OK. You can disobey. Just vote, will ya?
Here are the Oregon State measures on the ballot.
Yes. Measure 31. AMENDS CONSTITUTION: AUTHORIZES LAW PERMITTING POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTION FOR PARTICULAR PUBLIC OFFICE WHEN NOMINEE FOR OFFICE DIES
Currently, most Oregon elections are done by mail. It sucks if your candidate dies after you mail your ballot, but we have no real provision to deal with that (there are poorly worded exception written into the law, but they only apply to "major" political parties and certain prominent offices.)
With this law, if a candidate dies, there's a new election. This seems straightforward, shouldn't happen too often and people's votes won't be thrown away any more than the already are.
Yes. Measure 32. AMENDS CONSTITUTION: DELETES REFERENCE TO MOBILE HOMES FROM PROVISION DEALING WITH TAXES AND FEES ON MOTOR VEHICLES.
This is to fix a legal screwup. Oregon transferred responsibilities for regulating mobile homes from the DMV (they should't be overseeing people's housing in trailer parks, anyway) to the Oregon Building Codes Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (OBCD.) Unfortunately, despite the OBCD now having to absorb the costs of regulating mobile homes, the fees that mobile home owners pay were not transferred to the OBCD because of a quirk of our Constitution. This law deletes that quirk (and anything that makes our ridiculous Constitution simpler is good.)
Yes. Measure 33. AMENDS MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: REQUIRES MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES FOR SUPPLYING PATIENTS/CAREGIVERS; RAISES PATIENTS' POSSESSION LIMIT
Duh! If you have a medical marijuana card but you're too sick to grow your own marijuana, it sucks to be you. This helps to rectify that little problem.
And, of course, it's another tiny step closer to reforming our ridiculous drug laws.
Yes. Measure 34. REQUIRES BALANCING TIMBER PRODUCTION, RESOURCE CONSERVATION/PRESERVATION IN MANAGING STATE FORESTS; SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSES TWO FORESTS
This one is tough as, despite what supporters say, it will likely have a short-term negative economic impact. By trying to restore old-growth forests and setting aside large areas that cannot be logged, we will be hurting timber companies and cutting our revenue. Further, though proponents say that this will boost Oregon tourism, I doubt that as Oregon has never been terribly aggressive in attracting tourists.
In the long run, we stand to benefit in several ways. First, we've worked hard to wean ourselves from a dependency on a timber-based economy. We need to continue this work. Unfortunately, we don't have a great port, and that certainly doesn't help matters, but we need to diversify our economy and not tie it down to a resources that we're quite capable of using faster than we can renew it.
Also, there is nothing wrong with deciding that we want to try to preserve our ecosystem. Many people use terms like "tree hugger" and "ecofreak," doing their best with insults to make us look like we're wackos. The reality is, we know there's a hell of a lot more to life than earning another buck. Yes, the short-term pain sucks. But for those who claim we'll fix the problem later: "later" never comes. Remember when our economy was strong and Oregon had a surplus? Kitzhaber wanted to tuck the money into a rainy day fund. The legislature made him send it back to the people. And how many of you tucked your twenty bucks into a rainy-day fund? Most of our elected officials won't plan any further than the next election. We voters have to do this for them.
No. Measure 35. AMENDS CONSTITUTION: LIMITS NONECONOMIC DAMAGES (DEFINED) RECOVERABLE FOR PATIENT INJURIES CAUSED BY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER'S NEGLIGENCE OR RECKLESSNESS
I gotta say "no" to this one for a variety of reasons. First of all, why are arbitrary caps to jury awards being put in our Constitution? This doesn't belong here. We have plenty of stupid shit there already. Don't put more in.
Next, if your doctor is drunk and really screws up, you're limited in what you can claim for "noneconomic" damages. However, if you do the research, you find out that very little of our total expenditures on medical care go to "malpractice suit" payments. They do tend to push up malpractice premiums, but overall, health care costs are being driven up by pharmaceuticals. That's what's killing us financially.
Incidentally (though I can't find the link now -- 'grr'), I recall reading about one study that found that many malpractice suits could be avoided if the doctor just apologized. Unfortunately, if the doctor apologizes, that's frequently considered an admission of guilt so lawyers tell the doctors to not say anything. Several states have or are considering bills that would allow doctors to apologize without their words being used against them in court.
I have to say, though, that this is the bill I feel most ambivalent on.
NO, NO, NO! Measure 36. AMENDS CONSTITUTION: ONLY MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN IS VALID OR LEGALLY RECOGNIZED AS MARRIAGE
If for some reason you support this measure, please remove yourself from my friends list.
No. Measure 37. GOVERNMENTS MUST PAY OWNERS, OR FORGO ENFORCEMENT, WHEN CERTAIN LAND USE RESTRICTIONS REDUCE PROPERTY VALUE
Yet another Sizemore-styled attempt at gutting our government. If you thought the last version of the law was bad, this one -- believe it or not -- is even worse. Here's the opening of this bill (emphasis mine):
If a public entity enacts or enforces a new land use regulation or enforces a land use regulation enacted prior to the effective date of this amendment that restricts the use of private real property or any interest therein and has the effect of reducing the fair market value of the property, or any interest therein, then the owner of the property shall be paid just compensation.
Not only is this bill stupid, it's retroactively stupid. The government would be virtually paralyzed in its ability to enact any land use laws and would be forced to repeal most of the land use laws on the books so long as anyone has legal right to raise a claim. While there are certain restrictions to who can raise a claim, they're damned slim. Did your dad buy some beachfront property? Annoyed by those irritating "public access" laws? Bring suit against the state, watch the laws get repealed and watch the market value of your home skyrocket!
No. Measure 38. ABOLISHES SAIF; STATE MUST REINSURE, SATISFY SAIF'S OBLIGATIONS; DEDICATES PROCEEDS, POTENTIAL SURPLUS TO PUBLIC PURPOSES
Don't like the competition? Pass a law to eliminate them! What a sweet deal. Why didn't Microsoft think of this?
Currently, Oregon has some of the lowest worker's compensation costs in the country. SAIF is self-supporting and only accounts for 42% of the market in Oregon (thus it's hardly a monopoly.) Liberty Northwest and other insurers have gotten together behind a curious measure to try and abolish the biggest player on the court. Yes, SAIF has been involved in some hanky-panky. If we simply dissolved every company that has engaged in dirty tricks, many of those bringing suit against SAIF wouldn't be here to bring suit against SAIF. How about we try and fix our real problems rather than go after minor symptoms, eh? Particularly not a minor symptom that, oddly enough, has been one of the few bright spots of our economy!