Oregon legislature tightens signature requirements

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June 15, 2009

SALEM, Oregon: The Oregon State Senate today passed Oregon House Bill 2005 (2009), sending to the governor a new set of restrictions on signature gathering in the state.[1] Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown pushed for the legislation.

According to The Oregonian, "the law would allow the secretary of state's office to do criminal background checks, helping officials enforce the existing prohibition against paid petitioners convicted of fraud or similar crimes. In addition, the bill would void signatures if they were collected by a petitioner prohibited from working in the state.

Perhaps most notably, HB 2005 raises the fines for violations from $250 per incident to as much as $10,000. And it makes chief petitioners liable for the fines if they fail to stop fraud they should have known about."[2]

18 senators voted for HB 2005 and 12 senators voted against it on a largely party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

The only Republican who voted for HB 2005 was Chris Telfer. Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli criticized the bill, stating, "Let's not kid ourselves. This is about not liking the outcome of the citizens initiative process."[2]

One Democratic senator, Vicki Walker, voted against HB 2005, saying it would discourage Oregonians from pursuing ballot measures.

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