Proposals for Ballot Measures

It’s a few days after Election Day 2019, and there have been some interesting stories related to upcoming elections. Many are focused on the National level for 2020, but there are key local issues that will be considered.

In Oregon, Timber interests propose three pro-logging ballot measures. The industry says the measures would: 1. Give Oregon counties and the industry more control over how members of the Board of Forestry are selected. 2. Amend the constitution requiring the state to fully compensate woodland owners for any new regulations that limited their ability to log, such as expanded stream buffers. 3. Require that the forestry board use “non-biased” and “peer reviewed science”to come up with consensus-based policies.

These measures are the industry’s response to three ballot measures filed earlier this year by environmental groups. The Environmental Groups proposals would “tighten aerial herbicide spraying rules, increase forest stream buffers, prohibit logging in steep, landslide-prone areas, and prohibit conflicts of interest for state forestry board appointees.” These petitions are currently the subject of litigation.

Light filters through trees in Oregon State Park
Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Portland, OR

Sticker in snow reads "'Naligaaniktna!' I voted!"

APOC abused its discretion and “should reinstate enforcement of the contribution limits at issue.”

Campaign Finance

In Alaska, three citizens had filed Complaints against the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) for failing to enforce campaign contributions. The Superior Court concluded that APOC abused its discretion and “should reinstate enforcement of the contribution limits at issue.” 

The Complaints alleged that two groups, Interior Voters for John Coghill (“Interior Voters”) and Working Families of Alaska (“Working Families”), had accepted monetary contributions that exceeded the limitations of AS 15.13.070. Interior Voters and Working Families are entities created to support particular candidates for political office and meet the definition of groups. They are generally what are considered PAC’s

There is a lot of history in the opinion about campaign contribution limits in Alaska. It also considers federal law, the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, and how the State reacted to Citizens United. It is very likely this case will be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.

As Common Dreams reports, this could be a way around Citizens United and its impacts on campaign contribution limits.

Equal Citizens has the court’s opinion here.