The Democratic-led Oregon state Supreme Court ruled that 10 Republican senators cannot seek reelection in the 2024 election.
The Court upheld a recommendation brought forward by Democratic Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade.
Notably, legislators recently encouraged the governor to declare a state of emergency due to the impact progressive policies have had on the state.
The court ruled that a state constitutional amendment, approved in 2022, prohibited the 10 senators from seeking reelection.
The amendment, known as Ballot Measure 113, stipulated that lawmakers who miss 10 or more legislative days without an excuse may not seek reelection.
Griffin-Valade brought forward the complaint in 2023, saying at the time, “My decision [to file the complaint] honors the voters’ intent by enforcing the measure the way it was commonly understood when Oregonians added it to our state constitution.”
Griffin-Valade’s complaint was disputed by Republicans but upheld by the high court, which ruled: “Because the text is capable of supporting the secretary’s interpretation, and considering the clear import of the ballot title and explanatory statement in this case, we agree with the secretary that voters would have understood the amendment to mean that a legislator with 10 or more unexcused absences during a legislative session would be disqualified from holding legislative office during the immediate next term, rather than the term after that.”
Griffin-Valade hailed the decision, saying: “I’ve said from the beginning my intention was to support the will of the voters. It was clear to me that voters intended for legislators with a certain number of absences in a legislative session to be immediately disqualified from seeking reelection. I’m thankful to the Oregon Supreme Court for providing clarity on how to implement Measure 113.”
The Epoch Times reported that the senators in question missed more than 10 days because they were protesting Democratic-sponsored bills advocating abortion. In protest, they staged a walkout which delayed voting because there was not a quorum to hold a vote.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp said after the ruling: “We obviously disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling. But more importantly, we are deeply disturbed by the chilling impact this decision will have to crush dissent.”
“We believe the plain language of Measure 113 allows for members to run again in 2024 elections. We disagree with the Secretary of State’s determination and will challenge it in court.”
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