Domestic Violence Awareness, Government Accountability, Halloween Safety & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     October 2016

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Dear friends,

    October has offered great fall colors and a lot of rain. Please slow down with all of the leaves on the roads and remember that a lot of kids will be out trick-or-treating this Monday (see below for Halloween safety info). If you plan to travel over the mountain passes, don't forget to check for weather alerts and traffic advisories before heading out.

    Also: Please remember to vote this election! Besides voting for candidates, there are seven state measures as well as local measures on the ballot. Information about these is available in the state Voters' Pamphlet and at county election offices. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. If you do not mail your ballot by November 1, it will be best to use an official drop box. Click here to view the Secretary of State's Drop Box Locator.

    Veterans' Day falls on Friday, November 11, this year. Click here for a listing of community events as they are posted. To submit a public event of your own, click here.

    Below you will find information on:

- Domestic Violence Awareness
        - 2016 Session: Government Accountability Bills
        - Halloween Traffic Safety Tips from the State Police

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Domestic Violence Awareness

    Nearly one in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Survivors often suffer tremendous physical, emotional, and financial hardships.
    During the month of October, communities in Oregon and across the nation join together to raise awareness, recognizing the prevalence of domestic violence, prevent abuse and promote healthy, safe, homes and relationships. This increased awareness should not be limited to October; for additional information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2016, and ways to get involved moving forward, please visit the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
    During the 2016 legislative session, I worked with my colleagues to support victims and help prevent domestic and sexual violence in our communities. Here are a few of the legislative highlights passed during the 2016 session, listed by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 3 - Increased Penalty for Violating Domestic Violence Restraining Order: Oregon faces a domestic violence death nearly once a month. This legislation better protects victims of domestic violence by strengthening the consequence for violating a restraining order. SB 3 increases the penalty for violating a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, if there is clear risk of physical injury, to a Class C felony. The bill also gives judges the ability to make violations punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $125,000 fine, or both (Class C Felony).

    SB 188, SB 377, HB 2356, HB 2596 - Greater Accountability for Invasion of Privacy: Increasingly, survivors of domestic violence report that abusive partners may use "revenge porn" (the posting of intimate material such as photos, video, etc., without the consent of the person portrayed) and other invasions of personal privacy as a tactic to terrorize, embarrass, and harass victims, often as part of a larger pattern of abuse.

  • SB 188 creates the crime of unlawful dissemination of an intimate image, punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, or Class C felony for second or subsequent convictions.
  • SB 377 updates Oregon's computer crime law to prohibit theft of an intimate image from a computer or other digital device.
  • HB 2356 creates increased penalties for a second conviction of invasion of privacy or for making a recording or photo of another person in a state of nudity for sexual gratification. This activity is currently a misdemeanor and is upgraded to a felony with passage of this bill.
  • HB 2596 will make so-called "up-skirting" and "down-blousing" a crime. Prior law did not clarify that taking and circulating surreptitiously recorded images of people’s intimate areas is unlawful in all cases.

    SB 199 - Timely Victim Notification: This legislation requires the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision to notify the victim, if requested, prior to a hearing or administrative decision to reset or advance the release date of a prisoner for specified reasons.

    SB 390 - Landlord-Tenant Protections for Survivors: Current landlord-tenant law contains several provisions specific to survivors, prohibiting discrimination, and allowing for lock changes or early lease terminations for safety reasons. SB 390 adds to those protections by specifying that a tenant who is a victim may not be held responsible for damage that results from the conduct of a perpetrator relating to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking committed against the tenant.

    SB 492 - Work Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence: This legislation allows employees to use sick leave or personal business leave to seek services, assistance or treatment if they are a victim of domestic violence harassment, sexual assault or stalking. Prior to passage, employees could be limited to using only vacation leave for such purposes. SB 492 applies to workplaces with six or more employees.

    SB 525 - Preventing Gun Violence in Domestic Violence Situations: This legislation will protect families by bringing Oregon laws into alignment with federal laws prohibiting gun possession for perpetrators of domestic violence. The bill prohibits the possession of a firearm or ammunition by most people who are subject to a restraining order or who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence.

    SB 759 - Helping Victims of Campus Sexual Assault: Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone a victim knows — a friend, date, relative, acquaintance, or even a long-time partner or spouse. There is often overlap between domestic violence and sexual assault because one of the ways abusers harm their partners is through sexual assault. This legislation will help campus communities better serve victims by requiring higher education institutions in Oregon to adopt and make public a written protocol for responding to a sexual assault involving a student, faculty, or staff member. The protocol must include information on victims’ rights, and resources on- and off-campus.

    SB 790 - Domestic Violence Education in Schools: Oregon law currently requires school districts to have a policy in place that defines and prohibits teen dating violence and incorporates teen dating violence education into new or existing programs for students in grades seven through 12. This legislation expands on existing law, requiring such educational programs to also include education about domestic violence.

