PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Spearheaded by Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, three new 2022 ballot initiatives were submitted to the Oregon secretary of state on Monday.
The proposed measures pertain to freedom of assembly restrictions, political ethics and politician accountability. Each of the new initiatives lists Turner, the PPA’s attorney Anil Karia and Representative Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) as chief petitioners.
Each initiative needs to garner 1,000 sponsorship signatures before a ballot drafting process can begin.
“Protect Free Speech and Safe Streets”
One initiative is seeking to implement certain restrictions on assemblies, including when and where these gatherings could take place.
Titled the “Protect Free Speech and Safe Streets Act,” the initiative proposes a prohibition on gatherings that can be heard after 10 p.m. either one block or a quarter-mile away from any residential neighborhoods. The initiative also suggests a 12 p.m. cut-off for gatherings that cause noise anywhere else.
The proposed plan also seeks to prohibit any barriers or blockages on sidewalks, the destruction of any public or private property, the setting of any fires in any place not specifically designed for a
fire. It would also ban the possession or use of “riotous agents” by anyone at an unlawful assembly — including fireworks, flammable explosives and laser pointers.
The measure places the responsibility for upholding these restrictions on local government. The document reads, “a municipality that fails to enforce the comprehensive plan to protect free speech and safe streets is liable to any citizen affected by the municipalities’ inaction and may bring a cause of action under this section for damages.”
According to Karia, this measure will create clear-cut rules for all those participating in protests and other gatherings — something he says has been lacking.
“When public safety protocols become politicized, it leads to wildly varying standards from event to
event, making situations unpredictable for both protestors and law enforcement officers,” Karia said. “This measure will do two things: First, whatever elected officials’ mood is day-to-day, the rules for protests will be clearly laid out beforehand and transparent for all parties. Second, it will also provide a clear way for members of the public to actively weigh in and help create a plan that reflects the standards and values of their community.”
“End Immunity for Politicians”
Another measure, called the “End Immunity for Politicians Act,” addresses qualified immunity concerning elected officials.
The bill initiative proposes that a politician is “liable to the injured party for legal or equitable relief or any other appropriate relief,” and that any statutory immunities and limitations on liability, damages, or attorney fees would not apply to these claims brought forward.
“IP-10 allows Oregon to take a broader view of racial inequity,” Turner said. “Where’s the
accountability for the local official who implemented the bad policy? Where’s the accountability for
the politicians who are creating these laws that are being implemented? We can’t recognize that
institutionalized racism exists at all levels of government and then decide not to address the
“Ethics in Politics”
The final measure, the “Ethics in Politics Act,” aims to give more independence to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and enforce “higher standards of conduct.” The initiative proposes legislators to be held to heightened accountability for law violations and to increase transparency into any legislators’ misconduct. The measure requires legislative officials to report any misconduct they become aware of, as well.
This is similar to House Bill 4205, which was passed during the Special Session in June. It is a law designed to protect whistleblowers in law enforcement and requires any officer who observes misconduct to report the incident within 72 hours.
“We’re happy to lead by example,” Turner said.
While each petition must accumulate the signatures of 1,000 voters to receive a ballot title, the chief petitioners must then seek just over 111,000 additional signatures by the summer of 2022. If that requirement is met, the measure would then qualify for the 2022 General Election.