Measure 71

  • Legislative Argument in Support

    Measure 71 will require the Legislature to meet in a strictly limited session each year instead of an unlimited session every two years. The Legislature will meet for fewer days overall, and will be able to provide greater accountability and more consistent budgeting by not waiting every two years to do the people’s business.

    The bipartisan Commission on the Oregon Legislature strongly recommended that Oregon hold annual sessions, combined with hard deadlines. We will be joining forty-five other states that meet annually. Measure 71 also places constitutional limits on the amount of time the Legislature can be in session.

    Measure 71 will:

    • Place limits on the number of days the Legislature can be in session.

    • Protect taxpayer dollars by enhancing transparency and efficiency from government.

    • Allow the state to more effectively attend to vital services that Oregon families depend on, like education, public safety and health care.

    • Let the Legislature react quickly to emerging issues and crises, like the economy and job creation.

    • Increase responsiveness and get the greatest value for every tax dollar to improve the delivery of vital services.

    Since 1999, the Legislature has had to call eight special sessions to resolve urgent issues that couldn’t wait. This is an ineffective and inefficient way of doing the people’s business. Oregonians deserve better.

    Over 150 years ago, meeting every other year made sense. But in today’s rapidly changing global economy, requiring the Legislature to meet every year and setting limits on how long it can meet will result in better government to Oregonians.

    Vote Yes on Measure 71.

    Committee Members: / Appointed by:
    Senator Richard Devlin / President of the Senate
    Representative Vicki Berger / Speaker of the House
    Representative Arnie Roblan / Speaker of the House

    (This Joint Legislative Committee was appointed to provide the legislative argument in support of the ballot measure pursuant to ORS 251.245.)

    Argument in Favor

    VOTE “YES” on Measure 71 for ANNUAL SESSIONS

    The League of Women Voters of Oregon strongly recommends a “YES” vote on Measure 71, which will allow the Oregon Legislature to meet annually. The League has long supported a change from biennial to annual sessions, and we ask that you consider the benefits that this change will bring:

    • Measure 71 will provide greater flexibility and efficiency in fiscal policy decisions and budget reviews due to the shortened cycle. The current budget is set 26 months in advance, which is not reasonable in today’s fast-paced world.

    • Measure 71 will mandate specific adjournment times – 160 days for odd-year sessions and 35 days for even-year sessions. Currently there is no limit to sessions, some of which have lasted more than seven months.

    • Measure 71 will greatly reduce the need for costly Special Sessions and give Oregon’s part-time legislators more predictability in planning their personal lives.

    • Measure 71 will give opportunities for new decision makers to gain valuable public policy training on a more regular basis. This will shorten the learning curve and make the work of the Legislature more efficient.

    The League of Women Voters of Oregon believes that it is time for Oregon to enter the 21st century when enacting legislation. Annual sessions will allow better use of time, technology and limited resources to provide for its citizens.

    VOTE “YES” on Measure 71.

    League of Women Voters of Oregon
    Marge Easley, President

    (This information furnished by Marge Easley, President, League of Women Voters of Oregon.)

    Argument in Favor

    The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Oregon Council 75 urges you to vote YES on Measure 71.

    This Measure would change the number of times the State Legislature meets from once every two years to every year. Oregon is one of only a handful of states that does not yet have annual legislative sessions. When the system was created, Oregon had just taken shape as a state, legislators rode to the Capitol on horseback and many of the issues that the Legislature dealt with did not yet exist. In that context, a six-month session every two years made sense. In today’s economy, however, budgets and revenue are unstable, and Oregon needs to have the flexibility to adapt. Yet we continue to rely on an 18th century system to address a 21st century problems.

    The new system proposed by Measure 71 doesn’t let the Legislature run amok. Neither does it create a full-time Legislature - it places reasonable limits on the amount of time it is in session. Instead of forcing legislators to predict all of Oregon’s possible needs for a two-year period, passing Measure 71 would allow the Legislature to return to session to make corrections and deal with issues as they arise.

    As an organization representing public and private employees delivering public services, we at Oregon AFSCME Council 75 believe that allowing for a more nimble legislative system is essential to Oregon’s long-term stability. We support this measure, and urge you to vote YES.

    (This information furnished by Joseph E. Baessler, Oregon AFSCME Council 75.)

    Argument in Favor

    Oregon’s Educators Support a YES Vote on Measure 71

    As this recession has shown, our economic situation can change quickly, putting Oregon’s critical services at risk.

    But what doesn’t change is our need to provide our children with the quality education they need in order to compete in the global marketplace.

    Measure 71 will allow the legislature to respond quickly and efficiently to emergencies like the economic crisis in order to ensure that our children aren’t further victimized by the recession.

    Oregon’s students need to be able to depend on a full school year in classrooms that aren’t bursting at the seams. And in order to emerge from this recession and improve our longterm economic health, we must protect our investment in public education.

    Voting yes on Measure 71 will allow the legislature to react more quickly to changes in the economy in order to protect Oregon’s classrooms and preserve school days.

    The world moves faster today that it did in the 1800s, when the law was passed that established legislative sessions only once every two years. That’s why 45 other states in the U.S. have switched to meeting every year—the needs of their citizens are too important to ignore.

    It’s time to modernize Oregon’s legislature. Voting YES on Measure 71 will bring more transparency, efficiency, and accountability to the way our tax dollars are spent. Oregon’s 48,000 educators urge you to vote YES on Measure 71.

    (This information furnished by BethAnne Darby, The Oregon Education Association.)

    Argument in Favor

    Responding to the Needs of Middle-Class Families and
    Small Businesses Requires a Modern Legislature

    Voting YES on Measure 71 makes economic sense.

