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Oregon Legislature “Short Session” Not What Voters Intended

January 26, 2016

In 2010 the Oregon Legislature held what was then called a “Special Session” in an even numbered year.  That year, Senate Joint Resolution 41 was introduced and adopted.  It led to Ballot Measure 71 later in that year which was passed by Oregon voters.  Now that we are approaching the third “Short Session” next week, we should analyze the intent of the resolution and the ballot measure.

In today’s Oregonian, Ian Kullgren writes in THIS ARTICLE: “Measure 71, approved overwhelmingly in 2010, doesn’t limit the issues lawmakers can take up in short sessions. The voters’ pamphlet listed reasons ranging from budget efficiency to crisis.”

That’s the rub you see, the resolution and the ballot measure don’t say “you can’t pass bills”, it says the legislature is to address “budget emergencies” and state “emergencies”.

HERE is the resolution.  Note section 14, subsection 5 tells us exactly what the intent was.

Here is the ballot measure and the VOTER’S PAMPHLET from November 2010.  You’ll find the text and explanation of the ballot measure on page 71 and 72.  Note again section 14, subsection 5 explains how bills can be introduced and passed.  “Emergency” is mentioned multiple times, which MIGHT explain the large amount of “Emergency clause” lines in this year’s bills.

No matter whether you voted for or against this measure in 2010, I find it hard to believe that anyone, outside of the Capitol, thought that we would end up with what we have this year.  When I was on my radio show that year, I begged voters to vote “NO” and warned them that “they’ll pass bills”.  I had numerous representatives and senators on my show telling my audience “NO, that’s not what this is about”…..”it’s about the budget”.

I found this letter to the editor today to be very appropriate…he GETS it!

Letter to the Statesman Journal 1-26-16

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