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Oregon

2001 Legislature Review


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2001 Legislature: Not Bad, Considering...

As we look back on the 2001 Legislative Session, we will remember it as a session that could have been very contentious for civil liberties that managed to tone down most of the divisive rhetoric and seek consensus. While there were certainly exceptions, ACLU succeeded in accomplishing almost all of our major goals.

The Legislature convened on January 8th and adjourned on July 7th (5:15 a.m. to be exact). There were a record number of bills introduced (3,294) and we reviewed every single one. Of those, we tracked well over 800 that raised civil liberties implications and actively lobbied on more than 150.

What do we look for? Bills that effect: Free Speech, Equal Protection, Church and State, Privacy, Reproductive Freedom, Juvenile Rights, Due Process, Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Criminal Law, Search and Seizure, Criminal Due Process, Election Reform, Free Press, Racial Justice, and Corrections.

Here are some of the highlights.  We have again created voting record scorecards for the House and the Senate, to allow easy evaluation of the performance of your representatives on these important issues.

DNA and Privacy

Genetic Privacy and Research (SB 114).  Recent developments in biotechnology and their potential to invade privacy were the focus of several bills this session. Legislators of both political parties who were trying to craft adequate privacy safeguards looked to the ACLU for guidance. This bill is a comprehensive revision of Oregonās landmark genetic privacy act. We strongly supported the bill in its final form because it strengthens privacy protections and provides specific remedies for violation of the law. We also proposed amendments to provide important new protections that require disclosure, and an opportunity to opt-out, before any genetic material may be obtained for anonymous research. The addition of our amendments was instrumental in helping the bill to achieve broad bi-partisan support.  Senate vote (25-5) House vote (52-3).
WIN.
  
Senate
& House Scorecard Vote. 

Innocence Act (SB 667).  This bill allows convicted felons to seek DNA testing of evidence if identity was an issue at trial. We worked hard to craft a consensus bill that eventually was supported by prosecutors and law enforcement agencies as well as criminal defense attorneys and other civil liberties advocates. The new Oregon law includes more crimes than similar proposals in other states and÷at our request÷also includes review by an interim group to report to future legislatures and recommend whether the legislation should be renewed and expanded because of advancement in technology or other reasons. We also pushed to include a requirement that law enforcement agencies keep all biological evidence while the new law is in effect. Obviously, if evidence isnāt kept, then the existence of any opportunity to have a test is meaningless. SB 667 passed both chambers unanimously. 
WIN.

Criminal DNA Database (HB 2664)  Unfortunately, the Legislature also greatly expanded the DNA criminal database, requiring all felons to provide DNA samples, including those presently on parole or probation. Currently, DNA is obtained from those convicted of certain crimes, such as rape and residential burglary (which can be a precursor to rape), where there is a nexus between the crime and the type of DNA evidence that is left. We opposed this wholesale expansion of the DNA database because DNA reveals intimate medical and genetic information not only about the person from whom itās taken, but also their blood relatives. Senate vote (21-8) House vote (51-8)
LOSS.   

Senate & House Scorecard Vote.

Separation of Church and State

Ten Commandments (SB 746).  Introduced by Senator Charles Starr (R-Hillsboro), SB 746 would have allowed the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools. It unexpectedly came out of committee when Sen. Avel Gordly (D-Portland) agreed to provide a courtesy vote in favor (even though she opposed the bill) so that it could be debated on the Senate floor. We argued that the bill was unconstitutional under both the federal and state constitutions, and would have required schools to prefer one religion over another by forcing them to select which version of the 10 commandments they should post. After a contentious floor debate, SB 746 was defeated by only two votes, 16 to 14. Senate vote (16-14)
WIN.
Senate Scorecard Vote. 

School Vouchers (HB 2004).  Introduced at the request of Associated Oregon Industries, HB 2004 would have allowed 11th and 12th graders to have basic school support funding for their tuition at any public or private Oregon college or university. We opposed the bill because it would have diverted K-12 tax dollars to private religious institutions in clear violation of the Oregon Constitution. The bill failed on the Senate floor by one vote.  Senate vote (15-13)
WIN.
 
Senate
Scorecard Vote. 
 

