February 14, 2022 - Week 2
Campaign Finance Reform (Norman Turrill)
The Senate Rules Committee held a hearing 2/10 on both SB 1526-1 sponsored by the committee and SB 1561 sponsored by Sen. Golden. Dramatic support came from Sen. Wagner, Sen. Golden, Kate Titus of Common Cause Oregon and Becky Gladstone of LWVOR. Partial support or opposition came from union, business and larger c(4) groups. These are exceedingly complex bills, and every legislator has their own opinion, so the debate will be lengthy.
In the meantime, the Secretary of State (SoS) rejected initiative petitions 43, 44 and 45 on a technical constitutional issue that has not been used by previous secretaries. Honest Elections Oregon has appealed this decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. The SoS tried to blame the Attorney General (AG) for her decision, but the AG’s office denied that and promptly issued certified ballot titles for all three initiatives. This means any ballot title appeals can go forward to the Supreme Court concurrently with the appeal of the SoS’s decision, and signature gathering may not be delayed.
Redistricting (Norman Turrill)
The People Not Politicians coalition is still continuing with IP 34, ant is now waiting on the opponents’ ballot title appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will take as much time as it needs to make a decision, so it may be late February or early March before signature gathering can begin. That should allow enough time to collect the 150,000 valid signatures that must be delivered to the Secretary of State by July 8.
Cybersecurity and Privacy (Becky Gladstone)
The Bills supported here last week have all moved forward successfully. We spoke to cyber and other bills this week. This week wel echoed successful League anti-doxing support to protect elections workers.
HB 4155: This cybersecurity omnibus bill was heard with League support in a JCLIMT public hearing on Feb 11. Cybersecurity concerns have been raised urgently, session over session, but are often deferred as more readily visible emergency problems are addressed. Many issues the League is working on this session depend on cybersecurity and need the benefits of this bill’s passage. The work session was not set.
Last week’s bills relating to cybersecurity passed with both League and unanimous legislative support, and are now referred to Joint W&Ms. See descriptions in last week’s report.
Voter registration and elections bills are moving forward, too.
HB 4133 with League support, passed this week on partisan lines, to the House Floor, to align paper and online voter registration access. It includes a promising feature to make voter registration access easier to find online. The SoS would register organizations like LWVOR to forward registering voters from our website to the current SoS secure voter registration site. An amendment will be added soon to address our clarified point, that voters could choose to list only the last four digits of SSNs online, as they now can on the paper form. Voters could upload signature images, important for those who do not have signatures digitally on file with the DMV already, for ballot processing confirmation.
HB 4144: League support for this bill, heard on Feb 15, will be in line with privacy concerns in League support for HB 3047 Enrolled (2021), the anti-doxing bill to protect part-time, full-time, or volunteer election workers from harassment.
Public Records, Meetings and Ethics (Chris Cobey)
HB 4114: Requires members of district school board for common school district or union high school district to file verified statement of economic interest with Oregon Government Ethics Commission. February 10, public hearing held in House Rules.
HB 4140: Expands duties of Oregon Government Ethics Commission to conduct investigations, make findings and impose penalties for violations of public meetings law. February 10, public hearing held in House Rules; LVWOR letter of support filed.
Rights of Incarcerated People (Marge Easley)
The League delivered testimony on February 8 in support of SB 1584, which creates a process for those who have been wrongly convicted to petition for compensation. At a work session on February 9, the bipartisan bill passed unanimously out of committee with one amendment and was referred to Ways and Means. Passage would make Oregon the 38th state to set up such a process. Those able to meet the stipulated criteria would be awarded $65,000 for every year of incarceration, $25,000 for every year of post-prison supervision, and access to services such as counseling, housing, medical care, education, job training, legal services, food, and transportation. Nearly 3,000 exonerations have occurred in the US since 1989, including 23 in Oregon, largely due to the efforts of the Innocence Project. This bill is a much-needed step toward addressing racial inequities and human rights violations in Oregon’s criminal justice system.