By ACLU of Oregon Policy Director Kimberly McCullough

2017 was an incredibly successful year at the Oregon legislature. Most of our high-priority bills passed, many with bipartisan support, and an incredible number of bills we supported also made it across the finish line. We suffered no major defeats, as we were able to kill or obtain amendments to numerous bills that posed a threat civil rights and civil liberties.

We appreciate the Oregon Legislature’s willingness to stand up for our rights on so many crucial issues, considering the intensity of recent attacks at the federal level. We are incredibly grateful for our numerous allies in this work, as our victories are almost always the result of partnerships, collaboration, and coalitions. We are also deeply humbled and proud of how many ACLU of Oregon members offered their support at our Lobby Day and through our various calls to action during the session. In total, our members made our voice strong through over 20,000 emails, letters, and legislator visits!

This report includes information about our highest priority bills and bills we supported and opposed with legislative testimony and other forms of lobbying. This report is not exhaustive. It does not include information about each and every one of the hundreds of bills we tracked or talked to legislators about during session. However, it does cover the bulk of our work.

For each of the bills listed below, we have provided links to written materials we submitted to legislative committees and the House and Senate chambers.

For most of these bills, we also provided oral testimony at committee hearings. You can view the hearings on the Oregon Legislative Information website page for each bill (each bill number below is a hyperlink to the webpage for that bill).We also prepared a legislative report card for the 2017 legislative session, to help our members understand where their legislative representatives stood on a sampling of our highest priority bills. You can view the report card here.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE & ELECTIONS

National Popular Vote (HB 2927, SB 825):

We supported legislation that would have enacted the Interstate Compact for Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote. The Interstate Compact provides that election officials in participating states will award their Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This would further the principle of one person, one vote, by ensuring that each voter in every state has an equal impact on the outcome of the Presidential Election.

Several bills were introduced to enact the Interstate Compact. We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules and a floor letter to the House chamber supporting HB 2927, and written testimony to the Senate Committee on Rules supporting HB 2927 and expressing concerns about SB 825.

HB 2927 passed the House chamber, but the bill died in the Senate Committee on Rules. SB 825 died in the Senate Committee on Rules.

Small Donor Matching Elections (HB 2578):

We supported a bill that would have established a small donor funded elections program to enable candidates for state office to receive a 6-to-1 match on small dollar donations. Public financing of candidate election campaigns promotes healthy democracy by reducing the financial barriers to running for elected office and countering the influence of wealthy special interests in elections. Public campaign financing also enhances the accountability of public officials to voters, as they are less obliged to the interests of high-dollar contributors.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules supporting HB 2578.

HB 2578 passed out of the House Committee on Rules, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

CIVIL RIGHTS

VICTORY! Nondiscrimination by Government Contractors (HB 3060):

We supported a successful bill prohibiting state agencies from contracting with entities who have not taken reasonable steps to prevent workplace discrimination, including the adoption of policies and practices to prevent sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination. Every Oregonian deserves to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassment, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

We endorsed written testimony submitted to the House Committee on Business and Labor, a floor letter submitted to the House chamber, written testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Workforce, and a floor letter submitted to the Senate chamber supporting HB 3060.

HB 3060 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

DISABILITY RIGHTS

Rights for Protected Persons (SB 501, SB 502, SB 503):

Guardianship is a legal proceeding that strips an individual with disabilities (a “protected person”) of multiple or all rights recognized as fundamental by the Supreme Court. We supported multiple bills that would have strengthened the civil rights and liberties of people with disabilities in guardianship proceedings. SB 501 would have required a court to appoint legal counsel for a protected person upon request, if the court deems it appropriate, or if recommended by a court visitor. SB 502 would have required a court to appoint legal counsel for a protected person and hold a hearing before appointing a public guardian. SB 503 would have created uniform visitor policies to ensure that court visitors have the proper training and background to advocate for protective persons.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting all three bills.

