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Basic Rights Oregon Urges "Rob Brading for House District 49"

Monday, October 30, 2006

rob bradingBasic Rights Oregon is proud to support Rob Brading for House District 49. Rob Brading is taking on House Speaker Karen Minnis for the second time in two election cycles. In their last match up, he ran a bare-bones campaign against the Speaker's big money effort and nearly defeated her. This time, he has the support and resources of a broad coalition behind him. Rob has worked and lived in House District 49 for 14 years. Since 1992, he has been Executive Director at MetroEast Community Media. Rob Brading's commitment to public service is also evident in the diverse ways he has worked to improve his community. He is a past president of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and served on its board for seven years. He was a member of Tri-Met's Transit for Livability Task Force, Gresham's Police Advisory Committee and the board of East County Habitat for Humanity. Currently Rob Brading serves on the Multnomah County Library Board and the board of the Oregon Public Affairs Network. Rob Brading is a fair-minded candidate who will actually fight for working families in East County and equality for all Oregonians.

Brading stands a good chance to beat Speaker Karen Minnis (polls show a dead heat), and he ran against Minnis last election cycle and only lost by about 3%. BUT this time around Speaker Karen Minnis knows that she is in trouble for representing big oil, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other extremist special interests--instead of representing the people in her own district. So this time Minnis has raised one-million dollars to spend on the fight of her life. The Brading campaign needs people, dollars and most importantly--VOTES. Spread the word. Click here to get involved in the Brading campaign.

Help Rob Brading WIN in the last week of the election by assisting with canvassing and phone banks and other events. Click here to learn more.

Click here to visit Vote Equality for a complete online voter guide of candidates endorsed by the Basic Rights Equality PAC.

Westlund, Kitzhaber Endorse Ted Kulongoski

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Former gubernatorial candidate, Senator Ben Westlund, as well as, Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber have both thrown their support behind Governor Ted Kulongoski. As we all remember, Senator Westlund was a key sponsor the last session's SB1000, a bill that would have created a statewide, omnibus anti-discrimination policy for the GLBT community. It would have also created civil unions. These are two key endorsements for Kulongoski.

From OregonLive.com:
A year ago, they were both thinking of launching independent candidacies against Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski. Now former Gov. John Kitzhaber and state Sen. Ben Westlund, I-Bend, are working for his re-election.

Kitzhaber, who decided in January that he wouldn't run after all, told Portland State University students at a rally that he was backing Kulongoski because of his "impressive record" on the environment. Kitzhaber said he also cut a radio ad for the governor.

Westlund did actually run as an independent. But he pulled the plug on his candidacy in August after deciding he could not win. Westlund is now signed up to do a fly-around with Kulongoski on Saturday, with campaign stops in Salem, Pendleton, Baker City, Bend and Coos Bay.

Ben Westlund released the following statement on his website:
Today, I came to the decision to vote for and openly support Governor Ted Kulongoski's re-election. It wasn't a decision I took lightly. For quite awhile I considered not endorsing at all... but the reasons I gave for running, because I care and I'm concerned, are my same reasons for endorsing Governor Kulongoski.

Oregon has been spiraling into mediocrity and below and the choices we have made as voters have had severe consequences for Oregon. It's our responsibility to think about what kind of future we want for Oregon and vote accordingly.

Since leaving the race I have been focused primarily on three things: working for tax reform with a coalition of tri-partisan legislators, co-chairing the Senate Commission on Healthcare Access and Affordability that has found a way to provide basic, affordable healthcare for every Oregonian, and working to defeat Measures 41 and 48, two draconian measures that will keep us from investment on my first two priorities.

In these issues I have found a strong ally in Governor Kulongoski.

Oregon is at a cross-roads. After weathering the toughest economic times since the depression, we are just to the point where we can begin to see over the horizon and into the future. What we do next is critical.

Down one road, we have the opportunity to re-invest in education and in our students, to lower costs and provide healthcare for every Oregonian, to create new markets and expansion in renewable energy and to create an Oregon that leads the nation in innovation and economic opportunity.

Down the other, one where Measures 41 and 48 pass, we once again are scraping by as education, public safety and social services compete for an ever smaller piece of the budget pie.

I don't think Oregonians want that Oregon.

And I know Ted Kulongoski doesn't want that either.

You don't need to change governors to have change, change is coming and it can be good, but we need to defeat Measures 41 and 48 and re-elect Governor Kulongoski.

Basic Rights Oregon could not agree more with Senator Westlund. Vote to re-elect Governor Ted Kulongoski and vote NO on measures 41 & 48.

