NEWS RELEASE: Oregon Senate Approves Citizens’ Initiative Review Bill!
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2011
Contact: Tyrone Reitman
Today the Oregon Senate took action on legislation to establish the Citizens’ Initiative Review as a permanent feature of Oregon’s initiative process.
“The last few election cycles have shown that this democratic experiment with citizen initiative statements is a success,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland), sponsor of the bill. “Oregon has the unique reputation for being the birthplace of direct democracy, including the initiative. In a time when elections are accompanied by millions of dollars of advertising, this is a simple, innovative way to make sure citizens’ voices are represented in the electoral discourse.”
The bill, HB 2634, establishes a new state commission to administer future Citizens’ Initiative Reviews (CIRs) and details strict criteria for maintaining the integrity of the CIR process. The funding for the program will be provided by foundations and private donations—incurring no additional cost to the state.
“By passing this bill, Oregonians will now have a stronger, more deliberative voice in the initiative process. The Citizens’ Initiative Review is one of those innovations that could only come from a great state like Oregon,” said Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), who carried HB 2634 on the floor of the Oregon Senate.
By passing HB 2634 the Citizens’ Initiative Review will continue to provide Oregon voters with a reliable source of high-quality information about ballot measures. The program is based upon a successful ‘pilot’ run in 2010 election, during which two measures were reviewed. The 2010 CIRs were in turn evaluated by a research team funded by the National Science Foundation. The research team determined that the CIR process was a high quality deliberation, and that voters valued this new source of information.
“The foundation of democracy is information and an informed electorate. HB 2634 which directs the Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission, is another way to provide valuable information to Oregon voters about ballot measures. I believe this bill is an important addition to Oregon’s current initiative process,” said Senator Frank Morse (R-Albany).
The bill, spearheaded by the nonprofit organization, Healthy Democracy Oregon, now heads to the Governor’s desk.