Feelin’ Renewed

Two clean energy ballot initiatives move on after judge rules against secretary of state's rejection

A Marion County judge ruled today that the Oregon secretary of state must allow two clean energy initiative petitions to proceed through the ballot measure process.

Renew Oregon, a coalition of clean energy advocates, is backing three initiative petitions that would put clean energy before the voters while the Legislature tries to find a way to pass climate action legislation, spokesperson Brad Reed previously told Eugene Weekly.

Two of these three petitions are two versions of a possible ballot measure called 100 Percent Clean Electricity planned for November 2020. If voters pass it, the state would be required to have its electricity sources be totally carbon-free by 2045. The difference between IP 48 and 49 is that one version would require electric utilities to invest in electric car charging and clean building technologies.

But the road to November had a speed bump.

On Dec. 19, Secretary of State Bev Clarno notified the chief petitioners, which includes Eugene/Springfield NAACP Executive Director Eric Richardson, that the initiative petitions didn’t meet the state’s “single-subject” requirement because it includes fair labor standards for clean electricity projects in IP 48 and 49, according to Renew Oregon.

However, Marion County Judge David Leith found that the two initiative petitions did satisfy the single-subject ruling. The two ballot initiatives will continue the ballot measure process, starting with gaining a ballot title from the Oregon attorney general. Then, Renew Oregon can start gathering the needed signatures to be on the November 2020 ballot.

“We are pleased to be moving forward on these initiatives. Oregonians are demanding bold action to reduce pollution and protect the climate, and this November they will have that chance at the ballot box,” a co-chief petitioner Richardson said in a statement. “These initiatives provide not only a target for 100-percent clean electricity but also a blueprint for the transition, so it creates good-paying jobs with benefits and prioritizes communities most in need of investment.”