SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

 

March 15, 2005                                                                                                   Hearing Room 343

8:30 A.M.                                                                                                                    Tapes  28 - 29

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Kate Brown, Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Vice-Chair

Sen. Jason Atkinson

Sen. Frank Shields

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:          Sen. Charlie Ringo

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Tiffany Harris, Committee Administrator

Patricia Nielsen, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:          

SJR 7 – Public Hearing

SB 606 – Public Hearing

SCR 3 – Public Hearing and Work Session

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 28, A

005

Chair Brown

Calls the meeting to order at 8:30 a. m.  Opens a public hearing on SJR 7. 

SJR 7 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SJR 7. 

020

Sen. Frank Morse

Senate District 8.  Testifies in support of SJR 7.  Submits a political cartoon describing increase in spending (EXHIBIT A) and a written analysis of Oregon Fiscal Policy (EXHIBIT B).  Discusses advantages of increased voter awareness.  Describes increased burdens on the General Fund since 1990.  Discusses benchmarks of Oregon compared to western states. 

100

Chair Brown

Asks who produced the cartoons.

105

Sen. Morse

Explains he had the cartoon drawn to visualize the increased burden on the General Fund.

115

Sen. Betsy Johnson

Senate District 16.  Testifies in support of SJR 7.  Concurs with Sen. Morse’s remarks.

125

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks whether a legislative advisory or a legislative analysis would have changed the outcome of any initiatives.

130

Sen. Morse

Responds it would be impossible to answer but voter information is good.  Continues that as it now exists the information is in the control of special interests and how they choose to characterize it.  Suggests passing initiatives through the public hearing process, and the voters would know what the legislature recommends.  Points out that the only negative is the process might be slowed down.  Explains the process.

160

Sen. Johnson

Adds that a forum for discussion would be provided outside the media venue.  Adds that legislative history would be created to assist in judicial interpretation.

180

Chair Brown

Suggests that perhaps there would have been a better outcome on Ballot Measure 37 if there had been a conversation to discuss the intent of the crafters.

185

Sen. Johnson

Agrees.  Continues that it is important to create a neutral forum.

195

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks again if SJR 7 would have made any difference in the passage of any initiatives.

200

Sen. Morse

Responds it is possible.  Believes that better informed people make better decisions.

210

Sen. Ferrioli

States that the initiative process is a right of the people.  Believes that citizens’ level of trust in the legislature is not persuasive.  Suggests SJR 7 is an impingement on the citizens’ right to pursue the initiative process.  Advises there are already ways for legislators to participate in the current process.

255

Chair Brown

Inquires about a similar process in Washington State.

260

Sen. Morse

Has not researched that process.  Responds that SJR 7 does not change the initiative process, but only slows it down.  Continues that any initiative would be highly scrutinized.  Believes that an unfettered initiative process undermines representative government. 

315

Chair Brown

Asks if by having legislature-discussed proposals citizens would be able to participate and possibly change the course of the debate which isn’t allowed in the initiative process.

330

Sen. Morse

Answers that the right to hold public hearings would be reserved. 

340

Chair Brown

Comments the legislature could be more proactive.

342

Sen. Morse

Confirms.

350

Sen. Johnson

Refers to other changes to the process which actually improved citizen access.  Asks for clarification on Sen. Ferrioli’s objection to having a wider forum for discussions.

360

Sen. Ferrioli

Discusses an initiative he sponsored to elect judges by districts, which was aimed at increasing access to the bench by eastern Oregon citizens.  Suggests it would not have survived the proposed process.  Expresses concern that initiatives would be sidetracked and asks whether the voters would approve of this measure.

400

Sen. Morse

Has not done any polling, but believes voters would be receptive to creating a more thoughtful process.

410

Chair Brown

Discusses some examples of measures that have taken into consideration the needs of rural communities in the election process.

430

Sen. Ferrioli

Sees the initiative process as co-equal and can’t support imposing a prior restraint on it.

 

 

TAPE 29, A

010

Sen. Morse

Suggests populist budgeting does not work and the cumulative effect of all of the initiatives has prevented the legislature from being responsive to change.  Continues that initiatives with indeterminate fiscal consequences must be reviewed, but this does not denigrate the role of citizens to present initiatives.

