State measures: Gun safety close, health care trails
Oregon Measure 114, which would regulate firearms, was close in updated tallies from Tuesday's election, with 50.3% of voters approving the measure and 49.7% voting "no."
Two other statewide measures, neither as controversial as Measure 114, remain on track to approval in returns posted at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The third, Measure 111 — a constitutional right to health care — now appears to be trailing but splitting voters almost 50-50.
About 1.4 million ballots had been tallied as of 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Slightly more voters cast ballots on Measure 114, which qualified for the ballot through a petition drive by a coalition of religious and other organizations. It would require people to complete firearms training before they can obtain permits to purchase guns, and limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds each.
It is the first gun regulation initiative on the ballot in 22 years, although the Legislature has passed several measures of its own over the past seven years.
Measure 114 easily drew the most attention of the four that qualified for the ballot, two by legislative referral, and two others by initiative petition. The others are:
• Measure 111, which would guarantee access to health care as a right in the Oregon Constitution, though it would not create a requirement for funding or institute a new tax. Incomplete returns showed it trailing, splitting Oregon voters 50.5% against and 49.5% for it.
• Measure 112, which would remove slavery (involuntary servitude) as a basis for criminal punishment. The language dates back to the 1857 Constitution, which otherwise barred slavery from Oregon, although it also barred Blacks from becoming residents. (That language was removed by voters in 2002.) The Oregon State Sheriffs Association opposes the measure, concerned about how it may affect work programs in county jails. Other language in the Oregon Constitution, which voters changed in 1994, specifically authorizes work programs in state prisons. Incomplete returns showed 54% approval.
• Measure 113, another proposed constitutional amendment, would bar legislators from seeking re-election if they have 10 or more unexcused absences from a regular or special session. It would leave in place the requirement for the presence of two-thirds majorities (40 in the House, 20 in the Senate) for the chambers to conduct business. Public employee unions proposed it as a means of thwarting walkouts that minority Republicans employed in 2019 and 2020 to block votes on legislation sought by Democrats. It had the biggest lead among the four measures, with 68% of voters approving it.
NOTE: Updates with 10 a.m. Wednesday statewide numbers.
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