New Bills Attack People’s Petition Rights

Would you believe that among the first few bills to come out of the 2007 Legislature are bills that would handicap the citizen’s initiative process? Oregon’s 100+ year old system of direct democracy is under attack. Here are some of the bills released this week.

SB 123 & HB 2081 forces citizens to get 10,000+ signatures (technically 10% of total needed) before the Attorney General deems your petition worthy enough to write up a ballot title. The Supreme Court has corrected the AG’s office on many occasions for their unrepresentative ballot titles, why punish citizens for the AG’s problems? Furthermore, changing ballot titles mid-stream invites confusion and increases people signing twice.

SB 55 & HB 2055 allows the Secretary of State to inject politics into the voters’ pamphlet information section, by having the state list ballot measures top five contributors. Can we do that for political candidates also? As voters strive towards more fair and accurate ballot measure titles — the politicians are off trying to tinker with the Voters’ Pamphlet.

The concepts being presented, and others to follow, are designed to make it more difficult for ordinary people to exercise their citizen petition rights. We cannot let this stand.