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The Oregonian - Backers of hate crime bill urge passage as legislative committee considers its cost

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

By Maxine Bernstein The Oregonian | Published Jun 5, 2019

Backers of a hate crime bill Wednesday urged its support as a legislative subcommittee was set to review its proposed cost.

Senate Bill 577, which Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum presented to lawmakers in March, would make it a felony to commit a violent offense or threaten immediate violence based on a person’s membership in a protected class. Gender identity would be added as a protected class and the name of the offense would change from “intimidation’’ to first-degree or second-degree bias.

Victims who report encounters that don’t rise to a hate crime that can be prosecuted will be referred to local services, a hate crimes hotline or a hate crimes response coordinator in the state Department of Justice. And county district attorneys will be required to track and report their bias crime prosecutions and outcomes to the state.

The Oregon Department of Justice has requested an estimated $669,664 in the first biennium, fiscal 2019-21, and $720,000 for fiscal 2021-23, to hire a hate crimes response coordinator in its office, a research analyst for the Criminal Justice Commission and allow for law enforcement training.

The bill, set to go before the public safety subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon, is expected to pass later this month. (more)

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