By editorial board • 

No to healthcare entitlement, yes to other 3 state measures

Four state ballot measures have been submitted to voters for the Nov. 8 general election, two by legislative action and two by citizen petition.

Measure 114, a citizen-initiated statutory amendment aimed at limiting gun purchases to permit-holders and gun magazines to 10-round capacity, figures to dominate both debate and spending. It pits union, civic and firearm safety groups against the National Rifle Association and Oregon Firearms Federation.

Measure 111, a legislative referral aimed at establishing a constitutional right to adequate and affordable healthcare, is also drawing campaign fire. It is largely aspirational rather than operational, but Republicans were united in opposition in the Legislature and are continuing that opposition.

By contrast, Measures 112, a legislative referral to revoke constitutional authorization of slavery and involuntary servitude as modes of criminal punishment, and 113, a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment barring legislators with 10 or more unexcused absences from seeking re-election, figure to generate little action or attention.

The gun measure would require a permit from local law enforcement, subject to renewal every five years, to purchase a firearm. Requirements would include a photo ID, set of fingerprints, safety course certificate, criminal background check and a relatively modest fee payment.

It would also ban manufacture, importation, purchase, sale, possession, use or transfer of magazines exceeding 10 rounds. Violation would constitute a Class A misdemeanor.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have firearm permit-to-purchase laws on the books. The district joins nine states in banning high-capacity magazines. 

We view these as reasonable measures our state might impose in the interest of citizen safety, without unduly infringing on federal rights established in the Second Amendment. We realize that many others may not.

While we find adequate and affordable health care a laudable goal, we oppose creation of a constitutional right the state lacks the means and will to ensure. We fear it would unleash a torrent of litigation, potentially forcing the state to raid funds earmarked for schools, parks, roads and other vital citizen needs. 

Measures 112 and 113 are easier. 

Eliminating antiquated, unenforceable and unconscionable provisions on slavery and involuntary servitude is something all but 10 states have already managed. It’s not just time, it’s long past time.

Discouraging use of legislative walkouts as a last resort exercise of minority opposition, without barring it outright, also seems reasonable.

Both Democrats and Republicans have staged walkouts in recent times. Establishing a limit of 10 unexcused absences per session allows this to continue but not to impose an indefinite gridlock.

That makes our call no on 111, an emphatic yes on 112 and 113, and a measured yes on 114.


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