Law enforcement agencies will no longer be allowed to release booking photos, also known as mugshots, of arrested individuals prior to their conviction.
Hundreds of new laws went into effect across Oregon on Jan. 1. Here are some of the most important ones for Keizerites to know going into 2022.
Remote access to public meetings permanent
Some things are not going to return to how they were pre-COVID — and sometimes that’s good.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, many government agencies were forced to begin conducting their public meetings remotely by video or audio. Thanks to House Bill 2560, that won’t be changing. Government agencies will be required to continue providing remote access to public meetings for members of the public through telephone, video or other virtual means when possible. Additionally, these agencies will be required to give members of the public an opportunity to submit written or orally testimony electronically.
The city of Keizer has a deal with Keizer TV until at least the end of 2022 to broadcast all city council meetings, all planning commission meetings, all parks board meetings and all budget committee meetings
The new law will exclude executive sessions and other meetings not open to the public.
Prescription no longer required for cold medicine
Keizer’s former Rep. Bill Post and Senator Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, were both chief sponsors for this bill that allows cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine to be sold in Oregon without a prescription. Oregon will be the last state to end the requirement for a prescription to purchase medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in methamphetamine and the restriction was in place to limit people’s ability to purchase large quantities.
Cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine will only be sold to people 18 years or older that have a valid photo identification. Pharmacists will be required to enter these transactions into a national database that tracks purchases.
Bill targets theft of catalytic converters
Theft of catalytic converters has skyrocketed in recent years. The average number of catalytic converters stolen in the US each month jumped from 108 in 2018 to 1,203 in 2020 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The reason so many catalytic converters are stolen is because the converters, which function to clean a car’s emissions, contain precious metals such as palladium and rhodium. Rhodium is currently valued at around $21,000 per ounce and palladium at $2,500 an ounce.
Oregon’s new Senate Bill 803 attempts to curb these thefts by making it illegal for scrap metal businesses to buy or receive converters except for when it comes from a commercial seller or the vehicle’s owner.
These businesses will also be required to obtain a photocopy of the seller’s driver’s license, a photo of the seller, the car’s license plate number and more information pertaining to who is selling the converter.
‘Mugshots’ no more
Law enforcement agencies will no longer be allowed to release booking photos of arrested individuals prior to their conviction. In the past, law enforcement agencies were allowed to share these booking photos, commonly known as “mugshots,” on social media and with media outlets before the person was ever convicted of a crime.
Police will still be allowed to release booking photos if they determine the public’s help is needed to assist “with the apprehension of a fugitive or a suspect in a criminal investigation.”
The new law also targets “publish-for-pay” publications that would post the booking photos to their website and charge a fee to remove the photos. These publications will now have up to 30 days to remove a booking photo after someone submits a formal request.
In the past, the Keizertimes has posted booking photos on their “Cuffs in Keizer” page. While the paper never charged a fee to remove the photos, we will be removing all the past “Cuffs in Keizer” from our website.
The CROWN Act
A new law referred to as the CROWN Act prohibits discrimination based on hairstyles associated with a person’s race. The CROWN Act will work to protect Black Oregonians both in workplaces and in public schools from discrimination for wearing braids, locs, headwraps or protective hairstyles.
Schools can no longer force students to remove accessories in their hair, remove head wraps to match uniforms or undo their hair style to conduct a lice check. The law will also apply to extracurricular activities including sports.
Under the new law, anyone that feels they’ve experienced race-based hair discrimination can file a complaint at their workplace or in their school.
Over a year of protests following the death of George Floyd led to some drastic changes to Oregon laws regarding police oversight.
House Bill 2936 will require the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to create a background checklist and standardized personal history questionnaire for law enforcement agencies to use when hiring new officers. The bill directs agencies to create policies for standards of police officer’s speech and will also allow agencies to access personal social media accounts.
House Bill 3145 will create a publicly-available statewide online database to track the discipline history of police officers. If a public safety employee is disciplined, law enforcement units are now required to provide the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training with a report outlining the misconduct and discipline. That information will then be put into a database created by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training and will be available for the public to access.