Open Letter to Oregon District Attorneys

Criminal justice advocates and leaders call upon you to start now on implementing important drug policy reforms.

November 20, 2014 – Although Oregon voters passed Measure 91 with a 12-point margin, implementation of this better, smarter approach to marijuana policy will not be complete until the first half of 2016. We don't have to wait until then to start to mitigate the damage done by decades of criminalization, wasted law enforcement time and squandered taxpayer money.

Prosecutors in Oregon's largest county have already decided to dismiss, and stop prosecuting, marijuana-related offenses that would no longer exist under Measure 91. Other county prosecutors should follow Multnomah County's lead. 

A strong majority of Oregon voters have directed the state to stop treating marijuana as a crime and to better prioritize our limited law enforcement resources. With so many lives and so much money at stake, waiting would be unreasonable and clearly damaging to Oregon's communities. We should work quickly to limit the damage already caused by a feckless war against marijuana.

We urge you to cease enforcement of marijuana laws that will no longer exist when provisions of Measure 91 take effect in July.

READ MORE >>

ACLU Launches Police Watch App in Oregon

“Mobile Justice” app allows Oregonians to record video of police encounters, includes guide to rights
November 6,2014 – The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon today announced the release of a smartphone application that will allow users to take video of police encounters and quickly upload the video to the ACLU. It can also send an alert when a police stop is being recorded by another user nearby and provides helpful legal information about interacting with police.

“Police officers have a unique role and position within our society and they are given extraordinary powers,” said David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “Oregonians have the right to record video of police in public places as a check to those powers.”

Fidanque said that the app, known as “Mobile Justice,” is also being launched simultaneously by ACLU affiliates in Missouri, Mississippi, and Nebraska.  He said it is intended for use by people witnessing a police encounter, not by individuals who are the subject of a police stop. 

READ MORE >>

Oregonians Were Asked the Wrong Question on Driver Cards

Confusing ballot title obscured public safety intent of Measure 88

November 5, 2014 - Measure 88 would have increased public safety in Oregon by ensuring that all drivers who travel our roads have demonstrated safe driving and knowledge of the rules of the road – and can obtain liability insurance. This election has done nothing to eliminate the very real and very urgent need for all drivers to be licensed in our state. 

Our coalition knew from the beginning that this was going to be a very difficult campaign. A confusing and misleading ballot title obscured the public safety and community intent and actual effects of the law. We believe this measure, as it was described on the ballot, skewed voters against the underlying idea that anyone who drives on Oregon’s roads should be licensed, because the ballot title focused on individuals who lack “proof of legal presence in United States” and stirred up fears among many voters who thought it meant that some immigrants would be granted a special privilege.  

The purpose of the driver card law, passed with bipartisan support by Oregon lawmakers and signed by the Governor, was not to grant anyone special privileges, but to increase highway safety by extending the opportunity to obtain driving privileges to all Oregon residents by subjecting them to the same testing, registration and insurance requirements as all other drivers.

READ MORE >>

A Great Day for Seven Americans Formerly on the No-Fly List

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU

An extraordinarily secret government blacklist just got a little bit less secret.

Seven American citizens who were banned by the government from air travel received word yesterday evening that they are cleared to fly. For them, the notice ends a years-long struggle to find out why they were blacklisted and clear their names. As of last night, the seven can finally make plans to visit family, travel for work, and take vacations abroad.

The seven – six men and one women – had been on the government No Fly List, which prevented them from flying to, from, and over U.S. airspace. Even after they were surrounded by TSA agents at the airport and questioned by the FBI, the government refused to officially confirm that they were included on the list. They were also never provided reasons for being banned from air travel, or given a meaningful opportunity to contest the ban. In short, our clients have been locked in a fight to regain their freedoms with virtually no information.

READ MORE >>

Rick Steves: Travel as a Political Act - Ending Marijuana Prohibition in Oregon

Travel guru Rick Steves launches Oregon Tour, October 7 - 12

Rick StevesRick Steves is touring Oregon in support of Vote Yes on 91, the ballot measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults over 21. You probably know him best from his radio and television shows on OPB. He also produces a syndicated column and revises more than 50 guidebooks a year from his hometown of Edmonds, WA.

In “Travel as a Political Act: Ending marijuana prohibition in Oregon,” Steves will share how travel has shown him how different societies tackle the same problems. Steves and the ACLU of Washington co-sponsored Washington’s successful 2012 ballot measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana. “One thing I’ve learned in 30 years of travel is that treating marijuana as a crime does not work,” he said. “A better approach is to regulate it, legalize it and tax it. I’m an advocate for better policy, and that’s what Oregon will get once Measure 91 passes.”

The ACLU of Oregon is an endorser of YES on 91 and is cohosting the Rick Steves tour. As a part of the tour, Steves will be the special guest at our annual membership meeting in Eugene on October 9.

READ MORE >>

Voter ID Laws: What do they accomplish?

Guest blog post by Barbara Gordon-Lickey, a member of the ACLU of Oregon Education Committee.

Ruthelle was born at home in rural Wisconsin in 1927. She has been an elected member of her Village Board since 1996. But she has no accepted form of photo ID and no certified birth certificate.

Amanda used to be able to vote using her student ID card. But in South Carolina, student identification is no longer acceptable.  Adopted in Georgia, Amanda’s name is different from the name on her birth certificate.  Amanda has tried, unsuccessfully, to change the name on her birth certificate.  

READ MORE >>