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Oregons Unfunded Mandate Provision
The state may not impose requirements on municipalities, without support

In 1995, the Oregon Legislature referred Ballot Measure 30 to the voters -- a Constitutional change which would not allow the state to create unfunded mandates for cities and counties. In November 1996 the voters passed it with 56% of the vote and it became Section 15 in Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.

Article XI, Section 15. Funding of programs imposed upon local governments; exceptions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, when the Legislative Assembly or any state agency requires any local government to establish a new program or provide an increased level of service for an existing program, the State of Oregon shall appropriate and allocate to the local government moneys sufficient to pay the ongoing, usual and reasonable costs of performing the mandated service or activity.

The usual "big government" organizations were against it. The City Club of Portland put out a statement against it saying, "The measure would cause a significant and undesirable shift of power away from the state to local governments, needlessly frustrating the ability of the state to implement social and economic policy objectives, and could lead to a patchwork pattern of compliance and noncompliance with laws and regulations across the state. This can only further exacerbate existing political divisions within the state and would undermine the very notion of what it means to be an Oregonian."

The courts have determined that if an act of the Legislature does cause an unfunded mandate the municipality need not comply. the state does not have to cover the whole cost. If the cost is less than 95 percent of the usual and reasonable costs incurred by the local government in conducting the program at the same level of service in the preceding fiscal year or requires the local government to spend for the program, in addition to the amount appropriated and allocated by the Legislative Assembly, an amount that exceeds one-hundredth of one percent of the annual budget adopted by the governing body of the local government for that fiscal year.

In 2015, Oregon enacted a paid sick-leave law, and several counties sued claiming that the new law forced the counties to implement a "program" which was not funded. The Oregon Supreme Court determined that paid sick leave for county employees did not constitute a "program" and therefore was not an unfunded mandate.

The law does not only include acts of the legislature, but rules enacted by executive branch state agencies.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-13 07:43:28Last Update: 2021-02-12 21:57:40



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