On Monday, the Oregon House passed nine bills aimed at tackling police reform and holding law enforcement accountable. This slate of legislation was championed by Representative 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All nine of these bills now move to the Senate for consideration.