With the conclusion of the 2023 Oregon Legislative session, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum commends the efforts of our legislators, their staff, and her DOJ policy team that yielded significant successes in an historically challenging session. Going into the legislative session, Rosenblum proposed legislation on several of her long-standing key priorities: consumer privacy; labor trafficking; reproductive rights (in the wake of Dobbs); and, “ghost guns.”
“As the People’s Attorney, I consider it my job to protect Oregonians’ rights, safety and privacy,” said AG Rosenblum. “I am thrilled that every major bill on my legislative agenda passed! From banning unserialized ‘ghost guns’, to requiring transparency and limits on the use of our personal data, to moving forward our work preserving access to abortion, and fighting labor trafficking and bias crimes, we’ve put Oregonians’ safety and privacy at the center of our work. I applaud Oregon DOJ’s stellar legislative team, led by Kimberly McCullough and Kate Denison, for their tireless focus, inclusivity, and patience!” continued Rosenblum.
In addition to AG Rosenblum’s priority bills, a number of key public safety and justice bills passed, thanks to the combined efforts of their cosponsors, advocates from across Oregon, and the assistance of DOJ policy and legal experts.
“I would also like to extend sincere appreciation to Senate President Rob Wagner and House Speaker Dan Rayfield for their leadership. Their patience and their focus on resolving differences made these legislative successes possible,” Rosenblum added.
Oregon Consumer Privacy Act (SB 619): PASSED Senate 23-2 / House 55-0 (AG-Requested)
In June 2019, the Attorney General convened a Consumer Privacy Task Force to answer the growing call for comprehensive consumer privacy legislation. The Task Force (with over 150 participants) developed Oregon-specific privacy legislation to provide meaningful protections. SB 619 will affirmatively provide Oregonians with important rights over their personal data and impose specific obligations on companies. Oregonians will finally have more control over their personal data.
Chief Sponsors: Senator Prozanski and Representative Holvey.
Data Broker Transparency (HB 2052): PASSED House 49-9 / Senate 23-1 (AG-Requested)
Originally introduced in the 2022 legislative session, this bill will shed light on the $232 billion data broker industry. Data brokers collect and sell our personal information for a handsome profit, often without our consent or awareness. This will require data brokers who do business in Oregon to register with the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), provide both: 1) information about whether a consumer can “opt out” of collection and sale of their personal information; and 2) a method to contact the data broker and request an opt out.
Introduced as a committee bill by the House Business and Labor Committee.
“The Robocall Bill” (HB 2759) House 36-12 / Senate 17-8 (AG-Supported)
Unwanted robocalls are a national scourge. According to reports, US consumers received over 50 billion robocalls in 2022. The Robocall Bill, HB 2759, will allow the Attorney General and individual consumers to take action against providers who act as a point of entry for illegal robocalls that originate from overseas – including scam calls that result in billions of dollars lost to consumers each year. HB 2759 will encourage telemarketing providers to police the traffic they allow through their systems and protect more Oregonians from scams and fraud.
Chief Sponsor: Rep. Holvey
Tobacco Equity Fee (HB 2128): PASSED House 31-20 / Senate 17-8 (AG-Requested)
HB 2128 closes a big loophole related to payments made by cigarette manufacturers to reimburse Oregon for the public health costs of smoking. Many cigarette manufacturers directly pay the state under the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) – roughly $70 million per year. Other companies who have not joined the original agreement are subject to laws requiring them to make deposits into escrow accounts. The purpose of the escrow accounts was to require manufacturers to build the health care costs into the price of their cigarettes, and to serve as a source of compensation to the state for the health costs of their products. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, they are being treated as investments for the companies. HB 2128 changes the escrow deposit requirement to a direct payment to the state. The payments will be directed to the Oregon Health Authority, the agency that bears the state’s health costs for smoking-related illness. The equity assessment will begin January 1, 2024.
