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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HB 2601 child abduction passes House Judiciary Committee, House floor vote next

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed HB 2601 as amended today, sending the bill to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

State Representative Barbara Smith Warner will carry the bill on the House floor.

This is the second of two 2015 child abduction bills that stem from Senator Avel Gordly’s landmark SB 1041 (2005), now ORS 30.868 in statute.

HB 2603, naming ORS 30.868 “Aaron’s Law” for my late son Aaron Cruz, has already passed the House on a unanimous 59-0 vote, and is in Senate Judiciary.

Both bills are sponsored by Representative Smith Warner.

Aaron Cruz

HB 2601 requires local law enforcement to notify the Oregon State Police within 24 hours of having probable cause to believe that a violation of either Kidnapping I or II, or Custodial Interference I or II has taken place (is taking place).

There is currently no reporting requirement, and law enforcement can be slow to respond if a parent or family member is abducting the child.

It was gratifying to see that local law enforcement saw no barriers to complying with the requirement and that it treats all kidnappings alike, regardless of who the abductor(s) is(are).

The 24-hour notice requirement for probable cause of a child abduction should effectively remove the barrier to law enforcement response that the lack of a definition of the word “protracted” in the ORS creates.

With HB 2601, local law enforcement won’t have to parse the definition of “protracted” anymore. That will be up to the courts to decide.

Before SB 1041 passed in 2005, there were only the criminal and family law paths, and among them no common definition, no measurement of time that defines “protracted”.  

Now, with ORS 30.868 on the books—and knowing that every precious second that your child is in the hands of his or her kidnapper and away from you is time destroyed forever—there will be an opportunity for kidnapping victims to measure time in civil court.

I am grateful for the work of Kevin Campbell and Craig Campbell of Victory Group and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the Oregon State Police for their support and for dialing in the language in the amendment.

Sean Aaron Cruz
April 14, 2015