Visit our complete online candidate guide www.VoteEquality.com. We've made it easy by endorsing candidates who are pro-equality. We also have a complete list of the ballot measures for 2006.

Karen Minnis Stands Up For Sexual Predators?

Friday, October 27, 2006

It is being reported that Oregon Speaker of the House, Karen Minnis, was involved in a cover-up involving the attempted rape of a minor, then paying the victim $20k to keep her quiet.

Here is the information we know at this point:
The attempted rape involved a 17 year-old girl. According to information uncovered in an ongoing investigation, John and Karen Minnis paid off this 17 year-old girl who worked in their Hillsboro restaurant after John's brother Tuck consistently sexually harassed and abused her in the workplace (source). This $20k payoff to settle her civil claim stemmed from an incident in Tuck Minnis' apartment where he attempted to rape the victim.

Looks like Minnis will need all of the over $1 million dollars she has raised if she wants to attempt to keep her seat.

The following information is via TheMinnisFile.com:

Karen Minnis and her husband protected Tuck Minnis after he allegedly attempted to rape a 17-year-old girl -- an employee at their pizza restaurant in Hillsboro.

Karen Minnis and her husband -- a police officer -- chose not to believe the girl's allegations. There is no indication that they reported their teenage employee's charge to proper authorities.

Then, Karen Minnis and her husband paid $20,000 to try to make the case go away.

They kept the alleged attacker -- Karen Minnis' brother-in-law -- on their payroll for six more months. He was even living at their home when he was convicted later that year for public indecency and harassment.

From Loaded Orygun:
It does not appear that these allegations were reported to appropriate law enforcement officials as required by Oregon’s Child Abuse Reporting Law and hence were never properly investigated. Conversely, it appears that Little John’s Pizza Co., LLC and John Minnis paid money to secure the dismissal of a civil case that the Washington County Circuit Court and the Oregon Supreme Court found to involve only Tuck Minnis’ private sexual mistreatment of Andrea. These circumstances raise questions about the purpose of that payment, especially in combination with the violation of the mandatory reporting law.

Is this the final straw for East County voters? If representing the pharmaceutical companies, big oil, tobacco and alcohol instead of her constituents wasn't enough, maybe this will be. Let's hope so. It's time for change in East County.

Visit The Minnis File for more information including a myriad of legal documents that are public record. The paper trail is all there.

It All Comes Down to the Vote

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Nearly eleven months ago we began our biggest effort ever to elect fair-minded lawmakers and replace those lawmakers who have stood in the way of equality. On Election Day, we said, we want to wipe out at least one anti-equality vote in the Oregon House, jeopardize the return of Karen Minnis to the Speaker’s seat and reelect Governor Ted Kulongoski. Throughout the last eleven months, BRO supporters statewide have contributed tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to this effort. We have come so far and done so much. This race is almost over, but in order to win we have to keep pushing through to the finish line.

It all comes down to the vote.
Endorsements are in. Ballots are out. Millions have been spent. Only one question remains: When ballots are counted will Oregon elect a slate of fair-minded candidates? Candidates who will create real change in the lives of GLBT Oregonians? Or not?

There are early signs that we have a good chance to make change on Election Day. In Corvallis, voters are expected to approve a change to the City Charter that will prohibit discrimination in all formsincluding based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Oregon’s race for Governor is neck and neck with Governor Kulongoski just slightly ahead. House Speaker Karen Minnis has outspent her opponent 2 to 1, but has not gained support in the polls. And in all of the swing races in the Oregon House, polling indicates that fair-minded candidates are even with or leading their opponents. That’s good news.

Here’s the bad news: Equality and fairness could still lose.
What matters now is who shows up. If fair-minded voters go to the polls, Oregon will be a very different state on November 8th. But powerful political forces are counting on historical trends to suppress voter participation and tip the election in their favor. That’s because traditionally, voters who share our values simply don’t vote in non-presidential elections.

One need only look to the anti-gay Measure 9 and Measure 13 campaigns to see how voter participation can affect the outcome of an election. In 1992, the first No on 9 campaign took place in a Presidential election year and more than 1.5 million Oregonians turned out to vote. We defeated Lon Mabon by a whopping 12 percentage points. But just two years later when he brought the exact same anti-gay measure to the ballot, it was a very different picture. That year 200,000 pro-equality voters failed to vote. 200,000 fair-minded voters left the choice to someone else. The result? Measure 13 was BARELY defeated by only 4 percentage points.

Many of the swing races that will determine the future of equality in Oregon for years to come will decided by similaror smallermargins. The bottom line? This election is ours to take or to hand to our opponents.

