Government of Oregon

The government of the U.S. state of Oregon, as prescribed by the Oregon Constitution, is composed of three government branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. These branches operate in a manner similar to that of the federal government of the United States. [cite web|title=Constitution or Oregon: Article III|url=|accessdate=2007-08-22]

Oregon also has a system of commissions, wherein private citizens are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate; these commissions have the authority to hire and fire the heads of the agencies they govern, and must confirm changes to the permanent rules governing those agencies. [cite news|title=A Recent History of Oregon's Citizen Boards and Commissions|author=Russell Sadler|date=February 5, 2005|work=West by Northwest|url=]


In 1857, leaders of the Oregon Territory gathered at the Oregon Constitutional Convention and drafted a constitution for Oregon. [ Oregon Blue Book: Constitution of Oregon.] Oregon Secretary of State, accessed October 19, 2007.] On November 9, 1857, Oregon voters approved its first constitution that then became effective upon statehood on February 14, 1859. Since 1859, the constitution has been amended numerous times, including changes to allow for direct legislation by the citizens of the state and the repealing of an exclusion law. The current document contains eighteen sections, beginning with a bill of rights. [ Constitution of Oregon: 2005 Edition.] Oregon Legislature, accessed October 19, 2007.] Oregon’s bill of rights contains most of the rights and privileges granted in the United States Bill of Rights and the main text of the United States Constitution. The remainder of the Oregon Constitution outlines the divisions of power within the state government, times of elections, designating the state capitol, the state boundaries, and the original implementation provisions that included a vote of slavery and the exclusion of African-Americans.

Executive branch

* Governor of Oregon
* Oregon Secretary of State
** Archives Division [ [ Oregon Secretary of State Archives Division ] ]
** Oregon Sustainability Board (The Secretary of State is the board chair)
* Oregon State Treasurer
* Oregon Commissioner of Labor and Industries
* Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction
* Oregon Department of State Lands (governed by the State Land Board, which is composed of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer)
* Oregon Attorney General
** Oregon Department of Justice

Legislative branch

* Oregon Legislative Assembly
** Oregon House of Representatives
** Oregon State Senate

Oregon System

* List of Oregon ballot measures

Judicial branch

Oregon’s judicial branch of government consists of the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) which operates four state run court systems. Two of these courts are primarily trial level courts, while the other two are primarily courts of appeal. The chief executive of the OJD is the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. [ An Introduction to the Courts of Oregon] , Oregon Judicial Department, Accessed on August 25, 2007.]

The Oregon Supreme Court is located in the Oregon Supreme Court Building in Salem. It consist of seven judges that are elected to six year terms in state-wide popular elections, with vacancies filled by appointment by the Governor of Oregon. As the highest court in the state, it is the final authority on state law and its decisions can only be overturned by the United States Supreme Court. The court is headed by the Chief Justice, who is elected to a six year term by fellow justices.

Oregon’s Court of Appeals is an intermediate court of appeals hearing appeals from decisions of both civil and criminal cases decided at the trial court level. This court has ten judges that in most cases sit in three judge panels to determine the outcome of appeals. The judges are also elected state-wide to six-year terms, with vacancies filed by appointment of the governor. The Oregon Supreme Court’s Chief Justice appoints one of the ten judges to serve as Chief Judge, who acts as the head of the Court of Appeals. Appeals from decisions of this court go to the Oregon Supreme Court.

The OJD operates the Oregon Circuit Courts, which are 27 trial level court districts across the state that receive both civil and criminal court cases. As of January 2007, the courts had 173 judges spread over the 27 districts that cover the state’s 36 circuit courts. The majority of appeals from the Circuit Courts go to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Some limited cases go directly to the Oregon Supreme Court if appealed from at the trial court level.

Cases involving issues of taxation are handled primarily through the Oregon Tax Court. This court has two divisions, with the Magistrate Division being an informal process appearing more like alternative dispute resolution. The Regular Division is a formal court headed by a single Tax Court judge elected to six-year terms on a state-wide basis. Appeals from the Magistrate Division go to the Regular Division, and appeals from decisions of this court go directly to the Oregon Supreme Court.

State agencies

* Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization
* Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
* Oregon State Library
* Oregon Liquor Control Commission
* Oregon Lottery
* Oregon Parks and Recreation
** State Fair and Exposition Center
* Oregon State Police
* Oregon Department of Transportation
* Oregon University System
** Oregon State Board of Higher Education


External links

* [ State of Oregon]

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