Legislative Report - Week of 3/6
By Norman Turrill, Governance Coordinator, and Team
No bills on campaign finance have yet been scheduled for a hearing. However, the Oregonian has published a good article explaining that Oregon Democrats say they’re serious about capping political donations, but their proposals include loopholes.
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.
By Barbara Klein
A Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) bill is scheduled for a hearing, currently planned for March 16 in House Rules. The bill, HB 2004, is sponsored by Rep Rayfield, Fahey, Reynolds, Marsh, Senator Sollman; and regular sponsors Rep. Pham K, Senator Dembrow and Golden. Based on LWVOR positions supporting RCV, the League has decided to endorse this bill (and allowed the use of our logo). LWVOR is represented on the steering committee for HB 2004 led by the Coalition of Communities of Color and Oregon RCV. We have encouraged members (as individuals) to write their legislators in support.
Regarding the cost of implementing RCV in Oregon, transitioning to a new system will incur modest costs (for instance updating voting equipment, software and voter education). Supporters point to the advantage that in the 2021 Regular Session, SB 5538 allocated $2 million for grants to counties to modernize their election offices, technology and equipment (including updating voting machines and purchasing new processing equipment). If there are situations in which RCV eliminates the current need for a runoff in non-partisan elections, it will actually save money (and time) on taxpayer-funded elections.
Cybersecurity and Public Records
By Rebecca Gladstone
Two major bills passing unanimously in 2022 committees, failing to progress, are moving in 2023. SB 619, for Consumer Data Privacy had a public hearing and the cyber bill, HB 2049, is in W&Ms. Public records, judiciary, and privacy bills are moving.
SB 619: This major bill, a comprehensive protection of consumers’ personal data, had a March 7 public hearing. We encourage you to see the (video). LWVOR strongly supports (our testimony), based on our privacy and cybersecurity work. We particularly agree with Section 1 (6) (b) Consent: “The consumer’s inaction does not constitute consent.” This protects consumer data privacy rights and holds those who control and process the data responsible. Critical consumer protections include:
· Right to KNOW what’s being collected
· Right to Correct inaccuracies
· Right to opt-out
· Heightened opt-in requirements for sensitive information
· Special protections for children, adding ages 13-15
HB 2112 A: This public records bill updates technical and inclusive terms, particularly for our tribes. Rules were suspended for this bill passing unanimously from the House after passing unanimously from House Rules, for a public hearing in Senate Rules, March 7. The League supports (our testimony).
HB 2490: This bill had a public hearing on March 9 to address 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. This warrants citing the League position to promote maximum protection of public health, safety, and the environment. Defending our critical infrastructures is at stake. The League supports (our testimony).
SB 417: The public records request fee bill Task Force convening at Sen. Rules Chair Lieber’s request, has met twice, reviewing technicalities. We will probably meet a few more times before making amendment recommendations, to be inviting legislative counsel next time. See League testimony in support.
SB 5512, representing the Oregon Judicial Department budget, will have had a public hearing on March 9. The League testimony supports funding the cost of judicial services. The shortage of public defenders is dire, as covered earlier here. Chief Justice Wallace Carson, interviewed for our 2007 Overview of the Oregon Judiciary, encouraged us to work to improve pay for our judicial system workers. Fully funding these positions and supporting the system could solve our judicial labor shortage and improve many of Oregon’s judicial problems. This bill addresses costs of HB 2224, to increase juror pay, below.
Rights of Incarcerated People
By Marge Easley
SB 579, which restores the right to vote for over 13,000 incarcerated adults in Oregon, is on track to pass out of Senate Judiciary on March 9, with a subsequent referral to Ways and Means. This is the third try to pass this legislation, and although Republicans are united in their opposition, there is optimism that this time an even broader coalition of supporters under the umbrella of Guaranteeing the Right to Vote will achieve success. Endorsers include Oregon Justice Resource Center, ACLU of Oregon, Next Up Oregon, The Sentencing Project, the League of Women Voters of Oregon, and over 45 other organizations and individuals.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.