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Oregon House approves 9 police reform bills

KTVZ file

They now move to Senate; several more bills awaiting hearings

 SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon House on Monday passed nine bills aimed at tackling police reform and holding law enforcement accountable. This slate of legislation was championed by Rep. Janelle Bynum (D- Clackamas) and the Oregon legislature’s BIPOC Caucus. 

"The legislation sets statewide expectations for behavior and character of police, offer training in life safety and community safety, and set Oregon on a new path forward to greater transparency, department management and community inclusion on public safety efforts," according to Oregon House Democrats, whose news release continues below:

The bills also bring together multiple stakeholders to acknowledge past harms, protect the rights of Oregonians to speak and assemble freely, and lay the foundation for local and county officials to move more nimbly in addressing internal reforms.

“Today is about public safety and creating a culture of accountability for law enforcement, who at the end of the day, are public servants,” said Bynum. “While these bills by themselves will not end bias in policing, they are a strong step forward. Through this legislation we will save lives and keep police accountable to themselves and to the communities they serve.”

Additional bills are being considered and are awaiting hearings in House Ways and Means, including HB 2930, HB 2932, HB 2928, HB 3145, and HB 2162. Future bills for consideration will include qualified immunity and law enforcement management accountability.

The police reform package passed Monday included the following bills:

·          House Bill 3164 A: Limits the circumstances under which a person could be charged with interfering with an officer. The bill aims to prevent unjustifiable arrests for all Oregonians, but especially BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness who are disproportionately impacted. The bill, brought to the floor at the request of the ACLU, will also protect reporters who are simply trying to do their job. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 2513 A: Requires police officers to not only be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), but also receive training on airway and circulatory anatomy and physiology as well, and to immediately contact emergency medical services if a restrained person is suffering a respiratory or cardiac compromise. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 2929 A: Strengthens police misconduct reporting requirements for police by requiring officers who witness misconduct or minimum standard violations to report the violation within 72 hours to a direct supervisor, a superior officer in the reporting officer’s chain of command, or the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). (More details available here)

·         House Bill 2936 A: Affirms anti-racist values for law enforcement, adding social media policies and standardizing background checks. Requires DPSST to create a statewide uniform background check for law enforcement units to implement during hiring processes. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 2986: Supports training police to investigate, identify and report crimes motivated by prejudice based on gender. Specifically, the bill requires the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training to ensure that police officers and certified reserve officers are trained to investigate, identify and report crimes motivated by the perceived gender of victim. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 3047 A: Anti-doxing legislation that creates cause to sue for damages if a person’s information is released without their consent, and results or could result in stalking, harassment, or injury. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 3273 A: Protects Oregonians’ privacy. Upon request, publish-for-pay sites would have 30 days to remove or destroy a booking photo, and could charge no more than $50 for the service. Additionally, HB 3273 A limits the circumstances under which law enforcement agencies can release booking photos. The photo can still be released to other law enforcement entities and can be distributed for the purposes of locating a fugitive or suspect. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 3355 A: Creates transparency by specifying what identification must be on a law enforcement officer’s uniform and gear during crowd management situations, such as protests. The bill, which applies to cities with populations over 150,000, also prohibits officers from intentionally obscuring their name or identification number to a member of the public upon request. (More details available here)

·         House Bill 3059: Keeps police from abusing powers by providing more clarity in how to manage “unlawful assemblies.” Gives bureaus more flexibility to not arrest non-violent protestors when an “unlawful assembly” is declared. (More details available here)

This work could not have been possible without the hard work of members on the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform, which included Co-Chairs Janelle Bynum and Sen. James Manning, Sen. Lew Frederick, Sen. Bill Hansell, Sen. Dallas Heard, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Sen. Kathleen Taylor, Sen. Kim Thatcher, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence, Rep. Rick Lewis and Rep. Ron Noble. This also includes members of the House Subcommittee on Equitable Policing: Chair Janelle Bynum, Vice-Chair Ron Noble, Rep. Maxine Dexter, Rep. Rick Lewis, and Rep. Marty Wilde.

These bills were also debated and worked on by the House Committee on Judiciary, which is chaired by Rep. Bynum, vice-chaired by Reps. Noble and Karin Power, and includes Rep. Maxine Dexter, Rep. Ken Helm, Rep. Jason Kropf, Rep. Lewis, Rep. Wilde, Rep. Kim Wallan, and Rep. Lily Morgan.

Rep. Bynum is grateful for the contributions of participants in hearings that included community members, academics, former and current law enforcement, leaders in civilian oversight of law enforcement, mental health professionals, district attorneys, judges, state legislators from other states, the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, labor organizations and attorneys, human rights groups, medical professionals, community organizations, the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, National Organization of Black Police Executives (NOBLE), Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission, and journalists.

Other invaluable organizations who helped to shape these policies include the NAACP (Portland, Salem/Keizer, Corvallis/Albany, Eugene/Springfield branches), Pacific Northwest Family Circle, Urban League of Portland, Don’t Shoot PDX, Reimagine Oregon, Oregon Justice Resource Center, ACLU of Oregon, CAIR-Oregon, Real Police Accountability PAC, Portland Forward, and members of the public.

All nine of these bills now move to the Senate for consideration.

News release from the Oregon House Republican Caucus:

House Republicans support public safety community with passage of bipartisan bills

Several bills reflect contributions from public safety stakeholders to uphold Oregon’s high standards

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House of Representatives today approved several bills that contain measures to strengthen aspects of public safety in the state.

Work on legislation to address accountability and transparency in public safety began with the first special session in 2020, and continued in each subsequent special session, culminating in the proposals that passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support and were approved by a majority of lawmakers today.

Events in 2020 put a tremendous strain on Oregon police and sheriff departments as they deftly navigated the challenge of upholding the public’s right to demonstrate, while protecting the safety and security of communities that experienced routine cases of vandalism.

These new measures expand on Oregon’s history of requiring additional hours of training and programs that promote the philosophy of community policing that go far beyond what other states currently have in place.

“I am thankful for our public safety community and their contributions to these measures,” said House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby.) “In Oregon, we already hold our officers to the highest standards. These measures expand on this expectation to ensure that we have the finest public safety standards in the nation that produce fair and equitable law enforcement to keep all Oregonians safe.”

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