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Written by Kevin Mannix on Apr. 29th, 2024

As your State Representative, I have dedicated my career to ensuring that our communities are safe and that justice is served. Today, I write to you about a critical initiative that I have authored, one that I believe will significantly enhance the safety and security of our state: the Oregon Crimefighting Act.  

Our beautiful state has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including a rise in crime, and criminals being released without a careful review of their records and the evidence! These issues have not only threatened the safety of our citizens but have also strained our legal system to its limits. Action is needed to address these problems head-on, and this is where the Oregon Crimefighting Act comes into play. 

The Act is designed to fix the “Catch and Release” system that has been in effect since the “bail reform” legislation of 2021. Under this system, defendants charged with 150 felony crimes are eligible for immediate release after booking, without bail, and without an arraignment. This means that individuals charged with serious offenses could be released back into the community without a judge ever reviewing their case. The crimes include motor vehicle theft, identity theft, burglary, arson, and even failure to report as a sex offender. This is not only concerning for the safety of our communities but also undermines the rule of law. 

The Oregon Crimefighting Act will cancel this “Catch and Release” law and reinstate the requirement for an arraignment before any release occurs. It will restore the authority of judges to set bail, ensuring that decisions about pretrial release are made with careful consideration of the charges and the defendant’s background. Furthermore, recognizing the financial burden this may place on counties, the initiative requires the state to cover pretrial incarceration costs and provides state prison space if county jails exceed 90% of capacity.

Additionally, the Act empowers local governments to pass ordinances to address public nuisances related to alcohol, drugs, and disorderly conduct. It mandates government agencies to honor custodial holds or orders from other jurisdictions, and it restricts persons convicted of serious felonies from changing their names to hide their past.

There are some costs associated with these changes. However, the safety of our citizens is paramount, and the long-term benefits of a more secure and just system far outweigh the initial investment. It is also important to note that the Act includes provisions to transfer certain county incarceration costs and duties to the state in specific circumstances, alleviating the financial pressure on our local governments.

Unfortunately, the initiative for this act is currently pending while opponents take the proposed ballot title to court. With your support I will continue my efforts to push for these reforms on the ballot and in the Oregon Legislature. Together we can ensure that our legal system reflects the values of accountability and safety that we all hold dear.

Together, let’s take a stand against crime and work towards a future where every Oregonian can feel secure in their community.

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