Ashland City Council revisiting controversial law

ASHLAND, Ore. – A controversial Ashland City ordinance is ending its trial period and may be permanently extended.

This time last year, Ashland City Councilors approved the Ashland I.D. Law. It allows an officer to ask for your name and birthday if you’re being given a citation. Some worried the law would lead to racial profiling. Now, Ashland City Councilors will revisit it.

“I don’t know yet how I’m gonna vote,” said Stefani Seffinger, Ashland City Councilor.

Seffinger and other Ashland City Councilors will reconsider ordinance 3176, also known as the Ashland I.D. Law on Tuesday.

“After a police officer has developed probable cause and issues a violation citation. You have to simply verbally provide your name and date of birth, so the officer can put that on the ticket,” said Chief Tighe O’Meara, Ashland Police Dept.

While Ashland Police say the law helps officers do their jobs. However, some civil rights activists worry it could lead to racial profiling.

“I’ve been looking at what the community says. I’ve been trying to be sensitive to the BIPOC community and there concerns about this. I know for some people it’s been perceived as more of a stop and frisk ordinate, which it’s not,” said Steffinger.

“One of the great misconceptions about it is that it’s a stop and id law, the word stop does not appear anywhere in the proposed
Ordinance,” said Chief O’Meara.

Seffinger says she wants to see how the ordinance was handled before making a decision. But she’s not sure it was used a single time in the past year.

“Necessary or not, that’s the question I think the council will talk about at the meeting tomorrow,” said Seffinger.

The meeting is just a reading, so no vote will take place. Medford-based Rogue Action Center has come out against the law. It’s holding a rally against it Tuesday at 4:30p.m. at the Ashland Plaza. No one from the organization was able to talk with us today.

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