Oregon Legislature Considers Bill To Hold Paramilitaries Financially Responsible For Damages
The Oregon state legislature is debating a new bill in order to address extremist political violence, which experts claim could be the most comprehensive state law against paramilitary activity in U.S. history.
The bill would allow the state attorney general the power to enable court action against paramilitary members who conduct illegal actions that interfere or intimidate people who are participating in legal political activities, such as voting. The measure would allow victims to seek financial damages from the groups.
Oregon, while having the 27th largest state population in the country, experiences the sixth most cases of political violence according to a report released by the Oregon secretary of state. This violence is not one-sided, militants on the left and the right are active in the state.
Downtown Portland was the center of the George Floyd protests, where left-wing protestors clashed with right-wing counter-protesters for over 100 days.
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State Rep. Dacia Grayber (D), the bill’s sponsor, claimed that the proposed reforms “would make it harder for private paramilitaries to operate with impunity throughout Oregon, regardless of their ideology.”
Others, particularly on the right, have expressed concerns with the bill. Namely, they are worried that the bill will only address right-wing violence and leave left-wing groups alone. They suggest that the bill will be used primarily against groups like the Proud Boys while ignoring less organized left-wing movements such as Antifa.
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