Oregon voters approve Measure 102 on affordable housing bonds, defeat other measures

    (Image via Oregon Elections Division)

    Oregon voters approved 1 of 5 ballot measures put up for a vote statewide, approving a measure to allow governments to use bond money to help pay for public-private affordable housing developments.

    Voters defeated attempts to ban future taxes on groceries; repeal the state's sanctuary law; require a supermajority of lawmakers to raise revenues; and prohibit state funding of abortions.


    Measure 102: Housing bonds

    Oregon voters have passed a measure that amends the state constitution to allow government entities to use revenue from affordable housing bonds toward public-private development partnerships.

    Measure 102 was leading in returns Tuesday night.

    The measure's passage will give city and county governments more flexibility to work with private developers and non-profit organizations when developing much-needed affordable housing projects.

    Until now, the government entity that used bond revenue for affordable housing had to retain complete ownership of the project, which limited the size of projects and the ability to secure more federal tax credits.

    The measure was referred to votes by state lawmakers with bipartisan support and there was no major opposition to it.

    Measure 103: Ban on future taxes on groceries

    Oregon voters have rejected a measure amending the state constitution to ban future taxes on groceries.

    Measure 103 was trailing in returns Tuesday night.

    Out-of-state grocery and beverage industry giants poured millions into the campaign for the measure, which was seen by many as a thinly veiled attempt to pre-empt a statewide soda tax.

    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a proponent of soda taxes in other places -- donated $1.5 million in the final two weeks before the election to the campaign against the grocery tax ban.

    Opponents said the ballot measure's language was confusing and would have created uncertainty about taxes on everything from restaurant meals to farming to the transportation of food to grocery stores.

    Measure 104: Supermajority to raise revenue

    Oregon voters have rejected a measure that amends the state constitution to require a legislative supermajority for bills that raises revenue through tax exemptions, deductions, credits or fees.

    The measure's failure means nothing changes.

    Three-fifths of lawmakers in both legislative houses must approve bills that raise or impose new taxes but other ways of raising revenue -- such as trimming tax deductions -- still will only require a simple majority vote.

    Those who opposed Measure 104 said it was an attempt to curb the power of Democrats, who currently hold the majority in both legislative houses.

    Those in favor worried that state lawmakers would trim tax deductions and exemptions or increase fees to boost revenue.

    Measure 105: Repeal sanctuary state law

    Oregon voters have rejected a measure that would have repealed the state's first-in-the-nation immigrant sanctuary law.

    Measure 105 was trailing in returns Tuesday night.

    Oregon became America's first sanctuary state when it adopted a law in 1987 preventing law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws.

    Supporters of Measure 105, the repeal measure, said the law shields people who have committed crimes from potential deportation.

    Those who back the sanctuary law say it was passed to address racial profiling.

    The measure has split law enforcement.

    Measure 106: Prohibit state funding of abortions

    Oregon voters have rejected a measure prohibiting state funding for most abortions.

    Measure 106 was trailing in returns Tuesday night. The measure's failure leaves in place insurance coverage for abortions for women who received their health care through state Medicaid.

    The federal government bans Medicaid funding for abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or to save a mother's life.

    Oregon is one of 17 states that uses its own money to provide abortions to women eligible for Medicaid.

    Under Measure 106, the state Constitution would have allowed funding for abortion only if a woman is in danger of death because of her physical condition or in cases where funding is required under federal law, which now includes rape and incest.

    Voters in Oregon had rejected funding bans in 1978 and 1986.

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