On Monday legislators will meet to discuss bills aimed at improving police accountability and more. The public is invited to provide testimony on any of the agenda items.
But as of Friday morning, there are no items on the agenda. Not a single legislative concept is posted. Makes it difficult to testify if you can’t read the language of what’s being considered.
There are lists of bills under consideration circulating in Salem. We saw a list of 25, with a few words describing each. For instance:
• “Outlaw use of Chokeholds.”
• “Ban on Tear Gas, Militarization...?”
• “Police Discipline Statewide Database.”
• “Out of State Placement and Family First.”
• “Forestry MOU.”
That is from a list state Sen. Denyc Boles, R-Salem, posted on her Facebook page. She didn’t know if this is the final list or just early ideas that might be whittled down. “I hope we get to see drafts soon,” she wrote. “It would be nice to read the bills before they are fast tracked.” And she’s a legislator. What about the public?
Of course, one reason for the lack of information is legislators are moving fast to respond to the calls for more police accountability. We can’t fault them for that. But if they are interested in what the public has to say about the actual bills, legislators need to give the public reasonable access in advance to the text of legislation. By Monday, maybe things will improve.