BRO Urges YES on 44, NO on 40

Each week from now until election day, BRO will bring you an in depth focus on the most critical ballot measures of this election. This week we focus on Measures 44 and 40.

Vote YES on Measure 44
Prescription drug costs have been sky rocketing for years, so have the number of people without health insurance and prescription drug coverage. Measure 44 will help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Measure 44 Overview:

The program allows the state to negotiate a reduced drug cost, and pass it on to eligible members of the program. These cost savings come from the pool of people the state is buying for. Since its implementation, it has saved over $500,000 in costs and has served over 4,000 Oregonians.

Ballot Measure 44 would expand the pool of eligible consumers, by removing the eligibility requirements for the program. With measure 44, every Oregonian without prescription drug coverage will be eligible for the program.

Impact of Measure 44
With Oregon’s Prescription Drug Program, uninsured and underinsured patients can receive vital drugs for treatment and ensure a quality of life they deserve.

Measure 44 will allow Oregonians to save as much as 60% on their medications, regardless of age or income. Measure 44 is simple and smart. It works a lot like Costco, but without the membership fee. The more people who join, the more everyone saves.

The Oregon Prescription Drug Program is an established program, so, there is no additional cost to taxpayers with the passage of Measure 44. Even better, this measure will save money for Oregon health care consumers. Measure 44 is a Win for ALL Oregonians!

Vote NO on Measure 40
Measure 44 would amend the Oregon Constitution to require that Oregon Supreme Court Judges and Court of Appeals Judges be elected to the bench by geographic districts.

This measure is supported by wealthy conservative Oregon financier, Loren Parks and anti-tax advocacy group, Freedom Works and opposed by a broad range of folks from former Governor John Kitzhaber to the Oregon League of Women Voters.

Impact of Measure 40:

This measure inserts politics and special interest influence into the Oregon's highest courts. Currently, the judiciary is the branch of government least impacted by special interest influences and is therefore in a position to interpret state law and the Constitution in a way that protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority. An independent and impartial judiciary, are key to advancing civil rights in Oregon and there is no need and no advantage to amending our state Constitution in this manner. Oregon defeated a similar measure in 2002 and it should be rejected again.

Following New Jersey's Marriage Ruling

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
In the wake of the historic ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court today that has opened the door to full marriage equality for New Jersey same-sex couples and their families (story here), we thought it would be a good idea to keep you up-to-date on the eight constitutional amendments coming up in other states across the nation.

Currently, eight states will vote on ban-gay-marriage amendments in November, following 20 that previously approved such measures. Passage is considered nearly certain in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee, but many believe the fights in Arizona, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin could be possible wins for equality.

Unfortunately, because of the fantastic news out of New Jersey today, the anti-GLBT extremists groups have issued statements to their supporters using the ruling as a means of solidifying their base in these swing states.

Some of the statements included things some of the following. Remember folks, this is what we are fighting, this is why each and every one of us needs to remember to Vote on November 7th. Vote Smart. Vote OUT. Vote Equality.

From the "family Research Council":
"The legislature should ignore this ruling and follow the lead of 20 other states that have already passed marriage amendments," says FRC's Tony Perkins.

"Today's decision should give momentum to the eight states with marriage protection amendments on the November ballot. By mandating that the New Jersey legislature enact same-sex 'marriage' or civil unions, the Court ignores the unique benefits of marriage between one man and one woman. Society gives benefits to marriage because marriage gives benefits to society. This decision is out of step with the recent string of court decisions upholding the rational basis for traditional marriage in promoting the well-being of children.

"This ruling gives the legislature the non-choice of creating same-sex 'marriage' or marriage of the same-sex by civil unions. This is nothing more than an act of veiled judicial activism. As in Massachusetts and Vermont, the New Jersey Supreme Court has acted as a super-legislature imposing their will on the people of New Jersey. The legislature should ignore this ruling and follow the lead of 20 other states that have already passed marriage amendments."

From "Concerned Women of America":
"This is a textbook example of agenda-driven judges who are willing to twist their state laws and invade the province of the legislative branch in order to force same-sex 'marriage' on the people of New Jersey," LaRue said. "The court snubbed its nose at 28 separate statute sections that include a specific reference to either the term 'married woman' and a 'married man' or to the term 'husband and wife.' Because New Jersey has no residency requirement for marriage, if the legislature caves in to the court, it could open the door for lawsuits challenging every state's marriage law."

"New Jersey has now given citizens greater reason to vote on November 7 to protect marriage in the 8 states with referendums on the ballot," said Wendy Wright, CWA's President. "The New Jersey Supreme Court has distinguished itself once again for imposing its own form of discrimination by arrogantly declaring that a woman is not needed to make a marriage, or that a man is not.

