Distinguished chairs, honorable members of the committee;
My name is Sal Peralta. I am here today to testify in opposition to House Bill 2442 on behalf of the Independent Party of Oregon.
This bill is so clearly unconstitutional that I wasn’t sure how seriously to take it. One of our members actually thought it was a prank. I like the tact that the Albany Democrat-Herald took in today’s editorial opposing this bill, that:
The sponsors of this little bit of nonsense seem to have gone to the “Alice in Wonderland Institute of Politics,” where they teach you to change reality by changing what things are called.
Or perhaps they learned how to neutralize their opponents at the Joe Stalin Graduate School of Political Maneuvering. Don’t like what the party does? Just ban its name.
But when a legislator or a group of legislators holds a proverbial gun to your head and tells you to do something, I think the best approach is to take it seriously. So here goes…
We have received written testimony in opposition to this bill from former Secretaries of State Norma Paulus and Phil Keisling. I quote in part from their testimony:
We are aware of no legal precedent in any jurisdiction in the United States that would allow a legislature to ban the use of a word in the name of a political party, and are highly skeptical that the Oregon Constitution, with its broad protections for free speech, would permit such an intrusion on the association and speech rights of a duly constituted political party. Pass this bill -- or even treat it semi-seriously -- and what's next? Bills to ban the word "republican" or "democratic" from other parties because one party in power feels threatened?
This bill is cynical, political mischief of the worst, most juvenile kind -- worthy of being thrown on the legislative scrap heap, so this body can get down to the important business at hand.