Oregon House clears ballot measure independent review commission

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May 24, 2011

Oregon

By Bailey Ludlam

SALEM, Oregon: The initiative process in Oregon may see a new addition next year - the Oregon Citizen Initiative Review. On Monday, May 23, 2011 the House voted 36-22 in favor of House Bill 2634 (dead link).

The bill would permanently establish the Citizen Initiative Review Commission. The commission was created as a result of House Bill 2895 in 2009. The legislation allowed the Secretary of State to have non-profit organizations form citizen panels to review and create official statements on initiated state statutes and amendments to the Oregon Constitution.[1]

The pilot program was launched by Healthy Democracy Oregon, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. The commission reviewed two measures in 2010: Measure 73 and Measure 74. Healthy Democracy Oregon selected citizens to serve on panels that gave reviews on the two measures.[2] Each review included a Citizen's statement that had a shared agreement statement from the entire panel in addition to pros and cons to each measure.[3]

The 2011 bill, HB 2634 (dead link), remains pending in the Oregon State Senate. In addition to establishing a permanent commission, the bill would would authorize the commission to borrow up to $75,000 to cover start-up costs. The funds would be borrowed interest-free from the Department of Administrative Services. The funds can begin to be used starting in 2012.[4]

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