"The thirty-year experiment of treating marriage as expendable, by making divorce easy and children fatherless, has proven to be a disaster for women, children and society. This should provide enough evidence for courts and legislators to quit abusing marriage by pretending it is less important or demanding than it is. It's utter discrimination to claim a woman is unnecessary, or a man is unnecessary, to make a marriage. We should not be forced, or children subjected to, another social experiment with marriage simply to make individuals personally satisfied."

Sickening statements from groups who claim to be pro-family and pro-marriage. I want to remind everyone that first and foremost you need to vote here in Oregon for pro-equality candidates (visit www.VoteEquality.com for a complete endorsement list of legislative races in Oregon), second, call family, friends, etc in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Arizona, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin and urge them to vote NO on these anti-GLBT constitutional amendments.

Resources fighting these proposed amendments:
Arizona Together
Colorado: No on 43
Fair Wisconsin
Virginia - Vote NO on 1

BREAKING: Same-Sex Marriage Wins in NJ!!

Early reports from New Jersey today are that the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the protections of marriage. The court stopped short, however, of the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision which allowed same-sex couples to marry. Instead the court took a similar position to the Vermont Supreme Court in a marriage case decided several years ago. The New Jersey court directed the state legislature to remedy the discrimination with in six months.

Said Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson in response to the decision,"Today's unanimous NJ Supreme Court ruling is a recognition of the equal needs and common humanity of committed same-sex couples and their kids. The Court said these American families are entitled to equal rights and responsibilities under the law. As the legislature moves now to implement the constitution's command of equality, we are confident that legislators will see that the right way to end discrimination in marriage is, indeed, to end discrimination in marriage, not repackage it. The easiest next step is not to cobble together a separate new system with two lines at the clerks' office, but rather, to end the exclusion from marriage itself with two simple words, 'I do.'"

More to come following Lambda Legal's press conference in response to the ruling, scheduled for 5 PM EST.

To read the Court's opinion, click here.

Karen Minnis Gets Even Uglier

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Headed by Speaker Karen Minnis, The Oregon Family Council and the Oregon Republican Party Rev Up Anti-Equality Campaigns and Get Even Uglier.

Last week we told you about the anti-GLBT campaign that had been started by the Defense of Marriage Coalition.

Anti-equality extremists - the same groups that sponsored Measure 36 and fought against SB1000 in the legislature - are waging a campaign of lies and innuendo in key swing districts across the state. They are calling swing voters with false or misleading information about pro-equality candidates. And, hundreds of bogus phone calls are being made in legislative races gay-baiting against BRO-endorsed candidates.

Now things have gotten uglier.

Karen Minnis has just begun a mail and TV campaign attacking her Democratic challenger Rob Brading for his past work for a national, pro-equality organization. This is the final stage in a smear campaign that Minnis has run all year long. And it targets Brading - a straight man and unwavering ally - for supporting equality for all Oregonians.

Help BRO Send Fair-Minded Candidates Last Minute Support!
Ballots are out. People are already voting. We have just 14 days left to make a difference.
Karen Minnis, Ron Saxton and the Oregon Family Council are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and using every trick in the book to gain even more power. They will take this state in the wrong direction.

Powerful anti-equality forces have taken this fight to the next level and this is our last chance to do the same. If we want to ensure that equality wins on Election Day, we have to do more.

Last week you contributed $2250 to help fair minded candidates in the final stretch of the election.If you double that amount in the next 24 hours, we'll be able to contact an additional 5,000 targeted voters in critical swing elections.

With just a $50 contribution today, we can contact 600 voters with a recorded message. $150 allows us to grow our volunteer phonebanks and get the word out to those who care about fairness and equality. A $250 contribution allows us to help a candidate get their message out through Cable TV. We know many of our supporters would fall into the $25 to $35 category. That helps too, if everyone participates--no contribution to equality is too small.

Time is Running Out! Only 14 Days Until Election Day.
We have only days to reach thousands of voters and educate them about the threat that these pro-discrimination forces pose to our state.

Remember. You can give up to $50 per person and it won't cost you a thing!
Through the Oregon Political Tax Credit, you can use the money you normally pay in state taxes (Up to $50 per individual or $100 per married couple per year) to support the work of qualified organizations like the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC.

This is a tax credit, not a deduction, which means by the end of the year you must either give this money to a qualified organization like the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC or you must pay it to the state in taxes. It literally costs you nothing to make this priceless investment in equality! And, if you are due a return, it will be $50 bigger, you win either way and so do these supportive candidates.

