Gun initiative could cost local governments: Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

A state committee released financial assessments of four measures Oregonians will vote on in November

Supporters of a proposed initiative in Oregon that would require people to obtain permits to purchase firearms and ban high-capacity magazines are submitting the signatures of thousands of voters on July 8, 2022, at state election offices in Salem. [AP Photo/Andrew Selsky]

Only one of the four statewide ballot measures Oregonians will vote on in November has a financial cost to local governments.

The measure would ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, require a firearms safety course, tighten licensing and create stricter background checks on gun purchases.

A committee including the Secretary of State’s office and legislative analysts determined it would cost the state more than $23 million but generate about the same amount of revenue. The measure would cost local governments up to $31 million in the first year.

Three other statewide ballot measures, which would punish absentee lawmakers, remove mention of slavery from the Constitution and make health care a constitutional right, have little or no impact on state finances, the analysts

The state held a public comment period on those assessments Wednesday on Zoom. State officials will now consider changes to financial impact statements. The changes would be made before August 10, according to Ben Morris, director of communications for the Office of the Secretary of State.

Improve gun safety

More than 160,000 Oregonians signed a petition to get a new gun control proposal on the November ballot. Initiative Petition 17 would require anyone purchasing a firearm to obtain a permit by passing a safety training course. Current gun owners would have to obtain permits for any future gun purchases if the law were enacted. It would also ban the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and require background checks on everyone who buys a handgun, regardless of the wait. Current state and federal gun laws require criminal background checks, but a loophole in federal law allows gun dealers to sell firearms without a completed background check if it takes more than three days to complete.

The measure would require expenses but would also bring money.

Cost to State Government: About $2 million in one-time spending and $21 million between 2023 and 2025 to provide additional staff and resources to the Oregon State Police for background checks and permit issuance. The Oregon Department of Justice would likely have increased costs and cases related to new felonies established by law and among people appealing permit denials.

Income for the state government: Up to $23.5 million for the state from fees for fingerprinting, FBI background checks and court records.

Cost for local administration: More than $51 million in the first year to process about 300,000 permit applications a year. More than $47 million in subsequent years to process permits.

Local government revenue: Nearly $20 million a year in application fees.

Punish absentee legislators

Initiative Petition 14 would amend the state Constitution to make lawmakers ineligible for re-election if they have 10 or more unexcused absences from sessions. These sessions involve debates and votes on new laws. The move is intended to prevent Republican lawmakers from blocking legislation by walking out or refusing to run.

Republican lawmakers did so five times in 2019 and 2020 to prevent or slow action on guns, forestry, health care, the education budget and climate change. The Oregon Constitution requires that two-thirds of legislators be present to vote. This means that if there are more than 20 representatives or more than 10 senators absent, you cannot vote.

The initiative is not expected to cost state or local governments anything and generate no revenue, according to the committee.

Abolition of slavery as punishment for crime

Referendum Initiative 402 would eliminate slavery and indentured servitude as accepted criminal punishments in the Oregon Constitution. Currently, Oregon is one of 10 states that technically still allows this punishment at sentencing. It would add language to the Constitution that would allow state courts and probation and parole officials to order alternatives to incarceration, such as education and treatment. A grassroots advocacy group, Oregonians Against Slavery Involuntary Servitude, which was established in 2020 by Willamette University alumni, is behind the initiative.

The commission determined that the costs are provisional.

“The impact of the measure will depend on possible legal actions or changes in the work programs of the prisoners,” the committee concluded.

Health care as a constitutional right

Referendum Initiative 401 would amend the state Constitution to make access to affordable health care a right and make Oregon the first state in the nation to guarantee that right to its residents.

It would require the state to ensure access to “cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care” for residents, balanced with obligations to fund public schools and other essential public services, according to the petition.

The committee could not determine the financial impacts of the measure because amending the Constitution would not cost additional money, but the laws created to guarantee the new right would.

“The impact of the measure will depend on future legislative action to establish additional health benefits and determine how they will be paid for,” he wrote.

Source link

You May Also Like