DRO report shows need for HB 2939 to reform the use of seclusion and restraint of students

On Wednesday, Disability Rights Oregon released a report on the history and use of seclusion and restraint of Oregon students. The release was timed to support House Bill 2939.

Sponsored by Representative Sara Gelser (Corvallis), HB 2939 will receive a public hearing in the Oregon House Education Committee at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, February 16. This bill will create enforceable minimum safety standards, ensure that parents are informed about incidents of restraint and seclusion, and provide an opportunity to have those incidents reviewed.

You can watch a video of Rep. Sara Gelser speaking on this issue below.

Attend a press conference in the Capitol Press Room on Tuesday, February 15 at 10:00 am to hear more about the need for HB 2939.

READ – Keep School Safe for Everyone: A Report on the Restraint & Seclusion of Children with Disabilities in Oregon Schools

HB 2107: HONORING THE TREATMENT CHOICES OF CAPABLE ADULTS

On Friday morning, the House Human Services Committee heard House Bill 2107. This bill allows a psychiatric hospital to disregard a patient’s wishes as stated in her Declaration for Mental Health Treatment if she is committed through the criminal courts. DRO opposes HB 2107 because it would allow the choices of a competent adult about her own psychiatric treatment to be disregarded.

Currently, the Declaration for Mental Health Treatment law (ORS 127.700 – .737) allows an adult to plan in advance for psychiatric care in the event that the adult becomes mentally incapable of making medical decisions. Using the Declaration, an adult can give consent to certain medications, convulsive therapy and/or short term hospitalization. An adult can also appoint another capable adult to make psychiatric treatment decisions for them. However, currently under ORS 127.720, an adult’s wishes can be disregarded if the adult is civilly committed, has been determined to be incapable and is in need of treatment. This means, for example, a patient who previously appointed his spouse to make decisions for him, may be medicated without consultation with the spouse.

HB 2107 will extend the authority to ignore the patient’s wishes to adults committed through the criminal justice system. DRO believes that the decisions that an adult has made while capable should, to the greatest extent possible, be honored.

Follow this bill here: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/HB2107/ or here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/learnmore/

SB 398: EXPANDING OREGON’S INTIMIDATION LAWS TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

On February 8th, Bob Joondeph, DRO’s Executive Director, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Senate Bill 398. This bill modifies crimes of intimidation in first and second degree to include offenses committed because of offender’s perception of victim’s disability. This would add “disability” to the list of groups already receiving special protection, which include race, color, religion, sexual orientation, and national origin.

In 2008, the U.S. Congress added disability to affected classes under its hate crimes law. “This bill arises from conversations that I’ve had with people in the disability community throughout Oregon,” said Joondeph. Those conversations revealed that one of the major concerns is a sense of victimization, particularly on the streets of Portland, but elsewhere as well, when people are singled out because of visual, intellectual, or physical disability. According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, people with disabilities experience a rate of violent crime that is 1.5 times that of people without disabilities. DRO believes that current statistics are generally understated because vulnerable people with disabilities are often unable or afraid to report crimes. SB 398 will provide a disincentive for perpetrators and added leverage for prosecutors, helping people in the disability community lead safer and more secure lives.

Follow this bill here: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/SB398/ or here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/learnmore/