Oregon measures: 102 passes, others fall

Politics

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon voters OK’d one ballot measure but voted down all the others in the November 2018 election.

The statewide ballot measures Oregon voters decided could have amended the Constitution. As with any measure of this kind, big money supporters and opponents have dominated the conversation trying to make their argument more persuasive.

The measures — with shorthand slugs of Affordable Housing, the Grocery Tax, 3/5 Vote Requirement, Immigration Law and Abortion — touch on hot topics that revolve around culture, economics and how personal faith plays out in the public square.

Measure 102:  Measure 102 amends the Oregon Constitution. It allows local bonds for financing affordable housing with nongovernmental entities. Requires voter approval, annual audits. This measure passed.

The measure’s passage will give city and county governments more flexibility to work with private developers and non-profit organizations when developing much-needed affordable housing projects.

Until now, the government entity that used bond revenue for affordable housing had to retain complete ownership of the project, which limited the size of projects and the ability to secure more federal tax credits.

The measure was referred to votes by state lawmakers with bipartisan support and there was no major opposition to it.

Measure 103: Oregon’s measure proposes a state constitutional amendment to prohibit new taxes on grocers and most groceries, including food and soda. Taxes would still be allowed on alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. This measure failed.  

Out-of-state grocery and beverage industry giants poured millions into the campaign for the measure, which was seen by many as a thinly veiled attempt to pre-empt a statewide soda tax.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — a proponent of soda taxes in other places — donated $1.5 million in the final two weeks before the election to the campaign against the grocery tax ban.

Opponents said the ballot measure’s language was confusing and would have created uncertainty about taxes on everything from restaurant meals to farming to the transportation of food to grocery stores.

Measure 104: Measure 104 amends the Oregon Constitution. It expands (beyond taxes) application of requirement that a three-fifths legislative majority approve bills raising revenueThis measure failed.

The measure’s failure means nothing changes.

Three-fifths of lawmakers in both legislative houses must approve bills that raise or impose new taxes but other ways of raising revenue — such as trimming tax deductions — still will only require a simple majority vote.

Those who opposed Measure 104 said it was an attempt to curb the power of Democrats, who currently hold the majority in both legislative houses.

Those in favor worried that state lawmakers would trim tax deductions and exemptions or increase fees to boost revenue.

Measure 105: Since 1987, when Oregon became the first state in the nation to be a sanctuary state, state agencies — including law enforcement — are forbidden from using resources or people to find or arrest people whose only legal violation is federal immigration law. Measure 105 seeks to repeal that law. This measure failed.

Oregon became America’s first sanctuary state when it adopted a law in 1987 preventing law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws.

Supporters of Measure 105, the repeal measure, said the law shields people who have committed crimes from potential deportation.

Those who back the sanctuary law say it was passed to address racial profiling.

The measure has split law enforcement.

Measure 106: If it passes, Measure 106 would mean women who receive their health care through state Medicaid would not have insurance coverage for abortions. This measure failed.

The measure’s failure leaves in place insurance coverage for abortions for women who received their health care through state Medicaid.

The federal government bans Medicaid funding for abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or to save a mother’s life.

Oregon is one of 17 states that uses its own money to provide abortions to women eligible for Medicaid.

Under Measure 106, the state Constitution would have allowed funding for abortion only if a woman is in danger of death because of her physical condition or in cases where funding is required under federal law, which now includes rape and incest.

Voters in Oregon had rejected funding bans in 1978 and 1986.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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