June 30, 2020 •

Oregon Legislature Adjourns Special Session

Oregon Senate Chamber

Oregon Senate Chamber - photo by Cacophony

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020. During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted […]

Oregon’s Legislative Assembly adjourned the first special session of 2020.

During the session lawmakers passed a slew of bills dealing with police accountability and the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers passed 24 bills with more than 600 pieces of public testimony submitted and over 100 virtual testimonies during the three day special session.

At least one other special session may be called this year in order to focus on the state budget.

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June 17, 2020 •

Oregon Governor Brown Calls Special Session

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Gov. Kate Brown has called for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to convene on June 24. Lawmakers will be addressing issues regarding police accountability, the coronavirus pandemic, children’s education, and jobs. With social distancing measures still in place, […]

Gov. Kate Brown has called for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to convene on June 24.

Lawmakers will be addressing issues regarding police accountability, the coronavirus pandemic, children’s education, and jobs.

With social distancing measures still in place, the upcoming special session will be different than what any lawmaker has seen.

The Capitol will generally be closed to the public, however legislators will still be able to get in to do business.

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May 4, 2020 •

No Limits on Campaign Contributions in Oregon

Oregon Senate Chamber

Oregon Senate Chamber - photo by Cacophony

Oregon political candidates in legislative and statewide races can continue to accept contributions vastly exceeding the caps voters approved in 2006. Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced on Friday she would not allow the 2006 voter approved initiative. The initiative […]

Oregon political candidates in legislative and statewide races can continue to accept contributions vastly exceeding the caps voters approved in 2006.

Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced on Friday she would not allow the 2006 voter approved initiative.

The initiative placed a $1,000 limit on donations to statewide candidates and a $100 limit on contributions to legislative candidates.

Clarno’s office released a statement communicating Measure 47 from 2006 was not made operative by the Oregon Supreme Court decision.

Therefore, there is no change in current state election laws.

Clarno’s decision was based off of a verbal opinion from the Department of Justice.

Also, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas Ryan ruled Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s campaign did not need to limit spending.

The ruling came after a suit filed by Wheeler’s main opponent questioning his use of contributions.

Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone had joined several campaign finance activists in a lawsuit against Wheeler’s campaign.

The lawsuit contends the mayor must repay all the donations he’s received surpassing the $500 campaign finance limit approved by Portland voters in 2018 but never enforced due to legal challenges.

After last week’s Supreme Court ruling, the city auditor’s office will begin enforcing Portland’s campaign finance measure starting today.

However, candidates won’t be retroactively punished for taking large donations.

Portland Attorney Dan Meek said he would ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its April decision to make it clear Measure 47 should go into effect immediately.

In November, voters will decide on a proposed state constitutional amendment making it clear the state could adopt any limits allowed under the U.S. Constitution.

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April 29, 2020 •

Portland Will Start Enforcing Campaign Contribution Limits

Portland Skyline

In the wake of an Oregon Supreme Court ruling last week overturning long standing precedents declaring campaign contribution limits in Oregon elections unconstitutional, Portland will enforce a voter approved $500 per donor limit starting Monday. The court ruled that contribution […]

In the wake of an Oregon Supreme Court ruling last week overturning long standing precedents declaring campaign contribution limits in Oregon elections unconstitutional, Portland will enforce a voter approved $500 per donor limit starting Monday.

The court ruled that contribution limits do not violate free speech.

However, they asked lower courts to decide if $500 per donor limits, approved first by Multnomah County voters and then by Portland voters, are too low.

Portland city election officials say they’ll begin enforcing the contribution limits after the Oregon Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a Multnomah County Circuit judge’s decision declaring campaign contribution limits in city elections unconstitutional.

However, election officials will not retroactively enforce the limits. Candidates who violate the new donation limits will face fines of up to $3,000 per violation.

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April 23, 2020 •

Oregon Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Campaign Contribution Limits

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon Supreme Court, reversing its longstanding ban on strict campaign finance limits, ruled in favor of a voter approved Multnomah County law putting a $500 limit on campaign donations. The court concluded contribution limits are not invalid under the state […]

The Oregon Supreme Court, reversing its longstanding ban on strict campaign finance limits, ruled in favor of a voter approved Multnomah County law putting a $500 limit on campaign donations.

The court concluded contribution limits are not invalid under the state constitution.

The case has been sent back to a lower court to decide whether Multnomah County’s dollar limits themselves are too low, while tossing out the limits Multnomah County voters set on campaign expenditures.

The ruling could lead to new campaign finance limits throughout the state.

Oregon voters will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment this fall allowing limits on the flow of big money into political campaigns.

Oregon has been one of only a handful of states in the country with no limits on political donations and spending.

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April 7, 2020 •

Portland Auditor Extends Lobbyist Filing Deadline

Portland Skyline

The Portland Auditor has temporarily suspended enforcement of lobbying and political consultant reporting requirements for first quarter reports due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The deadline for lobbyist reports covering activity for the period of January 1 to March 31 is […]

The Portland Auditor has temporarily suspended enforcement of lobbying and political consultant reporting requirements for first quarter reports due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The deadline for lobbyist reports covering activity for the period of January 1 to March 31 is extended until June 15.

