Submitted by ACLU of Oregon on June 14, 2013 - 1:58pm
By Becky Straus, Legislative Director, ACLU of Oregon Kevin Díaz, Legal Director, ACLU of Oregon Amanda Goad, LGBT Project
With Gov. Kitzhaber's approval of HB 2093 yesterday, transgender people in Oregon will no longer have to show proof of surgery in order to change their birth certificates to accurately reflect their gender. Previously, Oregon law required surgery in order to update a birth certificate gender marker, even for those transgender people who did not need or want it, or were unable to access surgery for financial, medical, or other reasons. The ACLU supported the great work of agency and advocate partners to reach this victory. We are glad to see Oregon's legislature and governor sign off on this important change and advance the rights of transgender Oregonians.
Update: June 10, 2013 - Today the Senate approved HB 2710 with strong bipartisan support. It is expected that the bill will be sent to an additional joint committee in order to work out a couple of small drafting issues, after which the legislature will send the bill to the Governor for his signature.
May 30, 2013 - Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – aka “drones” – in Oregon present the opportunity for unprecedented levels of surveillance of innocent Oregonians. Unlike helicopters, which impose natural limitations on use such as cost and size, drones and the technology with which they can be matched can travel to more places and do so without detection.
The ACLU has been working closely with Oregon legislators to draft and advance HB 2710, a bill to update our state privacy laws to address use of this new technology by our government, and today the Senate Committee on Judiciary sent the bill to the Senate floor and one step closer to final passage. The version of the bill that is moving forward represents our compromises amongst a long list of stakeholders, including those representing law enforcement, criminal defense attorneys, the Department of Justice, and agricultural groups.
June 5, 2013 - A report issued this week by the National ACLU, based on state crime reports provided to the FBI, shows that Oregon law enforcement agencies increased the rate of citations and arrests for possession of marijuana by 45% between 2001 and 2010. Oregon’s increase was the fifth highest in the country during that period. Nationwide, African-Americans were 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than Whites despite comparable usage rates.
Analysis by the ACLU of Oregon of data made available by the Oregon State Police, shows that 90% of the marijuana possession incidents in 2010 involved less than 1 ounce of marijuana, which is punishable as a violation under state law and does not lead to arrest or jail time. That same data shows that Lane County reported the highest number of marijuana enforcement actions in 2010 with 16.7% of all marijuana possession citations and arrests statewide. Jackson County was second with 13.2%, Multnomah County was third with 8.32%, and Marion County was fourth with 7.0% of the statewide total for marijuana possession citations and arrests.
Update: June 3, 2013 - Governor Kitzhaber signed HB 2654 into law on May 22, 2013. Today, the House took final action on the companion bill to HB 2654, SB 344, which protects privacy of social media accounts for students and applicants to Oregon institutions of higher education. SB 344 heads to the Governor for signature.
May 16, 2013 - Today the Oregon Legislature took final action on HB 2654, sending the bill to the Governor with strong bipartisan support. The Legislature’s approval of this bill signals to Oregonians that policy makers value online privacy and that we should not have to give up our rights to privacy as many of our social interactions move online.
HB 2654 takes a stand against practices we have seen in other states where a growing number of employers are demanding that job applicants and employees hand over the passwords to their private social networking accounts such as Facebook. Such demands constitute a clear invasion of privacy. Private activities that would never be intruded upon offline should not receive less privacy protection simply because they take place online.
May 7, 2013 - ACLU supports the proposals in HB 3194 because we believe they have the potential to limit the growth incarceration in Oregon without sacrificing public safety and allow for reinvestment of prison savings into proven community justice alternatives that can lower recidivism rates.
The Oregon Legislature is considering recommendations, in HB 3194, to bring changes to parts of the state’s criminal sentencing scheme. Over the past 20 years, the number of people incarcerated in Oregon’s prisons has risen steadily and, therefore, so has the need for additional prisons, staff and other resources to maintain the state’s inmate population.
May 1, 2013 - Today, as part of a May Day Rally on the Capitol steps, Governor Kitzhaber signed into law a bill to restore access to driver licenses for immigrants in Oregon. The ACLU of Oregon applauds the Legislature and the Governor for this important step forward.
Since 2007, when then Governor Ted Kulongoski signed an Executive Order to require proof of lawful presence as a condition of receiving a driver license, thousands of people in Oregon have been faced with the terrible choice between not driving to school, work, and medical appointments, or driving unlicensed with an ever-present fear of being pulled over. With the harmful and ongoing entanglement between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement, a routine traffic stop could lead to deportation proceedings, making this choice for unlicensed Oregonians even more high-stakes.