Friday, August 26, 2011

Housekeeping: Oregon Presidential Primary Staying Put

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The Oregon legislature adjourned for the year -- with the exception of a few meetings here and there -- back on June 30. One bill that was left in committee upon adjournment was the bill introduced way back in January to move the Beaver state primaries from May to June.1 FHQ discussed in detail the ramifications of the move in March around the time that the House Committee on Rules held a hearing to consider the bill.

But that hearing was the last that was ever heard of this bill. It was stuck in the rules committee and remained so through the adjournment of the legislature at the end of June. Indeed, support for the bill was mixed at best when it was discussed at length in the legislative committee hearing.

As such, FHQ is making the executive decision to move Oregon out of the "active" bills to move presidential primaries category and solidly onto the May 15 date for its primary next year. There is nothing FHQ could find in the guidelines of the Oregon legislative process to indicate that bills officially die in committee upon adjournment. However, the Oregon Department of Energy report on energy-related bills introduced and considered during the 2011 session counts bills left in committee as failed bills. That slight evidence plus the fact that the bill never really garnered much support in the first place is the reason for the shift.

Similar arguments could be made about the legislation to move the presidential primaries in both Massachusetts and North Carolina. But those cases are slightly different. Massachusetts has a year-round session, so the legislation there -- though there is little evidence to suggest that a move to June is imminent much less supported -- is still alive. And Massachusetts did not move its primary to February 2008 until late in the year in 2007. In North Carolina, the session has adjourned, but there is at least some talk about the legislature considering elections-related legislation in its September 12 session date. That does not, however, include S440 to FHQ's knowledge.

Oregon, then, will be shifted, but North Carolina and Massachusetts will remain technically, though not probably in reality, active.

1 The state of Oregon holds its presidential primary and the primaries for state and local offices in presidential election years on the third Tuesday in May.

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