Senate Bill 132 will not be going forward this year. Unfortunately it has ended with the Oregon Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Floyd Prozanski would like to work with the coalition in the interim to see what we can do next year.
The last discussion was that the crime could be a misdemeanor at Assault 4, which would require mandatory jail time of 30 days if convicted of assaulting a worker in a hospital. It was felt that district attorneys and law enforcement would be more apt to encourage and prosecute assailants, as the punishment would be mandatory. It was estimated that enforcement of the law would cost the state of Oregon around $350,000 per year, which is a drop in the bucket compared to other budgets within the state.
We will not be giving up on this. Seventy percent of the states have enhanced penalties for those who would assault those in healthcare. It might take a little bit more time for Oregon to join the rest of the nation.
This bill was overwhelmingly supported by the healthcare community in the state: Legacy Health, Oregon Health and Science University, PeaceHealth, Salem Health, St. Charles Health System, Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Oregon Nurses Association, AFSCME, Oregon Emergency Nurses Association, Oregon College of Emergency Physicians, Oregon Medical Association, SEIU.
Thank you to all who supported our efforts and continue to support us. Our work is not done.