The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE MULTIPLICITY OF MEASURES

1
The Number of Measures

WHEN the system of direct legislation was established it was believed that the people would not often use their reserve power.1 Direct legislation was to be "the medicine of the constitution, cautiously administered when occasion might require; not its dailybread."2 But the "hope that there would be so much consideration and self-restraint on all sides that the new methods would not be pushed to the extreme, but would be used only on rare occasions for remedial purposes," was, it was declared, even before the ballot had reached its present length, "a fallacious hope."3

Since the system of direct legislation was established there have been six general elections and one special election at which measures have been submitted to the people. The provision for another special election, in 1903, was conditional upon the referring of a certain act of the assembly by petition, and the referendum was not invoked. At the special election held in 1913 only measures referred by petition could be submitted. At the election of 1904 three measures were submitted, one a proposal for a constitutional amendment referred by the assembly, and two initiative bills. In 1906 eleven measures were submitted, including five initiative measures for the amendment of the constitution, five initiative bills, and one act referred

____________________
1
Oregonian, June 30, 1902, p. 8, col. 3.
2
Reported in Oregonian, Feb. 18, 1908, p. 8, col. 1.
3
Oregonian, July 6, 1909, p. 8, col. 1.

-78-

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