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Willamette Professor Concludes Measure 2 Can Cause Serious Problems

Willamette University's Public Policy Research Center today released a detailed legal analysis of Measure 2, the "administrative rules" initiative that will appear on Oregon's 2000 general election ballot. The report by law Professor Susan Smith, entitled "Ballot Measure 2: Creating Accountability or Wreaking Havoc?," concludes that Measure 2 is unnecessary and has potential to seriously harm the effective functioning of Oregon's state government.

Measure 2 amends the Oregon Constitution to create a new process for challenging administrative rules, which are developed by state agencies to implement laws passed by the Legislature. Under the proposed measure, existing rules referred to the Legislature through a petitioning process are invalidated unless the Legislature affirmatively acts to approve them. A similar initiative, Measure 65, was defeated by Oregon voters in 1998.

The report describes how the Measure is likely be implemented, the existing process for reviewing administrative rules and the likely impact of the Measure. Professor Smith concludes that Measure 2 is unnecessary because there are already numerous processes in place to assure that state agencies write administrative rules consistent with legislative intent. She concludes that Measure 2 has the potential to seriously harm the effective functioning of state government in Oregon.

The funding for this report was provided by 1000 Friends of Oregon with a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. It answers four specific questions:

  1. How would Measure 2 work?
  2. What are the existing processes for citizens, the courts and the legislature to review administrative rules?
  3. Assuming Measure 2 passes, what administrative rules are most likely to be the subject of the Measure 2 petition process in the near term?
  4. What could the impact of Measure 2 be on Oregon's land use planning laws?

Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting Allisa Jones at the Public Policy Research Center, 503-370-6961 or ajones@willamette.edu, or from the Center's web page www.willamette.edu/dept/pprc. For questions about the content of the report, contact Professor Susan Smith, Willamette University College of Law, at 503-370-6493 (office), 503-510-2305 (cell) or smiths@willamette.edu.

11-01-2000