The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXII
DIRECT LEGISLATION AND THE STABILITY OF GOVERNMENT

THE original constitution provided for the submission of proposed constitutional amendments by the majority vote of all members elected to each of the two houses of two successive legislative assemblies to the electors, and required for ratification of the amendment, the vote, apparently, of a majority of all the electors voting at the election.1 This was a very slow and cumbersome procedure compared with that provided in 1902, whereby constitutional amendments may be submitted to the people in the same way as other measures by initiative petition.2 But since 1906 the approval by the legislative assembly at one session has been sufficient for the submission of amendments to the voters. Further, since 1906 the majority for ratification of such measures has been the same as in the case of measures submitted by the initiative, a majority of the votes cast on the measure.3

As a general rule, initiative statutory measures are, technically, subject to the same constitutional limitations as are statutes enacted by the legislative assembly,4 although in a few

____________________
1
Constitution, art. 17, sec. 1 ( 1859). See State v. Swift, Indiana Reports, vol. 69, p. 505 ( 1880); In Matter of Denny, ibid., vol. 156, p. 104 ( 1900); T. M. Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 7th ed., pp. 892-3 ( 1906); Lobingier, People's Law, pp. 326-30 ( 1909).
2
Ibid., art. 4, sec. 1 ( 1902).
3
Ibid., art. 17, sec. 1 ( 1906). For opposition to this amendment as increasing the instability of the constitution, see Oregonian, May 28, 1906, p. 6, col. 6.
4
Kadderly v. Portland, Oregon Reports, vol. 44, pp. 118, 146 ( 1903); State v. Richardson, ibid., vol. 48, pp. 309, 318 ( 1906) ; State v. Langworthy, ibid., vol. 55, pp. 303, 308 ( 1910). "The limitations expressed in the constitution, on the powers of the general assembly to enact laws, shall be deemed limitations on the power of the people to enact laws." Ohio Constitution, art. 2, sec. 1 ( 1912).

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