Oregon impeachment proposal gets public hearing

Jodi Hack_thb

Rep. Jodi Hack

Sponsored by Rep. Jodi Hack, House Joint Resolution 31 Would Establish a Process for the Impeachment of Oregon’s Executive Branch Officials

Salem, OR – Yesterday, House Joint Resolution 31, bipartisan legislation that would establish a formal impeachment process in Oregon, received its first public hearing in the House Committee on Rules. Chief sponsored by Representative Jodi Hack (R-Salem), the bill proposes to amend the Oregon Constitution to allow for impeachment of statewide elected Executive Branch officials by the Legislature. Joined by House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene and Junction City), Rep. Hack testified in support of HJR 31 and explained the need for the resolution in order to restore public trust in state government.

“The people of Oregon have lost faith in their government, and the need for increased accountability and transparency is present now more than ever,” said Rep. Hack. “We must embrace the system of checks and balances that has served this country so well since its inception. We need to let the people know that we take our elected positions seriously and are working hard to rebuild trust in elected leaders.”

HJR 31 would refer the proposed amendment to allow for impeachment to the people of Oregon for their approval or rejection at the next regular statewide general election. The amendment grants the House of Representatives the power, upon a three-fifths vote by all elected representatives to impeach statewide elected Executive Branch officials on the grounds of malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty or other high crimes or misdemeanors. If the House receives a three-fifths vote for a resolution of impeachment, the resolution will then be delivered to the Senate for trial, where a conviction would require a two-thirds vote by all elected senators.

In order for the amendment to be placed on the ballot for approval or rejection by Oregon voters, both the House and Senate must vote to refer the measure to voters. The vote requires a simple majority in both the House and the Senate, and the governor cannot veto the referral.

“This resolution is not a weapon and should never be used as such. It is a bipartisan mechanism that maintains the integrity of the Executive Branch,” continued Rep. Hack. “It is constructed in a manner that provides for a difficult yet fair process of impeachment if ever needed, and it allows Oregonians to directly participate in strengthening the state’s ethics and oversight laws.”

Along with Rep. Hack, HJR 31 is chief sponsored by House Republican Leader Mike McLane and House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, and is supported by a bipartisan coalition of 30 House members.

Oregon is the only state in the nation that does not have a provision for impeaching the governor.