Legislature's 2017 session shows lack of concern for citizenship

Article date: 
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 
The Oregon Legislature adjourned Friday afternoon, July 7.
But not before taking full advantage of their hefty majorities to further impede enforcement of federal immigration laws, to provide even more tax-funded services to illegal aliens, and to make it much more difficult for citizens to have their views reflected in legislative actions.
Informed citizens must find qualified candidates for office, who understand the importance of immigration law enforcement and will work for the best interests of citizens.  Volunteering time and/or resources to help with the campaign to elect them is crucial, as well.  Too many legislators and administrative officials are devaluing citizenship, encouraging illegal immigration, endangering our lives and well-being.
This has been made clear from three bills that were sped through late in the session with minimum public input allowed from citizens, showing that the sponsors and supporters knew voters would object if the bills were widely known and understood.
HB 3464, “privacy” for illegal aliens
HB 3464, granting “privacy” to illegal aliens, sheltering them from questions about their immigration status, passed on the next to last day of the session, July 6.  It had been rushed through the legislature with only one public hearing, June 8.  It was passed by the House on June 20 and by the Senate on July 6.
The vote in the House was 35 Yeas (all by Democrats) to 23 Nays (all by Republicans).  Two Republicans were excused from voting (Reps. Cliff Bentz and Dallas Heard).  In the Senate, the vote was 16 Ayes (all by Democrats) and 13 Nays (all by Republicans).  Sen. Betsy Johnson, Democrat, was excused from voting.
This bill, HB 3464, serves as a kind of backup for illegal immigration advocates in case the pending initiative to repeal ORS 181A.820 should succeed, and it may be necessary to mount an initiative to repeal the new “privacy” law as well as the earlier sanctuary law (ORS 181A.820), because proponents of HB 3464 inserted the Emergency Clause in their bill to prevent a citizen Referendum which is a less demanding way of overturning bad laws.
SB 229, “relating to elections”
Also on July 6, the Legislature passed another very harmful bill, SB 229, “Relating to elections: declaring an emergency.”  Secretary of State Dennis Richardson had earlier issued a warning about the bill, which triggered a hostile response from bill advocates.  He also sent a very good statement as testimony to the Senate Rules Committee Hearing.
He said “[this bill] manipulates the election process and keeps voters in the dark. …  It is a political ploy to undermine accountability by increasing power for politicians at the expense of the people.”
The bill changes the process for initiatives enabling the Legislature to control the timing of initiatives, the ballot title and other features that take power away from voters and centralize it in the hands of legislative leadership.  The press release issued by Oregon House Democrats obfuscates the issues in SB 229 so thoroughly that the average reader would never understand what is at stake.
The vote on July 6 in the House:  34 Ayes (all from Democrats) and 25 Nays (all Republicans). One member, Democrat Deborah Boone, was excused.
The vote on July 6 in the Senate: 16 Ayes (all from Democrats) and 14 Nays.  All 13 Republican Senators voted Nay, and they were joined by Sen. Betsy Johnson (D) who also voted Nay.
SB 558, “Cover All Kids”
This bill extends medical care coverage to children regardless of immigration status.  It is another expensive benefit favoring and incentivizing illegal immigration using taxpayer funds.
The vote on July 3 in the Senate:  21 Ayes, 8 Nays, 1 Excused (Sen. Baertschiger, Republican).  The 8 Nays were all from Republicans.  All Democrats voted Aye and these Republicans joined them:  Senators Boquist, Ferrioli, Kruse, and Winters.
The vote on July 7 in the House:  37 Ayes, 23 Nays.  The 23 Nay votes were all from Republicans.  All Democrats voted Aye and 2 Republicans did also:  Reps. Huffman and Olson. 
Petitions are pending to counter state government overreach
Initiative petitions give citizens a chance to correct bad laws.  Petitions require Herculean efforts, needing large numbers of volunteer staff and significant sums of money, but they are a last resort when the legislature fails.  
Currently there are two initiative petitions pending relevant to immigration issues, and also a referendum. They target the general election, Nov. 2018.  The public can follow the history and status of these measures by using the Secretary of State’s search form at: http://egov.sos.state.or.us/elec/web_irr_search.search_form.  Enter the number of the petition to see current status.  You can select either summary or detailed results.
IP 5 calls for proof of citizenship to vote. This initiative has been approved for general circulation.  A website, Oregonians for Free and Fair Elections, has been created and you can download a signature sheet for the petition, sign, and mail in. 
IP 22, to repeal Oregon's state sanctuary law, ORS 181A.820.  This petition has not yet been approved for general signature gathering.  A draft ballot title was provided by the Attorney General, “Repeals law limiting use of state/local law enforcement resources to enforce federal immigration laws.”  A period for public comment followed.  Whether this draft ballot title will stand is uncertain at this point. July 14 is the due date for a complete title and Attorney General letter.  If the “complete title” is unsatisfactory to proponents and/or opponents, it is subject to appeals that will delay progress.  
IP 301.  Rep. Julie Parrish is a sponsor of this petition for a citizen's veto referendum to overturn the Healthcare tax bill, HB 2391, that would allow some 15,000 illegal alien children to access free healthcare.  The website for this petition is ar https://stophealthcaretaxes.com/, where you can download a signature sheet to sign and mail in. 
There was a petition, IP 4, No More Fake Emergencies, filed to end abuse of the Emergency Clause in the legislature’s bills, but it has been withdrawn, because proponents were not able to collect enough valid signatures in the time allotted.  The brief record on this petition is available on the Secretary of State’s website, through the search routine described above.