Oregon House OKs adding impeachment process

Oregon only state without one; voters would decide

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon House on Wednesday approved House Joint Resolution 10, a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution that would establish a process for the impeachment of statewide elected executive branch officials by the Legislature, under certain circumstances. Oregon is the only state in the nation that does not have a mechanism for executive impeachment.

“I think most Oregonians would be surprised to learn that our state does not have a mechanism for executive branch impeachment already in place,” said Rep. Jodi Hack, R-Salem, who authored the measure. “In fact, Oregon continues to be the only state in the nation without this kind of protection against executive branch misconduct. I am of course hopeful that we would never need to pursue an impeachment proceeding, but we should not pretend that Oregon is immune to potential political scandals.”

HJR 10 would allow the Oregon House of Representatives, upon a three-fifths majority vote, to impeach statewide executive branch officeholders on the grounds of malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty or other high crimes or misdemeanors.

Should the House pass an impeachment resolution, the effort would then proceed to the Senate for trial, where a conviction would require a two-thirds majority vote in order convict. HJR 10 mirrors a similar proposal introduced during the 2015 legislative session, which stalled in the Senate after passing the House with broad bipartisan support.

“As I have said since I originally introduced this concept in 2015, this resolution is not intended to create a new weapon for partisan politics, but rather a tool for holding our executive branch accountability when necessary,” Hack said. “Let’s do right by the people of Oregon, pass HJR 10 out of the Legislature, and give Oregonians an opportunity to weigh in on this discussion.”

In addition to Hack, HR 10 is chief sponsored by House Republican Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, and House Democratic Leader Jennifer Williamson. The resolution also enjoys the support of a bipartisan group of regular sponsors, supporters said.

Having passed the House by a vote of 51-6, HJR 10 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. Should the Senate also approve the resolution, it would then be referred to the 2018 general election ballot for voter approval.

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