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Clarno sued over clean-energy ballot measure rejections


SALEM, Ore. (AP/KTVZ) -- Environmental advocates are suing Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno over her rejection of two clean-energy ballot initiatives, claiming the action was without legal reasoning and constituted an abuse of power.

The Statesman Journal reports that in a filing to Marion County Circuit Court Wednesday, complainants asked for an expedited review to allow Initiative Petitions 48 and 49 to continue the process that would allow them to put the measures before voters in November. 

News release from "100% Ready for Clean Air":

Clean Air advocates sue Oregon's Secretary of State for unlawfully blocking ballot measures

Lawsuit states there is no legal basis for Secretary of State's actions and the rejection is an abuse of power

SALEM, Ore. -- Today, an advocacy leader together with one of the chief petitioners for two clean energy initiatives filed suit in Marion County Court against the Secretary of State calling for the office to allow Initiative Petitions 48 and 49 to move forward. In an unprecedented move, Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial rejected the measures last month.

In the complaint, chief petitioner Eric Richardson, Executive Director of NAACP Eugene/Springfield and Tera Hurst, Executive Director of Renew Oregon ask the court to allow the initiatives to continue through the process of qualifying for the ballot in November 2020.

The lawsuit points out that the Secretary of State’s office provided no legal reasoning rejecting the citizen’s petition and both the Oregon Attorney General and state Legislative Counsel strongly disagree with the positions Clarno and Vial have taken in rejecting petitions this election cycle, even publicly questioning the Secretary's understanding of the law.

“We must not let this egregious abuse of power by Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Deputy Secretary Rich Vial continue. Their actions are unconstitutional and run counter to Oregon’s proud history of citizen access to the ballot through the initiative system,” says Richardson. “We are joining the many voices speaking out against the way the Secretary of State is blocking access of citizens to the ballot.”

IP’s 48 and 49 are statewide initiative petitions to require Oregon to produce all of its electricity using renewable energy and carbon free sources by January 1, 2045. As is precedent and good practice, standards for labor practices were included in the petition to ensure that jobs created during construction and other projects funded by passage of the petitions are quality jobs, something that the Secretary of State incorrectly claims merits rejection.

This is the second of such suits filed against the Oregon Secretary of State this year. Public records uncovered by The Oregonian show that with lack of institutional support for their rogue actions, the SOS has had to hire a $700-an-hour private law firm - the same law firm that works for the corporate polluters and big timber companies that oppose the measures the Secretary has rejected.  

“Secretary Clarno and Deputy Secretary Vial are wasting taxpayer money to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful against the will of the people,” says Hurst. “Everyone in Oregon should be concerned about this threat to our democracy.” 

The suit goes before Marion County Court and the plaintiffs have requested an expedited review so that their petitions can move forward as intended. 

News release from Oregon AFL-CIO:

Oregon’s Unions Respond to Secretary of State Lawsuit Over Clean Energy Initiatives

Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor responds to a lawsuit filed against Oregon’s Secretary of State on her rejection of Initiative Petitions 48 and 49:

For working Oregonians, engaging with and advocating for public policy has always been a strategy for creating high quality, family-supporting jobs.  Including high-road labor standards in public policy is not a new concept. Unfortunately, Oregon’s Secretary of State has taken an unprecedented and dangerous position in rejecting Initiative Petitions 48 and 49 citing the “single subject rule” and specifically referencing the labor standards in her rationale.  Oregon workers and their unions have engaged in a wide range of advocacy efforts aimed at improving standards for jobs created from legislation with a different primary objective, and Oregon is a better place to live and work for it. To suggest that this type of advocacy violates the “single subject rule” will hurt Oregon workers and sets a dangerous precedent for public policy discussions in the future.  

Oregon’s unions are deeply concerned by the actions of Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial. By infusing politics into what should be an apolitical process, Oregonians are being denied the opportunity to debate important legislation while workers are used as a political football. 

Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

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  1. I assume nuclear and hydro electric are not allowed. So that leaves wind and solar? And which “greedy” corporate interests are served by this extremely expensive and unreliable energy initiative? Who will be taxed to pay for the “poor and minority” people most impacted by skyrocketing electricity rates? Will Oregonians be told the truth about ANY of this? The fact that, even in the most optimal conditions, wind and solar can only produce about 25% of its stated capacity? Will we be told which corporations will profit hugely from the requirements? Will we be told which politicians will profit from their inside stock deals? Will we be told how many birds and bats will be killed? Will landowners be told there land will be condemned for the massive amounts of property required for these boondoggles? Will Oregonians be told their rates will increase 10 fold? Where will this magical electricity come from when we have a 2 week polar vortex storm? Where will this magical electricity be stored for night time use? And why is the NAACP lobbying for this? Will we be told their “Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF” is heavily invested in these heavily subsidized “green” companies??? Nah. It’s not about the money. They really care for Oregonians. Oh and working Oregonians who will be forced to pay 10 times what they currently pay for unreliable electricity. When these clowns start living the way they demand we live, with no electricity in the cold dark Oregonian winters, then, maybe, we can listen to them. But until then, they can go to hell.

    1. I’m one step ahead of them . . . I’m aprox 2/3’s of the way with my alternate energy project for my home. I have the 3KW wind turbine and battery bank already . . . will add maybe 2KW of solar panels on my roof later this year. At that point, the public power grid will only be for backup power. I may still add a backup gas or diesel powered generator, but that isn’t in the plans for now. This is my answer to the power companies continuing to raise and forced to raise rates.

      1. Forgot to add, I’m building 2 DIY solar water heaters this winter and will install them in the spring . . . No, I don’t live in Central Oregon anymore, I live on the coast with a nice ocean breeze and only had snow on the ground for part of a day last winter. I heat the house with a wood fireplace.

        1. Good for you, but if you are so self reliant, why do you maintain a connection to the power company? You are no longer paying your share of the cost to make it available to you. Come on, grow a pair and go grid free!

          1. Because I live in town and the house relied on the grid previously, I’m require to maintain a connection to them and I still have to pay a monthly fee . . . even if I don’t purchase any electricity from them. No escape from the power or water company. The water company here requires you to use city water and you are not allowed to own a well on your property.

  2. More idiots are trying to trash this once beautiful state. Same people have no problem bringing in masses of immigrants then complain about lack of resources and pollution. But trying to find logic in their brain cells is something even Tom Cruise and the IMF would miserably fail.

    1. When you look at her and her family’s history in oregon she’s about as swampy as they get. that’s why she’s so popular with fauling eastside regressives.

    2. WAIT. You mean bringing in illegal immigarnts and putting them on public assistance doesn’t bring down the cost of housing, medicine, and insurance? Next thing you’re going to say is it helps public school results and raises wages.

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