By the Senate and House Republican Caucuses,
Senator Suzanne Weber and Representative Emily McIntire Sue Oregon Legislature,
Represented by Oregon Right to Life
SALEM, OR – On May 3, 2023, Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) and Representative Emily McIntire (R-Eagle Point) filed a lawsuit against legislative leaders contending that the bill summary of House Bill 2002 violates Senate Rule 13.02, ORS 171.134, and Article 4 § 21 of the Oregon Constitution. Weber and McIntire will be represented by Oregon Right to Life.
The statute and rule require bill summaries to be written at an 8th-grade reading level, which correlates with a Flesch-Kincaid readability score of 60. House Bill 2002 scores well below 30, corresponding to the reading level of college graduates.
“The Senate operates within the confines of the Constitution, state law, and chamber rules, all of which are being willfully ignored by the Senate President and the majority party. It is clear that legislation we adopt must be plainly written and easy to understand. Anything less disenfranchises Oregonians across the state and violates the law in the process. If Democrats refuse to comply, it is our responsibility to hold them accountable to process and rules,” said Senator Weber (R-Tillamook).
“House Bill 2002 was pushed through in clear violation of the Oregon Constitution and Oregon’s Revised Statue which state that the Flesch Readability Test must meet a score of 60. Democracy can only function when Oregonians can engage in the process – when government attorneys cannot even understand the contents of the bill, there is a clear problem,” said Representative McIntire (R-Eagle Point).
“I commend Senator Weber, Representative McIntire, and Oregon Right to Life for taking up this extreme violation in the courts. As I have continually stated – we demand that transparency and accountability be a part of the legislative process as intended. Bills must comply with the law, and right now, they are not,” said Senate Republican Leader Knopp (R-Bend).
“Despite stated concerns about the legality of House Bill 2002 and unanswered questions, the Democratic majority pushed this legislation through the House. Our democracy functions best when everyday Oregonians are engaged in a transparent and vetted process – that is not what House Bill 2002 has received. I am in full support of this lawsuit,” said House Republican Leader Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville).
Many questions about the impacts of House Bill 2002 remain. During committee work sessions, legislative counsel was unable to answer several questions about the bill. Still, it was pushed through the House despite serious concerns.