Senator Jeff Kruse - February 28th, 2014


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-315 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You


FEBRUARY 28, 2014


There was a bill passed yesterday in the Oregon House that may have been the most offensive action I have seen in my 18 years in the Legislature.  It was HB 4054 and what the bill would do is give the Legislature control of the initiative process in Oregon. The bill passed on almost a straight party line vote.


First let me say a few words about the initiative process.  This is a way the people can direct the actions of government.  While I haven’t always agreed with all the measures that have been passed this way, I have always felt it was my duty and responsibility to do everything I could to enact “the will of the people”.


Getting something on the ballot in this manner is not easy.  A group has to get organized, raise money and gather signatures.  Those signatures have to be validated by the Secretary of State and, because of the number usually rejected, the group normally would submit around one hundred thousand signatures for a statutory measure and one hundred and fifty thousand for a constitutional measure.  Once enough signatures have been validated, the Secretary of State would set up a committee to craft the ballot title and explanatory statement as it would appear on the ballot.  The committee is made up of both those supporting the measure and those opposing it.  After all of this has been completed either side has the ability to challenge the results into the court system.  Clearly this is a very rigorous process.


What brought HB 4054 forward was the issue of driver’s licenses for people not legally in the country.  A bill was passed during the 2013 Legislative Session on this issue and the initiative in question is a response to that legislation.  At this point it is not the merits of the law, but honoring the process that is in question.  Clearly, yesterday, the majority party in the House decided it would be OK for the Legislative Assembly to take over the initiative process and try to predetermine the outcome of any vote.  Hopefully the bill will be dead in the Senate.


The faith people have in the legislative process is not very high, and probably for some good reasons.  Actions like this do not help.  I want to repeat, it is not the merits of the initiative that is the issue; rather it is the attempt to subvert and change our time honored process for the people to have input into the system that is.  The Legislature should be better than this.




Senator Jeff Kruse









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