SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

 

March 24, 2005                                                                                                   Hearing Room 343

8:30 A.M.                                                                                                                    Tapes  33 - 34

Corrected 10/27/05

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Kate Brown, Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Vice-Chair

Sen. Jason Atkinson

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Frank Shields

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Tiffany Harris, Committee Administrator

Patricia Nielsen, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:          

SB 164 – Public Hearing

SJR 8 – Public Hearing

SB 466 – Public Hearing

SB 587 – Public Hearing

Approval of drafting requests – Work Session

Introduction of Committee Measures – 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 33, A

005

Chair Brown

Calls the meeting to order at 8:40 a.m.  Opens as subcommittee.  Opens public hearing on SB 164.

SB 164 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SB 164. 

015

John Lindback

Director of Elections, Secretary of State’s office.  Testifies in support of SB 164.  Submits printed examples of signature petitions (EXHIBIT A).  Discusses problems encountered by county election officials due to mistakes on petitions when someone other than the signer fills in or changes voter information.  Suggests amendment to allow a disabled person to have assistance.

110

Chair Brown

Opens as full committee.  Closes public hearing on SB 164.  Opens public hearing on SJR 8 and SB 466.

SJR 8 and SB 466 – PUBLIC HEARING

115

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SJR 8 and SB 466.

120

Sen. Kurt Schrader

District 20.  Testifies in support of SJR 8 and SB 466.  Discusses fraud in the initiative signature gathering process. 

150

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments that the issue is not paying for signatures but paying per signature.  Asks who is affected.

155

Sen. Schrader

Responds those who gather signature for voter registration cards and candidates who want to be nominated by petition.

165

Sen. Ferrioli

Observes there are many who conduct voter registration drives.  Asks which groups do piece work.

170

Sen. Schrader

Answers no specific group is targeted.

175

Sen. Ferrioli

Suggests there are those out there who can pay by the hour.  Suggests per-signature basis is used by grass roots organizations without many resources and this makes it too hard for them to participate.

200

Chair Brown

Clarifies the measure only tries to remove incentive for fraud in voter registration.

205

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments SB 466 does not seem to cover changes to voter registration designations.

207

Chair Brown

Recollects some voters had their registrations changed without their permission or knowledge.

210

Sen. Schrader

Confirms those activities are the target.

220

Chair Brown

Refers to specific examples.

225

Sen. Schrader

Reiterates the measures carry the intent of Measure 26 into the area of voter registration and nominating petitions.

235

Sen. Atkinson

Asks about timeline for signature gathering in the initiative process.

245

Sen. Schrader

Explains this is limited to voter registration drives and nominating petitions, not the initiative process.

250

Chair Brown

Closes public hearing on SJR 8 and SB 466.  Opens public hearing 164.

SB 164 – PUBLIC HEARING

260

Sen. Ferrioli

Refers to examples (EXHIBIT A) of overwriting on petitions and asks whether there are concerns that the overwritten information is fraudulent.

270

Lindback

Responds that it is under investigation and not yet resolved.

275

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments that the numbers and letters are not inconsistent with other information on the petition.

290

Lindback

Discusses issue of whether signatures on petitions are adequately witnessed.  Points out another requirement of SB 164 that signature gatherers register with the Secretary of State and participate in training.  Explains there is currently no penalty for fraud. 

350

Sen. Ringo

Asks about provision preventing altering the signature sheet.

360

Lindback

Responds that the only information required by statute is the signature, though other info helps identify the signer.

375

Sen. Ringo

Asks about petitioner adding information if petition is incomplete.

385

Lindback

Responds that adding information would not be prohibited because only altering the information is prohibited.

400

Chair Brown

Asks about Section 4 and the impact on access to the process.

410

Lindback

Describes the contentious nature of the initiative process.  Describes Secretary of State’s procedures to sort petitions and look for the signature of the circulator.  Comments on verifying signatures. Adds the intent is also to institutionalize training for the process.

TAPE 34, A

020

Chair Brown

Clarifies the measures do not apply to volunteer signature gatherers.

025

Lindback

Confirms.

030

Sen. Ferrioli

Refers to registration and training requirement.

035

Lindback

Explains there is closer scrutiny of petitions if the circulator is not registered and trained.  Discusses possible penalties. 

040

Sen. Ferrioli

Observes some petitions are circulated by volunteers recruited by the chief petitioner.

060

Lindback

Responds the chief petitioner is required to declare at the start whether signature gatherers will be paid.  Discusses recent examples, including gathering signatures by mail and explains this does not apply to those.  Comments volunteer efforts have far fewer problems with fraud.

075

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about rule making authority for the training.  Refers to example of requirement for training to pump gasoline and how little compliance there is.  Suggests this makes participation in direct democracy more difficult.

100

Chair Brown

Asks for other suggestions for how to make sure paid signature gatherers comply with the law.

105

Sen. Ferrioli

Discusses issue of free speech and political speech.  Suggests there is no difference between paying gatherers by the hour and paying them by the piece.

120

Chair Brown

Closes public hearing on SB 164.  Reopens public hearing on SB 466 and SJR 8.

SJR 8 and SB 466 – PUBLIC HEARING

125

Bill Bradbury

Secretary of State.  Testifies in support of SJR 8 and SB 466.  Comments on public opinion regarding paying signature gatherers on petitions.  Describes complaints and inquiries by voters received by his office.  Explains how these measures take away the incentive for fraud by prohibiting petitioners from being paid by the signature.

170

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about complaints regarding the nominating petitions for Ralph Nader in the last election cycle.

180

Bradbury

Describes inaccuracies found in the petition from the group of signature gatherers and circulators being paid by the signature. 

195

Lindback

Adds that the Ralph Nader petitions and the term limit petitions were the most fraudulent he has seen, and some prosecutions are pending.  Discusses specific examples of fraud in petitions and vote registration.

