SALEM, OR -- Oregon’s Secretary of State has directed the Elections Division to enforce Measure 113, which disqualifies state lawmakers from running for re-election if they have too many unexcused absences.
Sec. LaVonne Griffin denied our request for an interview, but said in a statement legislators with 10 or more unexcused absences during the 2023 session cannot run for their seat in 2024. Some had suggested they wouldn’t be barred from running until 2028.
Governor Tina Kotek agrees with the Secretary’s decision, "I think her ruling was in line with what was the intent of the voters in the passage of that measure." She responded to media questions Tuesday, saying, "I did not consult with the Secretary of State on her decision. And, I think, ultimately this will be decided in the courts. That is not unusual. Measures do get challenged from time to time."
Ten State Senators racked up more than 10 unexcused absences during the GOP-led 2023 walkout. Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend) is among them. Following the Secretary's announcement, Knopp released the following statement:
"After repeated unlawful and unconstitutional actions by President Rob Wagner and other Democrat leaders in the 2023 Session, Senate Republicans held them accountable by peacefully pausing the session to gain compliance with Senate Rules, Oregon Law, and the Oregon Constitution. In retaliation, Wagner was quick to impose unexcused absences on members who challenged his failed leadership. It appears the Democrat Attorney General and the Democrat Secretary of State are willing to cover for the Democrat Senate President Rob Wagner’s decision to ensure Measure 113 quashes the free speech of minority Senate Republicans as it was designed to do by political special interests. We believe the plain language of Measure 113 allows for members to run again in 2024 elections. We disagree with the Secretary of State’s determination and will challenge it in court."