Dear Right To Rest supporters, and friends,
The Right To Rest Act (HB 2367 – which was originally written by WRAP’s homeless-led and accountable groups, including Right 2 Survive and Sisters of the Road in OR, CA, and CO over the last several years) was suddenly pulled by Chair Bynum from Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee Hearing the day before it was to be heard. This was a completely unexpected development and came as a shock for all those who had submitted written testimony, were planning to submit written testimony, and/or signed up to speak at the hearing.
Chair Bynum will inform Representative Campos on Monday, March 15 whether the bill will be rescheduled for one of the last two hearings (Tuesday, March 16 or Thursday, March 18). If this does not happen The Right To Rest Act will not be heard during this legislative session!
This is unacceptable! When HB 2367 was pulled from the agenda, over 80 written testimonies were deleted. Additionally, if it is rescheduled, the very short notice will make it much more difficult to coordinate locations where unhoused community members that are without phones, computers, or internet access can come and add their testimony to the public record. Intentional or not, this decision has the effect of silencing the overwhelming support from our community, who have turned out in droves over the short span of time that we had to lobby this bill.
If we want the hearing we deserve we must call, e-mail and reach out to Representative Janelle Bynum, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, AND her Judiciary Committee colleagues to let them know that HB 2367 must be heard.
Here is Rep. Bynum’s contact information:
Here is a link to contact the Judiciary Committee.
Only Representative Bynum has the power to reschedule HB 2367, and she must do this before this session’s hearing deadline on March 19th! A work session on the bill also must be scheduled before March 19th or the bill is also dead for this session. It’s an uphill battle, but we are no strangers to being underdogs!
Below/attached is an email that can be pasted and adapted:
Dear Representative Bynum,
Please reschedule HB 2367, the Right to Rest Act, to be heard by the Judiciary Committee.
The over-policing of our communities is quite literally a matter of life and death for poor and BIPOC Oregonians, and as the protests in Portland last summer have made abundantly clear, it will take more than liberal values and good intentions to disentangle ourselves from the violence of white supremacy and classism. Indeed, this session’s legislative focus is an important part of a nationwide movement to hold law enforcement accountable, and we implore you to reschedule HB 2367, an essential piece of legislation which would end the discriminatory enforcement of time, place, and manner laws in Oregon.
You have probably heard of HB 2367, also known as the Right to Rest Act, largely in terms of how it would impact our unhoused neighbors. It is certainly true that, at alarmingly increasing rates over the past few years, unhoused people are overwhelmingly targeted for sleeping, lying, or sitting down in public space. They are also dramatically overrepresented in the overall arrests and citations recorded for 2019: unhoused people made up over 50% of Portland arrests even though they represent less than 1% of the population in Multnomah County. What these numbers do not capture is the abject suffering and profound helplessness that people endure when they have no choice but to break the law to survive and nowhere else to go.
Regardless, HB 2367 is not just a homeless bill. Unhoused people are not the only people who are targeted for police contact solely for being in public space, as you know and as shown by the myriad of racially violent stories in which the police are called on people for #WalkingWhileBlack. When laws exist that can arbitrarily criminalize anyone, there is an immense risk that our legal system will continue to reinforce the oppression of and brutality against non-white, poor citizens, whom police have historically been able to kill and maim with impunity. HB 3115 only slightly addresses this by asking that the time, place, and manner restrictions that criminalize certain people in public space be made reasonable by local municipalities. While those who determine what is “reasonable” may well continue the status quo, those who would challenge these ordinances are often without legal representation. HB 2367 directly states that people have the right to exist in public space and participate in social and economic life without facing constant threats from discriminatory policing.
Please reschedule HB 2367, the Right to Rest Act, to be heard by the Judiciary Committee. This legislation is not only the most reasonable and humane response to the statewide housing/homelessness crisis, but also would protect so many others from unnecessary, unwarranted contact with law enforcement. Given the volume of testimony that was submitted up until the moment that the bill was pulled from the agenda, it is clear that your constituents and many others across the state are interested in discussing this bill and sharing their stories with you about this pressing issue. We simply ask that you give us an opportunity to be heard.