state legislation

Oregon driver card bill headed to the November 2014 ballot

Voters will weigh in next year on a bill granting “driver’s cards” to Oregonians unable to prove they are in the U.S. legally.

The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 833 earlier this year, but opponents, led by Oregonians for Immigration Reform and Protect Oregon Driver Licenses, vowed to refer it to the ballot, hoping voters would overturn the law.

Read more about the successful SB 833 referendum petition campaign.
  Read more about Oregon driver card bill headed to the November 2014 ballot

Referendum petition signature campaign approved for Nov. 2014 ballot

Alert date: 
October 18, 2013
Alert body: 

OFIR/PODL is thrilled to announce that the referendum petition to place SB 833 on the November 2014 ballot has been approved by the Secretary of State's office.

A great big thank you to everyone who worked so hard to gather signatures.  we certainly couldn't have done it without you!

Read about the SB 833 referendum petition approval.

Secretary of State's office begins final verification procedure

Alert date: 
October 16, 2013
Alert body: 

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses has submitted 71,000 signatures (58,142 were required) by the deadline of October 4.  The referendum petition #301, if approved, will place the new law granting driver cards to illegal aliens on the ballot in the November 2014 election.

The Secretary of State's office has 30 days to scrutinize the signatures for validity and to be certain that all signature sheets are signed, numbered properly and have no mistakes.  It is tedious work and PODL appreciates the professionalism and willingness to answer the questions of those observing the procedure.

Starting Thursday, we will begin the final phase of the approval process.  Please watch for updates.  As soon as we have confirmation that the referendum has been approved, we will post the good news.

 

 

Petition effort may stall immigrant driving law

State Rep. Sal Esquivel said he expects voters will get a chance to determine if a new law should allow illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses.

Esquivel, a member of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, co-sponsored a referendum for the November 2014 ballot that seeks to overturn a law authorizing driver-privilege cards for non-legal residents.

"I think the people of Oregon should weigh in on it because they will be driving around with those people," said Esquivel, R-Medford.

Critics of the new law, which was set to go into effect in January, submitted 71,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's office this week in hopes of putting the issue to a vote in November of 2014.

Esquivel disputed the argument that the law will make the highways safer because illegal immigrants will follow through on the requirement to get auto insurance along with a driver's license.

"You break the law to come here," he said. "Why do you think they would follow the law and get insurance?"

The Secretary of State's Election Office will scrutinize the petitions submitted by the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the paid private firm Signature Gathering Company of Oregon.

The OFIR group was required to submit 58,142 valid signatures to qualify its referendum for the November 2014 ballot. Group members say voters should have the final say on whether the state issues driver's cards to people who cannot produce documents proving they are U.S. citizens.

If the petitioners succeed in getting on the November 2014 ballot, the law would not take effect in January.

Monitors from both OFIR and immigrants' rights groups such as CAUSA Oregon will be on hand to witness the elections staff as they review the signatures.

Supporters of the driver's privilege law say they don't see the law as an immigration issue, but believe it makes the roads safer for all Oregonians.

Ron Louis, a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and retired chief of police in Hillsboro, told the Salem Statesman-Journal that he views the cards as a matter of public safety and points to their success in other states such as Maryland, New Mexico, Utah and Washington as evidence.

"It just allows anyone without the typical documentation to drive and get insurance. And it puts them through a testing process that hopefully makes them safer driver," Louis said. "It ensures that they minimally understand rules and road signs, and I'd much rather have every driver alongside me have this education."

But others say the decision to grant driver's cards to individuals is closely related to immigration concerns.

Lake Oswego resident Colleen Hill said in the same Statesman-Journal story that it was "very disturbing that the governor was validating illegal behavior" and said the decision would give illegal immigrants "documentation to citizenship."

Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 833, creating the driver's card option, into law in May.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.


  Read more about Petition effort may stall immigrant driving law

Driver's card issue now a waiting game

For a litany of volunteers, this was a week of hopes realized and hopes dashed.

On Monday, the Secretary of State’s Election Office began scrutinizing referendum petitions submitted by the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the paid private firm Signature Gathering Company of Oregon.

The OFIR group hopes to have collected 58,142 valid signatures to qualify Referendum No. 301 for the November 2014 ballot. It believes residents, not lawmakers, should decide whether the state should issue driver-privilege cards to individuals without DMV-required documentation, such as a birth certificate or passport. Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 833 in May, which authorizes the issuance of driver’s-privilege cards beginning in January.

OFIR had volunteers witness the elections staff as it started the certification process. The elections office accepted the petitions Oct. 4 and has 30 days to determine whether a representative sample validates the referendum for next year’s ballot. It is too early to know if the group has enough valid signatures, but its president, Cynthia Kendoll, believes it does because more than half of the petitions are “e-sheets,” or single-signature pages printed out by the voter, signed and then mailed back to the group.

