Now that the Oregon Legislature’s first major deadline has passed, many bills introduced this session are no longer moving forward. Several that ORCOPS have been working on are still in the mix, however. We’re keeping an eye on a number of important measures that are still under consideration and as you’ll see, some of them have changed dramatically over the course of session.
Here’s what’s in front of us right now:
HB 2571 (facilitating local bodycam policies) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with an amendment that ensures that all faces will be blurred in the event that footage ever finds its way to the public. No footage would be made public until all associated legal proceedings are concluded and if a judge says that its release is in the public interest. Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D – Portland) specifically noted that mere conversation was not intended to be recorded and that local agencies were expected to develop their own use and exception policies.
HB 2002 (prohibiting profiling) was amended with ORCOPS recommendations and has passed out of committee as well. Our amendments protect the ability of officers to pursue suspects based on descriptions and other information, and allow latitude for non-coercive encounters. We also secured additional public record protections around complaints, data, and adjustments to the charge of a workgroup to be formed around this issue.This measure has come a long way from the initial concept which established a broad prohibition and gave the Attorney General investigation and enforcement responsibilities.
SB 822 (requiring grand jury recordings) and SB 871 (various provisions around use of force investigations) were passed out of Senate Judiciary to Ways & Means. These bills still contain provisions ORCOPS finds harmful, such as specific carve-outs for when proceedings for police officers may be released. The Senate Judiciary Committee understood our concerns and there’s a commitment to work out those issues in the Ways & Means Committee. We have already had discussions with Rep. Jeff Barker (D – Aloha) and Williamson, who are both on the subcommittee.
HB 2704 (allowing the filming of police officers) was amended to be very simple and passed to the House floor on a 7-2 vote. As amended, the bill adds an exception to the surreptitious filming prohibitions if a person is “openly” filming officers while the officers are on duty and in a public place. Some cleanup amendments are expected in the House to ensure prohibitions against things like long-range microphones.
SB 629 (“Right to Rest Act” – allowing homeless persons the ability to rest in public places) did not advance before the first deadline and will not be moving forward. ORCOPS participated in a workgroup and described several elements of the bill that would have to be adjusted or eliminated to earn our support, but at that point the advocates chose not to move forward.
A number of other bills did not move – many of these in ORCOPS’ favor. Others are still alive (such as carrying firearms while off duty), and will now be considered in the second legislative chamber.
Contact me if you have any questions or comments regarding our ORCOPS activities.
Daryl Turner, President