WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Aug. 25, five Republican state senators filed a petition for judicial review in the Oregon Court of Appeals challenging an administrative rule that bars legislators with more than ten unexcused absences from running for reelection.
Passed by Oregon voters in 2022 in response to Republican walkouts that halted legislative business, Measure 113 prevents legislators who have more than 10 unexcused absences from seeking reelection. The Republican minority in Oregon has used walkouts to thwart Democratic proposals in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023 and obstruct key abortion and gun-control legislation. Despite voters sending a clear message that these walkouts should result in consequences by overwhelmingly voting in favor of Measure 113, Oregon Republicans walked out for a stunning six consecutive weeks this summer.
As a consequence of their obstruction, Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade (D) directed the state’s elections agency to implement an administrative rule in relation to Measure 113 at the beginning of August. Griffin-Valade has stated,“It is clear voters intended Measure 113 to disqualify legislators from running for reelection if they had 10 or more unexcused absences in a legislative session,” and thus those who accumulated more than 10 unexcused absences during the 2023 legislative session should be prevented from running in 2024.
The Republicans’ lawsuit asserts that the secretary of state’s interpretation of Measure 113 and implementation of the rule is incorrect. The legislators argue that because elections are held in November and terms are completed in January,any disqualification would be for terms beginning in or after 2029 and 2031. If adopted, this interpretation would allow these legislators to run for reelection this year. The Republican plaintiffs argue that the application of the temporary administrative rule is inconsistent with the language of Measure 113 and request that the Oregon Court of Appeals review the rule.