League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley

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Elections in Douglas County

Primary Election May 21, 2019

Link to local ballot measures: http://www.co.douglas.or.us/clerk/county_measures.asp

Link to local candidates running for office in Douglas County, OR. http://www.co.douglas.or.us/clerk/Current_Candidate_filing.asp 

Visit Vote411.org for more voting information and to check your registration. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Umpqua Valley.

General Election 2018 results: http://www.co.douglas.or.us/clerk/election_results/election_20181106_summary.pdf

Statewide Ballot Measures: (Ballot Measure Voter Service Handouts LWV Umpqua Valley 2018)

Below is the same information that will be in the League’s Voters’ Guide, soon to be released. Below you will find valuable information carefully condensed by League researchers and editors and vetted by chief petitioners and opponents.

Measure 102 – Ballot Title: Municipal Bonds for Affordable Housing

Amends Constitution:  Allows local bonds for financing affordable housing with nongovernmental entities. Requires voter approval, annual audits.

Complete measure text (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2018/401text.pdf)

The Proposal

The proposed Oregon Constitutional amendment, Ballot Measure 102, would allow local governments to issue bonds that could be used by public-private partnerships as a component in financing affordable housing developments along with federal tax credits and private capital. It would also allow local governments to take advantage of the expertise of housing authorities and other non-governmental agencies that manage affordable housing in the ongoing operation of the completed housing units. This measure could increase the number of affordable housing projects by adding local government-issued bonds to a mixture of funding sources. If voters approve bond measures proposed by local governments for affordable housing, their property taxes might increase. The City of Portland and all other local governments in the Portland metropolitan area asked the Legislature to pass this resolution to help respond to the need for affordable housing. In the Portland metro region, a local housing bond on the ballot this fall would fund affordable housing units for approximately 7,500 people if approved alone; if Measure 102 is also approved, those bond funds will go further, building affordable homes for up to 12,000 people in the metro area. Many parts of Oregon lack affordable housing. If Measure 102 is approved, local governments could enter into public-private partnerships to combine these bond funds with other funding streams for affordable housing. The partnerships could be with non-governmental entities, such as non-profit agencies or private businesses.

Background –

In the 1800’s, the Oregon Constitution was amended to prohibit the use of local government funds to directly help private enterprise. Later, the Oregon Supreme Court said that a city’s general obligation bonds could not be used for railroad improvements. Ever since, a bright line has been kept between local government funds and other financial resources that might be used for a common purpose, such as increasing access to affordable housing. The Constitution presently allows local governments to issue bonds to finance affordable housing only if they retain ownership of the resulting structures. It does not allow the use of local tax revenues (including bonds) to finance private enterprises, including affordable housing built with additional resources by a public-private partnership. These restrictions mean that local governments may not use their funds to leverage other affordable housing funding opportunities, such as federal low-income tax credits, which are available to non-profit or for-profit affordable housing developers with restrictions.

Financial Impact

There is no financial impact to state revenue or expenditures.

There is no financial impact on local government revenue or expenditures required by this measure. The revenue and expenditure impact on local governments would depend on decisions by local governments to propose bonding for affordable housing and voter approval of the proposed bonds.

What Your Vote Means

A YES vote means …

A “Yes” vote supports amending the state constitution to allow counties, cities, and towns to—with voter approval and certain restrictions—use bond revenue to fund the construction of affordable housing with non-governmental entities, without retaining complete ownership of the constructed housing. As a result of the combined funding sources, more affordable housing units could be constructed or renovated, and thus more residents could be served. In communities where the local government issues an affordable housing bond, property taxes would increase to pay for it.

A NO vote means …

• Current Oregon constitutional prohibition on local governments raising money to loan to non-governmental entities for any purpose.

What People Are Saying

Supporters say:
• Measure 102 would allow more local affordable housing to be built.
• Measure 102 would allow the use of bond dollars in partnership with non-profit and private housing providers.

Opponents say:
• There is no organized opposition to this measure; however, the Constitution should not be amended lightly.
• The state could use bond money for projects of more widespread benefit, like roads or parks.

Measure 103 – Ballot Title: Bans Taxes on Groceries
Amends Constitution: Prohibits taxes/fees based on transactions for “groceries” (defined) enacted or amended after September 2017.
Complete measure text (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2018/037text.pdf )

The Proposal –
Measure 103 would add a new section 16 to Article IX of the Oregon Constitution prohibiting taxes, fees, and assessments on the purchase or sale of raw or processed food or beverage intended for human consumption at all stages, including agricultural crops and food and beverage products of all types, whether in warehouses, transit, packaging and processing plants, restaurants, or other locations. The prohibited taxes and fees include any sales tax, gross receipts tax, commercial activity tax, value- added tax, excise tax or privilege tax and any change in the corporate minimum tax, to the extent that the corporate minimum tax is imposed on Oregon grocers.

