Towers v. Rosenblum

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 09-12-2013
  • Case #: S061292
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.

When creating a ballot title that has the effect, if adopted by the voters, of creating "free riders" the ballot title caption must identify the actual major effect.

Towers sought review of a ballot title for Initiative 9 (2014). Initiative Petition 9 was designed to amend provisions of the Oregon Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act to prohibit the collection of dues from employees who choose not to participate in a labor organization. Petitioner argued that the effect of the measure permits "free riders", individuals who enjoy the benefits of representation by the labor organization without having to pay for it. Based on this effect, Towers argued that prior case law requires that the free-rider effect be clearly identified. In response, the Attorney General argued that because the ballot title identifies the "subject matter" of the measure, it complies with statutory requirements. The Court held that the caption, result statements, and summary of the certified title were deficient because it failed to meet the requirements of prior controlling case law by not identifying the free rider effect. The Court referred the certified title back to the Attorney General for modification.

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