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Issues on ballot

There’s a tendency these days to group Oregon statewide ballot issues by their political godfathers – these are the Sizemores, these the Mannixes, and so on. There’s some usefulness in that, in working out motivations among other things. But the approach can obscure the substance at had.

This year’s Oregon measures number 54 through 65, a dozen that span less subject area this time than you might think. Three would amend the state constitution. Let’s divide them this way: The emotional issues versus the non-hot button.

Four of them, including all of the proposed constitutional amendments (concerning school finance elections, property tax voting majorities and legislative reapportionment) are elections oriented. Within the political community, these are sure to be the subject of lots of interest, but in the broader voting community, probably not so much.

However. We can see at least three hot-button topics lying in wait.

You want to immigration debate? Got you covered with Measure 58 (this one’s a Sizemore), which bans teaching any language other than English in schools for more than two years – structured within its language as an “English immersion” measure.

Taxes your thing? Measure 59 (another Sizemore) would create an “unlimited” deduction for federal taxes paid within the Oregon income tax (and shooting a big hole in state budgeting).

Worried about crime? You will be after the advertising for Measure 61 (this one’ a Mannix), setting up another batch of mandatory minimum sentences. This one could generate some of the hottest debate since it comes complete with an alternative version, prepared by the Oregon Legislature (Measure 57).

The measures are about to go mainstream. We’ll return to them soon.

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