Oregon House clears ballot measure independent review commission
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.
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. 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.
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.