Strengthening Anti-Trust Enforcement (SB 310) PASSED House 39-21 / Senate 22-8 (AG-Requested)
False Claims Act (SB 311) PASSED (AG-Requested)
These two companion bills will update Oregon’s antitrust and false claims laws, which were established to protect consumers from anti-competitive conduct and to recover funds charged to government agencies via false claims. SB 310 updates the antitrust language, increases the penalty limits from $250,000 to $1 million, and allows for both criminal prosecution and civil action for recovery where appropriate. SB 311 updates False Claims Act language and increases penalties from $10,000 per violation to a maximum of $50,000 per violation.
Reproductive Health and Access to Care (HB 2002): PASSED Senate 17-3 / House 35-12 (AG-Requested)
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the federal constitutional right to abortion, Oregon DOJ collaborated with the Speaker’s office, community and advocacy organizations, providers, clinic administrators, and experts to develop policy to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and gender affirming care. HB 2002 includes crucial protections for individuals providing, supporting, and receiving reproductive and gender affirming care in Oregon. It also closes gaps in insurance coverage for gender affirming care, contraception and abortion.
Chief Sponsors: Representatives Valderrama and Nelson; Senators Lieber and Steiner.
Bias Crimes and Incidents (HB 3443): PASSED House 40-14 / Senate 21-3 (AG-Requested)
Oregon DOJ’s highly successful statewide Bias Response Hotline connects victims with trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically responsive, victim-centered support, tracks and publishes data, coordinates bias-prevention initiatives, and provides training to agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates. Through this work, we developed this important set of victim-centered improvements to our statutes. Under HB 3443, victims of bias crimes will obtain new protections, including eligibility to utilize DOJ’s Address Confidentiality Program, obtain protected leave from work, and break a lease without penalty. HB 3443 will also improve training for those who assist victims of bias crimes during a criminal prosecution.
Chief Sponsors: Representative Pham K; Senators Manning Jr and Jama.
Crime Victims Compensation (HB 2676): PASSED Senate 24-0 / House 50-0 (AG-Requested)
Oregon’s Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program provides early assistance to victims, survivors and their families. The CVC statutes have not been updated in many years, and there are several statutory impediments that slow down the payment of expenses to victims and survivors. HB 2676 reduces barriers and increases compensation.
Chief Sponsor: Representative Kropf.
Ghost Guns (HB 2005): PASSED Senate 17-3 / House 34-14 (AG-Requested)
Fourth time’s a charm! First proposed by the AG in 2019, HB 2005 finally bans ghost guns in Oregon. Oregon joins 8 other states in banning these unserialized and often undetectable firearms (aka “ghost guns”), which pose serious risks to public safety. When used to commit crimes, ghost guns frustrate law enforcement investigations. 3D printed ghost guns evade security measures. Ghost guns can also be obtained without a background check. This legislation will prohibit the sale, manufacture and possession of ghost guns and will require serial numbers on nearly all existing guns by September 2024.
Chief Sponsors: Representatives Reynolds, Grayber, Kropf, and Evans; Senators Manning Jr and Prozanski.
Labor Trafficking Task Force Bill (SB 1052) PASSED Senate 24-3 / House 56-0 (AG-Requested)
This bill comes from the Attorney General’s Labor Trafficking Task Force, which worked over the last two years to develop policy proposals to improve the state’s response to labor trafficking, better support victims and survivors, and hold traffickers accountable for their crimes. Labor trafficking is a form of human trafficking that can include threats of violence and coercion to force a person to work against their will, sometimes with no or little pay or inhumane conditions. Victims are often hesitant to come forward. Labor trafficking arises in many contexts, including domestic servitude, construction, agriculture, and more. Victims are sometimes tricked into trafficking with the promise of a job and legal residency.
Chief Sponsors: Senators Taylor and Knopp; Representatives Morgan and Marsh.
Law Enforcement Standards of Conduct and Discipline Commission (SB 808) PASSED Senate 16-12 / House 36-17 (AG-Requested)
Established in 2021, the Commission adopts uniform standards of conduct and discipline for law enforcement throughout the state. This bill designates the Attorney General as the chairperson of the Commission. It also streamlines and improves governance rules for the Commission, such as broadening the definition of law enforcement officer to include parole and probation officers, certified reserve officers and corrections officers.
