The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, August 06, 2022, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 7, Image 7

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Gun safety regulations on ballot could cost local governments
The initiative is not expected
to cost state or local governments
anything and would not generate
any revenue, according to the
State committee released
financial evaluations
for four measures
Oregonians will vote on
in November
Removing slavery as
punishment for crime
Oregon Capital Chronicle
SALEM — Only one of
the four statewide ballot mea-
sures Oregonians will vote on in
November comes at a fi nancial
cost to local governments.
That measure would ban the
sale of high-capacity ammuni-
tion magazines, require a fi rearm
safety course, tighten licensing
and create stricter background
checks on weapons purchases. A
committee involving the Secre-
tary of State’s Offi ce and legisla-
tive analysts determined it would
cost the state over $23 million but
generate about the same amount
in revenue. The measure would
cost local governments up to $31
million in its fi rst year.
Three other statewide ballot
measures — that would punish
absentee lawmakers, strip men-
tion of slavery from the Constitu-
tion and make health care a con-
stitutional right — have little or
no impact on state fi nances, ana-
lysts determined.
State offi cials will consider
changes to the fi nancial impact
statements and any changes
will be made before Aug. 10,
according to Ben Morris, commu-
nications director for the Secre-
tary of State’s Offi ce.
The Financial Estimate Com-
mittee, a partnership of the Leg-
islative Policy and Research
Offi ce and the Oregon Secretary
of State’s Offi ce, will host the
meeting. The committee is tasked
with evaluating the costs of ballot
measures before including them
in voter pamphlets and on ballots.
Its fi ve members are Secre-
tary of State Shemia Fagan, state
Treasurer Tobias Read, Rev-
enue Department Director Betsy
Imholt, Administrative Services
Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press, File
Semiautomatic rifl es are displayed on a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Washington, on Oct. 2, 2018. A measure that would
ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, require a fi rearm safety course, tighten licensing and create stricter
background checks on weapons purchases could come with a high fi nancial cost to local governments, according to a
committee involving the Secretary of State’s Offi ce and legislative analysts.
Director Katy Coba and a local
government representative, cur-
rently accountant Tim Collier.
Boosting gun safety
More than 160,000 Oregonians
signed a petition to get a new gun
control proposal on the November
ballot. Initiative Petition 17 would
require anyone buying a fi rearm
to obtain a permit by passing a
safety training course. Current
gun owners would have to obtain
permits for any future gun pur-
chases if the law were enacted. It
would also ban the sale of ammu-
nition magazines containing more
than 10 rounds and require back-
ground checks on everyone who
buys a gun, no matter the wait.
Current state and federal gun
laws require criminal background
checks, but a loophole in federal
law allows gun dealers to sell fi re-
arms without a completed back-
ground check if it takes longer
than three days to complete.
The measure would require
expenditures but would also bring
in money.
Cost to state government:
• About $2 million in one-time
expenses and $21 million between
2023-25 to provide additional staff
and resources for the Oregon State
Police for background checks and
issuing permits. The Oregon Judi-
cial Department would likely have
increased costs and cases related
to new crimes established by the
law and among people appealing
permit denials.
Revenue for state
• Up to $23.5 million for the
state from fees for fi ngerprinting,
FBI background checks and judi-
cial fi lings.
Cost to local government:
• More than $51 million in the
fi rst year to process an estimated
300,000 permit applications a
• More than $47 million in sub-
sequent years to process permits.
Revenue for local
• Nearly $20 million per year
in application fees.
Initiative Referendum 402
would remove slavery and inden-
tured servitude as accepted crim-
inal punishments in the Oregon
Constitution. Currently, Oregon
is one of 10 states that technically
still allows such punishment in
sentencing. It would add language
to the Constitution allowing state
courts and probation and parole
offi cials to order alternatives
to incarceration such as educa-
tion and treatment, too. A grass-
roots advocacy group, Oregonians
Against Slavery & Involuntary
Servitude, which was established
in 2020 by alumni of Willamette
University, is behind the initiative.
The committee determined
that any costs are tentative.
“The impact of the mea-
sure will depend on potential
legal action or changes to inmate
work programs,” the committee
Health care as a
constitutional right
Punishing absentee
Initiative Petition 14 would
amend the state Constitution to
make lawmakers ineligible for
reelection if they have 10 or more
unexcused absences from fl oor
sessions. Such sessions involve
debates and voting on new laws.
The measure aims to stop Repub-
lican lawmakers from blocking
legislation by walking out or
refusing to show up.
Republican lawmakers did
that fi ve times in 2019 and 2020
to prevent or stall action on guns,
forestry, health care, the educa-
tion budget and climate change.
Oregon’s Constitution requires
that two-thirds of legislators be
present for a vote. This means that
if more than 20 representatives or
more than 10 senators are absent,
a vote cannot take place.
Initiative Referendum 401
would amend the state Constitution
to make access to aff ordable health
care a right and make Oregon the
fi rst state in the nation to secure
such a right for its residents.
It would require the state to
ensure access to “cost-eff ec-
tive, clinically appropriate and
aff ordable health care” for resi-
dents, balanced against obliga-
tions to fund public schools and
other essential public services,
according to the petition.
The committee could not
determine the fi nancial impacts
of the measure because amending
the Constitution would not cost
extra money, but laws created to
ensure the new right would.
“The impact of the measure
will depend on future legisla-
tive action to establish additional
health benefi ts and determine how
they will be paid for,” it wrote.
Less than 100 days remain until November election
Oregon Capital Bureau
SALEM — It’s easy to
feel like the November elec-
tion is a long way off .