SB 501 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary. SB 502 and SB 503 passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. Fortunately, however, another bill strengthening the rights of protected persons (HB 2630) in guardianship proceedings did pass both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

VICTORY! Grand Jury Recording (SB 496, SB 505):

After over 30 years supporting failed attempts to change the law, SB 505 will finally require recording of all grand jury proceedings in Oregon. Grand juries are run by district attorneys behind closed doors with no judge or defense counsel present. Recording will ensure grand juries serve their intended role of checking prosecutorial power and helping to eliminate prosecutorial misconduct in the process. This bill also requires disclosure of recordings when grand juries fail to indict police officers or other public officials. This victory meaningfully increases transparency and accountability in our justice system.

Two bills were introduced to require recording of grand juries. We initially supported SB 496, then supported SB 505 after it became apparent that it was a more viable bill. We submitted written testimony supporting SB 496 to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. We submitted written testimony to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on Public Safety, endorsed a floor letter submitted to the Senate chamber, and endorsed a floor letter submitted to the House chamber supporting SB 505.

SB 496 passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on Public Safety. SB 505 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Safety and Savings Act (HB 3078):

We supported a successful bill enacting sentencing reform and expanding rehabilitation programs in order to reduce over-incarceration and prevent the opening of a new women’s prison. Excessive sentencing for drug and property offenses is not smart justice, nor does it contribute to safer and healthier communities. We supported the Safety & Savings Act because it invests in community-based services and treatment instead of incarceration and keeps families together by expanding eligibility for alternative sentencing programs.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules, endorsed a floor letter submitted to the House chamber, and endorsed a floor letter submitted to the Senate chamber supporting HB 3078.

HB 3078 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Certificates of Good Standing (SB 690):

We supported a successful bill that will help people with criminal records show employers, landlords, and others that they have successfully rehabilitated. Felony convictions stigmatize people long after they have served their sentences, which often results in the loss of stable housing and employment opportunities. Certificates of Good Standing will provide housing providers and employers verified information about an applicant’s good standing, which will allow people with criminal records to more easily access critical resources after they serve their sentence and demonstrate rehabilitation.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 690.

SB 690 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Transit Enforcement Reform (HB 2777, SB 357):

We supported multiple successful bills reducing the criminalization of transit riders and reforming transit enforcement by TriMet and other public transit systems. HB 2777 allows transit systems to create an optional administrative process for resolving transit citations. This administrative system will prevent riders who receive citations from facing increased fines, exclusions, and entanglement with court system. SB 357 reduces excessive and redundant criminal penalties for fare evasion under the crime of interfering with public transportation (IPT).

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary and written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting HB 2777. We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, and a floor letter to the House chamber supporting SB 357.

Both bills successfully passed both chambers and were signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Family Sentencing Alternative Program (HB 3380, SB 895):

We supported two bills to expand eligibility for the Family Sentencing Alternative Program (FSAP). FSAP is a program that diverts parents convicted of certain drug and property crimes away from prison and into intensive probation combined with services like addiction treatment, skill building, and parenting classes. This program is designed to create better outcomes for children and parents, which in turn creates safer communities.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, endorsed a floor letter submitted to the House chamber, and submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting HB 3380. We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 895.

HB 3380 passed the House chamber, but the bill died in the Senate Committee on Rules. SB 895 passed the Senate chamber, but the bill died in the House Committee on Judiciary. Fortunately, provisions expanding access to the Family Sentencing Alternative Program were incorporated into the Safety and Savings Act (HB 3078), which passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

Right to Rest Act (HB 2215):

We supported a bill that would have protected people who are homeless from discrimination and prevented the enactment and enforcement of laws that criminalize basic life-sustaining activities, such as sitting, sleeping, and sharing food. Rest is a basic human right and is essential to everyone’s health, safety, well-being, and ability to function. As Oregon faces a serious housing crisis, large numbers of Oregonians are living on the street. Criminalization of homelessness doesn’t help. We were very disappointed that despite a huge amount of work by our coalition and incredible support from our members, the Right to Rest Act didn’t even get a hearing in the legislature this session. But we are not giving up. We will continue to support efforts to pass the Right to Rest Act moving forward.

