Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I (2010)

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An Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part I (temporarily titled as Initiative 76) did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Oregon as an initiated constitutional amendment.[1] The proposed measure called for creating an exception to the state's casino ban and allows for one private casino in Wood Village, Oregon.

According to reports, the proposed casino would have been built on 33 acres at 223rd Avenue and Halsey Street. The complex would have included a 14-screen movie theater, a hall for concerts and conventions, a 290-room hotel, a 38-lane bowling center, and indoor and outdoor water parks. Supporters said 70% of the complex would have been non-gaming. Thirty-percent of the complex's tax revenue would have gone towards Multnomah County, while 2 percent would have gone towards a problem-gambling fund.[2]

On petition deadline day, July 2, supporters announced they submitted an estimated 176,566 signatures, exceeding the state's minimum requirement of 110,358 signatures.[3] On July 27, the secretary of state announced that the initiative failed to meet the state's requirements. Only 104,629 signatures were verified.[4][5]

The proposed measure was Part I of a two part question. Part II, which also filed signatures on July 2, called for creating a gaming tax of 25% of gross revenues for education, state police, and local governments across the state. Part II is scheduled to appear on the November ballot.

Since the project required the approval of both initiatives (Initiative 76 (Part I) and 77 (Part II)) and only one was certified, in order to remove Initiative 77 from the ballot sponsors would have to go to court. According to reports, sponsors gave no indication if they planned to pursue that option. In response to the secretary of state's July 27 announcement, Matt Rossman, sponsor of the petition initiative, said that after speaking to the signature gathering firm, Democracy Resources, they believed the state office might have made a mistake and planned to pursue a lawsuit. Rossman said, "At this point, I think it’s safe to say that we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge the decision which will more than likely be filed tomorrow."[6][7]

On August 23, 2010 initiative supporters dropped their lawsuit efforts. In the August announcement, supporters said a constitutional amendment wasn't necessary to build and operate a facility in Wood Village. Others disagree and argue that the constitution clearly bans non-tribal casinos.[8]

Text of measure

Title

The certified ballot title for Initiative 76 was:[9]

Amends Constitution: Creates exception to casino ban; legislature must allow one private casino if authorized by initiative.

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote amends current constitutional prohibition on legislature to allow one privately owned casino if authorized by voters through initiative.

Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains the current constitutional prohibition stating that the legislature cannot authorize, and must prohibit, the operation of casinos in the State of Oregon.

Summary: Amends Oregon Constitution. Currently, the Oregon Constitution bars the legislature from authorizing, and requires the legislature to prohibit, the operation of any casino in the State of Oregon. That prohibition has its origin in the same constitutional amendment that authorized the creation of the Oregon State Lottery in 1984. Measure amends Article XV, section 4(12), of the Oregon Constitution by adding, to the current wording prohibiting all casinos, new wording that requires the state state legislature to allow the operation of one, but only one, privately owned casino somewhere within the state if voters authorize such as a casino by initiative. Measure provides that the legislature must continue to otherwise prohibit casinos from operating within the state. Measure does not affect the legality of tribal casinos.

Support

The proposed initiative was primarily sponsored by Matthew K. Rossman and Bruce Studer.[10][11] On May 7, supporters announced a financial partnership with Oregon Gaming & Entertainment Co., principals Studer & Rossman: an Oregon-based investment company; MGP Racing, principal Arthur McFadden: owner of Multnomah Greyhound Park; Navegante Group: A Las Vegas-based hospitality company specializing in casino development, consulting and management; Clairvest: A Canada-based investor in North American gaming-development companies; and, Innovation Capital: A Los Angeles-based gaming, leisure and hospitality investment banking firm.[12][13]

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements

Petitions for an initiated constitutional amendment required eight percent of 1,379,475, or 110,358 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010. According to reports, on July 2 supporters filed approximately 176,566 signatures. At least 62.6% validity rating was required to qualify the measure for the ballot.[14][15] The Secretary of State's office had 30 days to verify the names.[16][17]

