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    Melissa’s Law

    Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 1571 out of committee. Known as “Melissa’s Law,” this bill will help protect rape victims and their families in the aftermath of an assault. The bill is named in memory of Melissa Bittler, a Portland teen who was tragically murdered by a serial rapist in 2001. Responding to pressure from the Legislature last year, Oregon state police conducted an inventory of untested sexual assault kits across the state. The inventory revealed that more than 5,000 kits were sitting untested on evidence shelves. Melissa’s Law would create state-wide procedures around the handling and testing of sexual assault kits to ensure the timely testing of every victim’s kit, so that perpetrators may be identified and prosecuted.

    I am a co-chief sponsor of Melissa’s Law and had the opportunity to sit down with Katu News to talk about the bill. You can watch the entire segment, featuring the incredibly brave sexual assault survivor and chief advocate of the bill, Brenda Tracy, below.

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    Supporting Survivors

    Yesterday was an important day for survivors of sexual assault and for Oregon’s college students. The Oregon Alliance to End Violence Against Women hosted a Survivor Safety Rally on the Capitol’s front steps. We rallied in support of House Bill 3476, heard later in the day before the House Judiciary Committee.
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    House Bill 3476 would protect the privacy and confidentiality of sexual assault and domestic violence victims who seek counseling and support services, including on college campuses. Oregonians understand we need to do something to reduce sexual violence in our state, including on our college campuses.

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    A key reason survivors do not come forward or get help is fear that their painful, personal stories will become public without their consent. House Bill 3476 would protect survivor-advocate confidentially. During the hearing on HB 3476 we heard powerful testimony from victims, advocates, and law enforcement in support of the bill.
    Click here to watch the hearing.

    Many thanks to everyone who contributed to yesterday’s important activities.