Agenda also includes reforming government transparency, crime victims’ restitution collection and alcohol and drug treatment
Attorney General John Kroger today announced his 2011 Legislative Agenda that includes closing a loophole in Oregon’s child pornography law, reforming government transparency laws and helping crime victims get the restitution they deserve.
“As Attorney General, I am committed to fighting child pornography and helping crime victims,” Kroger said. “This legislative agenda provides the additional tools we need to protect and serve Oregonians.”
The agenda announced today includes six proposals on child pornography, government transparency, restitution for crime victims, government misconduct, charities, and alcohol and drug treatment.
- FIGHTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – Earlier this year, the Oregon Supreme Court held that under current state law it is not a crime to view child pornography online, as long as the viewer does not purchase or download it. Child pornography is one of the worst crimes imaginable, for its production involves the sexual exploitation of innocent children. Attorney General Kroger’s top legislative priority will be to close this loophole so that intentionally accessing child pornography on the internet is once again illegal in our state.
- MAKING GOVERNMENT MORE TRANSPARENT – Oregon’s sunshine laws were written nearly 40 years ago and have never been updated. When the public records law was first drafted, it contained 55 exemptions allowing records to be kept secret. Today, there are over 400 such exemptions, resulting in a major erosion of government transparency and accountability. Attorney General Kroger proposes to overhaul the public records law to increase the public’s access to vital information. Senate Bill 41 will eliminate over 100 exemptions, require governments to follow clear deadlines and cap costs.
- REFORMING ADDICTION TREATMENT AND PREVENTION – The number one cause of crime in Oregon is drug and alcohol addiction. Though tough enforcement is essential, we will never significantly reduce crime in our state unless we have world-class addiction treatment and prevention programs. Unfortunately, Oregon’s programs are currently fragmented, underfunded and inefficient. To fix these problems, the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, chaired by Attorney General Kroger, has drafted HB 3035. This bill will create a statewide director to unify and reform treatment and prevention programs, require a unified treatment and prevention budget, mandate a uniform data collection system to insure our money is spent wisely and start an innovative pilot program to cut drug and alcohol use by kids.
- PRESERVING THE PUBLIC TRUST – In the last two years, DOJ has prosecuted or removed from office numerous elected and law enforcement officials for government misconduct. Right now, however, the most severe Official Misconduct charge is only a Class A misdemeanor. SB 46 makes Official Misconduct a Class C felony in cases where the official commits a crime of violence or steals $10,000 or more in the course of their official duties. This will help expand government accountability by ensuring that serious crimes are treated accordingly.
- CRACKING DOWN ON SHAM CHARITIES – Every year, millions of dollars in charitable donations go to waste because they are given to irresponsible sham charities that spend most of their donations on their own salaries and overhead costs. To crack down on corrupt charities, Attorney General Kroger is introducing SB 40, the first bill in the nation to require charities to spend at least 30% of money raised toward their purported charitable cause. If they fail to meet this requirement, donations to them will no longer be tax deductible.
- SUPPORTING VICTIMS OF CRIME – Oregon is constitutionally mandated to provide prompt restitution to crime victims. Unfortunately, many crime victims never receive a dime. Drafted with the help of leading crime victims’ advocates, SB 39 will create an innovative pilot program to improve restitution efforts around the state. The bill will fund county restitution clerks to gather the financial information needed to establish a restitution order and collection agents to assist community corrections and the courts in enforcing restitution judgments. If passed, this bill will help make the promise of restitution a reality.
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, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org