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A Louisiana Public Service Commission runoff could affect energy policy, LGBTQ advocates await final passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and democracy gets a voter-approved overhaul in Oregon.


An election law theory critics say could cause chaos is before the Supreme Court, lawmakers condemn former President Trump's idea to suspend the Constitution, and Democrats switch up the presidential primary calendar.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Democracy Scorecard: Mixed Results for OR Congressional Delegation


Friday, September 18, 2020   

SALEM, Ore. - The 2020 Democracy Scorecard from Common Cause is out - and Oregon's congressional delegation does very well, with one exception.

The nonpartisan watchdog group ranks lawmakers on their support for bills that would overhaul voting, ethics and campaign-finance rules and laws. The state's sole Republican congressman, Rep. Greg Walden - R-Hood River - scored just one out of 15.

Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs with Common Cause, said conservatives have turned away from bipartisan issues they used to support - from disclosure of campaign spending to strengthening the Voting Rights Act.

"The Republican Party has mostly done a 180 on those issues," said Scherb. "So, it's unfortunate that it's really only in Washington, D.C, where some of these issues to strengthen our democracy are seen as partisan."

The House of Representatives has passed 10 democracy reform bills in recent years, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring them to a vote in that chamber.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Earl Blumenauer - D-Portland - and Rep. Peter DeFazio - D-Springfield - all got 100% on the Democracy Scorecard. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici - D-Beaverton - and Rep. Kurt Schrader - D-Canby - weren't far behind.

Scherb said the third annual ranking highlights for voters just where their elected representatives stand on the major issues of democracy reform.

"What are members of Congress doing to get big money out of politics," asked Scherb, "to help strengthen and protect the right to vote? How are they ending partisan gerrymandering? How are they creating more ethical and accountable government?"

Some of the proposals now in Congress are intended to override decisions handed down by the Supreme Court over the past decade.

HR 1 would supersede the Citizen's United decision from 2010, which said political donations are a form of free speech and opened up the floodgates for so-called "dark money" in American elections.

HR 4 would undo a 2013 high-court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, giving control back to states with a history of disenfranchising minority voters.

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