Free Press and Free Speech

Witnessing Executions (HB 2096).  After our 1999 court victory that guaranteed the right of news media and other witnesses to view the entire execution process, the Dept. of Corrections proposed legislation to reverse the court decision. We worked closely with news organizations to help craft a compromise that allows corrections officials to show witnesses the first part of the execution process through a live overhead camera prior to the window shades being raised for direct viewing of the remainder of an execution. 
WIN

Furnishing "Obscene" Material to Minors (HB 2413).  The state law that prohibits furnishing "obscene" material to minors has been the subject of numerous court challenges because of its sweeping prohibitions and vagueness. As a result of the most recent Court of Appeals decision ruling it unconstitutional, Rep. Lane Shetterly (R-Dalles) introduced a bill to bring it back to life. Although we lost our effort to replace the bill with a new law that would prohibit an adult from preparing a child to engage in unlawful sexual activity, legislators supporting the bill promised to revisit the issue between now and 2003.  Senate vote (22-7) House vote (46-12)
LOSS.
 
Senate
& House Scorecard Vote. 
 

Reproductive Freedom

Abortion Access Restrictions (HB 3830).  A host of anti-choice legislation was introduced this session, including so-called partial birth infanticide, parental notification, creating the crime of homicide for abortion, and a prohibition on state-funded abortions. All of those bills died in committee without a hearing. The biggest threat to reproductive freedom was HB 3830, which we called the "Abortion Censorship and Government Propaganda Act." It would have required a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions and forced doctors to inform women of inaccurate anti-abortion "medical" information. After intense pressure on one pro-choice Republican, the bill came out of committee and was headed for defeat on the House floor. Wanting to avoid a nasty floor debate, and as a compromise to moderate Republicans who did not want a floor vote on anti-choice legislation, House leadership linked this bill to the contraceptive equity bill (SB 608 described below) and both were pulled from the floor and set back to committee to die. 
WIN. 

Contraceptive Equity (SB 608).  Unlike the anti-choice HB 3830, the contraceptive equity amendments added in the House to SB 608 had sufficient bi-partisan support to pass. The House amendments would have required insurance companies that provide prescription coverage to include contraceptive coverage. As noted above, House Republican leaders convinced moderate Republican members to support sending the bill back to committee so that they could avoid voting on HB 3830 (above). We are currently reviewing whether to soon file a court challenge based on anti-discrimination law. 
LOSS.  
House
Scorecard Vote. 

Equal Protection÷Gay & Lesbian Rights

Bullying, Intimidation & Harassment of Students (HB 3403). In contrast to last sessionās divisive actions by House leadership in support of a "Defense of Marriage" constitutional amendment, this session was very quiet on issues effecting gay and lesbian rights. The good news is that the few bills that were hostile died a quiet death in committee. On the other hand, no pro-active legislation was heard. We did successfully work behind the scenes to amend HB 3403 to focus on preventing the damaging effects of bullying and harassment of students rather than trying to prevent speech. The language of this bill is sufficiently inclusive that it should provide a tool to combat anti-gay and lesbian harassment in the schools. Nevertheless, itās not enough and we still want to see state law prohibit discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation. 
WIN.

Criminal Justice

Civil Forfeiture (HB 2429) and Criminal Forfeiture (HB 3642).  Our biggest steps forward on criminal justice issues this session came as a result of the successful passage of Measure 3, the civil forfeiture reform initiative approved last fall. We spent countless hours working to craft a consensus bill (HB 2429) to implement the reforms of the civil forfeiture process required by Measure 3. At the same time, prosecutors and police proposed to create a new criminal forfeiture law (HB 3642) that would require an increased burden of proof for the government, but also permit them to use the money seized for law enforcement and prosecution. The combination of the two laws provides more protections for innocent property owners than the forfeiture laws of any other state or the federal government. Although we eventually were neutral on the criminal forfeiture bill, we are very pleased at the dramatic steps forward on forfeiture reform. 
WIN. 

Government Eavesdropping (SB 654).  SB 654 expands the power of police officers to use body-wires for undercover operations, including drug and prostitution stings, without prior judicial approval. Although the testimony focused on providing officer safety, the truth is that the government is listening and taping conversations of Oregonians and using those tapes not for safety but as evidence against a person in court. One of the basic principles of the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is that government must first obtain a search warrant from the court ö after showing probable cause that a specific person has committed a crime. Here, there is no showing of probable cause ö there is not even any judicial oversight in cases of innocent people who are subjected to this surveillance. House vote (44-7)
LOSS.
 
House Scorecard Vote.  

Death Penalty Expansion and Protections (HB 2092, SB 140, SB 156).   Three bills were introduced this session, two that would have expanded the death penalty and one that would have barred execution of mentally retarded. We opposed HB 2092, which would have added a possible sentence of death to those who murder a witness in a juvenile proceeding and SB 156, which would have added murder of reserve police officers. On the other hand, we testified in support of SB 140, which would have prohibited execution of the mentally retarded. All three bills ended up in the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of session where they all died. 
WIN & LOSS.  
House
Scorecard Vote.   

