As Attorney General, I have no greater responsibility that to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of our citizens. Unfortunately, meeting this critical goal is currently very difficult. The Oregon Department of Justice used to have a civil rights enforcement unit, but back in the 1980s, the funding for this unit was eliminated. Today, as a result, I do not have a single attorney devoted to civil rights and civil liberties enforcement work. To me, that is unacceptable.
To fix this problem, I have proposed the re-creation of a Civil Rights Enforcement Unit at the Oregon Department of Justice. This unit will partner with our colleagues at the Bureau of Labor and Industries to prevent discrimination based on age, race, gender, disability or sexual orientation . We will also fight to protect important constitutional rights, promote environmental justice, preserve reproductive freedom, and defend the employment rights of Oregon's veterans.
If you support reinvigorating civil rights enforcement in Oregon there are three things you can do to help:
1. Attend a public hearing (see schedule below) . The Joint Committee on Ways and Means will be holding a series of public hearings in different communities in Oregon to take public input on state budget decisions. We want our supporters to demonstrate, in person, the importance of funding civil rights enforcement. If we can count on you to attend a public hearing near you, please respond to this email and let us know.
2. Contact your legislator and let them know that funding for civil rights enforcement is important to you. Passing both House Bill 5022 and Senate Bill 797 would allow for a small amount of seed money to start the civil rights enforcement unit and allow for it to eventually become partially self-funding.
3. Sign the online petition at http://www.doj.state.or.us/civil_rights.shtml
forward this email to your friends and encourage them to take the action too!
I hope you that you value protecting our civil rights and civil liberties as much as I do. Together we can make tremendous positive change to the people of Oregon. I hope you will join me.
John R. Kroger
Attorney General of Oregon
PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE
Monday, April 20 - Lincoln City
Lincoln City Cultural Center
540 NE Hwy 101
5:30 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, April 21 - Portland
Portland Community College -Cascade Campus
Auditorium, Moriarty Building
705 N. Killingsworth Street
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 23 - Salem
Oregon State Capitol
Hearing Room F
900 Court Street NE
5:30 to 8 p.m.
Including Hood River via video link
Saturday, April 25 - Pendleton
Pendleton Oregon National Guard Armory
2100 N.W. 56th Drive
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Saturday, April 25 - Ontario
Ontario Treasure Valley Community College
650 College Boulevard
3 to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, April 29 - Bend
Central Oregon Community College, Bend
Cascades Hall Room 117
5:30 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 30 - Ashland
Southern Oregon University, Ashland
Rogue River Room
1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, May 1 - Eugene
University of Oregon, Eugene
Prince Lucien Campbell Hall (PLC 180)
1415 Kincaid Street
1 to 4 p.m.