The Oregon Legislature’s budget committee, on a party-line vote Friday with multiple political implications, cleared a bill providing for automatic voter registration upon obtaining or renewing a driver’s license. The bill is a top priority for Secretary of State Kate Brown, who is next in line of succession if Gov. John Kitzhaber resigns amid influence-peddling allegations against him and first lady Cylvia Hayes. A couple of hours after the committee vote, Kitzhaber announced his resignation, effective Feb. 18, when Brown will be sworn in as Oregon’s 38th governor. House Bill 2177 went to a vote of the full House with all committee Democrats for it and all Republicans against it. A similar bill failed on a tie vote in the Senate after the House passed it in 2013.
Democrats, however, have slightly larger majorities in both chambers this session, and Republicans acknowledged privately they lacked the votes to stop the bill.
“Let’s call it for what it is: This is a bill to elect more Democrats,” says Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons. Girod also says that the bill “came from the person who will be our next governor.”
Brown would be governor until the 2016 general election, when voters would elect someone to complete the remaining two years of the term that Kitzhaber started on Jan. 12.
Full Article: Automatic voter registration is cleared for House vote.