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Legislative Report - Week of 2/12

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By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator, and Team

Senate Rules Committee

SB 1538 is an election law clean-up bill that makes many changes, was amended in several details and passed out of the Senate Rules Committee on 2/15. The amendments concerned translating voters’ pamphlets; removing the redundant vote tally machine certification just before tallying begins; reducing the number of voter registration cards to 500 that could be obtained, issuing a certificate of ascertainment of presidential electors; increasing the upper limits for a candidate not to be required to file campaign finance reports; and allowing campaign contributions to be used to pay civil penalties for campaign violations.


House Rules Committee

HB 4021, 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, had a public hearing.

HB 4031, which requires the Public Records Advisory Council to study public records, passed out of committee without recommendation and was sent to the Revenue Committee.

HB 4032, which removes 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.

HB 4117, which authorizes the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to issue advisory opinions on the application of the public meetings law, and which provides a technical fix to a bill passed in 2023 session, passed out of committee to 2nd reading, the rules of the House were suspended, and the bill was passed immediately and unanimously.


Senate Committee on Education

SB 1502 requires public schools and college boards to livestream 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 out of committee and was referred to Ways and Means.


Elections, Campaign Finance, and In Memoriam for Alice Bartelt

By Rebecca Gladstone

Three bills that received League testimony passed from committees this week. News swirls for others, and we are poised to act on them.

These two bills were heard in Senate Rules and both passed, with League support:

Increase Voters’ Pamphlet Languages SB 1533: This bill would increase the number of languages other than English for State Voters’ Pamphlets, adjusted for predominating languages by county. We provided written testimony. As well as virtual  League testimony starts at 1:25). The bill passed unanimously, with one excused.

Synthetic Media in Campaign Ads, aka Deep Fakes SB 1571 -1: League testimony was quickly revised for the -1 amendment and our verbal testimony, (video starting at 50 minutes), was targeted to issues raised during the public hearing. The -1 amendment replaced “artificial intelligence” with the applied term “synthetic media”. The bill passed unanimously, with four more amendments filed. See Oregon lawmakers consider regulating use of AI in campaign ads, OPB, 14 Feb, 2024.


A third  bill, from sponsor Sen. Manning, was heard in Senate Veterans, Emergency Management, Federal and World Affairs Committee:

Automatic Voter Registration for students SB 1577 -3: The original bill would have automatically registered students from their college applications via the Dept of Revenue. The amended bill would have Elections and County Elections departments study the feasibility of registering student citizen voters. The clear emphasis on eligible voters, with only citizens being eligible, was not clear to many who sent testimony. It passed from committee on partisan lines, with supportive League testimony (video starting  at 1:19), and on the record.

Campaign Finance: LWVOR supports IP 9 and is actively collecting signatures, as part of the Honest Elections Coalition. LWVOR and Common Cause are the good government groups mentioned in OPB this week: Democrats and Republicans often clash on the subject, but are hoping to avoid a messy ballot fight.

A placeholder bill, HB 4024, could be pressed into service from unusual partners, labor and business, who are otherwise promoting IP 42, against IP 9. This is presumably hoping to forestall the impending faceoff between the two competing campaign finance petitions. Campaign work for IP 9 is in high gear with discussions between Honest Elections, legislative members, top state leadership, and the press.


Senate Commemorative Resolution, In Memoriam: Alice Bartelt, 1947-2023, SCR 203: We understand from staff that the bill sponsor, Senate President Wagner, has moved the hearing date to Feb. 22, 3pm. It is not yet posted on OLIS. Staff requests that anyone wishing to testify please contact their office at, so that timing can be arranged.

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