Oregonians say "no, but yes" to limits on campaign contributions

Oregon has wrestled with campaign finance reform since at least 1994, when voters enacted Measure 9, which imposed limits on campaign contributions. In 1997, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Measure 9 unconstituional, saying it violated the free speech rights guaranteed in the state's constitution. Fast-forward to Tuesday, when would-be reformers offered up two ballot initiatives: Measure 46 would have changed the constitution to allow limits on campaign contributions, paving the way for Measure 47. Confused?

Cleaning up Election Day Disasters

Even with the good news that came last Tuesday, all too much evidence exists that the basic machinery of democracy in America is broken. Election Day is like Groundhog Day and the first stories of problems with voting machines, long lines, or voter intimidation hit the wires in the early A.M. Fortunately, with progressives in control in more states than ever before, we have an opportunity to get the machinery working, so that the engine of democracy starts humming again.

OR: Universal Health Care Proposal Takes Shape

An Oregon State Senate commission has approved a framework to provide universal health care in the state and to control costs. State Senator Alan Bates, who co-chairs the Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability, called the agreement "the first step on a very, very long journey." While the Commission has broadly described the proposal, important details are unclear and questions remain.

OR: The beginnings of a universal health care bill

Calling it the "first step on a very, very long journey," State Senator Alan Bates, who co-chairs Oregone's Senate Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability, said the commission will draft a bill for the 2007 Legislature that will "make Oregon the first state to provide universal health care with a system to contain costs." While the proposal has been broadly described by the Commission, important details and questions remain.

Voters in Oregon No Longer Fooled by Measure 37

Two years ago, Oregon voters were sold Measure 37 as a property rights issue. The measure, they were told, would close loopholes governments used to regulate homeowners and prevent unnecessary regulation. Backers downplayed other ramifications that are now coming to light, ramifications that other states will face if voters in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, or Washington approve initiatives modeled after Measure 37.

OR: Good News in Spending Fight

A new poll shows Measure 48, Oregon's proposed spending cap, now opposed by a plurality of voters, 32-42. A lot of voters are still undecided, but the rule of thumb in initiative campaigns is that it is easier to get people to vote no than it is to get them to vote yes. The initiative's backers claim stronger support in internal polling.

OR: Rightwing Churches Playing Politics?

Loaded Orygun, which does some terrific investigative blogging in Oregon, has found campaign phone calls being made from a church. The church in question is a 501(c)3 organization prohibited from being engaged in electoral activity. Clearly, that prohibition is being ignored. Churches can actually lose their tax-exempt status for this type of activity. And with good reason. Religion has much to teach us about values and morality. But God doesn't make endorsements.

Rightwing Fraud Derails Tax Revolt

The libertarian movement backed by a super-wealthy New York developer is proving why it hates the government so much: they appear constitutionally unable to follow the law. Howard Rich and his cronies have been behind efforts to clone Colorado's disastrous TABOR spending cap measure, various knock-off proposals based on Oregon's anti-land use planning law Measure 37, and various assaults on the judicial system.

OR: Coward Rich -- Too Scared to Defend His Ideas

Howard Rich, the ultra-rich New York developer pushing spending cap and land-use initiatives in multiple states this fall, has said he does this because he believes in it. But despite cutting millions in checks to make these ballot issues happen, he won't publicly defend the ideas. Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski challenged Rich to a debate over the implications of Measure 48, a proposed spending cap in Oregon.