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Legislative Report - Sine Die 2024

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By Paula Krane

Since this was a short session things seemed to move quickly. In the beginning there seemed to be adequate notice on hearings and bills to be heard, changing as the session progressed. This was a more civil session. Members worked together, the public was involved with the process and welcomed to participate. League members had access to their Legislators as well as other Legislators. Because of Covid and the building being closed for updates, virtual access has been expanded; it has become very easy to observe and be part of the Legislative process remotely. There were very few access concerns this session: some members had problems with the pertaining clauses not telling them what the subject of the bill was (misinformation). In the past we put a lot of time and effort into making sure we all have access to the legislative political process and we continue to benefit from those efforts.

Campaign Finance

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 an -8 amendment were posted for the Wednesday 3/6 House Rules work session. The good government groups were able to negotiate some 20 major changes to the proposed bill, enough to make the bill acceptable and to avoid a huge ballot measure fight at the November election.

The bill has something to please and displease everyone, reflected in the final floor discourse and votes. The bill represents decades of grassroots work. The agreement included IP 9 (Honest Elections, including a LWVOR chief petitioner) and IP 42 (unions) being withdrawn and HB 4024 not being referred to the ballot. The bill quickly passed the House floor, a Senate Rules hearing and work session, and the Senate floor on the last day of the session after a suspension of Senate rules. Gov. Kotek signed the bill March 20.

We should be clear: Campaign finance reform is not finished in Oregon. The next E-board will be asked to allocate funding for the Secretary of State to draft administrative rules for the bill’s 2027 effective date. There will undoubtedly be adjustments attempted in the 2025 long legislative session. Rep. Fahey is forming a work group to consider changes. 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. And we still need public funding of campaigns as in other states.



People Not Politicians announced that it is pausing the initiative signature campaign for IP 14 and will refile an initiative for the 2028 general election. The campaign did not have enough money to be successful by the July 5 deadline. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided March 27 in favor of PNP that IP 14 does not include two subjects; this will be important for future versions of the initiative; the case may yet be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Other Governance Bills

HB 4026 Enrolled, was passed to retroactively prohibit the use of a referendum on any urban growth boundary expansion. This was intended to block a referendum in the City of North Plains in Washington County. The LWVOR submitted written testimony opposing the bill and saying it is likely unconstitutional and may invite a lawsuit. However, a Washington County judge granted a temporary restraining order that allows the North Plains referendum, Measure 34-327, to remain on the ballot this May. Whether the referendum is defeated or not, then the whole matter will end up the courts again.

HB 4031 Enrolled was amended in House Revenue to protect any local government tax payer information from disclosure.

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 both legislative chambers immediately and unanimously.

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.

SB 1538 Enrolled is an election law clean-up bill that makes many changes.

SB 1577 A, automatic voter registration for higher ed students through the Dept of Revenue, was amended to require the Legislative Policy and Research Director to study its viability, benefits and challenges. It was still in Joint W&Ms as the session ended.


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

SB 1571 Enrolled 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.

SB 1533 Enrolled increases the number of languages into which the secretary must translate voters' pamphlets.

The Senate Memorial Commemoration for Alice Bartelt, SCR 203 Enrolled, passed unanimously in both houses and has been filed with the Secretary of State. RIP, Alice.

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