Jeremiah McKay knocks on the first door in a quiet neighborhood off Southeast Powell Boulevard, near the eastern edge of Portland, during the 10 a.m. lull. Families had rushed to work and school, but plenty of retirees and stay-home parents remained. He’s wearing a sports shirt and khaki pants, trying to avoid the formal sales look he’d donned for seven years.
Common Sense for Oregon is boosting its signature gathering efforts for initiatives that would put legislative redistricting into the hands of a non-partisan commission and that would allow property owners more leeway to defend their property. Initiative campaigns are now required to turn in signatures gathered by paid canvassers every month. The deadline was 5 p.m. Monday, and I have some of the totals.
Supporters of an initiative to create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon have submitted petitions with more than 110,000 signatures in hopes of getting on the ballot this fall. The Coalition for Patients’ Rights was able to gather the signatures before an early submission deadline, requiring the state Elections Division to immediately determine whether there are enough valid signatures to meet the minimum of about 83,000 needed to qualify.
Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.
In Arizona’s first statewide special election since 1980, voters will decide today whether to raise the state sales tax by 1¢. Farther north, Oregon voters will decide whether to allow the state government to issue bonds to match local school district bonds as well as whether to authorize state spending on higher education. Both state’s ballot questions were referred by the state legislatures.
The latest monthly turn-in of paid petition signatures for Oregon initiatives still shows a relatively small number of measures are likely to make it on the November ballot. Under a new law, petitioners are required every month to turn in signatures gathered by paid petitioners (the major form of signature-gathering for citizen initiatives in Oregon). The latest figures from the Oregon secretary of state leads me to list three measures that are now in the almost-certain-to-make-it-on-the-ballot category.
Steve Doell has seen people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs again and again throughout the years. He has talked to the families of people who’ve been killed in impaired-driving crashes. He wants to know why DUI convicts are given so many chances. “Why should you ever get another chance when you continue to be repetitive? It’s ludicrous,” said Doell, the president of Oregon Crime Victims United. “We should have incremental increases in our punishment cycle for these people. In Oregon, its not really like three strikes you’re out. It’s like five strikes and you’re out.”
Opponents of renaming Beltline Road as the Randy Papé Beltline want to take their opposition to a statewide vote in November. The first two signs for the Randy Papé Beltline were made Wednesday in Salem. Kevin Prociw and Scott Reynolds, who organized protests to the name change, want to put the issue on the ballot in November.
The campaign aiming to tax and regulate marijuana through the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) is circulating petitions to get the measure on the ballot for November’s general election. By creating a committee to oversee the taxation and regulation of marijuana, OCTA would effectively decriminalize the cultivation, possession and personal use of marijuana in Oregon. The measure would be the first law of its kind in the nation.