Breaking: New Jersey Marriage Decision Tomorrow!

From Lambda Legal:

The New Jersey Supreme Court is set to rule in Lambda Legal’s case seeking marriage for same-sex couples tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. EST! We wanted you to be among the first to know.

Lambda Legal will hold a press conference at 5:00 p.m. EST. We’ll release our analysis and interpretation of the groundbreaking decision as soon as we can. Check our website tomorrow afternoon for updates, and we’ll get back to you via email with the decision and words from Lambda Legal staff, the judges, our plaintiff and others in the community.

You can find the decision after 3:00 p.m. EST tomorrow at the New Jersey Supreme Court’s website.

Our hopes are with the plaintiffs and all the people of New Jersey seeking equal protection for their families.

Basic Rights Oregon will keep you up-to-date on what happens in what could be a monumental ruling.

Corvallis: Equality is on Your Ballot

Monday, October 23, 2006
By Thomas Wheatley, BRO Organizing Director

Just about every week I drive from the BRO office in Portland to a Methodist church in Corvallis. It's gotten to be my Thursday ritual.

A lot of my job is driving around the state to meet with local activists and volunteers and help people put their values to work in the struggle for full equality.

Over the last 10 weeks, I've visited six counties and logged over 2,000 miles on the road. And that doesn't even count the miles I drive in the metro area, particularly on regular visits to suburban Washington County.

But Corvallis is special for me. I go to Corvallis every week to join the leaders of the Corvallis Basic Rights Action Team (BRAT) – a dedicated group of activists who are running a local campaign to amend their city charter.

A city's charter is like its constitution. But this constitutional amendment is actually positive for a change.

The Corvallis Basic Rights Action Team held its kick-off meeting in late 2005. At that point they decided to update the city's nondiscrimination law to include protections for gender identity and gender expression. The current Corvallis law protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but leaves the transgender out in the cold. Corvallis folks decided that they wanted to fix this.

But rather than take the easy route, and write these protections into statute, the Corvallis BRAT decided to go for the gold standard. They're putting protections against discrimination into the city charter. And as a result they'll be in a much stronger position.

This campaign isn't being run by professional politicos or outside interests. It's being run by every-day folks who care about equality. The care enough to give up their Thursday evenings for a weekly meeting at the local Methodist church as well as time all through the week to raise money and educate their community.

Basic Rights Oregon has been with them every step of the way to help with planning, strategy, messaging and fundraising.

Ballots are going out in the mail as I write. And thanks to the hard work of the Corvallis Basic Rights Action Team and many others, Corvallis voters will be able to vote YES on Local Measure 02-56.

To learn more or to contribute to their campaign, go to www.InclusiveCorvallis.org. If you live in or around Corvallis, and want to help out, email me at thomas@basicrights.org and I'll get you connected.

Aside from Local Measure 02-56, before filling out your ballot, I invite you to chec out our first-ever online statewide voter guide. Not only does it include all of the candidates endorsed by the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC, but it includes all statewide ballot measures and endorsements. Vote SMART. Vote OUT. Vote EQUALITY. Visit www.VoteEquality.com

We'll Text Message You To Remind You To Vote!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Let us be the string around your finger. Basic Rights Oregon is proud to introduce text message reminders to get you to vote! Want to sign up? It's easy. Visit Vote Equality, our website featuring all candidate and ballot measure endorsements by the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC. Click here to sign-up for a text message reminder!

BRO Urges Vote No on Measures 46 & 47

We need campaign finance reform in Oregon, but Constitutional Amendment 46 & Measure 47 will have unintended consequences that will benefit rich individuals and hurt the rest of us.

Constitutional Amendment 46 & Measure 47 Overview:
The proposed 46 & 47 are campaign finance changes that will limit political non-profits, such as, Basic Rights Oregon by restricting when and how much we can spend on candidate campaigns.

Constitutional Amendment 46 is a single-sentence that gives away your free speech rights now and in the future. This Constitutional amendment attempts to override all existing Constitutional free speech protections as they relate to campaign contributions and expenditures. It would allow any ballot measure or act of the legislature to suspend our current free speech protection under the Oregon Bill Of Rights, surrendering those rights to George Bush's Supreme Court.

Measure 47 is a proposed statutory change that would build on Amendment 46 placing extreme limitations on political speech for individuals, non-profits, membership organizations, unions, and political parties. With the potential for several key provisions likely to be struck down by the court and a "severability clause" to keep the rest of the measure intact, the end result will likely look more like a Frankenstein monster than a fair and balanced campaign finance system.