Racial Justice and Equal Protection

Racial Profiling (SB 415). Governor Kitzhaber included $300,000 in his budget to encourage collection and analysis of traffic stop data by police agencies. That funding was added to SB 415 along with the creation of a new statewide committee to discourage racial profiling by law enforcement and foster improved relationships between police and communities of color. 
WIN. 

Discrimination in Charter Schools (HB 3395). We drafted amendments to the state charter school law to prohibit discrimination based on race and religion, which had been omitted unintentionally when the law was first approved 4 years ago. The changes were adopted without controversy. 
WIN. 

Ban on Bilingual Education (SB 915). Introduced by Senator Charles Starr (R-Hillsboro), this proposal would have required so-called "immersion" language instruction for English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students. We joined scores of other organizations and individuals opposing the bill and it died in committee. 
WIN. 

 

Senator Scorecard
  SB 114 SB 746 HB 2004 HB 2413 HB 2664 ACLU %
ACLU Position  YES  NO NO NO NO  
Atkinson (R)  20
Beyer L (D)  80
Beyer R (R)  Y  Y  0
Brown (D)  80
Burdick (D)  100
Carter (D)  80
Castillo (D)  100
Clarno (R)  20
Corcoran (D)  60
Courtney (D)  60
Deckert (D)  80
Derfler (R)  Y  Y  20
Dukes (D)  60
Duncan (R)  60
Ferrioli (R)  20
Fisher (R)  20
George (R)  20
Gordly (D)  40
Hannon (R)  25
Harper (R)  20
Hartung (R)  40
Messerle (R)  40
Metsger (D)  80
Miller (R)  Y 20
Minnis (R)  20
Nelson (R)  20
Shields (D)  67
Starr (R)  20
Trow (D)  100
Yih (D)  40

 

Scorecard Legend  
ACLU% = percentage of votes that matched ACLU position; 
Y = yes vote; 
N = no vote; 
E = excused; 
A = absent

 

Representative Scorecard
  HB 2092 HB 2413 HB 2664 SB 114 SB 608 SB 654 ACLU %
ACLU Position NO NO NO YES YES NO  
Ackerman (D) N Y Y Y Y E 60
Backlund (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Barnhart (D) N N N Y Y N 100
Bates (D) N Y Y Y Y Y 50
Beck (D) N N Y Y Y E 80
Brown (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Butler (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Carlson (R) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Close (R) Y Y Y A N Y 0
Devlin (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Dingfelder (D)* E N N Y Y Y 80
Doyle (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Gardner (D) Y E Y Y Y Y 40
Garrard (R) Y N Y Y Y Y 50
Hansen (D) N N E Y Y N 100
Hass (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Hayden (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Hill (R) Y Y Y Y Y N 50
Hopson (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Jenson (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Johnson (D) Y Y Y Y Y E 40
Kafoury (D) N N N Y Y E 100
King (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Knopp (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Krieger (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Kropf (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Krummel (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Kruse (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Lee (I) Y Y Y E Y Y 20
Leonard (D) N Y N Y Y E 80
Lowe (D) Y N Y Y Y Y 50
March (D) N N Y Y Y Y 67
Merkley (D) N N Y N Y N 67
Minnis (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Monnes Anderson (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Morgan (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Morrisette (D) N Y Y Y Y E 60
Nelson (R) N Y Y Y N Y 33
Nolan (D) N N N Y Y E 100
Patridge (D) Y E Y Y Y Y 40
Ringo (D) N Y Y Y Y N 67
Rosenbaum (D) N N Y Y Y Y 67
Schrader (D) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Shetterly (R) N Y Y Y Y N 67
Simmons (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Smith G (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Smith P (R) Y Y Y N Y Y 17
Smith T (R) Y Y Y E Y Y 20
Starr, B. (R) Y Y Y Y N Y 17
Tomei (D) N Y Y Y Y E 60
Verger (D) Y Y Y N Y N 33
Walker C (R) N Y Y Y Y Y 50
Walker V (D) N Y N Y Y Y 67
Westlund (R) Y Y Y Y E Y 20
Williams (R) Y Y Y Y Y Y 33
Wilson (R) Y Y N Y N Y 33
Winters (R) N Y Y E N Y 20
Wirth (D) N Y N E Y E 75
Witt (R) N Y Y Y N Y 33
Zauner (R) Y N Y Y N Y 33

Dingfelder-did not take office until April 6 and did not vote on SB/HB 2092

 

 

Copyright October, 2005 , ACLU of Oregon
Last updated October 19, 2005