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Oregon gun control, health care measures too close to call

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Tuesday 10:01 pm

Oregon Capital Bureau

Oregon Measure 114, which would regulate firearms, was too close to call in early tallies in Tuesday’s election, with 51% of voters approving the measure and 49% voting “no” according to preliminary unofficial results.

Three other statewide measures, none as controversial as Measure 114, had mixed results.

Measure 114 qualified for the ballot through a petition drive by a coalition of religious and other organizations. It would require people to complete firearms training before they can obtain permits to purchase guns, and limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds each.

It is the first gun regulation initiative on the ballot in 22 years, although the Legislature has passed several measures of its own over the past seven years.

Measure 114 easily drew the most attention of the four that qualified for the ballot, two by legislative referral, and two others by initiative petition. The others are:

  • Measure 111, which would guarantee access to health care as a right in the Oregon Constitution, though it would not create a requirement for funding or institute a new tax. Early returns showed it was too close to call Tuesday night, with 49% of voters in favor and 50% opposed.
  • Measure 112, which would remove slavery (involuntary servitude) as a basis for criminal punishment, was passing by a 10% margin Tuesday night. The language dates back to the 1857 Constitution, which otherwise barred slavery from Oregon, although it also barred Blacks from becoming residents. (That language was removed by voters in 2002.) The Oregon State Sheriffs Association opposes the measure, concerned about how it may affect work programs in county jails. Other language in the Oregon Constitution, which voters changed in 1994, specifically authorizes work programs in state prisons. Early returns showed 58% approval.
  • Measure 113, another proposed constitutional amendment, would bar legislators from seeking re-election if they have 10 or more unexcused absences from a regular or special session. It would leave in place the requirement for the presence of two-thirds majorities (40 in the House, 20 in the Senate) for the chambers to conduct business. Public employee unions proposed it as a means of thwarting walkouts that minority Republicans employed in 2019 and 2020 to block votes on legislation sought by Democrats. It had the biggest lead among the four measures, with 67% of voters approving it.

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