A ballot measure supporting tougher prison sentences got big support from Oregon voters, but implementing it will comes with a price tag, The Oregonian reports. Kevin Mannix, author of Measure 73, didn’t mount a wide campaign for the measure but said the result shows voters place a high value on public safety even during an economic crisis.
Measure 73 got 57 percent of votes. Enforcing the stiffer penalties for drunken drivers and sex offenders could require up to 600 additional prison beds. While state estimates show that costs could increase from $18 million to $30 million annually over five years, it’s possible the legislature could put off the financial hit. Last year, legislators delayed the implementation of Measure 57, a 2008 anti-crime proposal that increases prison terms for people convicted of certain drug and property crimes, citing a budget crisis. Voters soundly a citizen-backed initiative that would have created medical marijuana dispensaries.