DavidAppell

            In the minds of some, “thug” = anyone I disagree with. Ugly labels save the time of having to homestly make your case.

          • .

            Remember the striking Sandy School District teachers with their distinct expletives expressed at students crossing picket lines and ILWU longshoremen mitigating navigational channels and torpedoing rail crossings in plain view.

            Appell and H, take your left wing sicko-isms and Marx your arses off to Lepage’s goo factory for recycling.

          • DavidAppell

            And you can remember the Homestead Steel Strike and the Battle of Blair Mountain. Good men lost their lives for benefits you now take for granted.

          • 3H

            What about the economic violence targeted at union organizers and sympathizers? The dirty tricks used to undermine unions? I suppose in .’s world, those don’t count.

          • guest

            USA protective and beneficial unionism zenith-ed during mid 20th century. Today, with all worker protections and benefits intact, we still see competition as the best driving force for quality goods and services attending DNP and GNP.

            Yet who fears and condemns competition most?
            Most assuredly, PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATIONS and PRIVATE unions all having monopolistic parameters.
            Yes, they’re are the one’s with rich PERS’s and in most cases, slaking in very sweet COLA’s, too.
            And what’s CONGRESS to do? Coddle and join them which they all too often do.
            And APPELL’s corps condones it caramelized.


            Indeed, what a revolt’n development besets US folks.

          • DavidAppell

            What says “competition” is the best driving force for quality good and services? And what says those are the highest goals?

          • DavidAppell

            As if capitalism doesn’t have monopolistic parameters. Wow are you ever blind.

          • carloada

            Yes, they can be.

        • carloada

          I’m in a union, that’s exactly how they treated me when I was forced to join: like the thugs they are.

          • 3H

            They physically threatened you? They beat you up when you refused to join? Or, did you have to join because that was what the contract with your employer required?

            If you were required to join because of contract language, that makes all parties to a contract thugs.

          • .

            3H, a Marxist to Pretoria all the way and Appell waves his codpiece, whatever that might be, upward, too.

          • carloada

            You sure know a lot. Except that you are wrong. It is the non-right to work State law that requires union membership.

          • 3H

            I’m not sure how you mean that. There is no state law that dictates that every workplace must have an union.

          • carloada

            Indeed, they simply ALLOW it to happen. It should not be too confusing that the absence of a law against coercive union membership is a de facto law to allow coercive membership.

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