Supporters of Constitutional Amendment 46 and Measure 47:
Oregonian investigative reporters reveal that 2/3 of the funding for this measure came from one wealthy individual who divides his time between Central Oregon and California.

Opponents of Constitutional Amendment 46 and Measure 47
Even an original sponsor now believes Measure 47 is unworkable and will have unintended consequences. Recent legal analysis shows that key parts of Measure 47 are unconstitutional, and will lead to a seriously unbalanced campaign finance system. That's why Peter Buckley, a former Measure 47 sponsor, has come out against it.

Opposing Constitutional Amendment 46: ACLU of Oregon, American Federation of TeachersOregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Children First for Oregon, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network, Metrowide Political Committee of Northwest Carpenters, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Oregon Action, Oregon AFL-CIO, Oregon Education Association, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon School Employees Association, Oregon State Council of Firefighters, Our Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, Rural Organizing Project, SEIU Local 49, SEIU Local 503, OPEU, Stand for Children.

Opposing Measure 47: ACLU of Oregon, American Federation of TeachersOregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Democratic Party of Oregon, Children First for Oregon, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network, Metrowide Political Committee of Northwest Carpenters, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, Oregon Action, Oregon AFL-CIO, Oregon Education Association, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon School Employees Association, Oregon State Council of Firefighters, Our Oregon, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, SEIU Local 49, SEIU Local 503, OPEU, Stand for Children.

Basic Rights Oregon's Recommendation
Vote NO on 46 & 47

Impact of Constitutional Amendment 46 and Measure 47
46 & 47 will do nothing to stop one of the most pressing campaign finance issues in Oregon, leaving wealthy financiers Loren Parks, Howard Rich and Harry Lonsdale, who personally bankrolled these two measures, free to contribute millions of dollars to Oregon ballot measures to change our laws to suit their personal interests. Meanwhile Basic Rights Oregon will be left to speak without limitation only through $50 small donor committees.

Measure 47 will keep average Oregonians from supporting causes they believe in. It creates a draconian web of extreme restrictions on political speech. That means regular Oregonians who might want to contribute to a cause they believe in whether as an individual or through a political non-profit they trust, will be even less likely to get involved. Not only that, the measure requires our donors to get a "handle" at the Secretary of State's office and keep track of how much money they have donated.

Why is BRO Concerned About these Measures?
  • Non-profit advocacy organizations like Basic Rights Oregon have a lot at stake in legislative elections--like defeating Speaker Karen Minnis or reelecting Governor Kulongoski. We have to be able to effectively support candidates that are committed to fairness and we must be able to hold legislators publicly accountable for their actions. Measures 46 and 47 would dramatically limit our ability to support candidates that share our values. And, even more importantly, it would limit our ability to inform voters about what elected officials do once they are elected.

  • these measures are poorly crafted, will face numerous legal challenges and could end up being more complicated to enact as a result; and

  • "Campaign Finance Issues" do not belong in the constitution -- the Oregon State Constitution should be reserved for weightier things like the Oregon Bill of Rights providing and protecting civil rights and human rights for all Oregon's citizens. Constitutional Amendment 46 would be the first weakening of the Free Speech protections in Oregon's State Constitution EVER. Since 1859 this part of Oregon's Bill of Rights has remained unchanged.

    Find out more and get involved. Visit www.protectourvoice.org
  • 1 Day Left to Reigster to Vote

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    Final reminder. It is too late to mail in your voter registration BUT it isn't too late to drop it off at your county elections office.

    The last day to register to vote is tomorrow-Tuesday, October 17th.

    Click here to download the registration form. On the registration form you will find the address for your county elections office, you can also click here to view a list of all the election offices in Oregon.

    Already registered? Take a look at VoteEquality.com for a complete online voter guide including all of the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC's endorsements.

    October 17th - Last Day to Register to Vote

    Friday, October 13, 2006
    That's right. This upcoming Tuesday is the last day to register to vote. Have you moved? Just turned 18? Have never been registered? You have a matter of days to help change history. Click here to register to vote.

    Once ballots go out, make sure to visit Vote Equality.com for a complete list of endorsements of candidates of equality.

    MAJOR Statewide Day of Action this Saturday!

    Thursday, October 12, 2006
    In celebration of National Coming Out Week, join Basic Rights Oregon for a Statewide Day of Action for GLBT Equality. Click here to learn more and to participate in events around the state to create a fair and equal Oregon. Never has education been more important. Never has your action been more needed. Join your community's events Oct. 14th and get Out for Equality.


