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Citizen Initiatives Seek to Punish Legislators
Response to 2019 Republican walkouts

New prospective initiative petitions have been filed by Andrea Kennedy-Smith of McMinnville, a registered member of the Independent Party of Oregon. and employee of the Department of Human Services and Reed Scott-Schwalbach of Portland, a registered Democrat and Teacher in the Portland Public Schools regarding attendance conduct of Legislators during session. This is apparently in response to the Republican walkout during the 2019 regular session over Cap and Tax legislation.

Initiative Petition 14 amends the constitution and punishes a legislator with expulsion for missing ten floor sessions. It reads:

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Oregon, Article IV, section 15 of the Oregon Constitution is amended to read:

Section 15. Punishment and expulsion of members. Either house may punish its members for disorderly behavior, and may with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause. Failure to attend, without permission or excuse, ten or more legislative floor sessions called to transact business during a regular or special legislative session shall be deemed disorderly behavior and shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.

Initiative Petition 15 punishes absent lawmakers by fining them $500 per day for each unexcused absence. It reads, in part:

A member of the Legislative Assembly who is absent without permission when the Legislative Assembly is in session shall pay a fine of $500 per day of unexcused absence and, for the period of the unexcused absence, shall not receive any salary, per diem payment or expense reimbursement otherwise authorized...

Each petition needs 1,000 signatures to be issued a title by the Attorney General. Initiative 14, which amends the Oregon Constitution needs 149,360 signatures to be on the 2022 ballot. Initiative 15 -- a statutory measure -- needs 112,020 signatures to be on the 2022 ballot.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-12-21 20:01:06

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