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Oregon House Bill 2082 (2007)

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Oregon House Bill 2082 (HB 2082) was enacted by the Oregon State Legislature and signed into law by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2007. The law went into effect on July 31, 2007, but some of its reporting provisions did not kick in until January 1, 2008.

HB 2082 imposes aggressive new restrictions on the initiative petition process in Oregon, in the name of lessening fraud in the process.

Provisions of the bill

Provisions of HB 2082 include:

  • Anyone convicted of a crime within the past five years may not be paid to collect signatures.
  • People who are paid to circulate petitions must register with the secretary of state, be issued an ID badge, and undergo a brief training program.[1]
  • Six months after an initiative is certified for signature gathering, the sponsor must submit payroll and other records to the Elections Division, the Attorney General's office, or the Bureau of Labor and Industries to prove that no petition circulators were paid for each signature they collected.
  • People circulating petitions are prohibited from assisting signers in filling in information such as the person's address.
  • Signers from different counties can now sign on the same petition.
  • The practice of filing multiple versions of a measure in order to pick the best ballot title result—a costly process for state lawyers known as ballot title shopping—will be discouraged by requiring 1,000 signatures (rather than 25 previously required) before an initiative petition gets a ballot title. If the campaign goes forward with the measure, the 1,000 signatures would count toward the final total.
  • Electronic circulation of petitions will be allowed, where initiative supporters can download a specialized form, sign it, and send it in to be counted as a signature.

Lawsuits

A lawsuit filed in December 2007 to keep the new law from going into effect on January 1, 2008 failed.[2]

Another lawsuit has already failed, this one challenging the measure based on a Supreme Courts decision in previous cases declaring it unconstitutional to require circulators to wear badges.[3]

Impact of HB 2082

In February 2008, a month after the new law had taken effect, the sponsors of 14 citizen initiatives were ordered by the Oregon Secretary of State to stop collecting signatures.[4]

Oregon initiative activist Bill Sizemore said he planned to file a lawsuit against enforcement of the new law, adding, "The secretary of state's position illustrates just how unbelievably arrogant he and his office are. It's clearly unconstitutional, and they probably know it. Bill Bradbury works for the public employees' unions. They want all my initiatives shut down, and that's all they are doing."[5]

Rationale for the new law

Supporters of House Bill 2082 argue that Oregon's initiative process was in need of reform. They have claimed that paying signature gatherers by the signature encouraged fraud and forgery, although evidence of anything more than random examples of forgery has not been shown.

See also

References