Dear friends, This is serious and urgent. There is a clear and present danger to democracy in Oregon which could spread to other states. Senate Bill 742 proposed by Oregon State Senator Minnis (R-Dist. 25 / Fairview)(Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee) creates the crime of "terrorism" -- punishable by life imprisonment. Senator Minnis defines "terrorism" so broadly that even being present at a demonstration that is in any way "disruptive" could result in life imprisonment. I have given the relevant sections of the bill below, as well as the link to the whole bill. I have also provided information from the American Civil Liberties Union regarding this, including contact information for the relevant Oregon State Senators. Ever since laws began to be passed criminalizing "terrorism," I have been concerned that its definition would be expanded to include anything that authorities wished to suppress which could then be subject to extreme punishment, laying the groundwork for serious suppression. It seems that is now happening. It must be energetically nipped in the bud if we are to prevent its spread. If this law passes in Oregon, it is highly likely that other states will pass similar laws, especially in the current political climate. I trust you will act if you feel so moved. Whether you are an Oregon resident or not, you can express your dismay to the Oregon State Senators listed below.
If you are an Oregon resident you can, in addition, attend a hearing Monday
morning Mar 24 in Salem, OR (specifics below). Coheartedly,
Tom PS: The law also sets aside (in terrorism cases) two other Oregon laws which prevent police from (a) spying on innocent people and organizations and (b) apprehending people solely for immigration violations. _____
Excerpts from the proposed new law: http://pub.das.state.or.us/LEG_BILLS/PDFs/SB742.pdf 72nd OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2003 Regular Session Senate Bill 742 Sponsored by Senator MINNIS SUMMARY: Creates crime of terrorism. Punishes by life imprisonment. SECTION 1. (1) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any act that is intended, by at least one of its participants, to disrupt: (a) The free and orderly assembly of the inhabitants of the State of Oregon; (b) Commerce or the transportation systems of the State of Oregon; or (c) The educational or governmental institutions of the State of Oregon or its inhabitants. (2) A person commits the crime of terrorism if the person conspires to do any of the activities described in subsection (1) of this section. .... (4) (a) A person convicted of terrorism shall be punished by imprisonment for life. (b) When a person is convicted of terrorism under this section, the court shall order that the person be confined for a minimum of 25 years without possibility of parole, release to post-prison supervision, release on work release or any form of temporary leave or employment at a forest or work camp.... _ _ _ _ _
The State Senator from Eugene (my hometown): Senator Vicki Walker Party: D District: 7 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-210, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/walker/> _ _ _ _ _
An opportunity to make your opinions known: Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 17:23:55 -0800 From: Harriet Merrick <email@example.com> Subject: Monday March 24 in Salem I am forwarding a message from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). There is an important hearing this Monday, March 24th, at 8 a.m. in Salem at the Capital. If you can attend, please do. Representative Minnis is sponsoring a bill that is so vague and expansive that almost any activity that is considered "disruptive" could be considered "terrorist" activity and "earn" a life sentence with no parole. SB 742 in its original form lacks guidelines. Local law enforcement will decide what is disruptive. This could lead to very uneven application of the law. If this vague law existed during the civil rights movement, those opposing change could have declared boycotters, marchers and leaders such as Martin Luther King as "terrorists" and sentenced them to life imprisonment. One wonders what it would do today. There's more.
This bill is in committee and needs a sizable number of people to attend in opposition. If you cannot attend, please read the bill and let the committee know how you feel (contact numbers below). _ _ _ __ The Alert from the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU of Oregon Email Activist Network ---------------------------------------------------------------- *** ACLU-OR Action: SB 742 Hearing on Monday, March 24 ---------------------------------------------------------------- We need you in Salem at 8:00 a.m. on Monday. SB 742 has been set for a hearing on Monday, March 24 at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Judiciary, Room 343. SB 742 creates the crime of "terrorism" and defines it so broadly that individuals would be subject to life in prison if any other participant intended to disrupt commerce, transportation, educational, or governmental institutions (such as, strikes, protests, student food fights).
