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Initiative supporters make a new push to repeal driver's license law

'We were kind of at a point where we could either fight it in court, which would cost a lot of money, or revise and re-file as a new initiative petition, which we did.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Supporters of an initiative petition to repeal a law that would give Oregon driver's licenses to people who could be in the country illegally are making a new push after the secretary of state bounced their original petition.After hitting a legal roadblock, backers of an initiative to undo a new state law that allows undocumented immigrants to get Oregon driver's licenses filed a new petition Friday, Oct. 25.

Their goal hit a snag after the Secretary of State Bev Clarno said the original petition that supporters submitted didn't comply with the state constitution. The supporters' first petition asked voters to simply repeal House Bill 2015, which Clarno said was inadequate. Clarno said the petitioners needed to show how the law specifically would be changed to reflect a repeal. The legislation, passed earlier this year, affected several aspects of state law.

PMG/EO MEDIA/SROregon drivers have had prove their legal residence to get a driver's license since 2007. House Bill 2015 allowed Oregonians to use forms of identification that don't establish status to get a license starting Jan. 1, 2021. The new petition includes both the current and a revised version of four sections of state law affected by House Bill 2015.

In mid-October, one of the petition's backers, perennial political candidate Mark Callahan of Oregon City, had said that his petition campaign would fight Clarno's interpretation. Reached Monday, Oct. 28, Callahan said he and the other chief petitioner, Angela Roman of Brooks, decided to revise and re-file a new petition instead, modifying it in ways to address Clarno's concerns.

"We were kind of at a point where we could either fight it in court, which would cost a lot of money, or revise and re-file as a new initiative petition, which we did," Callahan said.

Because they have filed a new, separate petition altogether, the campaign will have to gather an initial round of 1,000 signatures — called sponsorship signatures — again. Callahan said they are already at work gathering those signatures.

Reporter Claire Withycombe: cwithycombe@eomediagroup.com or 971-304-4148.