Sen. Bonham: Senate recklessly rejects tough-on-crime bills

By Oregon State Senator Daniel Bonham,

This week, Senate Republicans attempted to withdraw pieces of legislation out of committee on topics such as safety and natural resources, shaking up the legislative process by shining a light on the bills that would have otherwise been ignored.

On Monday, we prioritized bills that would have made Oregon communities safer by giving stricter penalties for crimes, cracking down on fentanyl dealing, increasing the number of patrol troopers on our highways, and making necessary fixes to Measure 110. See the full list of bills here.

Each of these bills was voted down.

Included in the package of public safety bills was SB 430, or Ezra’s Law; a bill I chief sponsored. Check out the video clip with the full information about the bill, my words on the floor, as well as my colleagues’, and the final failed vote here.

If you were here for my first newsletter (read here), you will remember reading about how Ezra’s Law was receiving coverage from the media and commentary from the majority party that we’d be able to “get there” with the bill’s language this session.

After multiple iterations and years of work, this common-sense bill to help victims is not moving forward. It would have made sentences far stricter when the victims of violent crimes suffer permanent, life-altering injuries.

The bill is named after Ezra Jerome Thomas; the Jefferson County boy left with permanent and severe disabilities after a violent beating when he was two-years-old. Had Ezra died from the trauma – his abuser would have faced 30 years to life in prison, a sentence that gives the family some semblance of justice. Instead, Ezra’s abuser received only a 12-year sentence.

But Ezra will spend a lifetime with medical injuries from the brutality he experienced.

I want to keep Oregon communities safe and give victims’ families, like Ezra, justice, but it is an uphill battle as the majority party continues to prioritize criminals over victims. #TeamEzra