ORCOPS Legislative Update: Battling PERS Rollbacks And More

This past week in Salem saw ORCOPS step up to defend law enforcement officers as well as public employee pensions.

This session, several measures have been introduced that threaten to roll back existing PERS commitments already made to Oregon’s public employees. The Senate Workforce Committee held hearings on two of those bills this past week, with ORCOPS as the only law enforcement organization testifying in opposition.

In addition, for the third year in a row, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the ability of law enforcement agencies to utilize polygraphs for pre-employment screening. ORCOPS has opposed these bills year after year, and this session is no exception. This past week, ORCOPS’ testimony and face-to-face meetings with Senators helped to prevent SB 519 moving forward. But, because this is a priority of the committee’s chairman, continued success requires constant vigilance on our part.

Also this week, ORCOPS was the only law enforcement organization to support HB 2337, which increases minimum and maximum workers’ compensation benefits for permanent total disability. The measure passed the House floor and is now headed to the Senate.

ORCOPS has worked with legislators in both chambers to introduce legislation to improve working conditions for Oregon’s law enforcement officers. SB 642 would prevent law enforcement agencies from evaluating performance or disciplining officers based on a peer-to-peer comparison of citations issued. Although the Chiefs and Sheriffs are opposing the measure, ORCOPS has support from House Judiciary Chairman Jeff Barker (D – Beaverton) and Senator Lew Frederick (D – Portland). Although ORCOPS is opposing other bills sponsored by Senator Frederick, this is an opportunity to develop some common ground and establish a constructive dialogue. ORCOPS has also introduced HB 3365, which would prevent an officer from being disciplined solely due to their appearance on a DA’s Brady List. ORCOPS-endorsed Rep. Carla Piluso (D – Gresham) has sponsored this measure, and discussions are ongoing with other stakeholders as we chart a path forward.

Have a great weekend & stay safe.