Thursday, April 14, 2011

Drama at Legislative Hearing on Abolishing the Independent Party of Oregon

Drama at Legislative Hearing on Abolishing the Independent Party of Oregon
FOR RELEASE April 13, 2011

This afternoon the Committee on Rules of the Oregon House of Representatives conducted a hearing on HB 2442, the bill to abolish the Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) by making it illegal to use the word "independent" in the name of a political party in Oregon.  The bill declares an "emergency," stating that it is "necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety."

The Chair of the Committee, Dave Hunt (D), asked whether anyone wished to testify in favor of the bill.  Silence.  Some members of the Committee asked why the bill had been scheduled for hearing, if no one was willing to testify for it.  The bill itself states it was "Presession  filed (at the request of House Interim Committee on Rules)."  Committee Co-Chair Andy Olson (R) asked Rep. Vicki Berger (R) whether the bill had in fact been discussed in the House Interim Committee on Rules.  Rep. Berger replied that the Interim Committee did not have discussions along this line.  (A majority on the Interim Committee were Democrats.)

Testifying against the bill were Marvin Sannes (who won the 2010 IPO nomination for State Representative for the 21st District), IPO founder Linda Williams, IPO secretary Sal Peralta, and IPO member Dan Meek.  Written testimony against the bill was submitted by Norma Paulus and Phil Keisling, each a former Secretary of State of Oregon, who wrote:
"We are aware of no legal precedent in any jurisdiction in the United States that would allow a legislature to ban the use of a word in the name of a political party, and are highly skeptical that the Oregon Constitution, with its broad protections for free speech, would permit such an intrusion on the association and speech rights of a duly constituted political party. . . . This bill is cynical, political mischief of the worst, most juvenile kind -- worthy of being thrown on the legislative scrap heap, so this body can get down to the important business at hand."
Also submitting written testimony were former State Representative Tony Van Vliet and attorney Stephen Goldberg.  Also submitted was a petition against the bill signed by over 500 Oregon voters during the past 4 days, including additional comments from over 200 of them, along with an editorial by the respected editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald, Hasso Hering, entitled "What’s next, word police?"

For more information about the bill, see


Sal Peralta
Independent Party Secretary

Linda Williams
Independent Party Chair

1 comment:

danmeek said...

For more info, see