    In Portland/Metro area: Join the GLBT neighborhood walk to get the word out about Ron Saxton's pro-discrimination positions and support Governor Ted Kulongoski. Our coalition partners in the labor community and the Governor will join us too! We'll meet at 127 NE 7th Avenue at 9:30 am and walk until 1 pm. We are expecting about 600 people total! It's going to be a major event and we need all the bodies we can get down there.

    In Salem: Join the GLBT neighborhood walk to support Pro-GLBT candidate Brian Clem. We'll meet at 1194 Center Street, headquarters of the Clem campaign at 11 AM, walk until 2:30 then gather for a BBQ or pizza party.

    In Corvallis: Join the Corvallis Basic Rights Action Tem and Inclusive Corvallis effort to pass a city-wide, pro-GLBT ballot measure in 2006. Join Mayor Berg and gather at the Benton County Courthouse for a rally at 1PM then voter education until 4 pm. A social hour will follow.

    Central Oregon: Join the Central Oregon Basic Rights Action team for a pancakes and postcards party on Saturday morning. We'll meet in the morning and write postcards in support of Governor Kulongoski and Judge Virginia Linder to friends, family and BRO supporters in the area. For more information or to get location details email heather@basicrights.org.

    Eugene/Springfield: On Thursday, October 12th BRO and the EQuality Network will gather to write postcards in support of Governor Kulongoski and Judge Virginia Linder to friends, family and BRO supporters in the area. Bring your address book and a good pen at 7 pm to the World Cafe 449 Blair Blvd (next to Sam Bonds Garage) in Eugene.

    Click here to learn more.

    -Bryan Boyd, BRO

    Basic Rights Oregon Urges NO vote on Measures 41 and 48

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006
    Over 90% of Oregon’s general fund budget goes to fund education, health care and public safety. Ballot Measure 41 and Constitutional Amendment 48 will devastate health care and human services

    Measure Overview(s):Measure 41 is retroactive, cutting $151 million in revenue. Measure 41 would also reduce funding for health, seniors and children services by an estimated $170,280,000 in 2007-09.

    Constitutional Amendment 48, in the long term, would be much worse. Amendment 48’s flawed formula poses a special threat to health care and human services. Health care costs are rising at a far faster rate than inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. And over the next twenty years, the senior population will rise at three times the rate of the general population. Ballot Measure 48 would prohibit the state from adjusting to these realities, leading to drastic cuts in these services.

    Supporters of Measure 41 & Constitutional Amendment 48:
    Measure 41 was written by long-time anti-tax activist, Bill Sizemore, it is being managed by the ultra-conservative FreedomWorks, D.C., and is being funded by wealthy financier, Loren Parks. The local chief petitioner is Russ Walker, head of Oregon FreedomWorks.

    Amendment 48 has received 85% of its funding from wealthy New York developer, Howard Rich. He is pushing measures like this is three states this cycle. The local front group for this measure is the Taxpayer Association of Oregon run by Don McIntire. McIntire brought us California-style Prop 13 property tax limitations in 1990’s Measure 5, whose legacy has been devastating cuts to education funding.

    Opponents of Measure 41 & Constitutional Amendment 48:
    A partial list: AARP, Advocacy Coalition of Seniors and People with Disabilities, The Gray Panthers AFSCME Council 75, American Association of University Women of Oregon, American Cancer Society, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, Oregon Business Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter, Association of Oregon Faculties, Children First for Oregon, CareOregon, Central Oregon Jobs with Justice, Clackamas Community College Board, Coalition for a Livable Future, Community Action Directors of Oregon, Community Health Partnership, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Rural Organizing Project, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, League of Women Voters/Oregon, Democratic Party of Oregon, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Elders in Action Commission, Human Services Coalition of Oregon, Mental Health Association of Oregon, National Association of Social Workers/Oregon, NW Steelheaders, Oregon AFL-CIO, Oregon Center for Public Policy, Oregon Education Association, Oregonians For Health Security, Oregon Head Start Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Oregon PTA, , SEIU Local 49 & Local 503/OPEU, Stand for Children, Upstream Public Health, Women’s Rights Coalition…

    Recommendation: Vote NO
    In addition to having a retroactive affect, Ballot Measure 41 will cut almost $800 million from the 2007-2009 budget.

    Over 20% of the State General Fund budget goes to the State Department of Human Services (DHS). The vast majority of the DHS budget is spent on health care and human services. If Measure 41 were to pass, program cuts in the 2007-2009 DHS budget would mean, among other program cuts:

    Eliminating health care services for over 25,000 Oregonians – including over 14,000 children.

    Reducing health services could jeopardize programs like the State’s HIV/AIDS programs and services.

    The Legislative Fiscal Office has determined that if Constitutional Amendment 48 had been in effect since 1990, the State budget for all services would be 25% smaller than it is today.

