The Oregon Redistricting Measure is in limbo after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan blocked an injunction Tuesday, Aug. 11, that would have allowed it on the ballot.
The initiative, run by the People Not Politicians political action committee and supported by groups such as the League of Women Voters of Oregon and the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, would amend the Oregon Constitution to create an independent commission to draw congressional and legislative districting maps. But it did not originally qualify for the November ballot, having gathered around 64,000 out of the required 149,360 signatures for a constitutional amendment initiative.
But the campaign successfully argued in court that the COVID-19 pandemic made it too difficult to collect the necessary signatures.
District Judge Michael McShane issued an injunction and gave Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno a choice: allow the campaign more time to gather signatures to reach a lower threshold of 58,789 or put the measure on the ballot outright. Clarno chose to allow the campaign more time and certified 59,493 signatures July 30, surpassing the number required by the court.
But Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stepped in.
"That injunction effectively rewrites the provisions governing how the Oregon Constitution can be amended through an initiative," Rosenblum wrote in court documents. "If not stayed, the preliminary injunction threatens to enshrine permanently in the state constitution an amendment that does not meet the constitutional requirements for appearing on the ballot."
Rosenblum appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and requested a stay to block McShane's ruling. The 9th Circuit will hear the case, though it hasn't been scheduled yet, but declined to issue a stay.
Rosenblum petitioned Justice Kagan to stay the injunction while the case is pending, which she granted. According to the order, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonya Sotomayor would have denied the application.
The 9th Circuit will hear the case Thursday, Aug. 13.
More Treatment, psilocybin therapy measures on ballot
Oregon voters will vote on whether to approve Drug Addiction and Recovery Act and the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act by Nov. 3.
The Drug Addiction and Recovery Act, now called Measure 109, will decriminalize many low level drug crimes, making them violations instead. It will also fund new and existing treatment centers by diverting legal marijuana tax revenue over $45 million.
The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act will be Measure 110 on the ballot, and it would legalize psilocybin therapy under limited circumstances.
The measures join two referrals from the Oregon Legislative Assembly.
The Senate Joint Resolution 18, which will be Measure 107 on the ballot, would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow laws that limit campaign contributions and expenditures and allow laws that require campaigns to disclose those contributions and expenditures.
House Bill 2270 will be Measure 108. It increases taxes on cigars and cigarettes and establishes a tax on e-cigarettes, with the taxes raised going to funding health programs.
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