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Redefining terrorism

Senate Bill 742 in the state senate would enact new guidelines and strict punishments for acts of terrorism in Oregon. On March 24, more than 200 people gathered at the state Capitol in Salem to oppose legislation that would create a crime of terrorism in Oregon, punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment. Of those 200, approximately 80 individuals signed up to testify against Senate Bill 742 in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. No one signed up to speak in favor of the bill, which was introduced by the Judiciary Chair, Sen. John Minnis, R-Fairview. According to the bill, which was amended by Minnis after the Monday testimony, any person who “knowingly plans, participates in or carries out any violent act that the person knows, or reasonably should know, could result in the death or serious injury of a person and is intended by at least one participant to disrupt or destroy” assembly, commerce, transportation, educational or governmental institutions could be considered a terrorist. People accused of terrorism under the bill could be subject to 25 years to life in prison. Senate Bill 742 follows in the footsteps of other state and national bills, like the USA PATRIOT Act, in its efforts to safeguard the nation against terrorism. However, several Oregon senators said the bill goes far beyond earlier definitions of terrorism. Full Story

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