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Clarno rejects immigrant driver’s license ballot measure

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s secretary of state says an attempt to repeal a new law that grants undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses is unconstitutional and can’t proceed.

Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced Tuesday the wording of Initiative Petition 43 does not include the “full text of the proposed law,” as required by the Oregon Constitution. Instead, the petition calls for a law passed via House Bill 2015 to be repealed, without offering what Clarno calls “the specific language” of the change being proposed.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that one of the proposal’s chief petitioners, Mark Callahan, sent Clarno an e-mail disputing the finding, and asking her to reconsider. He said he’s not proposing a new law, but pushing a law to be scrubbed from the books.

HB 2015 was among the most controversial bills Oregon lawmakers passed this year. It eliminates the requirement that a person provide proof of legal presence in order to get a state driver’s license.

News release from Secretary of State Bev Clarno:

Secretary Clarno Rules on IP 43

SALEM, OR — Secretary of State Bev Claro has ruled that the proposed Initiative Petition to Repeal the Equal Access to Roads Act (formerly HB 2015), also known as Initiative Petition 43, does not comply with the requirements of Article IV, Section 1(2)(d) of the Oregon Constitution. That provision requires that an initiative petition “include the full text of the proposed law.” By contrast, IP 43 demands that an existing law be repealed.

The referendum process is governed by Article IV, Section 1(3), which allows repeal of a law adopted by the legislature so long as the law does not become effective earlier than the 90th day following adjournment. Thus, bills containing an emergency clause, as did HB 2015, must be addressed by an initiative petition that sets out the specific language of the proposed amendment.

Decisions regarding the constitutionality of an initiative petition must be made without regard to the petition’s subject. Secretary Clarno is committed to avoiding partisanship in carrying out all of the responsibilities of her office, including ensuring that our initiative and elections processes are fair and impartial.

“The initiative petition process is very important in giving Oregonians an opportunity to directly participate in our government,” said Secretary Clarno. “It is my sincere hope that the proponents of this ballot measure will take my ruling as an opportunity to improve their proposal. I will always support the presentation of ballot measures that meet constitutional requirements.”

KTVZ and AP 2019

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KTVZ News Team

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