May 16, 2013 - Today the Oregon Legislature took final action on HB 2654, sending the bill to the Governor with strong bipartisan support. The Legislature’s approval of this bill signals to Oregonians that policy makers value online privacy and that we should not have to give up our rights to privacy as many of our social interactions move online.
HB 2654 takes a stand against practices we have seen in other states where a growing number of employers are demanding that job applicants and employees hand over the passwords to their private social networking accounts such as Facebook. Such demands constitute a clear invasion of privacy. Private activities that would never be intruded upon offline should not receive less privacy protection simply because they take place online.
May 7, 2013 - ACLU supports the proposals in HB 3194 because we believe they have the potential to limit the growth incarceration in Oregon without sacrificing public safety and allow for reinvestment of prison savings into proven community justice alternatives that can lower recidivism rates.
The Oregon Legislature is considering recommendations, in HB 3194, to bring changes to parts of the state’s criminal sentencing scheme. Over the past 20 years, the number of people incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons has risen steadily and, therefore, so has the need for additional prisons, staff and other resources to maintain the state’s inmate population.
May 1, 2013 - Today, as part of a May Day Rally on the Capitol steps, Governor Kitzhaber signed into law a bill to restore access to driver licenses for immigrants in Oregon. The ACLU of Oregon applauds the Legislature and the Governor for this important step forward.
Since 2007, when then Governor Ted Kulongoski signed an Executive Order to require proof of lawful presence as a condition of receiving a driver license, thousands of people in Oregon have been faced with the terrible choice between not driving to school, work, and medical appointments, or driving unlicensed with an ever-present fear of being pulled over. With the harmful and ongoing entanglement between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement, a routine traffic stop could lead to deportation proceedings, making this choice for unlicensed Oregonians even more high-stakes.
April 16, 2013 - Lake Oswego City Council is set to vote on a proposal to join the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) this evening, without discussion. The ACLU is urging the Council to postpone the vote until more details on the agreement between local law enforcement and the FBI can be reviewed.
UPDATE: April 17, 2013 - The Lake Oswego City Council voted unanimously to join the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
The efforts to improve communication and cooperation among law enforcement agencies, including between the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies, is important. As yesterday’s events in Boston have once again illustrated, such cooperation can be essential to protect public safety. However, the FBI and other federal agencies operate under very different laws and policies than state and local police agencies are required to follow here in Oregon.
Unfortunately, the FBI’s standard agreement for participation by local agencies in their Joint Terrorism Task Forces does not make any accommodation for those different standards and requirements. Indeed, that standard agreement makes it extremely likely that local police officers, once deputized as members of the FBI JTTF, will engage in activities that violate the important protections and safeguards of Oregon law and the Oregon Constitution.
Update: April 22, 2013 - HB 3014 passed the House (42-16). It now goes to the Senate.
April 8, 2013 – In Oregon, schools districts are required to give students the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance once a week. HB 3014 would expand the requirement to at least once a day and also require each classroom to display the United States flag. The ACLU opposes HB 3014 since it would heighten existing concerns about the free expression and religious freedom implications of the current law. We believe the current law is flawed, not only because of the requirement that public schools provide students with the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a weekly basis, but that it also requires the “One Nation under God” version in the state law.
A federal judge has granted the ACLU’s motion to intervene in an Oregon case that raises the question of whether the Fourth Amendment allows Drug Enforcement Administration agents to obtain confidential prescription records without a judge’s prior approval. (We’ve previously written about the case here).
Like most states, Oregon operates a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which tracks prescriptions for certain drugs dispensed in the state. As one of the chief sponsors of the legislation creating the PDMP recently explained, the program is intended to be a public health tool to help physicians and pharmacists prevent drug overdoses and abuse by their patients. It was not created for use by law enforcement. Recognizing that records of a person’s prescriptions can reveal private information about their underlying medical conditions, the Oregon legislature instituted robust privacy protections, including a requirement that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before requesting records for use in an investigation.