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Oregon Ethics Laws: VanNatta vs. Oregon Government Ethics Commission

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RE: 2007 SB 10 in the Oregon Supreme Court (not in the ORS, but you can find the enrolled bill at the Oregon Legislature’s website).

I’m well overdue with my post about this case, but maybe I will be just in time if the Oregon Supreme Court hands down their decision soon.

1) The name of the case is: VanNatta v Oregon Government Ethics Commission (docket number S057570) and the decision will be posted at the Oregon Judicial Department website (also from here or here).

2) Many of the briefs are at the State of Oregon Law Library briefs bank.

3) Oregon Legislature Media Release, August 13, 2009:

The Oregon Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the constitutionality of SB 10 (2007) which limited gifts, travel, meals and other expenditures to public officials. The Supreme Court review came as a result of SB 577, sponsored by Senator Rick Metsger (D-Welches), which expedited the case that was in a lower court.

“This issue is very important to citizens of the State,” said Metsger. “It is in the best interest of the State to have the Supreme Court issue a decision on whether or not SB 10 violates free speech rights of citizens. Receiving the decision from the Court will allow the Legislature during the February session to act, if necessary, dependent upon the Court’s decision. I am pleased that the Court responded to SB 577 in hearing arguments in such a swift manner. “

Opponents of SB 10 contend that the bill limits the ability of the general public from using their free speech rights to influence public officials. The bill strictly limited the amount of expenditures that could be incurred on behalf of a public official from an individual who has an economic interest in legislative issues. This language has impacted small town mayors, city commissioners, school board members and State legislators among others….” (link to full media release)

4) You can also Google the case.