Measuring up the 2014 ballot

Measure 86

Measure 86 proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution which would authorize the state to create a fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education. The amendment would make it so that the state could incur debt by the sale of general obligation bond. The fund could also be supplemented by direct appropriations made by Oregon Legislature and philanthropic donations. The measure explicitly declares that the state may not levy any ad valorem taxes (ie: sales tax or property tax) to pay for the debt.

Bottom line: For Measure 86, the primary debate is whether the government should be allowed to incur debt in order to provide equitable access to opportunities, such as post-secondary education. Arguments in favor support that the measure puts an emphasis on creating a more competitive Oregon workforce, as well as promotes university and technical training. Those in opposition disagree with the state incurring debt to subsidize education for students that might not be prepared for college.

Measure 87

Measure 87 would allow Oregon state judges to hold jobs as professors in state colleges and universities, to serve the national guard, and it would allow school employees within the state to serve in state Legislature.

Bottom line: While opposition to Measure 87 has not been as prominent as that of other measures, some claim that the possibility of conflict of interest could arise, and that the proposed measure violates the separation of powers clause in the Oregon Constitution.

Measure 88

Measure 88 is a veto referendum to either uphold or reverse Senate Bill 833, which made four-year driver cards available to those who could not prove legal residence in the U.S. The cards cannot be used for air travel, voting, for obtaining firearms or any other government benefit, such as welfare.

Bottom line: Arguments in favor believe the measure will help those who can’t prove legal residence gain access to transportation, as well as to improve road safety by reducing the number of uninsured and untested drivers. Opposition claims that driver cards would attract illegal immigrants to Oregon.

Measure 89

Measure 89, also known as the Equal Rights Amendment, would expressly guarantee equal rights regardless of gender. According to Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution, laws granting privileges or immunities to any persons must be applied to all persons equally. By precedent set by the Oregon Supreme Court, this section is applied to gender. Measure 89 would ratify a new section which would specify gender to prevent future Oregon Supreme Courts from overturning this precedent.

Bottom line: Many supporters believe that Measure 89 will write equality into the Oregon Constitution, while opposition arguments believe that the Constitution already guarantees equal rights under the law. Concerns over the measure possibly being construed to mandate the state to pay for abortions have also been raised.

Measure 90

Measure 90 would change Oregon’s primary elections so that all candidates would be included on a single ballot, regardless of party, and the top two candidates would move forward in the election cycle. This means voters could potentially see two Democratic or two Republican nominees on the ballot. If passed, there also will no longer be a write-in option.

Bottom line: Arguments in favor of the measure claim that its passage would increase voter participation and allow voters to vote for candidates, regardless of party affiliation. Opposition arguments claim that the measure limits voters’ ability to choose.

Measure 91

If passed, Measure 91 would legalize the sale of marijuana to Oregonians 21 and older. Those of legal age would be able to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and up to four plants. It would also authorize the taxation of recreational marijuana, would give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the authority to regulate sales, and would maintain all current medical marijuana laws. This measure would also legalize industrial hemp agriculture in Oregon.

Bottom line: A signifigant deciding factor for many voters is their personal stance toward marijuana. However, the bottom line may actually be the economics of the measure. Some voters may not want marijuana taxed at all, only legalized, and would be opposed to the prospect of OLCC regulating the sales.

Measure 92

Measure 92 would mandate the labeling of foods, raw or packaged, which were produced using genetic engineering. The measure notes that for raw foods, it will be the retailer’s responsibility to clearly label any products that have been produced with genetically modified organisms.

Bottom line: Some voters believe Measure 92 would hold corporations responsible for making the contents of their products transparent to consumers. Other voters consider consumer product education a personal responsibility and view this measure as overreaching and expensive.