    Constitutional Amendment 48: Will cut health care and human services creating a significant unintended consequence: the cuts will force Oregon to give up billions of dollars in federal funds. Overall DHS receives more federal money than state money, and over 85% of the federal money is conditioned on the state investing money of its own. It is not possible to make significant cuts in DHS without losing federal funds.

    The Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office has estimated that if Constitutional Amendment 48 had been in effect since 1990, the total State “TABOR-affected” budget for all programs would now be 25% smaller. Assuming the Department of Human Services would have shared in such cuts proportionally, and that each of the Department’s programs would have taken an equal cut, a 25% cut would have meant many program reductions, including:

    Eliminating health care services for over 100,000 Oregonians … including nearly 60,000 children - well over half the Oregonians who receive health care services from the State are children. And, again, this budget reduction pressure could impact HIV/AIDS programs and services.

    The effects of a 25% cut in the DHS budget could be much worse than this scenario. Federal Medicaid law requires the State to cover certain populations and offer certain services as a condition of receiving Federal money. State cuts of this size could easily result in the State failing to meet Federal requirements, putting all the Federal Medicaid money at risk.

    Why is BRO Concerned About these Measures?

    These cuts will be bad for Oregon and vulnerable Oregon families, gay or straight;

    Budget cuts to health care programs could impact HIV/AIDS programs and budget cuts to education could impact HIV/AIDS education programs;

    "Spending caps” and narrow tax policy does not belong in the constitution—the Oregon State Constitution should be reserved for weightier things like the Oregon Bill of Rights providing and protecting civil rights and human rights for all Oregon’s citizens; and,

    If the Oregon State Legislature has to deal with these kinds of budget cuts next session, it will be so all consuming that addressing non-discrimination and civil unions will be that much harder for lawmakers to focus on.

    To Get Active or for More Information: go to www.defendoregon.org or call 503-231-3672.


    Friday, October 06, 2006
    Last week we told you that our goal during this election cycle is to keep pressure on Speaker Karen Minnis and jeopardize her return to the Speaker's seat. Putting the pressure on Minnis is a key part of our election effort, but removing her from the Speaker's seat isn't enough to bring pro-equality legislation to a Vote in the Oregon House in 2007. Even though we have the bipartisan votes needed to pass our bills with the current make up of the Oregon House, extremist Republicans dominate the current legislative leadership. Because of this dynamic, the only way to pass our legislation in 2007 is to change the balance of power in the House of Representatives. That means wiping out at least one bad vote, making sure that one of the four anti-equality candidates running for reelection does NOT come back to Salem.

    What kind of difference can we make?

  • If we can replace 1-2 legislators with fair-minded candidates, we would be able to override the anti-equality leadership and pass favorable legislation in 2007. Losing even one seat could also mean's the Speaker loses her job and a more new, less powerful speaker could take her place. This would give us room to maneuver in Salem.

  • If we can replace 3 legislators with fair-minded candidates, then leadership in the House would be split among Democrats and Republicans, allowing fair-minded leadership on the Democratic side to successfully negotiate a favorable leadership structure with moderate Republicans who support equality.

  • If we can replace 4 legislators with fair-minded candidates, then anti-equality legislators would no longer control the House of Representatives and a strong supporter of Basic Rights Oregon and equality would be Speaker allowing us to ensure passage of our nondiscrimination and civil unions bills.

  • Of course, for these legislative changes to make a difference we need to reelect our pro-equality Governor: Ted Kulongoski.

    Let's be realistic: It will be a tough feat to pick up four pro-equality seats in just a single election. (House Democrats have lost seats in every non-Presidential election for more than two decades. Even holding the line would be victory.) Our effort to move to an equality majority in the House will likely continue over the next two election cycles, but knocking off even one bad vote will substantially improve our opportunity to pass our pro-equality legislation in the 2007 session.

    How do we do it?

    We can block one bad vote and shift the balance of power in the Oregon House by doing two things:

    First, actively campaigning for pro-equality candidates. They are taking on vulnerable anti-equality candidates running for reelection in the Oregon House. Get involved in your local House race. To find out who is running in your area and to get involved, visit www.VoteEquality.com.

    Second, we must force Speaker Minnis to spend tons of money defending her own seat. Typically it is the job of the sitting Speaker, who has the greatest access to deep campaign coffers and political connections, to use her time to campaign and raise money for those who elected her Speaker. It is the Speaker's responsibility to maintain the political majority -- that's what keeps her in power. But each dollar that gets spent in Karen Minnis' East County fight for her own seat, means that her candidates in tough races won't have the funds they need to return to office.