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Oregon Senate agrees with House; approves independent review commission

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June 2, 2011


By Al Ortiz

SALEM, Oregon: Citizens hoping to place a citizen initiative on any future statewide ballots must take notice of a new addition to state initiative laws, as the Oregon Legislature recently got final approval on a bill directly relating to the process.

On May 23, 2011, the Oregon House of Representatives approved of a proposal that would permanently establish the Citizen Initiative Review Commission, a commission that 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 state statutes and amendments to the Oregon Constitution.[1]

On June 1, 2011, the Oregon State Senate followed suit, approving the bill with a vote of 22 to 8, making the legislation a new law in the state, and solidifying the commission's permanence. 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][3][4]

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.[5]

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