Ballots for the November general election will begin appearing in voter’s mailboxes in late October and Keizertimes wants you to be prepared. In addition to four statewide measures, Keizer voters will be making decisions on two proposed city ordinances and four council positions.
Keizer Public Library – After an attempt to combine forces with Chemeketa Community Regional Library Service fell apart earlier this year, the staff and supporters of the Keizer Community Library are looking to voters to help fund their conversion into a public library.
On Aug. 1, Keizer City Council voted to put the issue on the November ballot with an explanatory statement which restricts the monthly fee to $2.50 for each billed residential and non-residential unit. The ballot measure passed the council unanimously, with Councilor Laura Reid making a last-minute request to restrict the new fee from being raised more than 10% in any 12-month period.
Psilocybin Ban – Measure 109, which went into effect in January, made Oregon the first state to legalize psilocybin in controlled psychiatric settings. However in November, Keizer voters will be given the opportunity to vote on whether or not the city will prohibit the operation of psilocybin-related businesses within the city limits.
Keizer joins 57 other Oregon city and 26 county governments who voted to put a full or partial ban on psilocybin on their ballots within the last six months. This flurry of local government activity was prompted by a clause in Measure 109 allowing them to put certain kinds of bans in place if voters approved, despite the measure passing statewide referendum by 55% in November, 2020.
In discussion over the proposed ban in September, proponents such as Council President Elizabeth Smith and Councilor Dan Kohler said not enough information is available about either the efficacy of the psilocybin treatments or what steps are being taken to protect the public from accessing the drug illegally if it’s being produced or distributed locally.
After telling the other council members he was opposed to the ban and felt that there were a lot of misconceptions about the treatment and the dangers it posed, Councilor Roland Herrera joined the rest of the council and voted to put the issue on the ballot.
City Council Election – Keizer voters will see a mix of new and familiar faces running for the four open positions in November, however only one of them will be contested.
Mayor Cathy Clark, running unopposed, is looking for two more years in her position. Councilor Dan Kohler, also unopposed, will be seeking a four year term at his current #6 position on the council.
Robert Husseman, a financial analyst for a Portland-based talent agency and recent primary candidate for Oregon House District 21, will be running unopposed for the #5 position, soon to be vacated by Council President Elizabeth Smith.
The only contested election for city council will be for the #4 position, currently occupied by Councilor Roland Herrera. The two candidates vying for his spot are Soraida Cross, who recently completed a two-year term on the city’s Volunteer Coordinating Committee, and Anthony Rosilez, the executive director of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
Measure 111 is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution which would formally establish healthcare as a fundamental human right, legally obligating state government to provide access to “cost-effective, clinically appropriate, and affordable” healthcare for all Oregon residents.
The issue of codifying healthcare into state law has been a top-of-the-agenda item for Oregon Democrats for the past two decades, and similar measures have been proposed more than six times in that span, according to OPB.
The primary sponsor is State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Beaverton), who said the measure was close to making it to the Senate in 2020, but a walk-out staged by Republican members ensured it didn’t make it on a ballot, at the time.
Hayward brought the issue of codifying the right to healthcare back up in 2021. It passed the State Senate as SJR12 in a 17-13 vote and now appears as Ballot Measure 111.
Proponents such as Hayward say it will help stabilize the healthcare marketplace by improving the state’s preventative medicine capabilities – providing access to healthcare for people who don’t have private health insurance and are not insured by the Oregon Health Planbeforethey get sick or injured. State Rep. Andrea Salinas (D) likens it to the Oregon Constitution guaranteeing the right to an education. Other advocates of the measure point out that it’s written in such a way that it must be balanced against funding for schools and other critical state needs, thus avoiding any potential budget conflicts.
Critics of the measure say the way it’s written is why they oppose it. According to many Republicans in the state legislature, it’s too broad and doesn’t include information about what it will cost taxpayers. State Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod, described it as “lazy policymaking,” and accused Democrats of making promises they know they can’t keep.
Measure 112 is a proposal to remove specific language from the state’s constitution which allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Oregon’s constitution already outlaws these actions per federal law, and this measure would eliminate the only exception. Oregon’s is one of 20 state constitutions to still include the exception for crime, and the nonprofit behind Measure 112, Oregonians Against Slavery and Involuntary Servitude (OASIS), is connected to other groups attempting to remove them, nationwide.
Representatives for OASIS say the measure is an attempt to force courts and legislatures to reform prison work programs so that they conform with the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
Measure 113 is loosely connected to Measure 111, in that it’s an attempt to prevent lawmakers from obstructing the legislative process through a “walk-out,” such as what happened in 2020 when the Republican delegation foiled the prior attempt by the Democrats to codify a right to healthcare into state law by simply not showing up to vote.
The measure would disqualify legislators from holding office if they have 10 unexcused absences from legislative floor sessions, but only for the term following their current one. Critics of the measure say the legislature already has wide latitude to punish or even expel members, but proponents argue those rules have not prevented walkouts in the recent past, nor have they been used to hold lawmakers accountable.
Measure 114 creates a law requiring prospective Oregon gun buyers to hold a permit-to-purchase a firearm and outlines the procedure for obtaining one. It would also make it a class A misdemeanor to possess, manufacture or sell an ammunition magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds – a charge that could carry up to 365 days in jail and a $6,250 fine, or both.
Under the new law, the Oregon State Police would be the permit-issuer. Applicants would be required to submit to a photo ID and fingerprinting, complete an approved gun-safety training course, pass a criminal background check, and pay a fee of up to $65.
The two primary opposing groups in this dispute are the measure’s sponsors, Lift Every Voice Oregon, and the National Rifle Association.
Democrats in the state legislature and progressive groups in Oregon, such as the Oregon Nurses Association and the League of Women Voters, support the measure.
Opponents, such as the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, describe it as “yet another anti-gun ballot initiative that seeks to further erode Second Amendment rights in Oregon.” Other objectors, such as the Oregon Firearms Federation, complain the law has no carve-out for people who already possess a concealed carry permit or have completed an approved hunting safety course.
Voters can send their ballots through return mail or drop them off at the secure ballot-box located in the Keizer City Hall parking lot.