Background –
There is currently no sales tax on groceries in the state of Oregon except for a sales tax on restaurant- prepared foods in Ashland and Yachats. There is no current proposal to enact a sales tax in Oregon.

Financial Impact –
The Secretary of State has determined that the financial impact is indeterminate although it constrains the future revenue-raising options that a government in Oregon may consider.

What Your Vote Means –

A YES vote means …

Support for an amendment to the Oregon Constitution to prohibit state or local taxes or fees based on transactions for “groceries” (as defined).

A NO vote means …

  • State and local governments retain the authority to enact/amend taxes or fees on “groceries” (as defined).

What People Are Saying –

Supporters say:
• A tax on groceries will fall most heavily on those least able to pay it.
• This measure would remove the burden for this industry of continuing to fight the corporate minimum tax by creating a constitutional amendment that is difficult to remove.
• Banning a sales tax on groceries would prevent a tax on sodas and other sugary beverages, as proposed by several municipalities.

Opponents say:
• Because there is no tax on groceries being proposed, Measure 103 is unnecessary.
• The measure is inappropriately broad because it applies not only to a sales tax on groceries sold at grocery stores but applies throughout the food supply chain, from producers to retailers.
• The measure is misleading. Rather than concerns about a prospective tax on groceries, this measure arose because the grocery industry, with narrow profit margins is concerned about changes in the corporate tax structure. A constitutional amendment is too blunt an instrument to deal with the complexity of tax structure; this is better left to the legislature.

Measure 104 – Ballot Title: Super Majority for Revenue Changes
Amends Constitution: Expands (beyond taxes) application of requirement that three-fifths legislative majority approve bills raising revenue.
Complete measure text (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2018/031text.pdf)

The Proposal –
Measure 104 would amend Article IV, Section 25, of Oregon’s Constitution to require a three- fifths vote of both the House and Senate to pass bills that not only raise revenue through new or increased taxes, but also on any bill that raises fees the state charges and any bill that changes tax breaks. Petitioners assert that fee increases charged by state agencies and reducing or eliminating tax breaks (deductions, credits and exemptions) technically raise revenue and should also require a three- fifths vote.

Background –
Current law requires approval by three-fifths of each legislative house to pass a bill to raise taxes. The 1996 law has been interpreted by Legislative Counsel and state courts to apply only to new taxes or increases to an existing tax, not to fee increases or changes to tax expenditures (often called tax breaks).

Financial Impact –
The financial impact to state revenue and expenditures is indeterminate.

What Your Vote Means –

A YES vote means …
• A three-fifths legislative majority vote (already required to raise taxes) would be required to pass any bill that would raise state revenue, including tax exemptions, deductions and credits, as well as fee changes.

A NO vote means …
• The current interpretation of the existing law on raising revenue would remain in effect, requiring a three-fifths majority only for bills that would levy new taxes or increase existing taxes.

What People Are Saying –

Supporters say:
• The legislature is too partisan and tax reliant to reduce taxes or fees
• The 1996 constitutional provision should be strengthened so that it applies to all increases in taxes or fees.
• It should not be easy to raise fees

Opponents say:
• Requiring the legislature to vote on every fee would create gridlock.
• Fees support specific projects, such as maintenance of state parks. Requiring a three-fifths vote to change fees could prevent them from keeping up with the real costs of services.
• This measure would make it harder to eliminate wasteful perks and tax loopholes lobbied for and used by special interests.

Measure 105 – Ballot Title: Sanctuary State
Repeals law limiting use of state/local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
Complete measure text (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2018/022text.pdf)

The Proposal –
Ballot Measure 105 would repeal ORS 181A.820, making it illegal for a state, county, or city public safety officer to refuse to assist federal immigration authorities in detecting and/or apprehending persons believed to be in this country illegally. State and local police would be required to assist federal immigration officers in detecting/apprehending persons suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

Background –
Oregon’s first “Sanctuary Law” was prompted by a lawsuit brought by a U. S. citizen of Mexican descent who was interrogated and humiliated in a restaurant in Independence in 1977. His attorney was Frank (Rocky) Barilla, who, later as the first Hispanic member of the Oregon Legislature, introduced HB 2314 in 1987. It was passed by the House, 58 to 1. The Senate passed it with amendments, 29 to 1. The House voted again, with the same numbers, 58-1. That bill was succeeded by HB 3464 with similar wording, which was passed and signed into law in 2017.

Financial Impact –
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the financial impact is indeterminate. After publishing that statement with two supporting statements, the Financial Estimate Committee held a public hearing. One person from the opposition testified, citing many possible negative financial results if the measure passes. She and the committee agreed there was not time to analyze those situations and make a reasonable estimate of the financial impact before the election.

