Rep. Cramer: New 2024 laws

By Oregon State Representative Tracy Cramer,

With a new year, comes new laws that go into effect. Earlier this month, the final increase to the gas tax passed in 2017 went into effect. Increasing taxes is frustrating, especially when people are already struggling with inflation.

I was proud to support House Bill 3632 during the last session, and on January 1st, it went into effect. It will expand the statute of limitations for rape from 12 to 20 years. This will offer greater access to justice for those who have been the victim of horrible sexual abuse.

Under HB 2095, all Oregon cities will be permitted to operate photo radar for traffic enforcement. So make sure you are going the speed limit, because you may see more flashing lights at intersections to catch those who aren’t. The bill also allows cities to set speed limits for some residential streets, so double-check those speed signs because they could be changing.

As we approach the upcoming Legislative session in February, much attention will be paid to Measure 110. More on that below.

It’s Time to End Measure 110

As we approach the upcoming Legislative session, much attention will be paid to Measure 110 and the Joint Committee on Addiction and Community Safety Response. We expect that any changes that will be made to Measure 110 will start in this committee.

At the beginning of December, they held a meeting to hear testimony and gather information about the drug crisis. Unfortunately, over 2 hours were dedicated to “invited” testimony, which limited the time for members of the public to voice their concerns to only 45 minutes. I hope the committee will take more time to solicit input from the general public.

One instructive piece from the invited testimony was from the Oregon Society of Addiction Medicine. It cited national data that showed 97.5% of those who struggle with addiction don’t think they need treatment. 2.5% thought they needed treatment but made no effort to get it, and a mere 0.5% thought that they needed treatment and made an effort to get it. This shows the fatal flaw in Measure 110. Those struggling with addiction rarely make the best decision for their health. We need tools to get people into treatment, even if they don’t think they need it themselves.

I continue to believe Measure 110 has been a failure. And we continue to get more data that proves that point. Drug decriminalization has failed by allowing thousands of Oregonians to poison themselves with no intervention. The way Measure 110 is funding treatment now isn’t working. A new audit from the Secretary of State reveals that much of the $261 million in Measure 110 money that has been allocated is yet to reach those who need it. Service providers have only spent $95 million (or 36%) of that money. The audit also shows that people aren’t accessing services that Measure 110 is funding.

Last week, my colleagues and I rolled out a plan to end Measure 110 once and for all. The proposal will 1) recriminalize hard drug possession and public drug use while still prioritizing treatment over jail, 2) replace voluntary with mandatory drug treatment, 4) crackdown on drug dealing, and 5) create a better system of funding for treatment services.

Enabling people to live on the streets and poison themselves is not compassionate, but that is exactly what Measure 110 is doing. As a mother, we see hard drugs infiltrating our schools and it’s caused overdose deaths among our teenagers to skyrocket to nearly 700% and third in the nation in teen addiction.

We cannot settle for doing the bare minimum. It breaks my heart that Measure 110 is putting so many of our children’s futures at risk.

Others seek to only limit public drug use. That’s a step forward for sure, but we will just be sweeping the problem under the rug.