Court Strikes Down Secretary of State Bev Clarno’s Ballot Rejection

Oregon Court of Appeals reverses secretary of state ruling on three aerial spray proposals

Secretary of State Bev Clarno

The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed a November Marion County Circuit Court ruling that had deemed Secretary of State Bev Clarno in the right for rejecting three initiative petitions. Clarno said they had violated the single subject rule.

If the initiative petitions became ballot measures and approved by voters in the general election, it would have placed more regulations on aerial spraying.

According to a court filing on Clarno’s behalf, “The ultimate aim of the single subject rule is to prevent logrolling, which is the practice of offering several provisions that could become law that, standing alone, could not have succeeded on their own merits.”

“I am disappointed in the court’s decision,” Clarno said in a statement. “I believe the single subject rule means something and had hoped the court would agree. We will have to thoroughly read the opinion and consult with our attorneys before deciding on further action.”

IP 35 would prohibit aerial pesticide spraying and clearcutting around a specified distance of forest water bodies. IP 36 would create regulations on where aerial spraying could occur — such as no clearcut logging within 100 feet of fishbearing streams, large and medium streams, wetlands and streams for domestic water use. IP 37 would specify no aerial spray within 500 feet of all forest waters and schools, as well as regulations around State Board of Forestry membership.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum denied the use of the state’s legal team to defend Clarno. According The Oregonian, the cost of Clarno’s legal team cost taxpayers $690 an hour.

In the Oregon Court of Appeals’ statement released Wednesday, Feb. 12, the court said the initiative petitions’ filers’ single subject was the regulation and protection of forestlands.

In an Oct. 3, 2019, press release, Clarno said she didn’t want voters to be confused about the purpose of the proposals.

“Measure 35, for example, has eighteen separate provisions that amend multiple sections of the Oregon Revised Statutes,” she said in the statement. “I believe questions around how the Oregon Forest Council manages forests and around how aerial spraying should be conducted in our forests are very different. In addition, two of the measures address aerial spraying near schools separately from aerial spraying in general. These aspects of the proposed measures would potentially confuse voters.”

Of course, this ruling comes days after 13 environmental groups and 13 timber industry members agreed on mediation process for updating Oregon’s forest management policies, which addressed = pesticide sprays.

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