League of Women Voters Ballot Measure Recommendations
The League bases its ballot measure recommendations on a careful study of each measure and the issues involved.
Metro AND City of PortlanD Measures
- YES: MEASURE 26-199 (Metro Referral): This measure would use money from bonds to pay for affordable housing in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties. The money would not only pay to build new low-income housing. It would also keep existing low-income housing affordable and buy land for future affordable housing. Over half the homes would be affordable to very low-income people. An oversight committee and independent audits would make sure the money is spent as planned.
The Portland, Clackamas County, and Washington County Leagues recommend a Yes vote. The League believes that persons in need have the right to an income and/or enough services to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and health care. We believe that the government has the main responsibility for funding programs to meet those needs.
- YES: MEASURE 26-200 (Portland Charter Amendment): This measure would limit campaign donations and spending. It would also require campaigns to tell voters about their five largest donors, in their mailings and ads. It allows candidates to accept funds from Portland’s publicly funded campaign finance system.
The LWV Portland Board recommends a Yes vote. The League’s Money in Politics position calls for public financing of campaigns, in which candidates must stick to reasonable spending limits. The position also supports the public’s right to know who is using money to influence elections.
- YES: MEASURE 26-201 (Initiative): This measure would place a small one-percent tax on large retailers. The money would be put into a Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund. It would be spent on renewable energy projects – like installing solar panels and making buildings more energy-efficient. Some of the money would be spent on training and jobs for low-income people, who would work on these projects. A committee of community members would recommend to the Portland City Council the projects to be funded. There would be an oversight board appointed by the Mayor and financial audits each year.
The LWV Portland Board recommends a Yes vote. The League’s Climate Change position supports aggressive efforts to restore balance to the planet’s climate systems by reducing the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million, the upper safe limit. We support gradually changing from fossil fuels to other forms of energy and making sure this transition is fair to all Americans. The League’s Equality of Opportunity position says that government should provide equality of opportunity for education, employment and housing for all persons regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability.
Statewide Ballot Measures
- YES: MEASURE 102 (Legislative Referral): The Oregon Legislature placed this constitutional amendment on the ballot. The Oregon Constitution now limits the ways local governments can use money they raise from selling bonds. This measure would allow local governments to use bond money to pay for more affordable housing. If the measure passes, the governments could partner with private companies and non-profit developers to build or buy affordable housing. They also could combine the bond money with other money and credits available to these private partners, such as federal low-income tax credits. They would still have to get voter approval for the bonds and they would have to report every year on how the money is spent.
The League of Women Voters of Oregon (LWVOR) Board recommends a Yes vote. The League of Women Voters believes that government at all levels must make enough funding available for housing assistance programs.
- NO: MEASURE 103 (Initiative): This measure would amend the Oregon Constitution and ban taxes and fees on “groceries” as defined by the measure and enacted or amended after September 2017.
The LWVOR Board recommends a No vote. This is a very broad and confusing measure. Because it would amend the Oregon Constitution, its effects would be hard to reverse. The League believes there should be a high bar for making changes to the Constitution. We also believe that taxes should be fair and equitable. This measure would apply to businesses involved in producing, transporting, and selling foods and beverages. It would make these businesses free from most kinds of taxes and tax increases. But it does not apply to taxes on other basic items sold in grocery stores, and it does not apply to taxes on other businesses. This is not fair or equitable. The measure also would make improving Oregon’s tax system more difficult in the future.
- NO: MEASURE 104 (Initiative): This measure would amend the state Constitution and require that a three-fifths legislative majority approve bills raising revenue.
The LWVOR Board recommends a No vote. The League believes government needs adequate money to operate. This measure would limit the state’s ability to raise money and would make it harder to provide many services. This constitutional amendment would make it more difficult to end wasteful or outdated tax breaks and to increase fees, such as fees for hunting licenses.
- NO: MEASURE 105 (Initiative): This measure would repeal the law limiting use of state and local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws. This law was passed nearly unanimously in 1987 to help prevent racial profiling.
The LWVOR Board recommends a No vote. The League believes all people should get fair treatment under the law. This measure could cause police to unfairly target people just because they look foreign. Many law enforcement officials oppose this measure because some undocumented people who are crime victims or witnesses may not speak up. They might be afraid of being turned over to federal immigration authorities (ICE). This would harm law enforcement and crime prevention in our communities.
- NO: MEASURE 106 (Initiative): This measure would prohibit spending public funds directly or indirectly for abortion. If passed, this measure would reduce access to abortion services, including services to women on the Oregon Health Plan and State of Oregon employees.
The LWVOR Board recommends a No vote. The League believes every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices. Decisions about abortion services should be left to the woman and her health care provider.
How we make our decisions about the measures
The League bases its ballot measure recommendations on member-adopted positions, as well as a careful look at what might happen if the measure passes.
Before taking positions on the issues, League members examine each issue from all viewpoints through readings and interviews with experts. Then members discuss the study results. Members must come to an agreement about a position statement before it is adopted. Each year, we look at our positions to see whether they are still up-to-date or should be studied again. The Portland League takes positions on local issues. It can also use positions adopted by the LWV of Oregon (LWVOR) and the LWV of the U.S. (LWVUS). The Oregon League takes positions on state issues and can also use LWVUS positions.