The Politics in Pieces column is by editor Christian DeWeese
The 2018 midterms have been hyped up since November 9, 2016, with some hoping for a “blue wave” and others wanting a continued Republican majority.
While governor and congressional races are getting the majority of people’s attention, what about the literal other side of the ballot (the side we usually know hardly anything about)? This year, the measures on that other side include opportunities for voters to directly have a say in some important new laws.
On Nov. 6, Oregon voters will vote on six key of state and county measures related to everything from housing to constitutional rights: Measures 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 and 10-165.
On the topic of housing, approval of Measure 102 would amend the state constitution to allow county, city and town governments to award bonds to non-government entities to fund and build affordable housing for low income residents. If the measure were to pass, it would require local voters to approve of the bonds beforehand. Both gubernatorial candidates, Kate Brown and Knute Buehler, have voiced their support for 102 with Buehler’s spokesperson Monica Wroblewski commenting that it’s an “important, change that will allow governments to leverage private funds to create more affordable housing.” Voicing opposition for the measure, The Register-Guard wrote that while the intentions of the measure are good “the Legislature wrote a flawed constitutional amendment to accomplish that end” and that “Oregonians should reject it so that lawmakers can come back with a better version next year.”
Measure 103 decides whether or not to amend the Oregon constitution by adding a permanent ban to any and all potential taxes on groceries. Its proponents believe a change to the constitution is necessary (even though the last time a grocery tax was proposed was in 1993) while opponents say the measure is vague and can open loopholes in terms of what exactly can and can’t be taxed while also believing that a grocery tax is something that should be left to local governments.
While most of this year’s measures affect our average day-to-day, 104 could change the way in which the legislative passes revenue changes. In order to pass any bill that raises state revenue, three-fifths of a legislative majority must approve of it. At the moment, bills that raise revenue are only defined as bills that levy or increases taxes. Approval of 104 would broaden the scope of these bills to include “any tax or fee increase, including changes to tax exemptions, deductions, or credits.”
Measures 105 and 106 are likely to be the two that illicite the most visceral reactions from voters. Measure 105, the “Repeal Sanctuary State Law Initiative,” would do exactly as it says. A vote in favor of 105 would repeal Oregon Statute 181A.820. Oregon Statute 181A.820 currently forbids state agencies and law enforcement from using resources and personnel to arrest individuals whose only crime is being here undocumented. Voting “no” would keep those laws in place. Voting “yes” would use state agency resources more for immigration purposes.
Measure 106 would determine the way abortions in the state are paid for. Support for the measure would amend current law by prohibiting the use of tax dollars to pay for medically planned abortions. The Register-Guard explains that current law “does not have any restrictions on when a woman can get an abortion, and the state health plan provides coverage for a woman who wants to get an abortion.” Opposition of the measure would keep the law in place allowing funds to pay for abortions covered by insurance plans.
Unique to Douglas County, Measure 10-165 can be described as preserving the right to bear arms in relation to federal and state constitutional rights. According to the text of the measure, “a ‘yes’ vote adopts and makes part of the Douglas County Code an ordinance preserving the right to bear arms and related rights under the United States and Oregon State Constitution.” If approved, the ordinance would require the county sheriff to “determine whether any law or regulation pertaining to the right to bear arms or related rights violates the U.S. or Oregon Constitution” and immediately deem them null and void. The measure would also prohibit county government funds and entities from enforcing any element of any law that infringes upon the right to: “possess lawfully owned firearms without registration requirements ; freely possess, manufacture, transfer, sell and buy firearms, including semi-automatic “assault style” firearms, high capacity feed systems, firearm accessories and ammunition.”
Elections are more than just who gets into office. Housing, abortion, taxes, constitutional rights, and groceries are aspects to life that all Oregonians experience.•