Looking Ahead – 2011 Legislative Session

an email, or join me every second Saturday for an informal chat here in our district.

color:#000B6E”>Legislative Priorities – Bills

For the coming session, I am in the process of introducing legislation on a variety of topics, including public safety, neighborhood livability and job creation/small business support. I will, of course, also work on many other issues introduced and championed by my colleagues. I may need your help when key issues are presented to committees or brought forward for votes.

color:navy”>Public Safety and JusticeI am working on four bills relating to public safety. The first calls for an immediate investigation when police officers are involved in an incident resulting in death or serious injury. These investigations would be conducted by an agency outside the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, and would include testing for controlled substances, including steroids. The second would add the term “reasonable” to the definition of justification for use of lethal or potentially lethal force. The third supports upgrading training, particularly as it relates to encounters with people whose behavior is affected by disability.

The fourth one relates to community policing.  It is important that our public safety officers are respected, and respectful, members of our community, not seen as an outside security force that patrols our streets. This bill calls for increased scrutiny of disparities in treatment of citizens during stops and arrests based on immutable characteristics such as race and ethnicity. It also calls for tracking the amount of time an officer spends participating in the community outside of his duties in law-enforcement. Finally, in order to promote more effective recruitment and retention of minorities in public safety, the bill calls for targeted recruitment strategies. We need to make sure that any of us can feel safe, either on the streets of our cities or as a member of our police force.

I’m asking the Legislature to fund the Clean Slate program. This program has already helped more than ten thousand individuals with minor misdemeanors or other legal difficulties clear their records, reinstate their drivers’ licenses and pay off accumulated fees and fines. It is a net money saver for the justice system, as well as a life-saver for many in our community. color:navy”>Neighborhood EnvironmentsI am also introducing two bills relating to cleaning up brownfields, those contaminated, abused, and often abandoned properties such as old gas stations, dry cleaners, and auto shops, where toxic chemicals remain on and in the land so that it is not safe to use. I want to make it easier for owners to clean up these messes and support new uses of these sites.

I am re-introducing a bill that failed during the February special session, known as the “Good Neighbor” bill. This legislation requires that banks and other institutions that foreclose on properties maintain them to a minimum standard. This ensures that such properties do not become nests for pests, fire hazards or eyesores that drag down the value of neighboring homes. color:navy”>Job creation and small business

I have requested a bill that will help to create more local jobs, and infuse more money into local economies. Currently, when a government entity has a construction project, it is common practice to award the contract as a whole to the lowest bidder. This often favors large, out-of-state general contractors who then re-bid the job in parts to local companies. If governments would put projects to bid in more manageable, “bite-sized” pieces, we could keep more of our public dollars here in Oregon. Additionally, this will allow smaller, newer, and minority- or women-owned companies to bid directly for jobs that otherwise would be far out of their reach.

I expect to continue Second Saturday Chats, to keep in touch with constituents and report back on the progress of the session. I want to be sure that everyone who is interested is signed up to get regular email updates as well.

 

I need you in the halls of the Capitol next spring.  As always, we are in this together.