Articles Posted in Election Law

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Petitioners sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition (IP) 1 (2018), contending that the “yes” and “no” result statements and the summary did not comply with the requirements set out in ORS 250.035(2). IP 1 was a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution that, if approved, would prohibit public funding for abortions, “except when medically necessary or as may be required by federal law.” Section 1 of IP 1 set out that general prohibition, and Section 2 set out several related definitions. Section 3 set out two exceptions to the prohibition in Section 1. Section 4 provided that nothing in the proposed amendment “shall be construed as prohibiting the expenditure of public funds to pay for health insurance,” so long as “such funds are not spent to pay or reimburse for the costs of performing abortions.” The Oregon Supreme Court considered petitioners’ arguments regarding the “yes” and “no” result statements in the certified title, and concluded that those statements substantially complied with statutory requirements. However, the Court agreed with one of petitioners’ arguments challenging the summary, and therefore referred the summary back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Jimerson v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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The Attorney General prepared and filed a modified ballot title following remand from the Supreme Court. In its second trip to the Oregon Supreme Court, two petitioners challenged the modified title. IP 62 applies to public employees (employees) and public employee labor organizations (unions). If adopted by the voters, IP 62 would have amended several provisions of the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act. Petitioners Neel and Forest set out two main objections to the modified caption: (1) they claimed that the phrase “limits public employee union members’ obligations” was vague and overbroad and was likely to mislead and confuse voters; (2) the phrase “employees might benefit without sharing bargaining costs" petitioners contended that, as used to describe IP 62, that phrase was “underinclusive, inaccurate, misleading, politically loaded,” and failed to reasonably identify the actual major effect of the proposed initiative measure. The Supreme Court found certain of the objections to be well taken, and referred the modified ballot title to the Attorney General for additional modification. View "Conroy v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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Petitioners sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 61 (2016) (IP 61), arguing that the ballot title did not satisfy the requirements of ORS 250.035. IP 61 implicated the use of public funds to pay for abortions. As written, the Supreme Court found that the summary to the Initiative Petition did not address the limitation on access to abortion that would directly follow from the enactment of IP 61. "The Attorney General must revise the summary to describe that limitation." As written, the Court also found that the summary did not address the broad definition of the term “abortion,” but, with regard to contraception, it explained what the term abortion excluded, rather than what it included. "The summary provides that the measure '[d]efines ‘abortion’ to exclude termination of ectopic pregnancy, removing dead fetus/embryo, or contraceptives that ‘inhibit or prevent conception.’ In taking that approach, the Attorney General uses the literal terms of the measure, but obscures the meaning of the term 'abortion' rather than conveying the practical information that ORS 250.035 required. The Court referred the ballot title back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Cross v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Two sets of petitioners sought review of the certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 69 (2016) (IP 69). IP 69, if enacted, would have altered the rights and obligations that public employers, their employees, and the unions representing those employees owe each other under the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA). IP 69, if enacted, would: (1) divide public employees within a bargaining unit into two groups (union and nonunion employees) and would provide different means for determining the employment terms (wages, benefits, and other employment terms) for each group; and (2) would determine a union’s obligation to represent union and nonunion employees within a bargaining unit equally and nonunion employees’ corresponding obligation to make “payments in lieu of dues.” Both sets of petitioners raised essentially the same challenge to the caption of the Initiative, although their specific arguments differed. ”At bottom, both sets of petitioners argue that the caption is too narrow and focuses on only some of the measure’s major effects, to the exclusion of other major effects." The Supreme Court agreed that the caption, the “yes” and “no” vote result statements, and the summary required modification. The Ballot title was referred to Attorney General for such modification. View "Vaandering v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Petitioners sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 51 (2016) (IP 51). IP 51 was a proposed constitutional amendment that, if adopted by the voters, would have changed current voter registration methods for federal, state, and local elections in Oregon by requiring in-person registration, thereby eliminating “motor-voter,” online, and mail registration options. Its passage also would result in the expiration within 10 years of all current Oregon voter registrations and establish other new requirements that must be satisfied in order for Oregonians to register to vote. Petitioners argued that the ballot title did not satisfy the requirements of ORS 250.035(2). After review, the Oregon Supreme Court agreed that IP 51, as then-drafted, did not satisfy the requirements of Oregon law and referred the ballot title back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Nearman v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Petitioners seek review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 62 (2016) (IP 62). IP 62 applied to public employees and public employee labor organizations. If adopted by the voters, IP 62 would amend several provisions of the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA). Petitioners