Please see our recent report Decriminalizing Homelessness: Why Right to Rest Legislation is the High Road for Oregon for more information.

HB 2215 died in the House Committee on Judiciary.

DRUG POLICY

VICTORY! Defelonization of Possession of Controlled Substances (HB 2355):

HB 2355, a successful bill aimed at reducing profiling by law enforcement (see the “End Police Profiling” bill in the Police Reform section below), also decreased the penalty for possession of small amounts of controlled substances from a felony to a misdemeanor, with some exceptions. Felony records pose serious barriers to access to housing, employment, and educational opportunities and prevent people from successfully rebuilding their lives. We expect this sentencing reform to impact thousands of people every year, moving us a significant step away from the failed War on Drugs. Note that this bill does include some exceptions, and we plan to advocate for the elimination of these exceptions in future legislative sessions. The bill also requires data collection and analysis, which will help us make the case for reducing these penalties even more moving forward.

HB 2355 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Marijuana Consumer Privacy (SB 863):

We supported a successful bill that prevents marijuana businesses from retaining customer information, which will in turn prevent data sharing about marijuana consumers with drug enforcement or the use of consumer information for other improper uses.

SB 863 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY

VICTORY! Public Records Sunshine Committee and Exemption Review (HB 2101):

We supported a successful bill that creates a legislative review process of existing and proposed exemptions to Oregon’s public records laws, including the creation of a Sunshine Committee that includes a diverse group of lawmakers, media representatives, and advocates for open government to ensure that the process of reviewing and improving Oregon’s Public Record Law is transparent and meaningfully engages the public. This review process will help us identify and remove unnecessary exemptions, making government more open and accountable to the people.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules, additional written testimony to the House Committee on Rules, and written testimony to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on General Government supporting HB 2101.

HB 2101 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

VICTORY! Immigrant Privacy (HB 3464):

We supported a successful bill protecting the privacy of immigrants by limiting information sharing with the federal government and directing the Attorney General to provide guidance to schools, courthouses, and other public entities on how to respond to requests from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (HB 3464). The decisions of the current federal administration to implement aggressive immigration policies have placed entire communities in great fear that families will be torn apart and individuals deported—oftentimes to places where their lives will be in danger. While the State of Oregon has no power to change these federal policies or priorities, we can take steps to protect the privacy of our vulnerable immigrant communities. Passage of this bill was a crucial opportunity for the State of Oregon to support the safety and health of all of Oregon’s communities and to live up to our ideals as a welcoming and inclusive state.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules and a floor letter to the House chamber supporting HB 3464.

HB 3464 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Crimmigration Reform (HB 2355):

HB 2355, a successful bill aimed at reducing profiling by law enforcement (see the “End Police Profiling” bill in the Police Reform section below), also reduced the maximum sentence for Class A misdemeanors from 365 days to 364 days. This will eliminate the arbitrary deportation of legal non-citizens for low-level, non-violent offenses. Before passage of this bill, Oregon was the only West Coast state where a low-level misdemeanor offense triggered deportation for legal non-citizens.

HB 2355 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Executive Order 9066 Anniversary Resolution (SCR 14):

We supported a successful bill acknowledging the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which inflicted injustice, pain and suffering on Japanese Americans during World War II, and the national Day of Remembrance. This year, on the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, we should remember the wrongs suffered by those who were incarcerated during WWII. We should remembers those wrongs and strive to live our lives with the courage of those few brave individuals—like Oregon civil rights hero Minoru Yasui—who stood up for freedom in the face of such injustice. It is crucial that we remember and learn from our history, so we do not repeat the mistakes of our past.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Rules and written testimony to the House Committee on Rules supporting SCR 14.

