Preventing Abuse, Protecting Oregonians
Before this legislative session began, we heard about some serious and disturbing cases of sexual harassment and assault here in Oregon and elsewhere in the country. I made a commitment to use my seat in the Legislature this session to prevent assault and harassment, and to help Oregonians seek justice. So far, with the help of a team of dedicated allies, we’ve made great progress. We’ve passed a couple of important bills, and we have several more in process. Here’s an update on what we’ve been working on:
- Preventing Workplace Harassment: Requiring business that seek to contract with the State of Oregon to adopt strong anti-discrimination policies, clear response channels, and protections for whistle blowers. In addition, this bill will require government contractors to provide their employees equal access to healthcare benefits regardless of gender identity. HB 3060 – ready for Governor Brown’s signature.
- Protecting Survivor Autonomy: Ensuring that survivors of campus sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking are not forced by their school to participate in an investigation. HB 2972 – signed by Governor Brown!
- Lowering Barriers to Reporting Abuse: Ensuring that if a minor reports a sexual assault, they won’t get in trouble for having had alcohol. Minors shouldn’t be discouraged from reporting sexual violence because they’re afraid of being prosecuted for drinking. SB 762 – passed the Senate and awaiting vote in the House.
- Fighting Victim-Blaming: Prohibiting the use of evidence about a victim’s sexual history in a civil case concerning sexual assault. Such evidence is often used to discredit survivors and blame them for their own assault. SB 261 – passed the Senate and awaiting vote in the House.
- Defending Vulnerable Workers: Protecting janitorial and cleaning workers from sexual assault by requiring better training and accountability for their employers. These workers often work alone in big facilities, and are at high risk of abuse. HB 3279 – awaiting committee vote.
- Restoring Justice for Survivors: Enabling survivors of sexual assault or abuse to receive damages at the level a jury finds appropriate under the circumstances. HB 2807 – awaiting vote in the Senate.
Stories of harassment and assault, both in the workplace and elsewhere, remind us that we must do more to protect Oregonians and help survivors recover. I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to support these important bills.
Some of my fellow co-sponsors of HB 3060, a bill that requires government contractors to do more to prevent sexual harassment, assault, and other discrimination in the workplace.