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“Fake” Emergencies Challenged
Citizens have a chance to end this legislative abuse

Initiative Petition 1 proposed for the 2022 election, is collecting signatures to limit the legislature from declaring a bill to be an emergency which prevents a citizen’s challenge. The petition requires a bill designated as an emergency to pass with a two-thirds vote, exempting constitutional provisions.

One of those constitutional exemptions is Article X-A in response to a “catastrophic disaster” declared by the Governor within an emergency legislative session.

If you’ve followed Governor Brown’s response to the pandemic, she has used Oregon statutes to override the Oregon Constitution in her declaration of a “catastrophic disaster.” The Oregon Supreme Court supported her actions even though it defies the authority of grammar principles in constructing her argument.

If the “Emergency Clause” hadn’t been abused for fake emergencies, we would not have the “Gross Receipts Tax” costing Oregonians $2.5 billion in added taxes, the largest tax increase in the state’s history.

If there were no fake emergencies, the legislature could not have overridden Measure 88 passed by 66% of Oregon voters repealing a 2013 law giving drivers licenses to those unable to show proof of legal residence.

The emergency clause on HB 2975 prevented a citizen’s initiative to challenge the legislature from taking $108 million from taxpayer’s kicker.

Then there are the legislative bills that had fake emergency clauses that caused the Republican legislators to walk out in 2019 and 2020 sessions. Heading that list is “Cap and Trade.” Not far behind are the gun bills and forced vaccinations. Part of the insult of “Fake Emergencies” is that the party in power owns all branches of government. They can do whatever they want. Abuse of the emergency clause at this point begins to look like spiking the ball after going ahead by eight touchdowns.

More than reforming an emergency clause is needed. It takes a lot of funding and volunteers to challenge legislation. Voters passed the death penalty nine times, and Measure 11 in 1994 that forced stiffer sentencing guidelines on the most serious person-crimes. But still in 2019 the legislature passed SB 1013 reclassifying crimes in order to avoid more convictions that carry the possibility of the death penalty in most cases, and loosen sentencing guidelines. This bill is open to challenge, but how many times do the voters need to speak before heard?

The No Fake Emergencies petition isn’t a complete answer, but it does uphold the First Amendment for Oregon voters with the right to challenge legislation when our legislators are off base.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-07-31 17:28:05

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