SCR 14 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

POLICE REFORM

VICTORY! End Police Profiling (HB 2355):

We supported a successful bill aimed at identifying and reducing profiling by law enforcement. The bill mandates statewide collection, reporting, and analysis of data to identify where and how profiling is occurring. It also requires interventions with agencies with profiling problems, as well as mandatory anti-profiling training for all levels of officers across the state. Profiling by law enforcement is fundamentally unfair because it is based on false assumptions, implicit bias, and broadly accepted stereotypes. When profiling occurs, it harms our communities and causes people to lose trust in the system and police officers. This bill was the result of nearly two years of work by a task force lead by the Attorney General. Kimberly McCullough, ACLU of Oregon’s policy director, also served on the task force.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, written testimony to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on Public Safety, a floor letter to the House chamber, and a floor letter to the Senate chamber supporting HB 2355.

HB 2355 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

SUCCESSFUL OPPOSITION! Polygraphs in Law Enforcement Employment Screening (SB 519):

We opposed a bill that would have allowed the use of polygraph tests for preemployment screening of law enforcement officers. We have deep concerns about the use of polygraph exams because they are proven to be inaccurate. In fact, because polygraphs are inaccurate, evidence of polygraph examination results are prohibited from being used in criminal trials in Oregon, and the State of Oregon long-ago decided to prohibit their use by employers. While we support thorough screening of law enforcement officers, we should not be using a broken tool to do so.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary opposing SB 519.

SB 519 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Consent Search Reform (SB 352):

We supported a bill that would have required police officers to inform each person stopped for a traffic violation or upon suspicion of criminal activity that the person has the right to refuse the request for a search. We are concerned that when law enforcement asks a person for permission to conduct a search, many people feel intimidated, think they have no choice, and do not understand their rights. We therefore support reform of police practices related to consent searches.

SB 352 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

PRISONERS’ RIGHTS

VICTORY! Family Preservation Project (SB 242):

We supported a successful bill providing funding for the YWCA of Greater Portland’s Family Preservation Project (FPP). Incarceration negatively impacts families. Children with incarcerated parents experience a range of emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges that can impact their educational success and long-term mental and physical health. FPP provides programs that reduce the negative impacts of incarceration on children, including daycare and afterschool care, therapeutic visitations, and peer mentoring and support. Adequate funding will ensure that FPP can continue to promote public health and safety and reduce recidivism by strengthening the bonds between mothers and their children during incarceration.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Human Services supporting SB 242.

SB 242 passed out of the Senate Committee on Human Services, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. However, 2017 Oregon Legislature’s budget reconciliation bill included a $400,000 allocation for administration of the Family Preservation Project for the 2017-19 biennium.

Private Prison Divestment (SB 1005):

We supported a bill that would have prevented money in the Public Employees Retirement Fund from being invested in companies that operate private prisons or corporations that own more than one million shares in companies that operate private prisons. Mass incarceration has enabled the modern private prison industry to metastasize into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that depends on and profits from our national addiction to incarceration. Handing over control of prisons to for-profit companies is a recipe for abuse, neglect, and misconduct. This bill would have made Oregon a leader in the movement to divest from companies that profit from incarceration.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 1005.

SB 1005 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

PRIVACY RIGHTS

VICTORY! Internet Consumer Privacy (HB 2090):

We supported a successful bill requiring internet businesses to follow their own privacy policies and allowing the state Attorney General to hold them accountable for violations of those privacy policies through Oregon’s consumer protection law. Using the Internet has become a fundamental part of living in our society, participating in our democracy, and exercising our constitutional rights. Oregonians should not have to sacrifice their privacy rights and lose control over their personal information in order to use the Internet. This bill is a common-sense method to ensure that Oregonians can trust that the information they share with online businesses will only be used and shared consistent with those businesses’ stated privacy policies.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation supporting HB 2090.

HB 2090 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

SUCCESSFUL OPPOSITION! Warrantless Blood Draws (HB 2614):

We opposed a bill that would have allowed law enforcement to subject drivers to warrantless blood draws. Proponents of this bill argued that this should be allowed under the same law that allows warrantless breathalyzer tests (the Motorist Implied Consent Law). We believe a warrant requirement is appropriate for blood tests (and should be required under the Fourth Amendment) because they are much more intrusive than breathalyzer tests.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary opposing HB 2614.