Non-Unanimous Jury Convictions (SB 321) PASSED Senate 21-4 / House 49-1 (AG provided technical assistance.)
This bill follows United States Supreme Court and Oregon Supreme Court rulings regarding non-unanimous jury verdicts. It confirms the availability of post-conviction relief for individuals who were convicted by non-unanimous juries. It lifts the time limit that otherwise would apply to those cases and, for cases that need to be retried because the original jury was not unanimous, it allows the parties to present transcripts or recordings of exhibits that were lost since the first trial, through no fault of the parties.
Opioid Harm Reduction Package (HB 2395) House 46-3 / Senate 22-3 (AG-Supported)
HB 2395 will help make naloxone more broadly available in the community and will increase public access to other harm reduction tools. The package was developed in response to the deadly fentanyl crisis that is devastating communities across Oregon. It will save lives.
Chief Sponsor: Reps Dexter, Bynum, Grayber, Hieb, Reynolds; Sens. Hayden, Jama, Patterson, Steiner.
Preventing Unlawful Paramilitary Activity (HB 2572) Senate 17-8 / House 36-23 (AG-Supported)
Private paramilitary activity—often referred to as “militia” activity—is prohibited by Art. I, § 27 of the Oregon Constitution and by state statutory law found at ORS 166.660. However, the language of the existing anti-paramilitary law and its lack of a civil enforcement mechanism have hampered law enforcement officials in Oregon in preventing armed paramilitary groups from mobilizing for acts of intimidation or violence. HB 2572 creates a civil cause of action, making it a more effective enforcement tool against the continuing threat of violence from armed paramilitary groups. This bill will apply to conduct that endangers public safety and infringes the rights of all Oregonians, regardless of the ideology motivating that conduct. The measure was developed in concert with law enforcement, constitutional, and legal experts to ensure that the revised provisions conform with the constitutional requirements of Article I, § 8, which protects free speech and expression.
Chief Sponsors: Rep. Grayber; Sen. Manning Jr.
U-Visa Certification (SB 597) PASSED Senate 25-2 / House 60-0 (AG-Requested)
Supported by the Attorney General’s Labor Trafficking Task Force, this bill facilitates the implementation of the federal U-Visa program in Oregon. The U-Visa program was designed to increase public safety by strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes, while ensuring that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking are not deterred from seeking help from law enforcement by a fear of immigration sanctions. SB 962, passed in 2019, requires that agencies that certify U-Visas report information about their certifications to Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission (CJC). The reporting requirement ended in January of this year. This bill revives and extends the reporting requirement until January 1, 2027. This will ensure we have the data we need to ensure that the U-Visa program is serving immigrant victims of crime.
Additional bills supported by the DOJ:
- HB 2049 – Establishes Cybersecurity Center of Excellence
- HB 2279 – Death with dignity – removal of residency requirement
- HB 3127 – Security of state assets (ban on certain apps controlled by hostile foreign governments)
- HB 3201 – Supports statewide broadband access
- HB 3320 – Charity Care – strengthens Oregon law to ensure that low-income Oregonians receive the financial assistance nonprofit hospitals are required to provide
- HB 3456 – Establishes Sexual Misconduct Survey Council for institutions of higher education
- SB 611 – Cap on annual rent increases for residential tenancies
- SB 816 – Lengthens Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining orders to 2 year duration (current law is 1 year)
- HB 2732 – Child Advocacy Center funding – provides critical services for the effective response to child abuse
- SB 5506 – End of Session Budget bill
- $10 million for the Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Fund and $6 million to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with housing needs
- Provides additional DOJ staff to support the Organized Retail Theft task force and local law enforcement work to investigate and prosecute these crimes
- DOJ Criminal Justice Division – Adds animal cruelty resource prosecutor
- Community Violence Prevention grants – increases funding for a critical public safety program.