Oregon lawmakers propose harsher punishments for domestic terrorism
SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Oregon lawmakers are discussing bills that address political extremism and domestic terrorism following unrest in Oregon in recent years along with the January 6th attack on the U.S. capitol.
Lawmakers hope harsher punishments will deter people from committing domestic terrorism.
When discussing the proposals, lawmakers mentioned a 2022 Oregon secretary of state audit, which found that Oregon had the sixth highest number of domestic violent extremism incidents in the nation from 2011 to 2020.
House Bill 2772 would make domestic terrorism a felony punishable by 10 years of prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. It would apply to an individual, acting alone or a group.
The bill defines domestic terrorism as intentionally attempting to cause “catastrophic harm” that “results in extraordinary levels of death, injury, property damage or disruption of daily life.”
The bill also says that domestic terrorism severely impacts the “population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functioning” of Oregon.
We heard from the state representative who supports the bill along with Multnomah County Distrcit Attorney Mike Schmidt.
“I do believe this bill has the potential to create a relief valve ahead of what could be an increasingly violent election cycle and keep our state from decending into the further cycles of violence and chaos,” said State Rep. Dacia Grayber (D) of House District 28.
“By the time the violence erupts, we’re already too late,” said Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt. “I’ve prosecuted violent protesters from across the ideological spectrum and will continue to do so whenever necessary but those prosecutions have taught me that we are poorly served to simply wait to violence for happen.”
Another proposal, House Bill 2572, would address the threat and damages that people face from paramilitary activity involving a group of three or more people who illegally prevent others from accessing public areas or exercising their lawful rights, such as voting.
The report also urged lawmakers to take action, as Oregon is one of just 16 states without a definition of domestic terrorism in the law.
We’ll keep a close eye on the discussions around these proposals.
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