Push For Criminal-Justice Reform; Enforcement Blitz; Making Rules Permanent; COVID-19 Cases; School to Fill Budget Committee

Push For Criminal-Justice Reform

Advocates for criminal-justice reform are continuing their effort to change the system during Oregon’s upcoming legislative session. Senate Bill 1510 aims to reduce interactions with law enforcement – a move that proponents see as vital for the safety of people of color. Babak Zolfaghari-Azar is a member of the Transforming Justice Coalition. He says the bill is part of their work to change the criminal-justice system in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police. Zolfaghari-Azar recalls his own experiences with police.

If the policies that are included in this bill had been in place, then I likely wouldn’t be living with those experiences. So it’s really a matter of imagining how many fewer people would have those concerns or have those unnecessary criminal records.”

 The bill would make stops for offenses such as a broken tail light or brake light a “secondary offense,” meaning it can’t be the only reason for pulling someone over. It also requires law enforcement notify people of their right to consent to a search during a stop.

Enforcement Blitz

Beginning today the Florence Police Department will be on the lookout for individuals that are not properly restrained in their vehicles including child car seats.  The FPD has received funds for the specific blits from the USDOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  On February 13th, super bowl Sunday, the Florence police will also be participating in a DUII enforcement program.

Making Rules Permanent

On Friday the Oregon Health Authority adopted permanent rules requiring face coverings in k-12 settings and requiring school and school-bases program staff and volunteers to provide proof of vaccination or a medical or religious exemption.  Permanent rules can be repealed, but information from the OHA says the virus will set the timeline for such a move.

COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 cases continue to climb steadily in the Florence area with 28 more added on Friday.  There have been 209 new cases over the past two weeks and the all time number is growing close to 1,300 with 1,256 and new numbers expected out this morning.  states on the east coast have been showing a steady decline in the numbers, but Oregon is still showing significant numbers of new cases with 7,222 reported on Friday.  Lane County had 734 cases.  The OHA is reporting that hospitalizations continue to be high across the state.

School to Fill Budget Committee

Siuslaw School district is looking to fill three positions on their budget committee.  Persons interested can fill out an application that is available online on the school district’s website.  Deadline for submitting the application is February 8th.