The auditor’s office will not assess late fees or penalties for failure to:

    • File quarterly reports
    • Submit required updated information
    • Register as a lobbyist or political consultant

Lobbying entities, political consultants, and city officials are encouraged to file reports when they are able to do so.

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March 18, 2020 •

Oregon Legislators Call for Special Session to Deal with Coronavirus Pandemic

Oregon State Capitol Building

Oregon Legislatures called for a special legislative session to address the impact COVID-19 is having on the state. The special session will convene when the Legislature has an emergency response package ready for consideration. The Legislature’s Special Joint Committee on […]

Oregon Legislatures called for a special legislative session to address the impact COVID-19 is having on the state.

The special session will convene when the Legislature has an emergency response package ready for consideration.

The Legislature’s Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response is scheduled to hold its first meeting Wednesday, March 18 at 10 a.m.

This will not affect any lobbyist reporting.

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March 10, 2020 •

Oregon Legislative Session Officially Ends

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon legislative session officially ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. The short session came to a halt when both House and Senate Republican lawmakers walked out. This was done in order to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed […]

The Oregon legislative session officially ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

The short session came to a halt when both House and Senate Republican lawmakers walked out.

This was done in order to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change.

Only three bills passed the Legislature during this session, with more than 250 bills left stalled.

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February 26, 2020 •

Oregon Republican Legislators Walkout Over Climate Bill

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon state legislature adjourned Tuesday after House Republicans joined their Senate counterparts in walking out. Their goal is to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change. The walkout came as Republican legislators accused the majority […]

The Oregon state legislature adjourned Tuesday after House Republicans joined their Senate counterparts in walking out.

Their goal is to stop progress on controversial cap-and-trade bills designed to combat climate change.

The walkout came as Republican legislators accused the majority Democrats of attempting to rush through aggressive emissions restrictions on industry and business.

They argue the proposed limits should be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

The House walkout came a day after Senate Republicans staged their own walkout.

This denies Democrats the two-thirds majority needed to reach a quorum.

Senate Republicans walked out twice during last year’s session over a similar cap-and-trade bill and a $1 billion a year tax for education.

The House has not declared sine die, though the session is scheduled to end March 8.

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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 […]

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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January 30, 2020 •

Oregon Democrats Seek to Delay Campaign Contribution Limits Until July 2021

Oregon State Capitol Building

House Democrats introduced a bill putting the 2006 voter approved campaign contribution limits on hold until at least July 2021. House Bill 4124 would give lawmakers more time to pass new campaign contribution limits to replace those approved by voters. […]

House Democrats introduced a bill putting the 2006 voter approved campaign contribution limits on hold until at least July 2021.

House Bill 4124 would give lawmakers more time to pass new campaign contribution limits to replace those approved by voters.

The bill would allow the Legislature to appoint a task force to study campaign finance and make recommendations on how to best establish effective political contribution limits.

Currently, Oregon has no campaign contribution limits because courts have repeatedly struck down or suspended them, including the initiative voters passed almost two decades ago.

The Oregon Supreme Court is expected to rule on Multnomah County’s voter approved campaign finance limits at some point this year.

A ruling in favor of the campaign finance limits would likely revive statewide donation caps as well.

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January 21, 2020 •

Multnomah County Commissioners Select Small-Business Owner to Fill House Seat

Oregon State Capitol Building

Akasha Lawrence-Spence was selected by the Multnomah County Commissioners in Oregon to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Jennifer Williamson. Rep. Williamson resigned from the House District 36 seat in late December to run for secretary of state. The unexpired […]

Akasha Lawrence-Spence was selected by the Multnomah County Commissioners in Oregon to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Jennifer Williamson.

Rep. Williamson resigned from the House District 36 seat in late December to run for secretary of state.

The unexpired term ends in January 2021.

Lawrence-Spence will serve through the remainder of the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

Candidates will vie for the District 36 seat in this year’s primary election.

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January 9, 2020 •

Portland Commissioner Fish’s Passing Triggers Special Election

Commissioner Nick Fish passed away on January 2, creating a vacant council seat. The Portland City Council chose the May 19 municipal primary election date for a special election to fill the vacancy. Potential candidates would have to wait until […]

Commissioner Nick Fish passed away on January 2, creating a vacant council seat.

The Portland City Council chose the May 19 municipal primary election date for a special election to fill the vacancy.

Potential candidates would have to wait until March 10 to file for Fish’s position.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters would face each other in a runoff election on November 3.

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January 6, 2020 •

Oregon Representative Resigns to Campaign for Secretary of State

Rep. Jennifer Williamson resigned from her Oregon House of Representatives District 36 seat to focus on her campaign for secretary of state. Multnomah County Democrats can forward three to five names to the Multnomah County Commission for a replacement. The […]

Rep. Jennifer Williamson resigned from her Oregon House of Representatives District 36 seat to focus on her campaign for secretary of state.

Multnomah County Democrats can forward three to five names to the Multnomah County Commission for a replacement.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing on January 16 to decide which of the Democratic Party’s several nominees to select to fill the vacancy.

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