Saturday, July 2, 2022

Play

The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Play

SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Backers: OR Criminal-Justice Bill Would Create Job, Housing Stability

Play

Monday, January 31, 2022   

Advocates for criminal-justice reform are continuing their effort to change the system during Oregon's upcoming legislative session.

Senate Bill 1510 aims to reduce interactions with law enforcement - a move that proponents see as vital for the safety of people of color.

Babak Zolfaghari-Azar is a community advocate and board member for the Partnership for Safety and Justice. He said the bill is part of their work to change the criminal-justice system in the wake of George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police.

Zolfaghari-Azar recalled his own experiences with police.

"If the policies that are included in this bill had been in place, then I likely wouldn't be living with those experiences," said Zolfaghari-Azar. "So it's really a matter of imagining how many fewer people would have those concerns or have those unnecessary criminal records."

The bill would make stops for offenses such as a broken tail light or brake light a "secondary offense," meaning it can't be the only reason for pulling someone over. It also requires law enforcement notify people of their right to consent to a search during a stop.

The legislation also includes changes for people on parole, prevent some workplace visits by probation officers and enabling some people to report remotely for parole and probation. Zolfaghari-Azar said this would eliminate some of the obstacles to jobs and housing people face after leaving incarceration.

"They're trying to heal," said Zolfaghari-Azar. "They've been accountable to what happened, to the harm they caused. Let's give them an opportunity to be a contributing member to society because that's exactly what's going to help public safety."

The bill would create and fund the Justice Reinvestment Equity Program as well.

A broad coalition is supporting the effort, including Oregon Food Bank. Matt Newell-Ching, public policy manager with the organization, said people of color are more likely to be sent to prison than white people for committing the same offenses.

He also noted that 90% of people returning from incarceration report struggling to afford food.

"So when we have such disparate treatment of our community members, disproportionately sending Black and Brown community members to prison," said Newell-Ching, "it's no wonder why a higher percentage of Black and Brown Oregonians experience food insecurity. It's wrong and we think it's time to do something about that."

The legislation session starts tomorrow and is scheduled to adjourn on March 7.


Disclosure: Oregon Food Bank contributes to our fund for reporting on Community Issues and Volunteering, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…


Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …


The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …

Environment

Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021