So you can read it for yourself, here's the link to the bill: <http://pub.das.state.or.us/LEG_BILLS/PDFs/SB742.pdf>
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP THIS BILL NOW. 1) ATTEND MONDAYS 8AM HEARING. We want to pack the room with as many of our supporters as possible. We'll give you a sticker, identifying you as a supporter when you get to the hearing room. **Please know that there will be amendments to Section 1 to limit the current drafted definition of "Terrorism." BUT -- there are no amendments to Section 2, that allows for law enforcement to ignore ORS 181.575 & ORS 181.850 if they are investigating "terrorism." (See the attachment on 181 Campaign Talking Points. If you have difficulty opening attachments, we've also included the talking points below). 2) CONTINUE CALLS to Senators Burdick, Ringo, Walker, Courtney & Brown. 3) CALL Republican Senators Minnis, Starr and Ferrioli who sit on the Senate Judiciary to let them know you OPPOSE SB 742 (contact at end of e-mail) Please call them even if you are not in their District. This is an Oregon issue, not a district issue. Here's the contact information. Senator John Minnis, Chair Party: R District: 25 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1725 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-311, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/minnisj> Senator Ginny Burdick, Vice-Chair Party: D District: 18 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1718 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-317, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:email@example.com> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/burdick/> Senator Ted Ferrioli Party: R District: 30 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1730 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-217, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/ferrioli> Senator Charlie Ringo Party: D District: 17 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1717 Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE S-314 Salem, OR 97301 Email Address: <mailto:email@example.com> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/ringo> Senator Charles Starr Party: R District: 13 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1713 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-312, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/starrc/> Senator Vicki Walker Party: D District: 7 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-210, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:email@example.com> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/walker/> Senate Leadership: Senate President Peter Courtney Party: D District: 11 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1600 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-203, Salem Or 97301 Email Address: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/senpres> Senator Kate Brown, Democrat Leader Party: D District: 21 Capitol Phone: 503-986-1700 Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE S-323, Salem Or 97301 Capitol Fax:503-986-1080 Email Address: <mailto:email@example.com> Web page Address: <http://www.leg.state.or.us/brown/> ------------------------------------------------------------------
181 CAMPAIGN TALKING POINTS Don't Let Oregon Police Be Used For Political Spying Or As Federal INS Agents. Current Status: SB 742 is set for a hearing on Monday, MARCH 24, 8:00 a.m in Senate Judiciary (Room 343). SB 742 creates crime of "terrorism" and defines it so broadly that individuals would be subject to life in prison if any other participant intended to disrupt commerce, transportation, educational, or governmental institutions (such as, strikes, protests, student food fights). More importantly, it would also allow state and local law enforcement to ignore both ORS 181.575 & ORS 181.850 if investigating "terrorism." This basically unravels the protections that these laws provide! Who We Are: We are a growing and diverse coalition of Oregon organizations. We include representatives of organizations working in civil rights, law enforcement, domestic violence, immigration, religious, labor, environmental, grassroots and advocacy communities. We share the common goal of preserving ORS 181.575 and ORS 181.850 because they encourage effective law enforcement and protect the constitutional rights of everyone who lives in Oregon. For a list of the dozens of coalition members see <http://www.aclu-or.org/issues/terrorism/181/181coalition.htm> What are these "181 Laws" all about? ORS 181.575: Protects Against Police Spying on Innocent People and Organizations: The law prohibits law enforcement agencies from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious, social views, associations or activities of any person or group unless that information directly relates to a criminal investigation. Oregon's History of Abuse: From the creation of the Portland Police "Red Squad" in the 1940s until the passage of this law in 1981, hundreds of political, religious and other organizations were the subjects of FBI and police surveillance for no valid reason. A recent series in the Portland Tribune (September 2002) uncovered Portland police intelligence files tracking groups such as ACLU of Oregon, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Hispanic Commission, Peace House, Planned Parenthood, Rape Relief Hotline, Sierra Club, United Farm Workers and many more. ORS 181.850: Allows State & Local Law Enforcement to Focus on Oregon Priorities: This law prevents state and local law enforcement agencies from targeting people based on their race or ethnic origin when those individuals are not suspected of any criminal activity. Local law enforcement is prohibited from using resources to apprehend people whose only offense is a federal immigration violation. The law allows state and local law enforcement to contact the INS after they have arrested someone. The law also permits state and local police to request information from the INS that may help solve a criminal case. This law does not prevent local law enforcement from working with federal law enforcement to investigate threats of terrorism. History:
In the 1980s, several local law enforcement agencies carried out raids and
roadblocks in collaboration with the INS targeting Oregon's Latino community.
Many lawful residents and US citizens were swept up in the raids and were treated
harshly by local police and INS agents. Passage of ORS181.850 in 1987 has not
completely eliminated such practices, but has helped create dramatic improvements
in the relationship between immigrants and the police. Why We Need to Keep Both
Laws: @ They Help Prevent & Solve Crimes: Many law enforcement officials
support these laws because in communities where people are afraid to talk to
police, more crimes go unreported, fewer witnesses come forward, and people
are less likely to report suspicious activity. For example, without this law,
domestic violence cases will go unreported, leading to injury or death. @ They
Help Build Trust in Communities: Many immigrants come from countries where people
are afraid of the police, and many Oregon police agencies have spent years building
trust that would be undermined by asking local police to do the job of the INS.
Police surveillance of lawful political and religious activity also undermines
the credibility of law enforcement. Repeal of these laws would undermine the
ability of police to carry out community policing. @ They Help Keep Priorities
in Focus: State and local budgets have been cut to the bone. There are many
federal agencies to enforce federal laws, but only our state and local police
can enforce state and local laws. Especially in these times of tight budgets,
they need to concentrate on local priorities and local crimes that the federal
government won't enforce.