030

Sen. Shields

Discusses his experience since 1992.  Suggests the voters did not really understand how the initiatives that were passed would affect the budgets for education or social services.  Asks about other scenarios.

060

Sen. Morse

Reiterates populist budgeting does not allow voters to make informed choices about unfunded mandates.  Continues that the legislative process requires a balanced approach.  Refers to changes in spending due to ballot measures with unfunded mandates.

095

Chair Brown

Asks what percentage of the increased per capita spending since 1990 is due to ballot measures.

100

Sen. Morse

Responds 100 percent.  Suggests leadership is needed to create a more informed populist vote.

110

Sen. Shields

Inquires who is most opposed to this concept.

112

Sen. Morse

Replies, those with special interests as they would not be in favor of slowing the process down.

125

Sen. Shields

Asks if this had been in place when Ballot Measure 5 was proposed, could it have been amended to consider a funding source, or an alternative measure proposed.

150

Sen. Morse

Answers the legislature should not have a right to change an initiative, but if it is important enough, the citizens have a right to ask the legislature to respond to a current issue.  Discusses Ballot Measure 37.

175

Chair Brown

Asks about making statutory changes to respond to the issues without a ballot measure.

180

Sen. Morse

Answers they would give that a chance.

185

Sen. Johnson

Adds that in her constituency voters tend to be unaware of fiscal consequences of ballot measures, so if SJR 7 does only that much it would be worth it.

195

Sen. Ferrioli

Suggests not all participants in the initiative process are special interests.  Comments that SJR 7 is meant to change outcomes, which is not appropriate.  Believes analysis is already possible by Legislative Fiscal and Legislative Revenue Offices and be presented in the voters’ pamphlet.  Reiterates objection to placing a prior restraint to slow the process down.

225

Sen. Johnson

Disagrees changed outcomes are the goal. 

235

Chair Brown

Comments on spending increases due to initiatives not legislative spending.

245

Sen. Morse

Discusses the budget process and the complexity of funding sources.  Explains in the 1990s the cost of the initiatives was masked by the booming economy, but now there is insufficient revenue to support the costs of those mandates.  States voters need to be accountable for the choices they make.

285

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing on SJR 7 and opens a public hearing on SB 606.

SB 606 – PUBLIC HEARING

295

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SB 606.

305

Sen.  Jeff Kruse

Senate District 1.  Testifies in support of SB 606.  Discusses the importance of public access to information about political campaign activities.  Explains there is software available to input data on the internet, which would provide analysis and compilation of the raw data input by candidates.  Discusses potential costs. 

380

Sen. Kruse

Continues that instant reporting is campaign finance reform.  Offers to work with the Secretary of State on the details of the reporting system.

405

Chair Brown

Introduces and welcomes visiting students from Oregon Episcopal School.

415

Chair Brown

Asks about the need to provide public information on a weekly basis.

420

Sen. Kruse

Responds publishing the information would provide the public true information about who, or what special interest, might be influencing a campaign.

TAPE 28, B

010

Chair Brown

Asks if there would be difficulties reporting on a weekly basis.

015

Sen. Kruse

Explains his own recording service is doing it now.  Continues it would require more diligence on the part of candidates.

025

Chair Brown

Inquires if the goal is to regain public trust and since this method is not difficult, why not make it mandatory.

030

Sen. Kruse

Assumes there is an initial cost to participate and did not want to place any financial barrier on candidates.

045

Sen. Ferrioli

Suggests the cost of software might not be an additional burden. 

060

Sen. Kruse

Comments this would not cover local elections because they do not report to the Secretary of State.  Describes the differences between the current electronic filing system and the proposed system. 

085

Andi Miller

Director, Common Cause Oregon.  Testifies and submits written testimony in opposition to SB 606 (EXHIBIT C).  Indicates approval of the weekly electronic filing but disagrees with deleting the occupation or employer of contributors.

100

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks if they have discussed their concerns with the proponents of SB 606.  Inquires if amendments have been requested.