argued that the ballot title did not satisfy the requirements of ORS 250.035(2). After review, the Oregon Supreme Court agreed that IP 62, as then-drafted, did not satisfy the requirements of Oregon law and referred the ballot title back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Conroy v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Ben Unger, LaToya Fick and Carmen Rubio petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for review of the Attorney General's certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 65. IP 65, if enacted, would establish a “High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Fund” (Readiness Fund) within the state General Fund for the purposes of—as the title of the fund suggests-improving high school graduation rates and college and career readiness. The measure would require the legislature, beginning in 2017, to “appropriate, allocate or otherwise make available” to the fund not less than $800 per student per year. Thereafter, the measure would require that the amounts appropriated, allocated, or otherwise made available be increased in accordance with Executive Order No. 14-14. Petitioner Unger argued the certified ballot title is deficient in several respects pertaining to the “no” vote result statement and the summary. Petitioners Fick and Rubio also challenge the ballot title, arguing that the caption does not reasonably identify the subject of IP 65, that the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ vote result statements do not accurately identify the consequences of voting one way or the other, and that the summary is deficient in that it carries forward problems with the caption and the result statements. After review, the Supreme Court rejected petitioner Unger's contention without discussion, but agreed with petitioners Fick and Rubio's contentions, and referred the ballot title back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Unger v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Petitioner Cynthia Kendoll petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for review of the Attorney General's certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 52. IP 52, if enacted, would supplement federal immigration law. Federal immigration law made it unlawful for "'a person or other entity * * * to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.'" Congress established a website, E-Verify, that permitted employers to determine whether the documentation that the employer reviewed in completing Form I-9 was authentic or, matched records on file with the federal government. Generally, federal immigration laws did not require employers to use E-Verify. Using E-Verify established a rebuttable presumption that an employer did not violate federal immigration laws even if it later turned out that the employer in fact hired an unauthorized alien. IP 52 would add a state licensing requirement that employers use E-Verify to determine their employees’ eligibility to work. Petitioner challenged the ballot title’s caption, the "yes" and "no" result statements, and the summary. After review, the Supreme Court agreed with petitioner that the caption failed to substantially comply with ORS 250.035(2)(a). The ballot title was referred back to the Attorney General for modification. View "Kendoll v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In consolidated cases, petitioners sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petitions 45 and 46 (2016) (IP 45 and IP 46), contending that the caption, the “yes” results statements, and the summaries did not comply with requirements set out in ORS 250.035(2). IP 46 was an alternative proposal to IP 45. Both Initiative Petitions would have amended aspects of a bill that the legislature enacted during the 2015 legislative session, Senate Bill (SB) 324 (Or Laws 2015, ch 4). SB 324 made changes to a 2009 state law that permitted the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to adopt standards and requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to adopt low carbon fuel standards for gasoline, diesel, and alternative fuels, as well as a schedule to reduce by 2020 the average amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent below 2010 levels. IP 46 would change parts of the original 2009 law and SB 324, repeating some (but not all) of the changes contained in IP 45, and making other changes. After review of petitioners’ arguments on appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that text of the Initiative Petitions did not substantially comply with that statutory standard. The Supreme Court therefore referred both ballot titles to the Attorney General for modification of the caption, the “yes” result statements, and the summaries. View "Blosser v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Petitioner sought review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition (IP) 40 (2016), contending that the caption, the “yes” result statement, and the summary did not comply with requirements set out in ORS 250.035(2). IP 40 was a proposed statute that would make several changes to state law relating to the use and speaking of the English language. Section 1 declared English to be the official language of the State of Oregon and then required that official state actions be taken in English. Section 1 further provided that, with exceptions, persons who spoke only English must be eligible for all programs, benefits, and opportunities of the state and its subdivisions, including employment; and that English-only speakers may not be penalized, or have their rights or opportunities impaired, solely because they speak only English. Section 2 set out exceptions to certain aspects of section 1, detailing purposes for which the state and its “political subdivisions” may use a language other than English. Section 5 granted standing to any resident or person doing business in Oregon to seek a declaratory judgment as to whether a violation of the proposed statute has occurred and, if so, to obtain injunctive relief, with costs and reasonable attorney fees awarded to the prevailing party. After review of the initiative petition, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that the “yes” result statement did not substantially comply with that statutory standard. The Attorney General was ordered to modify the “yes” result statement to more clearly and accurately describe two significant components of IP 40 not already captured in that statement. View "Kendoll v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law