Hill to Hall April 20–24

April 20: U.S. Supreme Court rules non-unanimous jury verdicts banned in Oregon


Non-unanimous jury verdicts were banned in Oregon—the only state left that allowed them—due to a United States Supreme Court ruling on April 20, according to AP News. According to The Oregonian, defense lawyers in Oregon have hundreds of cases with non-unanimous verdicts pending appeal. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum stated, “It is an embarrassment to our otherwise progressive state that we are the only state in the country with a law in our constitution that allows criminal convictions without juror unanimity,” according to The Register-Guard. Legal scholars agree non-unanimous jury laws, such as the one in Oregon, were motivated by racial and religious bigotry, according to OPB.

April 22: Portland city auditor’s office rules Mayor Ted Wheeler violated campaign finance rules


The Portland City Auditor’s Office ruled on April 22 Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler violated city election rules by not disclosing his top campaign donors, according to AP News. According to OPB, the new campaign finance rules, which were adopted in September, require campaigns to disclose its biggest donors and industry alignments on its campaign website. Ronald Buel, a member of the political action committee Honest Elections Oregon, filed a complaint about the lack of disclosures in March, according to The Register-Guard. Wheeler campaign manager Amy Rathfelder previously responded to the complaint, claiming the mayor had complied with election law by placing “Paid for by Friends of Ted Wheeler” on all communication to voters, according to The Oregonian


April 23: Healthcare providers can resume non-emergency procedures May 1, according to Governor Brown


AP News reported healthcare providers in Oregon will be allowed to resume non-urgent procedures on May 1, after Governor Kate Brown announced the state will receive “extremely large shipments” of personal protective equipment (PPE). Healthcare providers must meet certain guidelines to resume the procedures; they must have adequate PPE, follow CDC guidelines, decrease their caseload to maintain social distancing and follow other precautions, according to KATU. Brown emphasized the move was cautious, according to OPB. “We are only stepping onto the ice carefully and cautiously,” Brown said. “One step at a time.” 


April 23: Oregon Supreme Court rules campaign contribution limits are legal


The Oregon Supreme Court ruled on April 23 campaign contribution limits did not violate the state constitution, upholding Multnomah County’s $500 limit on campaign donations, according to AP News. The ruling sent the case to a lower court to determine if Multnomah County’s limits were too low while rolling back Oregon’s permissive campaign finance laws, according to The Oregonian. The ruling will now allow campaign contribution limits to go into effect across the state, according to OPB