105

Miller

Explains their strong support of SB 160 which is better.

115

Chair Brown

Closes public hearing on SB 606.  Reopens the public hearing on SJR 7.

 

SJR 7 – PUBLIC HEARING

120

Kappy Eaton

League of Women Voters of Oregon.  Testifies and submits written testimony in support of SJR 7 (EXHIBIT D).  Discusses the need for better public information in the initiative process and alternatives available to improve the process.  Offers to participate in further discussions.

170

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks for a copy of the League’s study on direct democracy.

175

Eaton

Replies that they did a study on the initiative process and will provide that information.

180

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments that access and simplicity are key in trying to increase participation in direct democracy.  Worries that there is a move to make the initiative process less accessible, more complex and difficult.

200

Eaton

Responds the focus of their study was to see if the initiative process could be improved. 

215

Sen. Ferrioli

Urges awareness that some want to “raise the bar” on qualifying initiatives and in the participation of direct democracy.

225

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing on SJR 7.  Invites visiting students forward.  Opens a public hearing on SCR 3.

SCR 3 – PUBLIC HEARING

240

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Describes SCR 3.

255

Sen. Jason Atkinson

Senate District 2.  Testifies in support of SCR 3.  Discusses current events in Iraq and his interest in establishing a relationship with Kurdistan.  Describes the development of a new government in Kurdistan. 

345

Sergio Zenisek

Oregon Episcopal School.  Asks how many sister state relationships can exist simultaneously.

350

Sen. Atkinson

Responds it is unlimited.  Discusses relationships with Peoples Republic of China and Republic of China (Taiwan).

374

Chair Brown

Interjects that some sister state relationships are established for economic reasons and others for general purposes.  Comments on the City of Portland sister cities.

380

Meital Singer

Oregon Episcopal School.  Asks about other benefits to sister state relationships.

385

Sen. Atkinson

Discusses possible benefits of cultural and business interactions. 

415

Chris Myers

Teacher, Oregon Episcopal School.  Inquires if there is a cost and, if so, where the revenue comes from.  Inquires about the process to create a concurrent resolution.

425

Sen. Atkinson

Responds there is no fiscal impact on SCR 3.  Describes the process of passage of bills, memorials and resolutions.

 

TAPE 29, B

010

Paul Choi

Oregon Episcopal School.  Asks whether people with prejudice against Iraqi people would object to this relationship.

020

Sen. Atkinson

Answers that is one reason to develop the relationships.  Discusses how prejudices have changed over the past 50 years.

035

Sen. Ferrioli

Adds that prejudice is related to fear and anger.  Comments that all politics are personal expression of beliefs.  Believes that sister relationships dissipate fear and build trust and are the best reasons to do them.

055

Singer

Asks how it is decided to have a sister relationship.

060

Sen. Atkinson

Responds with a variety of ways.  Explains how this one came through an overseas connection.

070

Chair Brown

Discusses how students in Tillamook, Oregon, got the legislature to declare milk the official state beverage.

075

Jacob Reisberg

Oregon Episcopal School.  Inquires if Kurdistan has to pass a similar bill.

080

Sen. Atkinson

Answers no but some official action would help.

085

Reisberg

Asks if there other sister relationships in that area and, if not, whether others would object.

090

Sen. Atkinson

Is aware of no other relationships at present and does not think there would be objections.

093

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing and opens a work session on SCR 3.

SCR 3 – WORK SESSION

095

Sen. Atkinson

MOTION:  Moves SCR 3 be sent to the floor with a BE ADOPTED recommendation.

100

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

AYE:  In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

EXCUSED:  2 - Ringo, Shields

104

Chair Brown

The motion CARRIES.

SEN. ATKINSON will lead discussion on the floor.

105

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SCR 3.  Adjourns the meeting at 10:05 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A.     SJR 7, cartoons, Sen. Frank Morse, 2 pp

B.     SJR 7, Oregon fiscal policy benchmarks, Sen. Frank Morse, 1 p

C.     SB 606, written testimony, Andi Miller, 1 p

D.    SJR 7, written testimony, Kappy Eaton, 1 p