The ACLU of Oregon often takes positions on state, city, and county proposals that would have an impact on civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU is strictly non-partisan; we never support or oppose candidates for elective office.
The Oregon legislature has made it clear the public has the right to openly record police by passing HB 2704. It is now headed to the Governor’s desk.
June 16, 2015 - Bystander video of police encounters can be very powerful, as recent events have shown. We can all agree it should not be a crime to pull out a phone, hold it up, and record an officer who is engaged in misconduct. However, under the current Oregon law, it is a crime to record a conversation without "specifically informing" the parties to the conversation. The problem is obvious — it may not always be safe or reasonable to provide a warning; for example, when the officer is engaged in misconduct or if the officer is dealing with a dangerous situation. When the Governor signs HB 2704 into law, the right to openly record police will be protected in Oregon.
Over 1,700 ACLU supporters took action on this issue by contacting their legislators in Salem. Together, our voices were heard! Thank you to everyone who took a stand for the right to film police in Oregon.
April 22, 2015 - Data stored on a smartphone or other portable electronic device can paint a near-complete picture of even the most intimate and personal details of our lives. Before the age of smartphones, it was impossible for police to gather this much information about a person’s communications, historical movements, and private life. Today, police officers routinely search the contents of a person’s cell phone during an arrest or after a cell phone seizure. With increasing frequency, officers perform such searches with the aid of electronic devices that strip a cell phone of its data on the scene.
This type of highly intrusive data mining implicates significant privacy concerns.
We had great success with Oregon legislators in 2013 on key privacy measures – one to guard against privacy invasion by law enforcement use of drones and the other to protect employees’ and university students’ digital privacy from unwarranted online snooping. We will continue to advance this agenda this session with a package of bills to curb mass surveillance.
Past criminal history shouldn’t limit job opportunities
We strongly support the "Ban the Box" bill - HB 3025 , which helps to remove roadblocks to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals. This bill would prevent employers from asking prospective employees about past criminal histories on job applications until after a conditional offer of employment is made.
After serving their debt to society, many ex-offenders are denied the opportunity to work based solely on their conviction. This makes it difficult if not impossible for individuals with a criminal record to re-enter society successfully and be able to earn a living. With a criminal justice system that is dominated by racial disparities, people of color are disproportionately harmed by employers’ criminal background check procedures.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), more than 650,000 individuals are released from prison every year. One of the key elements they identified for successful re-entry into our communities is helping these individuals find and keep a job. If ex-offenders are to succeed as law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, they must have a chance at finding employment – particularly in this tough economic climate.
March 6, 2015 - As part of a diverse coalition of organizations committed to expanding access to women’s health care, we are thrilled to announce that Senate Bill 894 has been introduced in the Oregon Legislature.
This groundbreaking legislation is an important step in ensuring that more Oregonians – regardless of their income, type of insurance or location – have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care.
We believe every Oregon woman should have access to the full range of reproductive health care, starting before she ever becomes pregnant and going through childbirth. This basic right is a foundation of freedom and opportunity for women and their families.
Law enforcement agencies deploy license plate reader surveillance technology in Oregon without adequate or consistent privacy restrictions. Many agencies retain the location information and photograph of every vehicle that crosses the camera’s path, not simply those that are associated with a criminal nexus.
Electronic communication – through email, cell phones and social media – has increasingly eclipsed postal mail and other hard-copy methods as our primary means of communication. Unfortunately, some government agencies interpret our outdated privacy laws to allow them to intercept and access a treasure trove of information about who you are, where you go, and what you do – the information being collected by search engines, social networking sites, and other websites every day.
The type of data stored on a smartphone can paint a near-complete picture of even the most private details of your personal life. Before the age of smartphones and other portable electronic devices, it was impossible for police to gather this much private information about your communications, historical movements, and private life during an arrest.