Posted by Tom on November 22, 1999 at 12:47:56:
In todays Oregonian Metro section 11/22/99
A proposal for the 2000 ballot calls for sanctions on Oregon Business
that commit human rights violations in any country.
Paul VanDevelder a Corvallis filmaker is spearheading a new statewide human rights Initiative
that is the first of it's kind in the nation.
VanDevelder says the commission is needed to make sure Oregon puts "People over profits."
If this is successful it could lead to sanctions against Oregon companies and individuals
if they are judged responsible for human rights violation anywhere in the world.
But not everyone is so enarmoured of this Idea.
Jack Roberts the state commissioner of Labor and Industries said "it actually reads like something out of the French Revolution".
Roberts said the concept of a powerful commission set-up to enforce a Vague set of rights is frightening, unenforcable and most likely
unconstitutional. You can't punish people here foractions committed elsewhere.
"My opinion, Now we know why BOLI is so Weak."
VanDevelder and Peter Sorenson a former Demorcratic State Senator who is now a lane county commissioner are the chief petitioners on this Initiative.
Their Group, By th People@OR must collect 66,786 signatures to put this measure on the 2000 ballot.
The seven member human rights commission would be appointed by the Governor and would investigate complaints from Oregon residents.
The list of human rights, VanDevelder said is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
in 1948 and ratified by the U.S government. This commission give the Initiative "Teeth" ensuring that the principles are enforced.
The provisions that Roberts called Alarming include statements such as.
All people have the right to Social security and the right to health care for themselves and their families.
All people have the right to "Working conditions that protect health and promote human diginity.
Opposition is emerging from some business and conservative circles. Steve Bokat, an attorney for the U.S Chamber of Commerce, said the measure
is unconstitutional, It deals with issues already covered by federal law. "it would be struck down so fast it would make their heads spin," Bokat said.
Bill Sizemore, excutive director of Oregon Taxpayers United and Rep Kevin Mannix, R-Salem have appealed the Initiative's ballot title to the Oregon Supreme
Court, arguing that the Initiative declares rights that already exist under state and federal law.
Of course Mannix and Sizemore would get involved with this Initiative, They have proven time and time again that people in Oregon shouldn't have workplace rights
or the ability to enforce them.
Roberts is afraid for his job. Of all of the State agency's that should have teeth it is BOLI, and OSHA, But because of past legislative blunders these two state agency's
have had their teeth pulled to protect the current "Business Cilmate" and have made this a anti-worker-citizen state.
The Bureau of labor and Industries and Oregons OSHA are so underfunded and understaffed that it will take years to investigate all of the civil rights and workplace
violations in Oregon Because Oregons economy is in great shape and the legislature and The current Oregon business lobby have made sure of This.
I am sure that this Initiative will be the source of debate in Oregon.
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