BEND, OR -- We’re learning more about the compromise on a bill to reform Oregon’s Measure 110, crafted by a local lawmaker.
HB 4002 gets another public hearing in the Joint Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response at 5 p.m. Monday. Co-Chair Representative Jason Kropf (D-Bend) says much of its original framework remains, but it now includes re-criminalizing possession and public use of hard drugs, "It’ll be an Unclassified Misdemeanor. What we want is, we’ve heard from law enforcement that they want certain tools when they see people possessing and using drugs in public. They want tools that they can take and confiscate and take those drugs off our streets." He tells KBND News the goal is for officers to help drug users, "Get an immediate handoff into treatment in the behavioral health world, and really treat this different than we treat other crimes. And give people an offramp from being involved in the criminal justice system if they get engaged with local services." He tells KBND News, "I can envision a program where the officer on the street has contact with somebody, seizes those drugs, gets those drugs off the street and then immediately makes the contact that day to somebody working in the treatment world."
Defendants could take part in pre-trial "deflection" or a court-based treatment program, "If you are convicted and the judge places you on probation, we are requiring that the judge not impose any jail time at that point, but place you on probation and direct you to be in treatment," says Rep. Kropf, "If the judge does impose jail time, we are authorizing your probation officer to have you released from jail to be involved in treatment."
Those who refuse or don’t complete treatment could face jail time, "The court has the authority to impose up to 180 days in jail in that situation. But, your probation officer can create a plan for you to be released to go to in-patient treatment, or create a plan for you to be released to go back in the community to participate in out-patient treatment."
The latest draft of HB 4002 also includes steeper penalties for drug dealers who set up shop near a treatment facility, park or homeless camp. And, Kropf says, it restores some funding for drug courts, "We had a family drug court that shut down here in Deschutes County, not too long ago, and I was incredibly disappointed to see that. You’ll see a number of things that create a better treatment system in this state."
While he admits some may not support increased punishment, Kropf believes the new version will get broad support. Last week, Oregon House Republicans issued a statement saying, "We are conceptuatlly aligned, but we still need to review the final draft." Kropf says the final draft wasn't finished until Friday. Monday morning, House Republican Leader Rep. Jeff Helfrich issued the following statement:
"House Republicans stand today where we’ve always stood: On the side of Oregonians who want to end Measure 110. As of today, the proposal before the legislature is far from a perfect solution, but that is unsurprising given that the majority party is beholden to radical pro-drug special interest groups. We need a solution that works for Oregonians, and much can be done to strengthen this proposal with the time remaining in this session. We hope that our Democrat colleagues will prioritize the demands of the people of Oregon and continue negotiating with us to provide the structural reforms needed to truly solve the Measure 110 crisis."
Monday's public hearing will be followed by another work session later this week.