    SB 1567 - Criminal Impersonation: This legislation closes a loophole in existing law by making it clear that it is a crime to impersonate someone with the intent to humiliate, harm or harass a person. SB 1567 provides an important mechanism to hold offenders, particularly those who use technology for violence or other harm, accountable for these kinds of abusive tactics. The bill builds upon the necessary work the Legislature has undertaken in previous sessions to help ensure that victims are protected in a fast-paced digital age.

    SB 1571 - "Melissa's Law:" This legislation — named "Melissa's Law" in honor of 14-year-old Melissa Bitler, who was raped and murdered in 2001 — ensures accountability for the testing of Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence kits by tightening timelines and standardizing the handling and retention of SAFE kits. SB 157 also makes law enforcement agencies more responsive to sexual assault victims by requiring agencies to have clear policies and personnel in place to work with victims.

    SB 1600 - Eliminating the Statute of Limitations for First-Degree Sex Crimes with New Evidence: This legislation authorizes the prosecution of first-degree sex crimes at any time after the crime is committed, if the prosecuting attorney obtains additional, corroborating evidence including non-DNA physical evidence, such as a video or audio recording; confession by the defendant to that particular crime; statements by the victim made close in time to the alleged crime; or when multiple victims come forward alleging crimes similar enough to be on the same list of charges.

House Bills

    HB 2317 - Doubling the Statute of Limitations on Rape: Oregon's six-year statute of limitations on rape and other certain sex crimes was one of the shortest in the country. This legislation doubles the statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes, including rape, to 12 years. Under current state law, there is no statute of limitations when DNA evidence is present.

    HB 2339 - Protecting Crime Victims' Rights: In Oregon, crime victims have a right to be present during a trial — a right which is less meaningful when a victim cannot understand the proceedings because of barriers related to language or disability. This legislation requires courts to appoint an interpreter, and/or provide an appropriate assistive communication device at no cost when a crime victim needs one.

    HB 2628 - Improving Access to Stalking Protective Orders: Under current law, most stalking and protective orders are generally exempted from filing fees, but court fees can be charged in certain circumstances. This legislation will ensure that all stalking protection orders are available without court filing or service fees, a fix that will help make sure all persons feeling seriously threatened can access the protections they need.

    HB 2758 - Patient Privacy: This legislation allows patients to request to redirect their "Explanation of Benefits" and other health care communications from their insurance company to a different address than the policy holder's. This bill will ensure that Oregonians who are covered by another person's insurance policy can maintain their privacy, a particularly important protection for survivors of violence and abuse whose safety may be tied to the confidentiality of their private health information.

    HB 2776 - Emergency Protective Orders: This legislation increases protection for people in danger of domestic violence or abuse by allowing law enforcement to obtain temporary emergency protective orders with the victim's permission and if the officer has probable cause to believe the person is in danger.

    HB 3466 - Enhancing Victim Protections: This legislation expands protections for assault victims from intimidation by defendants. The bill makes clear that a court order prohibiting a defendant from having contact with a victim — specifically in sex crime and domestic violence cases — must also include attempted contact by the defendant, either in person or through a third party.

    HB 3476 - Protecting Survivor Confidentiality: This legislation ensures that victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking can seek support services without compromising their privacy. Under this bill, information shared with a certified advocate at nonprofit community-based or campus-based programs, will be privileged communication, kept confidential unless a victim consents to disclosure. HB 3476 will help ensure that victims are supported, respected and protected as they seek services.
    Additionally, the Legislature invested $40 million for justice reinvestment funding to maintain:

  • Stable funding for the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund in the Department of Justice budget.
  • Criminal Fine Account for domestic violence and sexual assault funding in the Department of Human Services budget.
  • Funding for statewide District/City Attorney-Based Victim Assistance Program (and Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention Program).

2016 Session: Government Accountability Bills

    Continuing with this e-bulletin, I'm providing in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2016 session by subject area. A comprehensive listing of accomplishments from the 2016 session related to government accountability — by Senate/House bill and in numerical order — follows:

Senate Bills

    SB 1515 - Children's Safety and Dignity Act of 2016: This legislation — the 2016 Children’s Safety and Dignity Act — takes steps to improve the safety of kids in state-licensed residential foster care. SB 1515 makes statutory changes to improve the accountability of the Department of Human Services (DHS) and licensed childcare agencies. The bill sets forth clear criteria and standards for licensed providers and specifies actions DHS can and must take if a program is not in compliance. It also expands the definition of a child to include those who are 18 to 20 years old — who are often included among youth in care — and specifies that a failure to investigate or take other action when concerns arise may constitute official misconduct. SB 1515 backs these commitments with an allocation of nearly $900,000 for the 2015-17 biennium to support new licensing, investigatory and enforcement staff within DHS and the Department of Justice.