Volunteers from other groups such as CAUSA Oregon and the Oregon Safe Roads Coalition also observed the election office staff at work. These groups had individuals on hand to ensure that the signature-vetting process was handled correctly because they hope the petition for the referendum fails to qualify for the ballot.

They had previously welcomed the governor’s signature on SB 833.

Many of these individuals don’t see the issue as a de facto immigration policy, but believe it makes the roads safer for all Oregonians.

Ron Louis, a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and retired chief of police in Hillsboro, doesn’t want to wade into the immigration debate. He doesn’t believe the driver-privilege card is an inroad to granting anyone in the country illegally the rights afforded U.S. citizens. He views the cards as a matter of public safety, and he points to their success in other states such as Maryland, New Mexico, Utah and Washington as validation for his point of view.

“It just allows anyone without the typical documentation to drive and get insurance. And it puts them through a testing process that hopefully makes them safer driver,” Louis said. “It ensures that they minimally understand rules and road signs, and I’d much rather have every driver alongside me have this education.”

  Read more about Driver's card issue now a waiting game

Group delivers petitions to force vote on driver-privilege cards

Volunteers and others supporting Oregonians for Immigration Reform tried to pile seven boxes laden with signed petitions onto a hand-truck Thursday and then gave up.

They could only get four on the handled dolly, so they grabbed the remaining three boxes and headed for the fifth floor of the Oregon Public Services building because they weren’t going to give up on their mission – delivering 60,000 signatures to the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office one day before the deadline.

The heavy lifters included the group’s president, Cynthia Kendoll and her husband, Jerry, volunteer Jim Ludwick, Lee Vasche of the Signature Gathering Company of Oregon and Oregon Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford. Their delivery, they said, was the first of two. The group expects to deliver another 10,000 to 12,000 signed petitions today, about 60 minutes before the elections division closes.

The OIR goal, Kendoll said, is to overturn a new Oregon law granting driver-privilege cards to residents without documentation. If the group does not have enough valid signatures to qualify Referendum No. 301 for the November 2014 ballot, the new law will go into effect in January.

Kendoll estimates the group will have more than 70,000 signatures to ensure it meets the state’s 58,142 valid-signature requirement. As the group exited the building, additional volunteers were still offering clipboards with petitions to passers-by on the steps of the state Capitol.

Motivating them is Oregon Senate Bill 833, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law in May in front of thousands of supporters at the Capitol. The bill authorizes driver’s cards for those lacking documents to obtain a regular driver’s license. Kitzhaber said at the time that SB 833 ensured that thousands of Oregonians could drive to and from work, school, church and errands.

OIR contends, however, that the law gives driver privilege cards to people who are in the country illegally. It wants voters to decide the issue, not lawmakers.

Cynthia Kendoll said she’s confident the group will qualify the measure for the ballot. The group has had four months to collect the signatures, and used a combination of paid signature gatherers and volunteers. She’s optimistic, she said, because the group has had requests for referendum sheets from 134 Oregon cities and communities, and more than half of the petitions are what she calls “single-signer sheets”

“That means that people are going to their own computers and printing off a petition from our website, signing it and then mailing it to us,” Cynthia Kendoll said. “These carry a high validity rate.”

Summer Davis, a compliance specialist with the SOS elections division, confirmed that e-sheets, as they’re officially called, have a higher validity rate.

“Think about it: when people print out a petition, they then give it to someone they know, there is no stranger coming at them asking them to sign something. It’s true they tend to be valid more often,” Davis said.

After getting a “letter of receipt” from the elections division, the group watched as a worker locked the boxes in a cage. They were told the others will be added to the cage when they’re received, and then the elections department will have 30 days to certify the petitions. If the group meets the 58,142 signature threshold, the law will not go into effect as planned.

The certification will begin between 1 and 1:30 p.m. Monday in the building’s basement. Observers are welcome with advance notice, the group was told, to which Cynthia promptly asked, “Can I ask to attend now?”
  Read more about Group delivers petitions to force vote on driver-privilege cards

Drive-thru democracy, it doesn't get any easier!

Alert date: 
September 18, 2013
Alert body: 

PODL will be hosting another drive-thru signature gathering event. This time at the famous Oregon landmark - The Bomber Restaurant in Milwaukie, this Thursday, September 19, noon to 7:00.  Drive in, sign the referendum petition, drive away - you don't even need to get out of your car!

We will be back again on Monday, September 23, noon to 7:00.

The Bomber Restaurant is located at: 13515 SE McLaughlin Blvd in Milwaukie.

Look for the B-17 bomber! Thursday, noon to 7:00.  See you there!

