By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator
Redistricting (Norman Turrill)
Action Alert: The LWVOR, the People Not Politicians (PNP) coalition and other organizations continue to call for a public hearing on HJR 7, a constitutional amendment referral to establish an independent redistricting commission. Although neither the LWVOR nor PNP asked for HJR 7 to be filed in the Legislature, we think that it could be the basis for negotiations within the Legislature. Please write to House Rules Committee members and your legislators now.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported this week that “Top Democrats unlikely to allow public hearing on Oregon independent redistricting proposal”. Referring to the methodically proposed 12-member independent redistricting commission in HJR 7 and IP 16, a major party leader is quoted as saying that, “The most representative body is a 90-person Legislature, elected and accountable to the people, rather than a hastily convened 15-20 [sic] person commission.” The Legislature is, of course, not representative at all of the 40% of registered voters who are not affiliated with a political party. And for a process that only happens every 10 years, the voters are not able to hold legislators accountable on redistricting when compared to more immediate issues like the economy, climate change and taxes. Furthermore, every legislator has a built-in conflict of interest in trying to draw the boundaries for their own districts. Politicians should not choose their voters; voters should choose their politicians. The Oregonian corrected other fallacies in the party leader’s arguments.
SB 259 B modifies statutory deadlines for reapportionment (redistricting) for congressional districts and judicial review. This proposed statute would not be used unless the Legislature fails to adopt a congressional redistricting plan by Sept. 27 or someone challenges a legislatively adopted redistricting plan in court. After passing the Senate May 13, 29-0, it is now waiting for third reading on the House floor on June 14. Since it is an essential backup plan for legislative redistricting, we expect it to be sent to the Governor shortly.
Campaign Finance Reform (Norman Turrill)
During a work session in House Rules for HB 2680 June 7, the -12 amendment was adopted with a temporary fiscal impact statement, and the bill was sent to Way & Means. The amendment completely deletes all the contribution limits, together with all the objectionable huge money flows, and substitutes a small donor matching program! The League and other good government organizations now support HB 2680-12, hopefully with a few small tweaks. We would also still favor the contribution limits in HB 3343 (Salinas, Clem) or SB 336 (Golden) for “real campaign finance reform.” It now appears that HB 2680-12 is being held up by Sen. Courtney.
Election Topics (Becky Gladstone)
SB 5538: The League commented in support of the Secretary of State’s proposed budget and is pleased to see the specific candidate filing software (ORESTAR) allocation to anticipate campaign finance regulation changes. We will continue to urge for statewide, online candidate filing with software revisions already underway, as described in HB 3393. We declined to speak to the allocation of executive staff FTE and LFO recommended funding 4.5 of the 10 requested FTEs:
DEI, Tribal Liaison
Sr. Advisor & Strategic Projects Director
Policy / Legislative Analyst, half-time
Exec. Support for the Deputy SoS
Public Affairs, Communications
Rep. Hayden commented on a lack of transparency in hiring before budget approval. For example, LFO did not recommend funding the constitutional lawyer already hired by the SoS to address redistricting issues, since a court ruled that this be done by the legislature. Rep. Wilde urged for centralized legal service coverage within the DoJ, for efficiency and savings. He cited his HB 2788, referred to W&Ms, that the Department of Justice (DoJ) attorney fee costs not to be charged out to state agencies, but stay within the DoJ budget.
Electoral Systems (Barbara Klein)
Four privacy/cybersecurity and elections bills supported here were enrolled this week, with three more progressing. A dozen other bills we have followed, some with opposition, have died as attention shifts from policy bills to fiscal allotments in Ways & Means.
HB 3021-A6 passed from Joint W&Ms to allocate $683K with 1.83 FTE, to support multilingual elections materials and establish an Advisory Council, with League testimony. Given League experience with voting materials and policy, including the 2015 Minority Languages Voting Materials Task Report, we will ask for the League to be included.
HB 3273 Enrolled, the anti-doxing bill prohibiting “mug-shot” release passed on partisan lines.
SB 293 Enrolled to develop privacy, confidentiality, and data security measure
recommendations, passed unanimously (two excused), with League support.
SB 5538 A: W&Ms unanimously passed this $97.5M SoS budget as amended. The League commented in support and is pleased to see candidate filing software allocation to anticipate campaign finance regulation changes. We will continue to urge for statewide, online candidate filing with software revisions already underway, described in HB 3393.
Other Election Issues (Chris Cobey)
SB 500 A: Establishes the Public Records Advocate as an independent office within the executive department. June 10: W&M General Government Subcommittee recommended to be reported out do pass; June 11: W&M passed unanimously.
Other Election Issues (Tom Messenger)
HB 3291 A requires that ballots returned by mail have a postal indicator showing the ballot was mailed not later than the date of election and be received by a county clerk not later than seven days after the date of election. Moves special election from third Tuesday in September to fourth Tuesday in August. This week, HB 3291A had a Senate Rules committee hearing but the work session was postponed due to paperwork not ready. The work session will be 6/15. It still appears to have a good chance of passing the Senate and getting signed into law.
HB 2992 A increases the daily compensation rate for members appointed to boards or commissions from $30, to be equal to the per diem paid to members of the Legislative Assembly, which is currently $151. The bill also requires state agencies to pay compensation and reimbursement of actual and necessary travel or other expenses to a qualified member who has a certain adjusted gross income for the previous tax year.
W&Ms General Government reported it out with a do pass recommendation. The W&Ms Committee had an extensive discussion Friday morning and decided to have this bill come back with answers and clarifications to several questions. Both policy and financial concerns need to be addressed. The work session has not yet been scheduled.
We are still looking for a person to help after this session with a bill to move the Oregon Presidential Primary to Super Tuesday (first Tuesday in March). Please contact Norman Turrill or Tom Messenger.
Past Governance Reports