    SB 1537 - Promoting Higher Education Access: This legislation allows school districts to receive and spend some State School Fund dollars to support "Post-Graduate Scholar" programs that allow certain students who have already earned a high school diploma to earn community college credits while staying connected to important support systems and resources within their school district. SB 1537 allows successful local programs to continue, supports new statewide higher education programs — like the Oregon Promise tuition assistance program — and ensures accountability by requiring stakeholders to return to the Legislature with alternative proposals for funding Post-Graduate Scholar programs with a source outside of the K-12 budget.

    SB 1538 - Information Security Oversight: Information security incidents within Oregon's state agencies have increased recently — as have the agency budget requests to deal with these incidents. This legislation ensures that when these breaches or vulnerabilities occur, state agencies are required to notify the Legislative Fiscal Office promptly and provide LFO with results of IS assessments. SB 1538 also requires heads of specific state agencies to report annually on IS to the Legislature. These requirements will ensure that the Legislature can effectively fulfill its oversight and appropriation obligations.

    SB 1539 - Financial Oversight of State IT Projects: This legislation improves government accountability by requiring state agencies to provide the state's Chief Information Officer and Legislative Fiscal Office with copies of any cost analysis for information technology services projects. Currently, prior to procuring services over $250,000, state agencies must undertake a cost analysis process to compare the potential costs for a project with in-house resources versus those provided by a contractor. SB 1539 ensures that Oregon's CIO and LFO have the information they need to oversee IT project procurement and ensure resources are allocated wisely.

    SB 1541 - Study on School District Spending and Student Outcomes: This legislation directs the Oregon Department of Education to conduct a study on expenditure variations among school districts. The study will review how K-12 dollars are spent (instruction, transportation, support services, etc.), what factors shape this spending (class sizes, staff levels, compensation, student demographics, etc.), and how these relate to student outcomes (attendance, absenteeism and graduation rates). The study report required by SB 1541 can provide useful data to lawmakers, districts and the public about best practices. The bill assists in making sound investments based on what works for students.

    SB 1569 - Legislative Policy and Research Committee: This legislation establishes a new office in the Legislative Assembly to provide policy and research support to individual legislators and committees. SB 1569 also establishes a new committee — the Joint Policy and Research Committee — to hire the office’s director and oversee its operations.

    SB 1591 - Insurance Transparency for Consumers and Regulators: This legislation authorizes the Department of Consumer and Business Services to provide information about complaints received against an insurer for an unlawful trade practice. The authorization protects consumers by removing any personally identifying information prior to release, but provides an additional tool for consumers and regulators when choosing an insurance policy.

House Bills

    HB 4067 - Protecting Whistleblowers in Public and Nonprofit Sectors: This legislation creates a new set of legal protections for whistleblowers and makes clear that these protections apply to all public and nonprofit employees and board members. HB 4067 will promote transparency, helping to ensure that employees can safely report abuse, crimes and other serious misconduct in their workplace without fearing retaliation or discipline as a result of their disclosures.

    HB 4107 - Supporting Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs): This legislation prohibits the Oregon Health Authority from retroactively changing the terms of a contract with a coordinated care organization, unless certain conditions are met. HB 4107 will help improve business certainty for Oregon's 16 CCOs which provide care coordination for nearly all of the more than 1 million Oregonians enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan.

    HB 4106 - Ensuring Agency Accountability and Oversight: This legislation requires all state agencies to report annually to the Legislature on information related to the use of temporary rulemaking. This new requirement ensures the Legislature and Oregonians are apprised of agency rules and actions.

    HB 4134 - Increasing Transparency Through Lobbyist Disclosure of Clients: This legislation increases government transparency by requiring lobbyists to report new clients to the Oregon Ethics Commission within three days of hire.

    HB 4135 - Improving Government Transparency by Enhancing Public Records Requests: This legislation promotes transparency in state government by requiring the Department of Administrative Services to coordinate efforts of fulfilling public requests for records. The bill also requires DAS to coordinate requests when multiple executive department agencies receive requests for electronic records in the department's custody.

Halloween Traffic Safety Tips from the State Police

    The Oregon State Police (OSP) reminds you to watch for trick-or-treaters when driving in neighborhoods or going to a party on Halloween night, October 31. OSP encourages parents to:

  • Dress children in bright costumes. Use reflective tape or stickers on dark costumes.
  • Apply face paint or cosmetics appropriate for children directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision.
  • If a mask is worn, cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
  • Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to improve their visibility.
  • Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
  • Remind children to cross streets only at intersections.
  • Teach children to stop and look for cars, looking to the left, right and left again before crossing, and then to keep looking both ways for cars while they cross.
  • Teach children to never dart into a street or cross a street from between parked cars.
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