Legislature OK's driver's licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After years of setbacks, Democratic lawmakers and Latino activists are on the verge of seeing immigrants who are in the country illegally granted the right to a driver's license in California. Read the full story.
  Read more about Legislature OK's driver's licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally

Making himself at home

If one were to drop in at one of La Grande’s various advisory committee meetings, there’s a new face in town.

He’s been at City Council meetings, the big Main Street meeting, even an Urban Renewal Advisory Commission meeting.

Eddie Garcia moved to La Grande in June — and it hasn’t taken him long to get to work for his new home. He was appointed to the city’s parking, traffic safety and street maintenance advisory commission earlier this summer and will launch a radio talk show Thursday.

“It’s just an opportunity to invigorate people to have a discussion,” Garcia said of the show, “Speak Your Mind,” which airs from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays on 1450 AM in Union County and 1490 AM in Baker County.

“I’m asking questions because if I’m going to be here and be productive, let’s bring in business,” Garcia said.

Business and moving La Grande forward will be a broad topic Garcia plans to cover on his show. But stemming from that is the parking issue raised at the August public meeting for La Grande Main Street, the presence of Eastern Oregon University,and the Blue Mountain Humane Association.

“I just hope I can be a part and do something,” Garcia said.

Already Garcia has met with the sheriff, police chief, other community leaders and residents.

“There’s a bunch of folks I’ve met that have good ideas,” he said.

But not all of them are willing to go on the air to voice them.

Garcia’s civic involvement isn’t necessarily new.

“I do political consulting for a living,” he says.

He moved to La Grande from Nashville, Tenn., where he was a consultant and wrote Christian music.

“I was able to balance music with politics,” he said.

And fortunately, he can work from wherever there’s Internet, making him flexible to make it to afternoon meetings of the Urban Renewal Advisory Commission. As he continues working on races in Florida and Tennessee, he says he’s pulling from those experiences.

“If I learn something about the mayoral race there, could that apply here?” he asks.

The flexibility also provides some time to plan his show.

The first topic for the Thursday show is the new law that will allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s cards in Oregon. Jim Ludwick, with Oregonians for Immigration Reform, will be Garcia’s first guest.

Immigration is a hot topic nationwide, but for Garcia, it’s personal. He and his parents immigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old. But Garcia isn’t convinced that undocumented people should be granted driver’s cards.

Garcia’s hope is for “Speak Your Mind” to become a place of discussion for the community about the topics that matter to the community — be they La Grande Main Street, parking, immigration, law enforcement or whatever else may come up.

His new home is getting better as each day passes.

“It’s growing on me as I meet new people,” he said.

And he understands that people may not always see eye to eye.

“In the end we may agree to disagree,” he said. Read more about Making himself at home

A novel approach to get petition signatures: the drive-through


A group dedicated to overturning a new Oregon law that grants driver-privilege cards to people without conventional documentation has come up with a quick way to gather petition signatures.

It’s encouraging motorists to participate in drive-through democracy.

“You don’t even need to get out of your car,” said Jim Ludwick, the group’s communications director. “Just drive up, sign the petition and drive away.”

From noon to 8 p.m. today, Oregonians for Immigration Reform will set up cones and signs in a parking lot near its billboard at Market Street and Savage Road NE, which is west of Interstate 5 in Salem.

Volunteers will be ready with petitions for motorists to sign as well as supplies for those who want to gather additional signatures among their friends, neighbors and family, Ludwick said.

The group is trying to overturn Oregon Senate Bill 833, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law in May in front of thousands of cheering supporters at the Capitol. The bill authorized driver’s cards for those lacking documents to obtain a regular driver’s license.

OFIR contends that the law gives driver privilege cards to people who are in the country illegally.

Kitzhaber said at the time that SB-833 ensured that thousands of Oregonians could drive to and from work, school, church and errands.

Ludwick said his group needs to collect 58,142 valid signatures to submit to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office by the Oct. 4 deadline.

“We are very optimistic we’ll meet the number,” Ludwick said. “We have had an amazing number (121) of unsolicited requests for these petitions from cities across the state.”

Jan Flowers, a compliance specialist with the elections division of the Secretary of State’s office, said she wasn’t aware of other groups collecting signatures via a drive-up queue, but she said it was a legal signature-gathering technique.

“As long as they witness the signature, it’s no different than if someone walked up and signed,” Flowers said.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform also will staff a booth outside of the southeast corner of the Columbia Exhibit Hall at the Oregon State Fair, which opens today.

Petition drive

What: Drive-through signature gathering
Where: [West of I-5 Exit 256] Market Street and Savage Road NE
When: noon to 8 p.m. today
Why: To qualify ballot measure to overturn Senate Bill 833 Read more about A novel approach to get petition signatures: the drive-through

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