Attorney General Kroger praises the Legislature for approving drug treatment, environmental crimes and civil rights initiatives
Attorney General John Kroger announced that last night the Legislature approved three of his highest priorities: a commission to reform and improve Oregon's drug treatment and prevention programs and the creation of environmental crimes and civil rights enforcement units.
The creation of the environmental crimes and civil rights units was paid for by shifting resources from lower priorities within the Department of Justice's budget.
"I'm very pleased the Legislature approved these three critical initiatives. The Legislature's actions will ensure that our laws are properly enforced and that we reduce crime in our state," Attorney General Kroger said.
Attorney General Kroger singled out Sen. Margaret Carter, D-Portland, for praise.
"Sen. Carter has been a powerful voice in this Legislature for civil rights and everyone who cares about civil rights and civil liberties in our state owes her a debt of gratitute," Kroger continued.
House Bill 5054 appropriates $642,000 to recreate a civil rights unit in the Department of Justice that will go after the most egregious cases of discrimination. The unit will start small, with a civil rights attorney and an investigator. The unit will work closely with the existing civil rights work at the Bureau of Labor and Industry.
House Bill 3353, the last bill to be approved by the House at 9:12 p.m., sets up a commission to overhaul the state's drug treatment and prevention system. The commission brings together state leaders, law enforcement and treatment providers in an unprecedented effort to reduce crime by dramatically improving Oregon's drug treatment and prevention programs.
Attorney General Kroger thanked Gov. Kulongoski, Sen. Prozanski, D-Eugene, Rep. Tomei, D-Milwaukie, and Bruce Goldberg, director of the Department of Human Services, for their work in passing the drug treatment commission bill.
The environmental crimes enforcement unit was created by Senate Bill 797, which was passed at 8:18 p.m., Monday. It allows the Department of Justice to use existing funds to launch a new enforcement program that focuses on illegal and intentional violation of Oregon's environmental laws. The unit will start small, with one prosecutor and one investigator.
Attorney General Kroger thanked Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, for her help in creating and passing SB 797.
To pay for these programs, the Department of Justice made a number of cuts in its budget, including a $2 million cut to the budget for legal services to state government.
In January, the Department of Justice announced five priorities: drug treatment, environmental crimes prosecution, civil rights enforcement, fighting illegal debt collection and combatting internet sex predators.
With last night's action, all five have been achieved.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org