By Hillary Borrud

The Oregonian

Voters will get to weigh in this November on an initiative that would ban all taxes on food in Oregon.

The Secretary of State’s Office announced Monday that supporters of Initiative Petition 37 submitted more than 121,000 valid signatures, several thousand more than needed. The signature-gathering effort was largely paid for by grocery companies, which had poured more than $2 million into the campaign as of a month ago.

Two years ago, grocers were among the largest contributors to the campaign that defeated the corporate tax initiative Measure 97. Some of the criticisms of the measure were that it would disproportionately hit the low-margin grocery business and drive up costs as the tax multiplied across the supply chain.

The union-backed group behind Measure 97, Our Oregon, has raised concerns that the food tax ban might be too broad and perhaps even prevent the state from changing other taxes such as the bottle deposit.

The news comes nearly three weeks before the July 6 deadline for initiative campaigns to submit enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Gun storage initiative

Also Monday, the Oregon Supreme Court certified the ballot title for an initiative that would require gun owners to store their weapons with trigger locks, cables or in a locked container.

Supporters of the proposal now must gather the more than 88,000 signatures they must submit by July 6 to qualify for the ballot.

In addition to regulating gun storage, Initiative Petition 44 would require firearm owners to supervise children using guns and report lost or stolen firearms to the police within 24 hours.

Anyone who ignored the storage requirements would be liable for injuries caused with the weapons, unless the injury resulted from self-defense or defense of another person.

Relatives of two people killed in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting are among the chief petitioners.

The court issued its ballot title decision before hearing from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights and hunting groups. They had appealed Thursday for the court to change the ballot title written by a lawyer in the office of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

The Supreme Court is still considering whether to change the ballot title for another gun control proposal, Initiative Petition 43. Members of the same gun rights and hunting groups had earlier appealed for the court to modify the attorney general’s title for that initiative, which would ban the sales and manufacture of a broad range of semi-automatic firearms and high capacity magazines in Oregon and would require current owners of the weapons to pass a criminal background check and register with the state to keep their firearms.