Oregon is one of only five states that have no enforced campaign contribution limits—the others are Alabama, Nebraska, Utah and Virginia. The result is outlandish amounts of money given and spent in elections--$37 million in the last gubernatorial race, with $2.5 million coming from Nike founder Phil Knight alone--and an increasingly clear line between money and inaction on issues of concern to voters. For instance, Republican legislators who skipped the state to block a vote on a clean energy jobs bill also received large donations from companies whose bottom lines would have been impacted by the legislation.
Still, Oregonians are continuing to collect 220,000 signatures statewide to get the a similar measure on the ballot, since it’s possible for the state legislature to rescind their approval. Alliance council member Joan Horton said that legislators take the signature drive seriously, and knowing that people in their districts were out working for the measure spurred them to support a referral “A continuing signature drive is “insurance” that the legislature will not rescind their referral of SJR18 during 2020’s short session. According to our attorney, we are not on the ballot for certain until that short-session is over next year. He says it’s very unlikely to be rescinded, but it’s a chance we don’t want or need to take”, she said.
Alliance national co-chair David Delk noted that in Portland, the local chapter’s efforts will be focused on having the 2020 state ballot measure approved by city and county voters and supporting efforts elsewhere in the state. Every expectation is that it will pass locally, since Portland and Multnomah county voters have already approved two other local ballot measures by about 90%, though implementation is still partly tied up in court. The chapter will also join with other supporting organizations to make sure that when the question passes, contribution limits established under it are not too high and the implementing legislation is loophole-free.
In another legislative win Oregon also approved two legislative study committees on a single payer health care plan for the state, and a state public option. David, who also leads the Health Care for All Oregon Metro chapter, said “The single payer study committee is expected to write legislation to implement such a program in Oregon. Passage of this study committee is quite exciting for Oregonians and moves the ball forward for Oregon to be the first state in the nation to create a single payer health care system. Remember, everybody in, no one out!"