Primary election ballots
were still being counted just
10 weeks ago.
It’s been just a month
since the Fourth of July.
One of the main “candi-
dates” for governor hasn’t
qualifi ed to run and likely
won’t hit that mark until the
end of August.
Summer, the old and
increasingly irrelevant con-
ventional wisdom says, is a
time of political doldrums.
Labor Day, the traditional
kickoff of the general elec-
tion campaign, is still a
month away.
But political tradition
hasn’t held up in recent elec-
tion cycles and has been
largely kicked to the curb in
2022. There will be a new
governor, at least three new
members of Congress, and a
host of new legislators rep-
resenting new districts. Also
on the ballot are measures
on gun control and barring
recalcitrant lawmakers from
running for offi ce if they
walk off the job too often.
One look at the cal-
endar shows the climax of
the 2022 election is rapidly
approaching. As of Sunday,
July 31, there were 100 days
until the Nov. 8 general
The primary culled and
cleared the political fi eld.
The May 17 ballot fea-
tured 376 candidates: 146
Republicans, 134 Democrats
and 96 running for offi cially
nonpartisan offi ces.
The eff ect of voting was
May 17 began with 34
candidates for governor, 16
for the new 6th Congres-
sional District, 10 for U.S.
senator, and seven for the
Bureau of Labor and Indus-
tries commissioner.
When the fi nal votes
were tallied over a week
later, each race had two
fi nalists.
The primary notched
its fi rst major casualty of
2022 when U.S. Rep. Kurt
Jaime Valdez/Pamplin Media
Republican nominee Christine Drazan, left, and unaffi liated
candidate Betsy Johnson, right, listen to Democratic nominee Tina
Kotek speak during a governor candidates’ debate hosted by Oregon
Newspaper Publishers Association at Mount Hood Oregon Resort on
Friday, July 29, 2022, in Welches.
Schrader, D-Canby, was
upset by progressive Ter-
rebonne attorney Jamie
McLeod-Skinner in his bid
for an eighth term repre-
senting the 5th Congres-
sional District.
The outcome of the May
17 vote also put two bitter
rivals from the House on a
collision course in the race
for governor.
With Gov. Kate Brown
barred from running again
due to term limits, Demo-
crats chose former House
Speaker Tina Kotek of
Portland as their nom-
inee. Former House Leader
Christine Drazan topped the
GOP primary fi eld.
Kotek and Drazan had
both resigned from the
House early to run for gov-
ernor. Along with infl ation,
COVID-19, abortion, guns,
housing, and homeless poli-
cies, their campaigns would
be framed by a personal
animosity born from a 2021
fi ght over a broken bargain
on political redistricting.
“She lied and broke her
promise not just to us but
to Oregonians,” Drazan
said on Sept. 21. “She just
sold the soul of our state for
Democrats’ political gain.”
In most years, that would
be enough drama by itself.
But last week the fi rst major
debate of the governor’s race
was held at a newspaper pub-
lishers’ convention in Clack-
amas County. Sharing the
stage with Kotek and Drazan
was a third candidate for
governor who has raised the
largest campaign war chest,
but hasn’t appeared on a
ballot or even qualifi ed to
run for the offi ce.
Former Sen. Betsy
Johnson, D-Scappoose,
dropped out of the Senate and
the Democratic Party in a bid
to become just the second
governor since Oregon
became a state in 1859 to win
the governorship without a
major party affi liation.
It was last done by
department store heir Julius
Meier in 1930. The GOP
nomination for governor
had been won by Meier’s
friend, the reform Repub-
lican George Joseph. When
Joseph suddenly died prior
to the election, Oregon
Republican bosses chose
conservative Phil Metschan,
the state GOP chair, to take
his place on the ballot.
Meier entered the race
as an independent, drawing
aggressive attacks from
The Oregonian newspaper.
Meier countered that the
only thing of signifi cance
in the paper was the ads for
his Meier & Frank store. He
won easily and served one
Johnson has Meier’s pen-
chant for a quip, though her
political history is much
more bifurcated.
Born in Bend and raised
in Redmond, she was the
daughter of timberman and
philanthropist Sam Johnson,
who served as a Republican
in the Legislature and as
mayor of Redmond.
His daughter moved to
his left, both on the map
and on the political spec-
trum. She made her name in
the aviation business on the
Oregon Coast and her own
long career in Salem was as
a Democrat in the Legisla-
ture, fi rst on the southern
coast and later in the
Columbia County area.
Johnson is seeking to
cast herself as the middle
lane between a far-left
Kotek and a far-right
“I am pro-choice,”
Johnson wrote on Twitter
earlier this year. “This is a
bedrock issue for me, and
frankly, for Oregon.”
Last week, she said
Drazan, the only anti-abor-
tion candidate among the
trio, would veto “pro-choice
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Kotek would push liberal
social agendas and increase
government spending and
taxes, Johnson asserts.
“She’d have us all woke
and broke,” Johnson said.
Kotek has countered that
Johnson and Drazan have
spent much of their political
careers emphasizing what
they were against, while she
had done the diffi cult work
of moving bills through the
“Being able to deliver
results right now is what
really matters for Orego-
nians,” Kotek said.
On a practical level,
Johnson has until Aug. 16
to submit 23,744 valid sig-
natures to the Secretary of
State’s Offi ce in order to
secure her place on the Nov.
8 ballot. Her offi cial cam-
paign committee name,
“Run, Betsy, Run,” refl ects
the need to fi rst get to the
starting line. Only then can
she try to be fi rst across the
fi nish line.
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