Special report by Sinnamon Harris
On Monday morning, August 6, 2012, the
Citizens’ Initiative Review Commission (CIRC) kicked-off the first initiative panel review. Panelists traveled from across the state to congregate at the Salem Conference Center. Panelists had been culled from an intricate but random process developed by the Oregon Healthy Democracy to insure a microcosm of Oregon was represented.
Marion Sharp, one of the first CIRC Commissioners and a former panelist for the 2010 CIR pilot program, welcomed the Oregon panelists and shared some of her experiences. She spoke about the satisfaction of seeing the hard work come to its fruition with publication in the Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet and the “deep thinking” that went into those few 220 words.
Sharp told the panelists that they are involved in the historical event of becoming the first initiative review panel convened by the newly minted CIRC. She explained that the CIRC is charged by the 2011 Legislature with overseeing the initiative review process. Sharp also explained that the two initiatives to be reviewed were chosen, in part, by the commission because of the initiative’s potential fiscal impact on Oregonians and because the initiatives amend the Oregon Constitution.
Sharp concluded her words by assuring the panelists that they were in for an “incredible experience” and to be sure to, as she quoted from past moderators, “stay in learning mode” in order to be a more effective panelist.
In closing Sharp told the panelists, “Welcome to an amazing experience!”