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Posts published in “Day: June 29, 2009”

And they’re done, for now

since die

Representative Arnie Roblan at one of the last debates/Oregon Channel

Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt had remarked that he hoped to adjourn for the year by sundown today. He missed that mark, but by less than an hour - a close bit of timing, indicative of the kind of tight operation the Oregon Legislature (moreso in the House, but largely too in the Senate) has had this year.

There are a number of familiar complaints from the not distant past you can't make about this session. You can't say it was unproductive; this may have been the most productive session in a generation (probably moreso than 2007, which also delivered a lot of substance). You can't say it was an especially bitter session; there were occasional scrapes, but the House particularly seemed (at least so far as we could tell) to run without excess conflict. Did it address the issues before the state? It clearly did.

The big unanswered point is what Oregonians will make of all that productivity. Were the answers - most notably on taxes, but maybe on some other subjects as well - acceptable? Did the controlling Democrats, in other words, overreach?

The initial guess here is, probably not; the tax measures and a lot of the most sensitive legislation generally seemed pretty carefully trimmed and crafted to survive attack. But it's a close call. Ballot issues are in the wind, and they may provide a good indicator of what the 2010 voters have to say about the makeup of the next legislature. And other offices too.

Early OR guv thoughts . . .

A fun thread about Oregon gubernatorial prospects for 2010 at Blue Oregon; a longish list of prospects followed by some (sometimes cutting) reviews.

Don't miss the comments by Jack Roberts, a Republican who gives his nickel's worth along with the Democratic regulars.

Bottom line after review: The odds seem to favor a wide-open situation, though mainly if you think that the ultimately candidate sheet won't include the names of DeFazio, Kitzhaber or Walden (which is probably where the weight of guessing would go).

Gov to president?

Our current president is a former U.S. senator, but historically that's an anomaly: In recent decades, and even no so recent, a lot of them have come from the ranks of governors. (Bush II, Clinton, Reagan, Carter . . .)

So Ken Rudin of National Public Radio decided, just as an exercise, to rank the nation's current Republican governors - Republicans since Democrats probably have their next party nomination taken care of - in terms of probability of ever (either in 2012 or later) becoming president. His top-ranked was Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (our guess, until the last moment, for GOP VP last time), and second is Utah Governor (though not for long) Jon Huntsman. Alaska's Sarah Palin was 7th.

In the Northwest? Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter came in 15th out of 22. Though considering that Rudin still has South Carolina's Mark Sanford at number 9, Otter certainly should rise at least one spot.

This list was shortly followed with another one (developed by other bloggers) for Democratic governors, which was led by Brian Schweitzer of Montana. Washington's Chris Gregoire was No. 9. Oregon's Ted Kulongoski did less well, ranking at 26 (out of 28 total).

Absolutely nothing scientific about any of it.

Alternatives opening


Richard Devlin

It was supposed to be dead. Although a lot of the individual members of the Oregon Legislature were on board, a measure enabling easier and more widespread activities by minor political parties, including explicitly approved cross-nomination, seemed dead in the water. (The Oregon Education Association was apparently one of the key reasons for that.)

Just now, however, Senate Bill 326 passed the Senate - concurring with House amendments - and from a minor-party point of view, it's a big deal. A quick rundown from the Oregon Independent Party (via a release):

SB 326 consists of two parts:

1) It repeals HB 2614 (2005), a law that made it much more difficult for non-affiliated candidates to obtain sufficient signatures to be nominated for public office.

2) It now includes the provisions of what used to be HB 2414 (prior to its recent gutting), which allows a candidate who is nominated by more than one party to list up to 3 such party names on the ballot next to her name. More information on HB 2414 is available at

Despite strong bi-partisan support, the passage of the provisions contained in this bill have been in doubt for much of the latter part of the legislative session. For details see:

SB 326 (including the terms of HB 2414) passed last week in the Oregon House on a vote of 42-17. The provisions of this bill are among the top legislative priorities of the Independent Party of Oregon.

Senator Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, said the finished bill had flaws, but he would push for correction in those in next year's session (since this year's is fast approaching completion). The few senators who voted against (all Democrats) said they did so out of concern for the flaws, but all said they'd be at work on those. Meantime, the small partiers should have an existing law on books - not a bad place from which to defend unflawed provisions.

Many are the paths to passage.