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Legislative Report - 3/4

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Campaign Finance

By Norman Turrill

An amazingly historic thing happened with campaign finance reform as explained here in the Capital Chronicle. The League initially opposed HB 4024; see the League’s written testimony. After over a week of private negotiations, a new -5 amendment and then a -8 amendment were posted for the Wednesday 3/6 House Rules work session. The good government groups were able to negotiate some 40 changes to the previously-proposed amendments, enough to make the bill acceptable and to avoid a huge ballot measure fight in the November election. The agreement included IP 9 and IP 42 being withdrawn and HB 4024 not being referred to the ballot. The bill then quickly passed the House floor 52 to 5, a Senate Rules hearing and work session, and the Senate floor 22 to 6 on the last day of the session. Only Gov. Kotek’s signature is now required.

We should be clear: Campaign finance reform is not finished in Oregon. There will undoubtedly be adjustments attempted in the 2025 long legislative session. The contributions limits in HB 2024 are way too high, and the disclosure of donors and dark money that pay for advertising, needs more work. The Secretary of State will need funding to implement the bill by its 2027 effective date. And we still need public funding of campaigns as in other states.


Other Governance Bills

HB 4021 A, which requires the Governor to fill a vacancy in the office of U.S. Senator by appointment within 30 days until a special election can fill the vacancy, passed the House floor 35 to 22. However, it stalled after a 3/5 hearing in Senate Rules and was still in committee on adjournment.

HB 4026 Enrolled, was amended in House Rules to retroactively prohibit the use of a referendum on any urban growth boundary expansion. This blocks a referendum in the City of North Plains in Washington County. The LWVOR submitted written testimony opposing the amendment and saying the bill is likely unconstitutional and may invite a lawsuit. The bill passed the House 49 to 5 and then the Senate 25 to 3. See also the Land Use Section of the Natural Resources Legislative Report.

HB 4031 Enrolled was amended in House Revenue to protect any local government tax payer information from disclosure. It passed the House 57 to 0 and then the Senate 26 to 3.

HB 4032, which would remove the requirement that the word “incumbent” appear on the ballot with the name of incumbent candidates for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Oregon Tax Court, and circuit court, had a public hearing but no further action in House Rules.

HB 4117 Enrolled, which authorizes the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to issue advisory opinions on the application of the public meetings law, and which is a correction to a bill passed in 2023 session, passed the House immediately and unanimously. The bill then passed the Senate 30 to 0.

SB 1502 Enrolled requires public schools and college boards to live stream their meetings and post the meeting recordings on their websites and social media sites. It allows remote testimony for most school and college board meetings. The bill passed the Senate 29 to 1. The bill then passed the House 55 to 1.

SB 1538 A, an election law clean-up bill that makes many changes, was passed by the Senate as amended on 20 to 10 vote. House Rules then amended the bill to allow the Legislature to write the ballot title and explanatory statement for any constitutional amendment referred to the ballot during this session. The House then passed the bill 45 to 6, and the Senate quickly concurred with the House amendment 22 to 7.


Privacy & AI, Elections, & In Memoriam for Alice Bartelt

By Rebecca Gladstone

The 2024 short session adjourned congenially before the final deadline. 

These bills passed, supported with League testimony:

Campaign Finance Reform, HB 4024, see above.

AI, to disclose synthetic media use in campaign SB 1571 A. The Senate concurred with House amendments passing the bill on partisan lines. We look forward to pressing for attention to protect our elections and for other cybersecurity and privacy concerns.

The Senate Memorial Commemoration for Alice Bartelt, SCR 203 passed unanimously from the House floor, some excused, and it has been filed with the Secretary of State. RIP Alice.

Increase Voters’ Pamphlet languages SB 1533 passed in the House with some excused.

Not passing out of committee: Automatic Voter Registration for students SB 1577 -3 due to widely shared concerns for practical implementation, including from the League, despite generally supporting expanding automatic voter registration.

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