Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oregon in the Spotlight With Hot Ballot Measures

Oregon is in the national spotlight with a bevy of political hot buttons vying for attention on its 2014 ballot, including legal weed, gay marriage, immigration, and labeling of genetically modified foods, just for starters. Although Oregonians have until July to collect signatures for initiatives in the 2014 election, several high-profile measures have already made the ballot. For example, an immigration-related measure will be there, seeking a public vote on a law, passed in the last session of the state legislature, to give "driver privilege cards" to those who don’t have the documents required to get a driver’s license. The driver’s card would be restricted from use for identification or voting. Gay marriage is on the ballot, too, as Oregon joins at least eight other states with 2014 gay marriage initiatives. The Oregon measure would repeal a state constitutional amendment, passed in 2004, which banned same-sex marriage. The initiative, called the Oregon Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative, would also protect religious institutions from being forced to perform same-sex weddings. Meanwhile, proponents of legal recreational marijuana are busy collecting signatures to make sure, although they hope the Oregon Legislature will send a legal weed measure to the ballot, that their issue goes before the voters in 2014. If legal weed proponents prevail, Oregon would follow the lead of Washington and Colorado, the first two states to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. Other measures seeking a spot on the ballot include required labeling of "genetically modified foods," a "right-to-work" push to allow public workers to opt out of unions and dues, and an end to state-controlled liquor sales. For more detail, go to http://watchdog.org/121127/oregon-2014-ballot/

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