    These days, protecting consumers and promoting economic fairness requires quick action from state leaders, like passing laws that respond to the ever-changing tricks and traps laid by national banks and credit card companies.

    Creating a more modern, efficient legislature means protecting consumers and middle-class families.

    In order to protect middle-class families and small businesses from predatory lending schemes, legislators need to be able to respond quickly with reforms that level the playing field and give consumers a fair shake.

    Voting YES on Measure 71 will make the legislature respond more quickly to the needs of hard-working Oregonians and small businesses.

    Measure 71 will also enable the legislature to take action to save and create jobs when the economy declines. Meeting every year will help lawmakers adapt to the economy and the changing needs of Oregonians.

    Voting YES on Measure 71 will make Oregon’s government:

    • More transparent
    • More accountable
    • More efficient
    • Better able to respond to the needs of Oregonians in times of economic crisis

    Join Our Oregon in Voting YES on Measure 71.

    Our Oregon fights for consumer protection laws and economic fairness for all Oregonians.


    (This information furnished by Patrick Green, Our Oregon.)

    Argument in Favor

    Vote YES on Measure 71

    Protect Oregon’s Priorities

    In an economic crisis, Oregon’s most vulnerable populations— like seniors, people with disabilities, the unemployed—are put at risk. And in these times of crisis, Oregonians need our legislature to have the ability to respond quickly and effectively.

    Measure 71 will allow the Oregon legislature to react quickly to changes in the economy, making adjustments to protect our priorities. This measure will make the legislature respond more quickly to the needs of hard-working Oregonians in times of economic crisis.

    That means making decisions to protect senior care, longterm care for people with disabilities and—importantly— protecting and creating jobs when we need them most.

    Vote YES on Measure 71

    Increase Government Transparency and Accountability

    By requiring the legislature to meet every year, we’ll increase transparency and accountability in our state government.

    Voting YES on Measure 71 makes government more accountable to the people in how it uses our tax dollars. Annual sessions will allow the state to more effectively provide vital services that Oregon families depend on, like education, public safety and health care.

    Vote YES on Measure 71

    It’s Common Sense

    The state should budget like responsible families do, looking at the year ahead to make sure there’s enough money for the most important priorities. This measure makes that kind of common-sense budgeting possible.

    The members of SEIU, Local 503 urge you to vote YES on Measure 71. We are 45,000 front-line workers who provide publicly funded services. We are the people who maintain Oregon’s roads. We provide care for children, the elderly and people with disabilities. We keep Oregon’s college campuses running. We are fighting to improve the quality of public services and fighting to make sure front-line workers have a voice in that process.

    (This information furnished by Arthur Towers, Service Employees International Union, Local 503.)

    Argument in Favor

    Join with the Members of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon in voting YES on Measure 71

    A lot has changed since the 1800s. Modern life moves much faster now, and the needs of our state are far more complex than they were 150 years ago.

    But one thing that hasn’t changed is the 1800s law that says our legislature is limited to only one regular meeting every two years. It’s time to bring our state government into the modern era.

    By voting yes on Measure 71, we’ll make sure that Oregon joins 45 other states in the U.S. with legislative sessions that meet every year.

    Oregon families know that in times of economic trouble, it makes sense to adjust our budgets to protect the things we care about. Measure 71 will bring that common sense approach to budgeting to the state government.

    When times are toughest, we need to protect our priorities, like education, public safety, and health care. Measure 71 will give our legislators the tools they need to make these decisions efficiently.

    Oregon’s legislature needs to be able to effectively respond to downturns in the economy in a transparent and accountable way. The ongoing recession has meant a rollercoaster for Oregon’s schools, with the danger of a shorter school year, larger class sizes, and a lack of opportunities for our students’ future.

    Measure 71 will allow Oregon’s legislature to respond more efficiently to tough times and protect our classrooms.

    Please join us in voting YES on Measure 71 to bring more accountability and transparency to Oregon government.

    AFT-Oregon, a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, is a non-profit organization representing some 12,000 Oregon workers in K-12, community college and higher education in faculty and classified positions; and child care workers, in both public and private sectors.

    (This information furnished by David Rives, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon.)

    Argument in Favor

    AARP Oregon Urges a Yes Vote on Measure 71

    Please join us in making the Oregon Legislature
    more accountable and efficient

    The Great Recession has threatened the essential services like education, public safety, and health and long-term care Oregonians rely on, and that are critical to our state’s economic recovery and quality of life.

    Oregon’s seniors and people with disabilities depend on services like in-home and community care, Oregon Project Independence and basic medical care.

    And we should be able to provide our children and grandchildren with a quality education—that means a full school year and reasonable class sizes.

    In order to protect these vital services and get our economy back on track, the legislature should meet every year to more quickly and efficiently respond to unforeseen crises, like the recession.

    That’s why AARP Oregon supports a YES vote on Measure 71, which requires the legislature to meet every year and puts time limits on the length of legislative sessions.

    Our members know that in tough economic times, families adjust their budgets to protect their priorities. The state should budget like responsible families do.

    This measure makes that kind of common-sense budgeting possible, helping avoid crisis-driven decision making and being able to respond more quickly to changes in the economy and to the concerns of Oregonians in a more thoughtful, deliberative manner.

    More than 125 years ago, it may have made sense for the legislature to meet only once every two years. But in today’s fast-moving world, we need our lawmakers to be able to respond to situations as they happen and evolve. That’s why 45 out of 50 U.S. states have annual sessions—it’s time Oregon moved into the modern era with a legislature that meets every year, making government more responsive, efficient and transparent.

    Please join AARP Oregon in voting YES on Measure 71.

    AARP Oregon,
    Gerald Cohen,
    AARP Oregon Senior State Director

    (This information furnished by Gerald Cohen, AARP Oregon.)

Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722