HB 2614 died in the House Committee on Judiciary.

AMENDMENTS OBTAINED! Real ID (SB 374):

The Real ID Act of 2005 requires states to standardize driver’s licenses into a single national identity card and to collect the private and personally identifiable information we submit to the DMV in a database. If fully implemented, Real ID will facilitate the tracking of data on individuals and put our personal information at risk. At our urging, Oregon has resisted compliance with Real ID since 2005. Unfortunately, federal pressure to comply has increased, and we could no longer successfully stop it. Understanding this, we obtained amendments limiting some of the worst privacy risks associated with Real ID. We also successfully fought to allow Oregonians to opt out of purchasing a REAL ID altogether and to instead receive state identification cards with more privacy protections.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Business and Transportation expressing concerns about SB 374.

SB 374 passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

Internet Service Provider Privacy (HB 2813):

We supported a bill that would have prohibited Internet service providers (ISPs) from disclosing, selling or permitting access to the personal information of their customers. Using the Internet is a fundamental part of living in our society, participating in our democracy, and exercising our constitutional rights. We should not have to sacrifice our privacy rights to use the Internet. Yet that is exactly the scenario we are in—most people have little or no choice in their ISP, and our law doesn’t prevent ISPs from making money off of the data that we are forced to give them by virtue of the nature of how broadband services operate. Corporations should not be given this kind of power over our information. We should instead adopt laws that require consent before our information can be used, shared or sold.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules supporting HB 2813.

HB 2813 passed out of the House Committee on Rules, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

Cell Site Simulators (SB 571):

We supported a bill that would have prohibited law enforcement from using cell site simulators (aka Stingrays) without a warrant. “Stingrays” can track the location of wireless phones, tablets, and computers that utilize cell phone networks. Some can intercept calls and text messages, and some are suspected to be capable of delivering malicious spyware to personal devices. Law enforcement agencies have given the public very little information about how and when they are being used and have even withheld information from judges and criminal defense attorneys. In order to prevent abuse and protect our privacy and constitutional rights, we believe government should have to obtain a warrant before using this and other powerful surveillance tools.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 571.

SB 571 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

RACIAL JUSTICE

VICTORY! Statewide Ethnic Studies Standards (HB 2845):

We supported a successful bill requiring the development and adoption of statewide ethnic studies standards for public kindergarten through grade 12. Studies show that student engagement, attendance, and performance are all improved in schools that provide ethnic studies programs. Ethnic studies also foster an inclusive environment that honors diversity by helping students to gain knowledge and understanding of the different cultures and histories of all people.

We endorsed written testimony submitted to the House Committee On Education, written testimony submitted to the Joint Committee On Ways and Means SubCommittee On Education, a floor letter submitted to the House chamber, and a floor letter submitted to the Senate chamber supporting HB 2845.

HB 2845 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

VICTORY! Secular Marriage Officiants (HB 2113):

We supported a successful bill adding individuals authorized by secular organizations to the list of persons and entities authorized to solemnize marriages in Oregon. Prior to the passage of this law, marriages in Oregon could only be solemnized by clergypersons authorized by religious congregations or organizations, a judicial officer, or a county clerk. This meant that atheists, agnostics, and non-church-going individuals of various faiths would need to seek authority from a church that they do not belong to and whose beliefs they do not ascribe to in order to solemnize a wedding. Treating religious people and nonreligious people so differently is inconsistent with our constitution and undermines our commitment to equality and tolerance. Fortunately, after trying for three consecutive years to pass a bill remedying this problem, we finally succeeded!

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, a floor letter to the House chamber, and written testimony to the Senate Committee On Judiciary supporting HB 2113.

HB 2113 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS & JUSTICE

VICTORY! Reproductive Health Equity Act (HB 3391):

The landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) proves that Oregonians are willing to stand up and fight back against attacks on our rights by the current administration. We are proud to have helped write this bill, educate the public, and lobby the legislature, as a member of a forward-thinking, inclusive group of advocates: the Pro Choice Coalition of Oregon. RHEA will reduce barriers to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, regardless of a person’s gender identity, citizenship status, and type of insurance. It also ensures that the right to safe and legal abortion is protected in Oregon, even if Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Lastly, it protects no-cost contraception, even if the Affordable Care Act is sabotaged. The New York Times hailed this as the national model for advancing reproductive freedom in the Trump era!

