Legislative Report - Week of 3/13
By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator, and Team
By Barbara Klein
Another Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) bill was added to the March 16 House Rules hearing. This bill, HB 3509, is sponsored by Rep Farrah Chaichi and appears to be an augmentation of bill HB 2004 below. The official summary of HB 3509 is that it “Establishes ranked choice voting as voting method for selecting winner of nomination for an election to nonpartisan state offices and county and city offices except where home rule charter applies. Establishes [RCV] as a voting method for selecting winner of nomination by major political parties for federal and state partisan offices.”
HB 3509 is listed as “may have fiscal impact.” The bill’s sponsor may be hoping to take advantage of the same monies noted by supporters of HB 2004. Namely, this is $2 million allocated by a previously passed bill (SB 5538 in 2021 regular session) to provide grants to counties to modernize their election offices, technology and equipment (including updating voting machines and purchasing new processing equipment). For any scenarios in which HB 3509 would eliminate the need for a runoff, it could save money.
As of this writing, the League has not determined the need for weighing in on HB 3509. However, based on established positions LWVOR would have no reason to oppose this bill, and currently supports the HB 2004 RCV bill. Before the March 16 House Rules hearing, LWVOR provided testimony and encouraged members (as individuals) to write their legislators in support.
Cybersecurity and Public Records
By Rebecca Gladstone
SB 166 We support with comments, our testimony. This three-part bill would codify that actual ballots votes are not revealed (never have been). Elections workers would be protected (offending substances shall not be thrown at them), and elections should have cybersecurity plans. We recommend further amending, with extensive references to our earlier relevant testimony for related bills, including current ones. Technical harassment definitions should be expanded, as we note, for example to doxing, with extensive privacy issues, and extended to protect all involved in elections, even voters, from harassment and intimidation, as reported last fall by OPB. We anticipate valuing having these protections in place before the 2024 elections. We link to our other testimony supporting elections as critical infrastructure, for cybersecurity, and for protecting our cyber defense plans, as mentioned in the bill below.
HB3201 We have supportive testimony prepared for this federal funding broadband bill, public hearing scheduled for March 15. A diverse, inclusive work group has been negotiating for this since last summer, posting two amendments. A surprise amendment appeared March 14, negating the content of the earlier -1 and -2 amendments, without consulting the sponsors or advisory group, a concerning omission. Numerous updated amendments have followed it. We have signed a coalition letter in support of the original bill and have written to relevant legislators with process concerns.
SCR 1 This bill calls for election worker support and applause, passed the Senate on partisan lines, scheduled for a March 14 work session in House Rules. It lacks any action in statute. We urge again, our 2023 testimony for expanding election privacy and harassment protection, citing our League 2022 testimony from HB 4144 Enrolled (2022).
HB 3111 Passed from the House with no opposition votes, and was scheduled for a public hearing March 16 in Sen Rules. This privacy protection bill exempts some personal information for some public employees, focusing on retirees. As we advocated for SB 293 Enrolled (2021), we urge for less piece-meal privacy protection. See our HB 3111 testimony in support, repeating our previous calls for improvements.
HB 2112 A Passed from the House floor and Rules unanimously, and was scheduled for a March 14 work session in Sen Rules. This public records bill updates technical and inclusive terms, particularly for our tribes. The League supports (our testimony).
HB 2490 This bill was scheduled for a work session on March 16 in House Emergency Management, General Governance, and Vets. It addresses Oregon’s growing cybersecurity vulnerability, by protecting our defense plans, devices, and systems from public disclosure, also echoing our call to balance public records disclosure transparency and privacy. The League urges for maximum protection of public health, safety, and the environment. Defending our critical infrastructures is at stake (our testimony).
SB 417 The Task Force convening to review this public records request fee bill had a third meeting, including public records staff from the Attorney General. We hope to complete technical review with Legislative Counsel and propose an amendment in the next week. See League testimony in support.
Watch for upcoming budgets and other bills and progress in W&Ms: SB 1073 to be heard in J Information and Technology, directs the State Chief Information Officer and state agencies to appoint Chief Privacy Officers. It directs the Secretary of State and Treasurer to adopt privacy requirement rules.
Rights of Incarcerated People
By Marge Easley
A bill to reduce the time a person in custody can remain in “segregated housing” was heard on March 14 in House Judiciary. The League submitted supportive testimony on the -1 amendment to HB 2345, which authorizes a reduction of time that adults in custody can be confined in “segregated housing” (solitary confinement) and sets a limitation of 14 days. It also appoints a committee to study the implementation of this new Department of Corrections (DOC) policy. The League strongly supports ongoing DOC efforts to humanize and change the culture of the prison environment, consistent with the 2015 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
By Chris Cobey
SB 207: Authorizes the Oregon Government Ethics Commission to proceed on its own motion to review and investigate, if the commission has reason to believe that a public body conducted meetings in executive session that were not in compliance with laws authorizing executive sessions. The bill was reported out of Senate Rules with a "do pass" recommendation on a 4-0-1-0 vote.
By Norman Turrill
No bills on campaign finance have yet been scheduled for a hearing.
By Norman Turrill
There has been no movement on redistricting in the legislature. People Not Politicians has started collecting signatures on IP 19 petitions downloadable from its website.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. Worthy causes go unaddressed for lack of League volunteers. If you see a need and can offer your expertise, please contact our staff at email@example.com.