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Few initiatives for Oregon, but none for Arizona

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July 3, 2014

By Margaret Koenig


While Oregon voters will likely cast votes on contested issues like genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling, marijuana legalization and an open primary system, Arizona voters will be going to the polls without a single initiative to vote on for the first time in over three decades.

None of the 22 potential initiatives filed in Arizona submitted signatures to the secretary of state's office by today's signature deadline. The last time the statewide ballot in Arizona had no initiated measures was in 1978.[1] While voters will not get the chance to cast a ballot on a border security measure involving Bitcoin funding or same sex marriage, two legislatively referred measures will still appear on the statewide ballot this November. Proposition 122 would amend the Arizona Constitution to assert state sovereignty over the use state funds for federally mandated projects deemed incongruent with the federal constitution. Proposition 303 would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

While Oregon will be seeing more ballot measures than Arizona, it will still be a lower than average amount for the state. Since 1996, an average of 12 measures have appeared on the ballot, annually. The maximum possible for 2014 is seven. Currently one veto referendum and one initiated constitutional amendment are certified for the November ballot, despite at least 15 other measures having had the potential. The veto referendum would overturn a Senate Bill 833 which makes four-year driver licenses available to those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States. The initiated constitutional amendment would create an amendment to guarantee equal rights for women. Two legislatively-referred constitutional amendments have also been certified. Three initiated state statutes submitted signatures far exceeding the required amount to qualify for the ballot. The measures to require labeling of GMOs, to legalize recreational marijuana for adults and to create an open primary election system are all likely to be certified.


Oregon had been poised to become a direct democracy battleground for payroll deductions with multiple measures proposed for and against restrictions on the use of such deductions and the process of negotiating them. On March 3, 2014, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) announced that several initiatives regarding this issue would be withdrawn following negotiations between the several opposing measure supporters. Thirteen measures were withdrawn due to this negotiation. The discussions were instigated by Gov. Kitzhaber in order to avoid the expensive campaigning battle that was likely to breakout between the opposing measures. The negotiations took several months to complete.[2] The anti-payroll deduction proposals that were withdrawn due to this agreement were initiative petition 1 and initiative petition 9. The remaining withdrawn initiative petitions were union-backed measures, including initiative petitions 14, 15, 16, 18, 30 and 33, as well as 17 ,19, 29, 32 and 35. All of these measures, except for 35, were sponsored by Our Oregon.[2]

See also