We submitted written testimony and endorsed a fact sheet submitted to the House Committee on Health Care, endorsed a floor letter submitted to the House chamber, and endorsed a floor letter to the Senate chamber supporting HB 3391.

HB 3391 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL

Restore Justice to Survivors (HB 2807, SB 487):

We supported legislation that would have lifted the current limitation on awards of noneconomic damages to plaintiffs in wrongful death cases. Among the most basic of civil liberties is the right to a jury trial. Unfortunately, current Oregon law removes the case-by-case justice that should be afforded to victims and survivors by prohibiting a jury from awarding noneconomic damages they believe are appropriate in wrongful death cases.

Several bills would have restored justice to survivors. We submitted written testimony supporting HB 2807 and written testimony supporting SB 487 to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

HB 2807 passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but the bill died in the Senate Committee on Rules. SB 487 died in the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

LGBTQ RIGHTS

VICTORY! Improved Process for Changing Name & Gender on Vital Records (HB 2673): 

We supported a successful bill creating a safer, more efficient, and affordable process for changing a person’s name and gender on vital records for the purpose of affirming gender identity. Prior to this bill’s passage, the process of changing one’s name and gender marker on vital records created significant barriers for transgender individuals. This bill eliminated the requirements that courthouses publicly post the names of people seeking a change of gender on vital records, the requirement that individuals appear in court and testify to the completion of their transition, and the need to pay an attorney to draft forms and navigate the process.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Health Care, a floor letter to the House chamber, written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and a floor letter to the Senate chamber supporting HB 2673.

HB 2673 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

LGBTQ Youth Services (HB 2261):

We supported a bill that would have expanded the allowed responsibilities of Youth Development Council to include coordinating statewide services to youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Discrimination, harassment, and even physical violence continue to play far too large a role in the lives of LGBTQ students. LGBTQ youth also face a multitude of additional challenges: higher risk of suicide, higher rates of homelessness, increased risk of substance use and entanglement with the juvenile justice system, and rejection from family members, often resulting in entry into the foster care system. Our systems are not yet adequately serving LGBTQ youth and all of these challenges they face in Oregon.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Education supporting HB 2261.

HB 2261 passed out of the House Committee on Education, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

VOTING RIGHTS

VICTORY! 16-year-old Voter Preregistration (SB 802):

We supported a successful bill allowing 16-year-olds to preregister to vote. Since 2007, Oregon has allowed 17-year-olds to preregister to vote. This bill simply extends the preregistration option to 16-year-olds. Research shows that preregistration increases voter participation by youth, and young people who engage in the democratic process are more likely to remain active, engaged voters into adulthood.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules, and a floor letter to the House chamber supporting SB 802.

SB 802 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

Ballot Measure Signature Verification (HB 3422):

We supported a bill that would have improved the process for observation of signature verification of initiative and referendum petitions relating to state measures. The citizen ballot initiative process ensures Oregonians can directly impact state laws. As such an important part of Oregon’s democracy, it is essential that the process be transparent and fair.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Rules supporting HB 3422.

HB 3422 died in the House Committee on Rules.

Postage Paid Voting (SB 683):

We supported a bill that would have required the state pay for business reply mail postage for all ballots for each election held in this state. While some states are trying to make it harder to vote, Oregon has been a leader in honoring the right to vote by increasing access to the ballot. Postage can be a barrier to voting by mail, particularly for people living in poverty, rural Oregonians, and people with disabilities (individuals with a visual impairment must provide additional postage for a larger ballot).

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Rules and written testimony to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on General Government supporting SB 683.

SB 683 passed out of the Senate Committee on Rules, but the bill died in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means SubCommittee on General Government.

