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Oregon Lawmakers Pass An Array of Public Safety Bills

Oregon lawmakers passed bills this session that crack down on a mix of crimes, News From the States reports. They voted to expand the statute of limitations for prosecutors to file rape charges. If signed by Gov. Tina Kotek into law, would expand the statute of limitations to prosecute from 12 to 20 years. If the victim was under 18 , the statute of limitations would end after 20 years or when the victim turns 30, whichever comes later. Another bill Kotek signed puts puts tougher penalties in place for illegal street racing, making it punishable by up to 364 days imprisonment and a $6,250 fine. It could apply to people who organize street races and block roads. Lawmakers also banned ghost guns that are untraceable and lack serial numbers. The ban includes undetectable firearms that can evade a metal detector. The measure, not yet signed by Kotek, would make Oregon the ninth state to ban ghost guns. To help end a GOP-led Senate walkout, Democratic lawmakers killed language that would have raised the minimum age to purchase most firearms from 18 to 21 years and allowed local agencies to ban firearms on government-owned property.

Another bill targets paramilitary activity and intimidation, a recognition that Oregon is a growing hotspot for anti-government activity with armed protesters. Paramilitary activity involves groups of people who illegally intimidate others from conducting lawful activity, such as voting. It could include activities like brandishing a firearm near a polling place or suggesting a violent outcome for voters. Under the bill, the attorney general can get a court order against the activity, and private citizens can sue for damages. Another bill emerged from the attorney general’s labor trafficking task force. Labor trafficking can involve situations such as when a person is enslaved to pay off a purported debt or trapped with the false promise of a job and legal residency. The bill, signed by Kotek, provides help to victims and supporters and holds traffickers accountable in criminal and civil courts. It gives victims up to 10 years to seek civil damages, or longer if they were trafficked as a minor. Lawmakers approved a $5 million grant to help police agencies fight organized retail theft rings. Retailers told lawmakers the problem cost millions of dollars in losses statewide, driving up prices for honest customers.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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