Lot's of great work happening at the Capitol. Here is Joe Baessler's latest blog post from our weekly legislative update email:
Our first bill supporting the Department of Corrections passed the floor of the Senate this week. SB 367A passed with 29 yes votes and 0 no votes with one absence. The bill would allow of the release of medical records of inmates that assault Corrections workers with bodily fluids so that a Corrections worker can know if they have been exposed to a dangerous communicable disease right away. Right now, when an officer is exposed they have to go on protective drugs that make them sick for weeks to protect from catching a dangerous disease. This adds to their stress and cost the state a great deal of money. This bill will help control cost and the fear our officers face. It was carried on the floor by Senator Bill Hansel from Pendleton who was a real champion for our members in Corrections.
This week we also introducing a bill to clarify and extend the current protection in law we have to stop the use of private prisons by the state of Oregon. Rep. Tawna Sanchez used a priority bill to make sure that current prohibition against using private out-of-state prisons that exists in current Oregon law does not expire at the end of this year. There is a current Oregon law that bans the use of in-state private prisons but it will be allowable to use out-of-state private prisons starting next year without this law. Our Lawyer Jennifer Chapman notice the issue and we worked quickly to ask Rep. Sanchez to introduce a bill with one of her last few priority bills to help make sure Oregon was not tempted to use private prisons. Oregon experimented with the practice years ago and it was generally viewed as a disaster, however, people forget and we need to guard against another attempt.