Oregon voters will choose Nov. 4 between rival ballot measures that would lock up drug dealers, burglars, and identity thieves, reports The Oregonian. One measure, approved by the legislature last Friday, is a less costly alternative to an initiative sponsored by Republican activist Kevin Mannix, who wants to impose mandatory prison sentences for first-time drug and property offenders. Sen. Floyd Prozanski said the legislative measure targets repeat criminals while allowing first-time offenders to enter drug treatment. He said the legislative proposal was fiscally responsible and more effective because it attacked drug addiction, which often fuels property crime.
Mannix said, “It will be important for voters to understand that the legislative referral is more foo foo than substance. The corner meth dealer and the heroin dealer in the alley and cocaine dealer in the back room will continue to get probation.” The vote sets the table for a ballot debate with little precedent in Oregon. Instead of the typical yes-or-no choice, voters will choose between two crime-fighting approaches that differ in philosophy, severity, and cost.