YOUTH RIGHTS

VICTORY! Stop Youth Solitary Confinement (SB 82):

Our policy director is a member of a community advisory group convened by the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) to recommend policies and practices aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement in OYA facilities. OYA, in consultation with the advisory group, crafted this bill prohibiting the use of solitary confinement as punishment in OYA facilities. Solitary confinement is psychologically and physically damaging, especially for young people because they are still developing. It exacerbates symptoms for those with mental disabilities and histories of trauma or abuse and can create new mental health problems for youth. This negatively impacts both the youth and facility staff’s safety and well-being.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 82.

SB 82 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Stop Shackling Youth in Court (SB 846):

We supported a successful bill prohibiting the cruel practice of shackling youth in juvenile court proceedings, with limited exceptions. The vast majority of children who ender the justice system have experienced some form of trauma. The use of physical restraints re-traumatizes these youth, exacerbates the symptoms of mental disorders like PTSD, and undermines the dignity of courtroom proceedings. This bill will allow juvenile courts to function in a trauma-informed manner that reduces harm to children and aligns Oregon’s juvenile courts with the rehabilitative mission of Oregon’s juvenile justice system.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 846.

SB 846 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Record Juvenile Interrogations (HB 3242):

We supported a successful bill requiring law enforcement to record interviews with youth at stationhouses during investigations of felonies. Youth are more susceptible than adults to external pressure and they do not fully understand their rights or options. By creating a clear record of what has occurred during interrogations, courts will be able to more easily determine whether statements made by youth during interrogations were voluntary and accurate. While we ultimately believe that the recording requirement should be extended to all law enforcement interviews with youth, including during investigations of misdemeanors and interviews by school resource officers, this bill is a significant step toward that goal.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary, a floor letter to the House chamber, written testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, and a floor letter to the Senate chamber supporting HB 3242.

HB 3242 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

VICTORY! Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents (SB 241):

We supported a successful bill creating a bill of rights for children of incarcerated parents. In Oregon, approximately 70,000 children currently have an incarcerated parent. This bill will guarantee fundamental rights to assure that the needs and best interests of children with incarcerated parents are included in the decision-making processes in the criminal justice system, including the right to be informed of the arrest in an age-appropriate manner and the right to speak with, see, and touch their incarcerated parent.

We submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Human Services and written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting SB 241.

SB 241 successfully passed both chambers and was signed into law by the Governor.

Juvenile Waiver of Rights (HB 2718):

We supported a bill that would have prohibited law enforcement from interrogating youth or from requesting the waiver of a youth’s constitutional rights until after the youth has consulted with an attorney. Without an attorney by their side, young people are more likely to confess to offenses they may not have committed, serve longer sentences in detention, and forgo their constitutional rights to due process. Consulting with legal counsel is critical to ensuring that youth are held accountable while also protecting them from counterproductive and unfair punishments.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting HB 2718.

HB 2718 died in the House Committee on Judiciary.

Trickery in Juvenile Interrogations (HB 3244):

We supported a bill that would have prohibited law enforcement from using deceit, trickery or artifice during interviews of youth related to a criminal investigation. The rights of the accused are a cornerstone of a fair judicial system, and these rights are especially important when young people find themselves in the justice system. Because youth are still biologically and psychologically developing, they are more susceptible than adults to external pressure and they do not fully understand their rights or options. Use of trickery in interrogations of youth increases the risk of false confessions and erodes trust between young people and law enforcement.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting HB 3244.

HB 3244 died in the House Committee on Judiciary.

Use of Restraints in Schools (HB 3266):

We supported a bill that would have extended current prohibitions on the use of physical restraints and seclusion on students in public education programs. Under current law, school personnel are prohibited from using physical restraints and seclusion on students, except in very limited circumstances. This bill would have extended these prohibitions to law enforcement, including school resource officers. Restraint and seclusion can be physically and psychologically harmful, there is no evidence they reduce problem behaviors, and they are disproportionately used on students with disabilities and students of color.

We submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Judiciary supporting HB 3266.

HB 3266 died in the House Committee on Judiciary. 

 

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