Oregon lawmakers drafting police reform bills for 2021 session

Civic Affairs

The Joint Committee on Police Transparency and Use of Force Reform heard public testimony to inform the bill drafting

The Oregon State Capitol. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lawmakers in Salem are already looking to the 2021 legislative session as they discuss many bill drafts focused on police reform, for which public comments were given this week and the previous week.

The Joint Committee On Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform, co-chaired by Sen. James Manning Jr. and Rep. Janelle Bynum, was formed as one of six police reform bills passed at a legislative special session earlier this year. Some of the bill drafts would amend some parts of the previous police reform bills.

Here is a current list of the Legislative Concepts (LC)–or bill drafts–being discussed as well as links to the drafts in current form from the legislature’s website:

  • LC 742 — Regulates use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement agencies, an amendment to HB 4208, passed at the first special session earlier this year.
  • LC 743 — Establishes requirements for peace officer uniforms. Establishes requirements for displaying identifying information on peace officer uniforms and for disclosing identifying information to public upon request.
  • LC 744 — Relating to police officer misconduct, an amendment to HB 4205 passed during the legislature’s first special session this year. It would require law enforcement units to investigate reports of misconduct and direct Bureau of Labor and Industries to establish and maintain form and database for reports of misconduct.
  • LC 745 — Provides that peace officer or corrections officer may not use force that impedes normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure on throat or neck under any circumstances, an amendment to HB 4203 passed in June as part of the special session earlier this year.
  • LC 746 — Imposes limitations on arbitrators’ decisions concerning alleged misconduct by law enforcement officers.
  • LC 751 — Establishes Task Force on Uniform Statewide Law Enforcement Disciplinary Standards. Sunsets December 31, 2021. Declares emergency, effective on passage.
  • LC 761 — Modifies justification defenses available to peace officer who uses physical force or deadly physical force upon another person. Requires peace officer to give verbal warning, and reasonable opportunity to comply, before using physical force or deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists. Requires peace officer to consider alternatives to deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists.
  • LC 762 — Directs Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to establish publicly available database of certain information about misconduct and discipline of public safety employees established by Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. Requires reporting of complaints, allegations, charges, disciplinary proceedings, certain judicial findings and prosecutorial determinations of unreliability, suspensions and revocations of certification and certain resignations of public safety employees to department for inclusion in database. Amendment to HB 4207 passed during the first special session this year.
  • LC 763 — Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish statewide database of reports of use of physical force by peace officers and corrections officers. Requires commission to report annually to appropriate committee or interim committee of Legislative Assembly on reports. Requires law enforcement units to report on use or threat of physical force, and deaths of persons in custody, to commission.

Earlier this year a special legislative session passed six bills, signed by Governor Kate Brown and made effective June 30:

  • HB 4201 — Establishes the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform.
  • HB 4203 — Bans police use of choke holds and other methods of impeding a person’s ability to breathe, unless use of deadly physical force is warranted.
  • HB 4205 — A law designed to protect whistleblowers in law enforcement and requires any officer who observes misconduct to report the incident within 72 hours.
  • HB 4207 — Establishes a public, statewide online database of police officers who have been suspended or had any certifications revoked, and requires every law enforcement agency to review personnel records before hiring police officers with previous experience in other jurisdictions.
  • HB 4208 — Bans police use of tear gas and long-range acoustic devices in crowd control, unless a gathering has been categorized as a riot.
  • SB 1604 — Lays out an alternative for law enforcement agencies seeking to discipline officers, restricting use of binding arbitration.

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