Oregon Referendum Process Could Change - State and Federal Communications

February 5, 2020  •  

Oregon Referendum Process Could Change

Oregon State Capitol Building

Salem attorney Steve Elzinga has proposed changes to the state administrative rules to prevent manipulation of a mechanism allowing citizens to stop new laws passed by legislators.

Our Oregon, a union backed political group, is alarmed about the proposed changes to the state’s election rules.

The group says the rules give special interests excessive influence.

The opposing sides argue they are defending the ability of voters to directly access the state’s political system.

The Office of the Secretary of State held a hearing on the rule changes earlier this week. Secretary of State Bev Clarno could decide on the rule changes as soon as next month.

In Oregon, if citizens want to challenge a new law passed by the Legislature they can put it to a statewide vote by using the state’s referendum process.

Citizens have 90 days after the Legislature adjourns to petition for a referendum, unless a new law is written to take effect right away.

The number of signatures required to trigger a referendum is based on turnout in previous elections

The number of signatures required is currently 74,680.

However, signatures can’t be gathered until the governor signs the legislation into law.

The proposed change would permit collecting signatures for a referendum as soon as the targeted legislation passes both the House and the Senate.

Governors have 30 business days after the Legislature adjourns to sign a bill into law.

The change would prevent governors delaying the signing of a bill to chew up some of the 90 days set aside for petition work.

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