275

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks if fraud was more prevalent in one political party or another.

280

Lindback

Explains he found no specific party connection. 

290

Sen. Ferrioli

Suggests over-regulation is not the answer.

300

Sen. Shields

Points out action is still needed to attempt to correct the problem.

310

Sen. Ferrioli

Refers to memo from Danielle Knight from the Disabilities Commission asking for an amendment to SB 164 (EXHIBIT B).

315

Chair Brown

Agrees an amendment is appropriate.  Closes public hearing on SB 466 and SJR 8.  Reopens public hearing on SB 164.

SB 164 – PUBLIC HEARING

330

Kappy Eaton

League of Women Voters of Oregon.  Testifies in support of SB 164.  Discusses her activities in the petition signature-gathering process and problems with circulators who change information.

360

Andi Miller

Common Cause Oregon.  Testifies in support of SB 164.  Disagrees with the idea of preventing per-signature payment, but agrees the rules for the voter registration and candidate nominating processes should be consistent with the initiative process rules.  Supports training requirement for paid gatherers to increase numbers of valid signatures. 

405

Jason Williams

Taxpayers Association of Oregon.  Testifies in opposition to SB 164, SB 587 and SB 466.

410

Chair Brown

Opens public hearing on SB 466 and SB 587.

SB 466 and SB 587 – PUBLIC HEARING

415

Williams

Continues and recommends shifting the focus to specific violators, as information is usually added to increase clarity and accuracy.

420

Chair Brown

Asks about preventing problems with gathering by offering training.

425

Williams

Acknowledges that training helps.  Discusses legitimate examples where information must be added.

TAPE 33, B

015

Chair Brown

Comments it is troubling that anyone would try to guess a name from a signature.

020

Williams

Agrees, but argues information such as addresses and dates might need to be changed or corrected.

025

Chair Brown

Asks if he would favor limiting the prohibition to certain information.

030

Williams

Discusses specific examples.  States that over-regulating stops groups from working with each other.  Asks for more communication between Secretary of State and specific groups if specific problems are seen.  Asserts petition gatherers are also concerned about fraud.

050

Chair Brown

Refers to comment that there is something new in each election cycle.  Asks whether SB 164 comes too late.

060

Sen. Ferrioli

Discusses the analogy.  Suggests if the last election cycle is used as a template to increase regulation, the next election cycle will show a new set of problems.

070

Miller

Explains this responds to a specific problem which has actually caused concerns and caused loss of initiative due to invalidation of too many signatures.

085

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about trend toward voter suppression strategies.

090

Miller

Confirms and discusses examples.

095

Chair Brown

Asks if SB 164 or SB 466 attempt voter suppression.

100

Miller

Responds her organization is divided on how well the initiative process is working. 

105

Williams

Suggests overregulation leads to voter suppression.  Suggests there is not as much fraud as disqualification due to technicalities.

115

Chair Brown

Refers to record numbers of signatures gathered in last election cycle.

120

Williams

Confirms it was a very controversial group of initiatives.

 

Chair Brown

Suggests work group on SB 164. Inquires if Miller and Williams are open to participate.

123

Miller

Agrees to participate.

125

Williams

Agrees to participate.

130

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SB 587.

145

Andi Miller

Common Cause Oregon.  Testifies as neutral on SB 587.  Proposes amendment clarifying information for voters when two or more initiatives are tied together.

175

Chair Brown

Refers to example of two initiatives when one changes a statute and one changes the constitution and what happens if one passes and the other does not.

180

Miller

Responds and discusses example.  Advises clarification.

185

Chair Brown

Closes public hearing on SB 164, SB 466, and SB 587.  Opens work session for approval of drafting requests and introduction of committee measures.

APPROVAL OF DRAFTING REQUESTS AND INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE MEASURES – WORK SESSION

195

Chair Brown

Discusses measure drafting request from Sen. Ferrioli (EXHIBIT C).

200

Chair Brown

MOTION:  Moves drafting request BE APPROVED FOR DRAFTING by Legislative Counsel.

205

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

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

EXCUSED:  2 – Ringo, Shields

 

Chair Brown

The motion CARRIES.

210

Chair Brown

MOTION:  Moves LC's:  LC 1121 (EXHIBIT D), LC 1121-1 (EXHIBIT E), LC 1121-2 (EXHIBIT F), LC 1121-3 (EXHIBIT G), LC 1121-4 (EXHIBIT H), LC 1122 (EXHIBIT I) AND LC 3506 (EXHIBIT J) BE INTRODUCED as committee bills.

 

215

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

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

EXCUSED:  2 – Ringo, Shields

 

Chair Brown

The motion CARRIES.

 

 

NOTE:  LC 1121 printed as SB 1019

LC 1121-1 printed as SB 1020

LC 1121-2 printed as SB 1021

LC 1121-3 printed as SB 1022

LC 1121-4 printed as SB 1023

LC 1122 printed as SB 1024

LC 3506 printed as SB 1025

220

Chair Brown

Closes work session on drafting and introduction.  Adjourns the committee at  9:52 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A.     SB 164, sample petitions, John Lindback, 19 pp

B.     SB 164, written testimony, Danielle Knight, 1 p

C.     Drafting and introduction requests, approval of, memorandum, staff, 2 pp

D.    Introductions, LC 1121, staff, 6 pp

E.     Introductions, LC 1121-1, staff, 3 pp

F.      Introductions, LC 1121-2, staff, 3 pp

G.    Introductions, LC 1121-3, staff, 6 pp

H.    Introductions, LC 1121-4, staff, 4 pp

I.       Introductions, LC 1122, staff, 3 pp

J.      Introductions, LC 3506, staff, 7 pp