The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
DIRECT LEGISLATION AND THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

A BILL providing for a constitutional convention was defeated in the legislative assembly of 1905, three years after the system of direct legislation was adopted. Those back of the movement were suspected of the intention of securing the abolition of the initiative and referendum,1 but doubtless opposition was caused also by a belief that under the system of direct legislation the constitutional convention is a superfluity.2 In order to safeguard the new system, the People's Power League in 1906 was instrumental in placing on the ballot a constitutional amendment providing that "no convention shall be called to amend or propose amendments to this constitution, or to propose a new constitution, unless the law providing for such convention shall first be approved by the people on a referendum vote at a regular general election." 3 This was adopted by the people.

In 1909 a bill calling a constitutional convention passed the legislative assembly and, under the law, was submitted for the decision of the people. The friends of the movement urged the necessity of a systematic revision of the "ancient " constitution, in place of the "piece-meal" methods prevailing. "Shall we continue, at a great expense, to attempt, in the present spasmodic, erratic and unsystematic manner to revise a faulty constitution? Shall we continue, at each succeeding election, to vote upon amendments proposed by any manner or group of men? Shall we continue to

____________________
1
See especially Oregon Journal, Jan. 27, 1905, p. 4, col. 1; Feb. 1, 1905, p. 5, col. 5.
2
Cf. C. E. Ladd, quoted in Arena, vol. 29, p. 271 ( 1903).
3
Constitution, art.17,sec.1( 1906).

-177-

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