Anti-petition bill passes House

HB 2082 passed the Oregon House last evening. It represented a bad day for people’s constitutional rights to circulate petitions. The Bill’s carrier said on the floor that this bill “would make it easier” to circulate petitions and noted that petitions would no longer have to sort petitions by 36 counties. The bill instead requires one to sort petitions by 20,000 different circulator names. How sorting by 20,000 names versus 36 counties makes it easier is beyond explanation.

Rep. Lim opposed the bill and highlighted the problem of forcing paid circulators to register. Lim noted that if a paid circulator makes an error then the legitimate names on the petition get cancelled for the circulator’s fault. This is a major thrust of the entire bill — disqualify signatures for not meeting the newly invented rules. If a petition campaign fails to respond to a payroll information request on time, then all petitions must stop and any name gathered by a volunteer anywhere in the state is likely disqualified at that time. If you fail to sort names properly, legitimate signatures get disqualified. If a paid circulator registers with the state 99 different times for 99 different petitions but accidentally collects signatures for petition #100, that too may itself disqualify signatures.

If people make mistakes, then the state should target those people and that campaign, and not begin wholesale erasing of people’s signatures. If Marion County Elections failed to pay an employee mimimum wage while counting ballots, would all the votes that person counted be eliminated? Of course not. HB 2082 looks like it was designed to eliminate signatures, more than eliminating problems. The fact that HB 2082 makes reporting requirements MORE strict for pro-petition PAC campaigns than for anti-petition PAC campaigns (which are the exact same structure) is another signal that the bill is aimed at stopping petitions, and not stopping problems.

Special thanks to Rep. Girod, Rep. Thatcher, Rep. Lim, and Rep. Krummel for their constructive floor speeches and inquires on this bill.

  • iop

    Official vote list

    Ayes, 31; Nays, 27–Berger, Boquist, Bruun, Burley, Butler, Cameron, Dallum, Esquivel, Flores, Garrard, Gilliam, Gilman, Girod, Hanna, Jenson, Krummel, Lim, Maurer, Minnis, Morgan, Nelson, Olson, Richardson, Smith G., Smith P., Thatcher, Whisnant; Excused, 2–Krieger, Scott.


    Sounds like we will once again have to circulate a petition to put an initiative on the ballot to undo the liberals attack on our initiaive right. Yet again we have to legislate for our legislature, what a joke!

  • A special thanks goes out to Jason Williams, Dan Meek, Ross Day, and so many others who have done their best to imform and lobby our legislators about what is really intended here. I feel like every legislator was given an accurate depiction of what this awful bill would do. The real questions has been answered: “Who is more powerful?” The public employee unions, or the voters? Yesterday, the Democrats in the House stated very publicly where their loyalties lie.

    All the new changes in HB 2082 that affect the initiative process are intended to make it more difficult to engage in the action of literally “petitioning” one’s elected officials. The sponsors of this bill were not interested in preserving this right, and I suspect that this is because they are tired of having to be held accountable by the people for their failures to enact good policy.

    Furthermore, the Democratic-controlled Capitol Building was perfectly aware of the problems, fatal flaws, and nefarious intent of this bill. They were also aware that stopping conservatives (and in the process, progressives and liberals) from cutting taxes, restoring property rights, and strengthening our public safety was worth destroying our initiative process over.

    For those of us that have watched this bill from the outset, we know that its original composition was so blatantly anti-democratic that it scared even the most liberal Dems. What we saw yesterday was a bill that was watered-down enough for them to still call it a “reform” rather than an outright “removal” of the initiative process, but don’t hold your breath…they are not done.

    While I have a “dog in the fight”, I would ask those who don’t, to seriously envision a state where our initiative process didn’t exist to provide a check to the actions of our legislature.

    I fear that we might be on the verge of the last season of the initiative process as its framers envisioned. Those who will still work under their new rules will suffer the wrath and the deception of the tricksters in the Secretary of State’s office and be at the mercy of the elitists in the legislature who don’t trust the voters.

    All the changes listed will only serve to strengthen the “professional” petition circulators, and put the goal of collecting signatures and qualifying initiatives even farther out of reach for the average grassroots campaign.

    Please keep all this in mind as you see this bill lauded as a “success” and as “good for the integrity of the system”. It is neither, and despite calling a “pile of bulls***” a “bouquet of flowers”, it will still smell like the former.

  • believeitornot

    The Oregon petition process has made the state vulnerable to many national special interest groups who use the process to experiment. If their experiment works, they take their cause nationwide. Sick of using Oregon as a lab, then tighten up the rules. People are sick of abusing a process that has not enhanced the state of Oregon.

    • Government union-driven legislative process in Oregon has made the state vulnerable to many national special interest unions who use the process to experiment. If their experiment works, they take their cause nationwide. When we get sick of them using Oregon as a lab, they tighten up the rules as soon as we try to resist. People are sick of being abused by a government process that does not enhance liberty in the state of Oregon.

    • Captain_Anon

      I know i’m sick of people using our iniative process as a way to poll the public and waste tax payer money. i could go either way on the signature gathers portion. that’s not what i really care about. i care about the current dreadfully low number of 25 signatures required to get the State to work up a name for the ballot measure. the state estimated it costs near 100,000 per iniative to prep it for the ballot. the majority of those measures don’t make it on because they never were intended to make it. those working on the measures only wanted to get titles out so they could see how the public perceived it. read that as: using public money to do thier polling. if they are curious about ballot titles, do your own polls. there is nothing in the world wrong with raising the bar on getting the state to put in thousands of dollars for prepping the ballot measures. if you can’t get 2500 signatures or whatever, then the measure shouldn’t be on the ballot. that’s how i see it. the current rules allow a large extended family to get the state to put in man hours and materials and spend what, 96,000 i think (I believe that’s close to what the state said it costs), per submittal. crazy.


    I disagree with you Believeitornot, the only abuses I’ve seen on the initiative process is from the Public Unions and the Legislature. The people of this state have (as the last election showed) the ability to understand and not vote for disingenius initiatives.

    This isn’t tightening the rules up to protect the Oregon voter, it’s tightening the rules up because a special interest, public union controlled legislature is tired of it’s bad policies being overturned by the electorate and it’s also tired of the electorate being able to set public policy by the initiative process e.g. getting the job done that the legislature can’t seem to do on their own!

    This unique process not only enhances this state, it ensure the people of this states voice will always be heard.

    If the legislature doesn’t like the process, have them put an intiative before the people to have it removed from the constitution and let us vote on it. It’s simple Democracy.

  • Jerry

    Craw is right. This bill is BAD for everyone in Oregon except the unions and the special interests and if you can not see that then you are sadly out of touch. The state is not vulnerable to anything – you can always vote yes or no how you want, but to impede the process with a bunch of phony rules and regs makes no sense – except to those who are afraid of what the public might decide.
    Wake up!

  • So it will be more difficult to get signers on a petition than it will be to VOTE? Look at the voter registration form, if you not have a license or social security #, just give them a paycheck stub.

    So Illegal Aliens can Vote for Gov. etc. but not get signers for a petition? WOW!

  • Ron Graham/Constitution Party

    Under the Constitution, citizens have the right to petition the government for redress of government wrongs! The liberals in the Oregon Legislature are violating our constitutional rights!

    Ron Graham
    Constitution Party

    • Captain_Anon

      If you really believe that, you’re going to sue, right?


    You’re right Ron! Isn’t it funny how liberals claim to be for citizens right until those very rights get in the way of their ideas.