What Your Vote Means –

A YES vote means …

  • Oregon state laws limiting use of state/local enforcement resources for detecting/apprehending persons suspected of only violating federal immigration laws would be repealed.

A NO vote means …

  • Oregon state laws limiting (with exceptions*) the use of state/local law officers/resources to enforce federal immigration laws would be retained.

*Exceptions to the current limitations for state/local officers include:

  1. Verifying a person’s immigration status or requesting criminal investigation information from federal immigration authorities.
  2. Arresting a person who is charged with a criminal (not civil) violation of immigration law, for whom a federal arrest warrant has been issued.
  3. Detecting or apprehending persons charged with crimes in addition to violating federal immigration law.

What People Are Saying –

Supporters say:

  • If people want to come to this country, they should not break laws to do so.
  • Because undocumented immigrants will accept substandard wages, they undermine the employment of legal workers.
  • The current law keeps state/local from offering US authorities their fullest cooperation.
  • Undocumented immigrants commit other crimes.

Opponents say:

  • Passage of M105 opens the door to unfair targeting, interrogations, and detainments.
  • Undocumented immigrants work and pay taxes and statistics show that they are less likely to commit crimes than US-born people.
  • Passage of M105 would reduce the labor force in Oregon, especially in construction and agriculture.
  • Local police can continue to hold people accountable, including both immigrants and non-immigrants, if they commit crimes and harm our community.
  • Oregon taxpayer money will be kept in our communities and will not be diverted to do the job of federal law enforcement.

Measure 106 – Ballot Title: Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Amends Constitution: Prohibits spending “public funds” (defined) directly/indirectly for “abortion” (defined); exceptions; reduces abortion access.
Complete measure text (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2018/001text.pdf)

The Proposal –
This measure amends the Oregon Constitution to prohibit the state from spending public funds (defined in the measure as “funds and monies under the control or in the custody of the State of Oregon or any of its political subdivisions or public officials”) to pay for any abortion (defined in the measure as a “purposeful termination of a clinically diagnosed pregnancy of a woman resulting in the death of the human embryo or fetus”). The state also would not pay for health-care insurance that covers abortion, except for payments required by federal law for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest and for an abortion to terminate ectopic pregnancy or to prevent death of a pregnant woman.

Background –
In 1969, Oregon passed SB193 making the state one of the first to legalize abortion and protecting the right to an abortion during the first 150 days of a pregnancy. Legal abortions under SB193 were restricted to those performed by a licensed physician in a hospital under the following circumstances: 1) The fetus has a physical or mental handicap. 2) The fetus was conceived by rape or other criminal intercourse. 3) The pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the mother’s physical or mental health. Before any abortion took place, two physicians had to certify in writing that the woman’s circumstances justified the abortion.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made abortions legal nationwide and gave a woman the right to abortion until viability, a point to be determined by her physician. After viability, a woman can obtain an abortion when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the woman’s life or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

In 1983, Oregon repealed its 1969 law, along with all its restrictions on abortion.

Oregon voters considered measures to restrict state funding for abortion in 1978 (losing 52%-48%) and in 1986 (losing 55%-45%).
In 2017, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Reproductive Health Equity Act, a multifaceted measure that requires health insurers to cover a suite of reproductive health care services— including abortions—at no out-of-pocket cost to the insured. The law allows public money to pay for an abortion when: 1) a medical professional determines it to be medically necessary, 2) a woman’s medical insurance is provided by a public employer, or 3) a woman would obtain the procedure from a publicly funded reproductive health provider.

Financial Impact –

According to the Secretary of State’s office, there would be a net increase of $4.8 million in state expenditures the first year. There would be an indeterminate net increase in expenditures in future years.

What Your Vote Means –

A YES vote means …
• No public funds would be spent, directly or indirectly (e.g. health insurance plans that cover abortion), with exceptions only for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, for an abortion to terminate ectopic pregnancy or to prevent death of a pregnant woman.
• Abortion access for low-income women and publicly employed women would be reduced.
• It has not yet been determined whether the measure would restrict funding for contraceptives or the so-called “morning- after pill.”

A NO vote means …
• Current law would be retained.
• No restrictions would be placed on spending public funds for healthcare plans covering abortion or for abortions approved by a medical professional.

What People Are Saying –

Supporters say:
• Taxpayers should not have to pay for abortions that violate their personal or religious beliefs.
• M106 does not stop people from having abortions, it simply prevents using public funds to pay for it.
• Many women carry emotional scars from past abortions.

Opponents say:
• Restrictions on access to abortion is out of step with Oregon values. Women should be able to choose when to parent.
• If M106 passes, abortion would be constitutionally taken from nearly 350,000 women in November, including those on the Oregon Health Plan, state employees, firefighters, teachers, and nurses.
• Low-income women on OHP would face some of the most severe consequences under M106.
• Under the threat of overturning Roe v. Wade, we need protection for Oregon women more than ever.


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