Ballot Measure Signatures Submitted for Early Count

Tax activist Bill Sizemore had his hand in three of the five statewide initiative petitions submitted Friday for early-signature verification. Each stands a good chance of getting on the November ballot.

Four years ago, a Portland judge slapped a $2.5 million judgment against Sizemore for racketeering in initiative campaigns and barred him from dispensing money from political committees until he pays it, now more than $3.5 million with attorney fees.

But Friday he filed an initiative barring insurance companies from using customer credit ratings to set rates.

He also acknowledged introducing two of the other five measures using surrogate sponsors.

One would cut individuals’ state income taxes by letting Oregonians use a version of federal exemptions on state tax returns. the other would require regional election of Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges.

Sizemore said he brought in Russ Walker, Oregon leader of the group FreedomWorks, to lead those two initiative campaigns.

“It’s Russ’s baby now,” Sizemore said.

Nevada multimillionaire Loren Parks provided most of the money spent getting signatures for all three measures.

Parks, owner of an Aloha medical electronics company, also provided a majority of the cash for Kevin Mannix’s unsuccessful bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

The fourth measure submitted would bar governments from condemning property on behalf of private owners, sponsored by Oregonians in Action, a property rights group.

The fifth measure, submitted by unions, would require large corporations to divulge the share of taxes and expenses attributed to their Oregon operations.

That would uncover companies paying only the minimum $10 in corporate income taxes, said Patty Wentz, spokeswoman for Our Oregon, a primarily labor-funded coalition.

Fifteen other initiatives aimed for the November ballot have been approved for signature-gathering. The deadline is July 7.

Each of the five that turned in signatures Friday has more than enough to make the ballot if enough of the signatures are determined to be valid.

They have six weeks to gather more if they have to.

The state Elections Division will test a sample of the signatures and tell sponsors how many of the total are likely to be valid.

Signature gatherers must get 100,840 valid signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment and 75,630 to change state law.

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