Democrats in the Oregon House claim that their bill to prevent “political violence and paramilitary activity” was approved by a vote of 36 to 23 on Wednesday (17 May 2023).
The summary of House Bill 2572 reads that anybody “injured by paramilitary activity” will have the right to sue for damages (both monetary and non-monetary) and be awarded attorney costs.
Armed action that “substantially disrupts governmental operations or a governmental proceeding” or that stops people from exercising their lawful rights is explicitly outlawed by the bill. Training for such activities is likewise outlawed by the bill.
Under the new law, the state’s attorney general can file a civil suit on behalf of the state against any individual or organization it suspects of engaging in illegal activities.
It is the goal of the law, say Democratic members of the House, to prevent political “extremism,” “regardless of ideology.”
“This is about creating a relief valve as the state faces cycles of increasing political violence, including intimidation of voters during elections,” said Representative Dacia Grayber (D-SW Portland & E Beaverton), chief sponsor of the bill.
The law, according to House Democrats, does not infringe on citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly or to bear arms.
Republicans voted against the plan by a margin of 411 to 1, despite claims by Democrats that their bill reflected “broad engagement with a diverse group of stakeholders,” including constitutional experts.
The most recent data about the Beaver State is detailed here.
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Only one other Democrat in the House, Farrah Chaichi of West Beaverton, voted no. Now that the House has passed the bill, it will travel to the Oregon Senate, where a Republican boycott of the chamber began on May 3 and lasted until this past Wednesday.