State prosecutors on Thursday added their support for a bill that would help ensure disciplinary actions against officers cannot be later reversed by an outside arbitrator
The Oregon District Attorneys’ Association now joins state police chiefs, sheriffs and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in urging Gov. Kate Brown to convene a special session to pass the bill, which has twice failed in regular legislative sessions.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that momentum is growing for lawmakers to pass new police accountability legislation this summer in a special legislative session, as widespread protests against racial injustice and police brutality continue.
“Over the past two weeks, we have watched our nation and state slowly step up to engage in a conversation that is long overdue,” Rep. Janelle Bynum, a Happy Valley Democrat and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
Bynum and other members of Oregon’s all-Democrat People of Color Caucus joined three Republicans in asking Brown to convene a session to pass the bill within 30 days. In fact, it may come well sooner.
The governor “agrees that the Legislature should pass it in short order, and she is preparing to call a special session to take up this bill among others,” Charles Boyle, a press secretary in the governor’s office, told OPB. “The Governor is working with legislative leadership to finalize a plan and timeline for the upcoming special session, and we anticipate an announcement on that front in the next few days.”
The bill with the most backing headed into that session has been a long-time goal of the city of Portland, and introduced repeatedly by state Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland. It would ensure that outside arbitrators can’t overturn disciplinary actions against police officers if they concur that misconduct occurred, and that a police department has followed its disciplinary guidelines.