Oregon votes on seven measures
By Jesse Sanchez
This November, Oregonians will be voting on seven measures that (if approved) could very well turn Oregon into a more progressive place, comparable to neighboring states like California and Washington. These measures range in topic from the legalization of recreational marijuana to the inclusion of undocumented individuals into our public transportation system and the creation of a post-secondary education fund. Find out what your fellow Bearcats think are the right steps for Oregon to take.
The Oregon Funding for Post-Secondary Education Measure seeks to create a fund dedicated exclusively to Oregonians pursuing higher education, including technical, professional and career training. The measure authorizes the state of Oregon to lend credit and acquire debt, as long as that debt does not surpass 1 percent of the real market value of all property in the state. The money in this fund is not subject to investment by the state in any other form other than funding Oregonians’ education. Supporters of the measure argue that with the tuition of higher education growing disportionately in Oregon, the creation of this fund is a common sense move. Opponents of the measure worry that the state’s indebtedness will surge.
Oregon Opportunity Initiative Oregon’s Opportunity, Friends of Ted Wheeler
Bob Clark, guest contributor for Cascade Policy Institute and Steve Buckstein, Senior Policy Analyst and founder Cascade Policy Institute
Article 3 Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution states that a person cannot serve in more than one government branch to keep power from becoming concentrated in any one section. Measure 87 would amend that clause and allow court judges to serve as educators in Oregon public universities. The amendment would also allow judges to serve in the Oregon National Guard. The opposition argues that judges should not be drawn away from their primary responsibilities as court officials.
Floyd Prozanski (D)
No large organized opposition
Measure 88 seeks to grant driver’s cards to those unable to prove their legal presence in the United States. Applicants are required to adhere to all other requirements sought when applying for a driver’s license, including the written and behind-the-wheel driver’s tests, proof of at least a year’s residency in the state of Oregon and proof of identity/date of birth. The driver’s card cannot be used to acquire any form of government benefit that requires proof of citizenship (i.e., air travel, entering federal buildings and voter registration). Proponents of the measure argue that the measure would make roads safer for everyone, while the opposition suggests that rights should not be granted to undocumented immigrants.
John Kitzhaber (D), YES on Oregon Safe Roads, Causa Oregon, Oregon Dreamers, Council of Filipino-American Associations, etc.
Oregonians for Immigration Reform PAC Sheriffs of Oregon PAC, Protect Oregon Driver Licenses
The Oregon Equal Rights for Women Initiative, also known as the Equal Rights Amendment will guarantee “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex.” The measure seeks to add an additional Section 46 to Article 1 of the Oregon Constitution. Many women’s rights activist groups have advocated for this amendment on the federal level, but have not succeeded. Twenty states, however, have already made this amendment individually. Supporters argue that passing this measure will be a positive step toward acknowledging and moving past discrimination based on sex, while opponents argue that the Oregon Constitution already protects its citizens equally, therefore it does not need to be modified.
Sen. Doug Whitsett (R)
This measure seeks to create an open primary in which the two candidates receiving the most votes move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Candidates can still identify themselves by party on the ballot. Proponents want a system in which party affiliation does not limit candidate options, as well as providing a voting opportunity for third party or unaffiliated voters to partake in a primary. Opponents argue the measure devalues the party system that voters may base decisions on. There are perceived risks for third parties, who use their party to gain entry into elections in which they might otherwise be unknown.
Working Families Party, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D)
Democratic Party of Oregon, Oregon Republican Party Executive Committee
This measure would legalize possession of marijuana by Oregonians 21 years of age and over. Users could have eight ounces and up to four plants. Proponents project fiscal benefits from millions of dollars in tax revenue, reduction of the black market, an ability to focus on patrolling substance abuse by minors and an increase in personal freedom. Opponents predict increased drug abuse and a fear of the negative effects some Coloradans have cited after their legalization, such as driving under the influence and minors using the substance.
Drug Policy Action of Oregon, New Approach Oregon, Northwest Oregon Labor Council
No on 91
This measure seeks to require companies to label GMO foods, which have been subject to controversial research with different conclusions about their harms. Proponents cite observation of harms to human development believed to be linked to consumption of such foods, as well as the right to make personal health decisions for a matter on which researchers have not come to a consensus. Opponents claim inconclusive research is not grounds to constitutionally justify placing this regulation on businesses, while some believe the research has not demonstrated a causal link between GMO and health defects.
Oregon GMO Right to Know, Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety
Kellogg, Monsanto and Oregonians for Food & Shelter