Prison Bills Pass
The Oregon Legislative session ended this week and according to advocates, prison sentencing reform was a big winner. House Bill 3078, known as the “Safety and Savings Act” and passed last week, would divert women convicted of certain property crimes – often driven by drug addiction – to intensive supervision programs and addiction and mental-health treatment instead of prison. Representative Carla Piluso co-sponsored H-B 3078 and is the former police chief of Gresham. She and her colleagues want the state to get away from relying so much on punitive measures.
“We know especially with our women the causes of some of their challenges is related to drug and alcohol use. So, if we can work towards preventing rather than incarcerating, which really we find is not the best path for anybody to take.”
Last week lawmakers also passed House Bill 2355, which decriminalizes possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy – as long as the person doesn’t have any prior felonies or more than two felony drug convictions. They will instead be charged with a misdemeanor. Both bills are on Governor Kate Brown’s desk. Advocates for prison justice reform have touted both H-B 3078 and 2355 as wins for racial justice. Piluso says these bills will help mothers stay with their children. She commends incarcerated women for their role in this reform process.
“There’s a really collaborative sense, from my perspective, that this is an effort for all women to participate in, and again those who are currently incarcerated are really leading a good, strong charge to make change.”
H-B 3078 was also created to reduce Oregon’s need to build a second women’s prison. Piluso says that saves the state nearly 20-million dollars a year.
Sheriff’s Bill Overtime
The Lane County Sheriff’s office had a busy week. Overtime hours were approved for enforcement and patrol of the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta. July 6th through the 10th Deputies patrolled the area of 126 near the fairgrounds and focused on DUI, seatbelt use, speeding and prohibited cell phone use. The deputies logged 88 additional hours over the 5 day period. They made 15 arrests and issued 149 citations.
Be Fire Safe
It’s wildfire season in Oregon and the number one cause of fire on this side of the Cascades is human related. The Siuslaw Valley Fire Department reminds residents that debris burning is currently not allowed due to a higher risk of fire in the summer months. Also, if you plan on going camping this weekend make sure you know what type of fires are permitted in campgrounds. Being prepared prior to a weekend getaway is paramount in having an enjoyable experience. It has been a dryer than normal summer for the Oregon coast and even though here in the central coastal region the risk is still moderate to normal, the danger of fire still exists. Be prepared. Carry water and maybe even a fire extinguisher.