State lawmakers proposing changes to Measure 110

SALEM, Ore.– Measure 110 is expected to be one of the hottest topics at next month’s upcoming legislative session.

State Democrats released a framework for revising 110 this week, including re-criminalizing drug possession.

Despite many Republicans looking to repeal Measure 110 entirely last session, some are now open to revising the measure instead.

But there are still many disagreements between parties on how to do that.

Republican Representative Kim Wallan said, “they would like to have it not completely repealed but to continue to use Measure 110 money to get people into treatment.”

A committee led by the Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber released a framework for revising the controversial Measure 110.

That includes changing the consequences for being caught with a user amount of any drug, which is currently a Class E violation, which could lead to a $100 ticket at most.

The new proposal would change that to a Class C misdemeanor, which carries up to 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.

Democrat Senator Jeff Golden said, “I get people saying to me, repeal the whole thing, go back to what we had before. That’s not going to happen. And I get folks contacting me, don’t do anything to it, it hasn’t had time to work yet, treatment takes a long time to show the benefits. That’s not going to happen.”

With the legislative session starting February 5th, Republicans said they are going to release their plan to revise Measure 110 this week.

Representative Wallan would like to see the penalty for possession changed to a Class A misdemeanor.

“The failure of it to get people motivated to get into treatment, it just hasn’t been there. In that first year, I think 8 people called the hotline from Jackson County,” Wallan said, “so it’s not working, we have to have some teeth.”

Senator Golden agrees there needs to be stronger incentives to start treatment, which includes making treatment more available.

But he wants to make sure the goal is getting people into treatment, rather than criminalization.

“My concern is repeating the mistake of the war on drugs for 30, 40 years. Where a violation like personal possession would go on somebody’s record,” Golden said, “that person would have trouble for the rest of their life finding decent employment, decent housing.”

Golden said he agrees with his fellow democrats proposal to allow anyone charged with possession to avoid the charge if they complete a behavioral health screening and case worker intervention.

Wallan said both parties will be working together throughout the upcoming session to revise the measure.

“There is a lot of common ground, there really is. There are pieces that we don’t agree with,” Wallan said, “one thing I would say I strongly disagree with is the idea of what’s called harm reduction.”

We reached out to OnTrack Rogue Valley about the proposal and what changes it would like to see regarding Measure 110.

Executive Director Sommer Wolcott replied with a statement:

“We hope that Oregon invests in infrastructure that will support expansion of residential and outpatient treatment as well as withdrawal management, in addition to ensuring rapid access to Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) as needed by individuals.  When people seek treatment voluntarily or though mandates, they need rapid access to a full continuum of support and treatment that is currently not available due to long waitlists for residential treatment beds.”

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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