On July 27, the secretary of state announced that the initiative failed to meet the state's requirements. Only 104,629 signatures were verified.[4][18][19]

Lawsuit filed

See also: 2010 ballot measure litigation

A lawsuit was filed July 28, 2010 in Marion County Circuit Court by initiative supporters. According to reports, supporters argued that the state’s petition signature-counting methods were invalid and may have resulted in the rejection of valid signatures thus causing the initiative to fail to qualify for the ballot. However, according to state officials signatures included people who identified themselves as "Satan" and "Moe Szyslak," the bartender on the TV show "The Simpsons." Despite official counts, supporters said they checked the submitted signatures themselves and found a validity rating above the number required to qualify.[20][21][22]

Challenge dropped

On August 23, 2010 initiative supporters dropped their lawsuit efforts.[23] In their August announcement, supporters said a constitutional amendment wasn't necessary to build and operate a facility in Wood Village. Greg Chaimov, a Davis Wright Tremaine attorney working with the group, said the state's ban on non-tribal casinos "applies to the legislative assembly, not to the people. Ballot Measure 75 will become law if the people vote in favor on Nov. 2." Others disagree and argue that the constitution clearly bans non-tribal casinos.[24] Additionally, opponents argue that the initiative process does not circumvent the law because it is an exercise of the legislative process and is thus subject to the same restrictions as the legislature.[25][26]

The state constitution states, "The Legislative Assembly has no power to authorize, and shall prohibit, casinos from operation in the state of Oregon." Tribal casinos are not subject to the prohibition.[27]

See also

Related measures

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. Daily Journal of Commerce (Oregon),"Casino developers get signatures to proceed," July 2, 2010
  2. The Outlook Online,"Casino backers unveil vision," July 9, 2010
  3. The Oregonian,"Wood Village casino supporters gather enough signatures to place two measures on November ballot," July 6, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 Associated Press,"Measure for 1st Ore. non-tribal casino falls short," July 27, 2010
  5. Willamette Week,"Bad News For Backers of Casino Proposal (UPDATED with comment from casino backer)," July 27, 2010
  6. The Oregon Politico,"Effort to legalize private casinos fails, but Multnomah County Casino makes the cut," July 27, 2010
  7. Statesman Journal,"Casino backers might go to court," July 28, 2010
  8. Oregon Public Broadcasting,"Casino Backers Say No Constitutional Amendment Needed," August 23, 2010
  9. Oregon Secretary of State,"Initiative 76 ballot title," March 4, 2010
  10. Oregon Secretary of State,"Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act summary," retrieved May 11, 2010
  11. The Oregonian,"Wood Village casino backers launch initiative signature drive," May 7, 2010
  12. Lake Oswego Review,'Casino developers announce backers," May 7, 2010
  13. DJC Oregon,"Casino secures funding, needs signatures," May 10, 2010
  14. Blue Oregon,"Signatures turned in for fall ballot measures," July 3, 2010
  15. The Statesman Journal,"Ballot proposals address marijuana, prisons, casino," July 3, 2010
  16. The Oregonian,"Six citizen initiatives may make Oregon's November ballot," July 2, 2010
  17. Portland Business Journal,"Wood Village casino supporters file signatures," July 2, 2010
  18. Portland Business Journal,"Wood Village casino effort hits major roadblock," July 27, 2010
  19. Statesman Journal,"Initiative to allow nontribal casinos fails to qualify for ballot," July 27, 2010
  20. Portland Business Journal,"Casino backers file lawsuit," July 29, 2010
  21. The Portland Tribune,"Casino fight might head to court," July 29, 2010
  22. Statesman Journal,"Casino backers might go to court," July 28, 2010
  23. Statesman Journal,"Casino backers drop lawsuit," August 24, 2010
  24. Portland Business Journal,"Casino supporters drop ballot lawsuit," August 23, 2010
  25. Portland Tribune,"Casino backers press ahead without Constitutional measure," August 23, 2010
  26. Blue Oregon,"M75: Wood Village Casino campaign moves forward," August 23, 2010
  27. The Register-Guard,"Casino campaign will go on," August 24, 2010