The Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Sisters Rotary Club kicked off a campaign Thursday that, while its goal is good, the agency shouldn’t be involved in.
The OLCC has two main responsibilities to the people of Oregon. One is to oversee the distribution and sale of liquor in the state; the other is to exercise similar control over the sale of marijuana. A third responsibility, to spread the word about human trafficking, was added with nearly unanimous votes by members of the 2015 Legislature.
The agency got into the fight against human trafficking in a big way Thursday, when, in Sisters, it and the Sisters Rotary Club kicked off a public information campaign with a group called In Our Backyard.
As part of the campaign Rotarians will stuff envelopes encouraging those with OLCC-issued licenses to display stickers on the subject in restrooms. The stickers include a telephone number to call if you are a victim of trafficking.
There’s no doubt the fight against human trafficking — slavery by another name — is well worth the effort. Whether the crime involves teenagers of both sexes being trafficked for sex or adults being enslaved as agricultural or household workers, human trafficking is terrible.
What there is doubt about is whether it should be the OLCC’s responsibility to tackle the problem. Yes, it’s good at tracking bottles of booze and marijuana plants, and yes, it has considerable sway over those who sell alcohol and pot to the public.
Of course, it wasn’t the OLCC’s idea to take part in the anti-trafficking campaign. It was ordered to do so by lawmakers.
But if it’s OK for the Legislature to dictate the OLCC taking a stand for a worthy cause, where does it end? Shouldn’t equal treatment be given to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which continues to fight against the evils of demon rum? Or those who want to protect the Second Amendment? Oregon lawmakers should not be using state government to publicize their pet causes, no matter how deserving.