An Oregon judge ruled that ballot measure 7, which Oregon voters passed last November, is unconstitutional. The measure itself is a constitutional amendment requiring state or local governments to compensate property owners when regulations reduce the value of property.
The measure was ruled unconstitutional on technical grounds. Oregon's constitution requires that separate measures must be voted on separately. Past court rulings have held that separate provisions can be voted on together only if support for one implies support for the others.
Measure 7 refines the process for compensation for takings of property, creates a process for compensation for restrictions on property use, and exempts liquor stores, adult bookstores, and casinos from the law. "Many voters might vote for any one of these individual provisions," said Judge Paul Lipscomb, "but no one of these provisions 'necessarily implies' support for any of the others."
Supporters of the measure plan to appeal the ruling, saying that if the ruling stands it would impossible to write any law or ballot measure that meets the separate votes test.
Judge Lipscomb is a long-time supporter of Oregon's land-use planning process and was widely expected to make this ruling. If the measure's supporters place another measure on the ballot that meets the judge's requirements, however, Oregon voters are likely to pass it.
Aware of this possibility, Governor John Kitzhaber -- also a supporter of land-use planning -- says he will work with Republicans in the legislature to see if the legislature can place a measure on the ballot that satisfies measure 7 supporters and the constitution.
More information is available from the Oregonian.