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Oregon House OKs requiring recording of youth interrogations

Also votes to improve workforce development

SALEM, Ore. - Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) and Rep. Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), two legislators with a combined four decades of law enforcement experience*, co-chief sponsored House Bill 3242 which passed the House Tuesday.

The bill requires that law enforcement officials record custodial interviews with juveniles from the time a Miranda warning is issued to the end of an interview, providing juveniles the same protections that are given to adults who are subject to a custodial interview in a law enforcement facility.

Recording of interrogations is nationally recognized as a best-practice by a range of groups including the International Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University.

Center co-founder Steven Drizin and co-director Laura Nirider consulted in the development of the legislation. Nirider has drawn national attention as the attorney for Brendan Dassey, a young man whose homicide conviction, featured in the Netflix documentary, “Making a Murderer,” was overturned by a U.S. magistrate judge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“Recording interviews is a reasonable measure we should take to protect the rights of our youth and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Rep. Piluso said. 

HB 3242 was developed with the input of stakeholders from law enforcement, the legal community and juvenile justice experts from Oregon and around the nation. The resulting bill provides better protection for the accused while also assisting with the prosecution of those involved in criminality.

Other benefits of recording custodial interviews include providing officers added protection from false accusations, as well as an objective record of any inconsistencies in the statements made by the accused. Providing a more complete documentation of custodial interviews is a protection for all involved; including the victims of crime. Having a comprehensive account of these interviews can provide an enduring archive that will remain static over time and will serve the cause of justice for everyone involved.

“Conscience should dictate that when we require young people to take on grown-up responsibilities, we should provide them with the same protections afforded to adults, which is what we’ve sought to do with this legislation,” Rep. Gorsek stated during his floor remarks.

HB 3242 also contains an appropriate remedy for the admittance of interviews that are not recorded because of technical failures or other unforeseen circumstances. This ensures that the notes from these interviews will still be available to both prosecution and defense for use in a court of law. There is also an exemption for departments that have five or fewer officers so that it mirrors the requirements for adult recorded interviews as they currently occur in the Oregon Revised Statutes.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

*Rep. Carla Piluso, spent 30 years in law enforcement including six years as Gresham Police Chief. Rep. Chris Gorsek served as a Portland police officer for seven years and now teaches criminal justice at Mt. Hood Community College.

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In other action, in an effort to further advance opportunity for working Oregonians, the Oregon House of Representatives voted Tuesday to strengthen the state’s workforce development efforts. House Bill 3437, which passed 55-1, seeks to address the gap in skilled talent and to promote economic growth.

In addition to changing the name of the State Workforce Investment Board to the Workforce and Talent Development Board, the bill expands board duties to identify key industries and their needs—including education and training—and to expand growth. The bill requires the board to convene a group of stakeholders to determine challenges and opportunities for developing talent pipelines. The stakeholder group is to include:

  • Senior executives of key industries, Oregon Business Development Commission, Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, STEM Investment Council, local workforce development boards, Oregon Employment Department, Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Commission for the Blind, Chief Education Office, Youth Development Council and other partners.

It also requires the board to create a state Workforce and Talent Development Plan that would be updated every biennium and submitted to the Governor, who appoints the board, and the legislature.

Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Happy Valley), who is also the chair of the House Committee Higher Education and Workforce Development, was the chief sponsor of the legislation.

“Oregon has a complex web of organizations working to improve the connections between working Oregonians and those businesses who need skilled workers,” Rep. Reardon said. “This bill seeks to streamline that work and create a plan to build those connections across the state. I believe this step is important to continue Oregon’s strong economic growth.”

Rep. Janeen Sollman (D-Hillsboro) was a sponsor of the legislation. She said it was important for our higher education system to develop multiple pathways for Oregonians as they seek to find a profession.

“By establishing this group, and requiring a Talent Development Plan for the key industries and occupations, we would be returning to a journey with multiple pathways,” Rep. Sollman said. “One where you could go to school for a degree, or go to a trade school for a high demand job and have a very strong living wage job in just a couple of years.”

House Bill 3437 joins a slew of legislation championed by Oregon House Democrats this session that has sought to provide opportunity and protections to working Oregonians.

The bill now moves to the Oregon Senate for consideration.


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