The Oregon legislature has made it clear the public has the right to openly record police by passing HB 2704. The bill was signed into law by the governor!
June 16, 2015 - Bystander video of police encounters can be very powerful, as recent events have shown. We can all agree it should not be a crime to pull out a phone, hold it up, and record an officer who is engaged in misconduct. However, under the current Oregon law, it is a crime to record a conversation without "specifically informing" the parties to the conversation. The problem is obvious — it may not always be safe or reasonable to provide a warning; for example, when the officer is engaged in misconduct or if the officer is dealing with a dangerous situation. Now that it has been signed into law, the right to openly record police is protected in Oregon.
Over 1,700 ACLU supporters took action on this issue by contacting their legislators in Salem. Together, our voices were heard! Thank you to everyone who took a stand for the right to film police in Oregon.
Seeking to expand the “sit-lie ordinance” in Portland, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) introduced HB 2963. The bill would have overturned the decision in the 2009 Multnomah County case State v. Perkins where the judge said that the Portland ordinance that regulated when people could be on the sidewalk was preempted by state law and therefore was unconstitutional.
For years, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) and founders the Phelps family have picketed outside funerals, holding signs displaying often hateful homophobic messages. HB 3241 was introduced in the 2011 session to target these activities but, at the ACLU’s urging to reject the measure so clearly in violation of both the free expression provision of the Oregon Constitution (Article I, section 8) and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the bill failed. The concept came back in this short session and, though more limited than it had been before, was still motivated by the desire to respond to the offensive and abhorrent speech activities, albeit religiously motivated speech, of the WBC.
In response to the nationwide publicity surrounding the Phelps family that operates the Westboro Baptist Church and their controversial demonstrations outside the funerals of fallen service members, HB 3241 was introduced.
The perennial attempt to weaken the Oregon Constitution’s free expression provision (Article I, section 8) to allow local governments to restrict nude dancing once again was introduced this session with constitutional amendments in both the Senate (SJR 28) and the House (HJR 35).
Introduced by Rep. Andy Olson (R-Albany), HJR 34 was a constitutional amendment to add language to Article I, section 8, allowing the legislature to enact laws regulating the furnishing of sexually explicit material to minors “consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”
As noted in the article on HJR 34, the ACLU challenged portions of the 2007 laws that made it a crime to provide sexually explicit material to minors inPowell’s Books v. Kroger. Because the 9th Circuit held one law unconstitutional and a portion of another law unconstitutional, we looked for an opportunity to repeal those unconstitutional provisions.
The ACLU opposed SB 392, which extends a special exemption to the public records law for the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). This law allows OHSU to redact the names and home addresses of those involved in animal research.