ACTION ALERT HB 2596

This morning, House Bill 2596, the bill that streamlines the process for big timber to sue activists, deny us lawyer fees and further criminalize dissent was heard in committee. The bill was deliberated on and is now going to be decided upon today at 4:30 when the Senate Judiciary Comittee meets again. Chair Prozanski came outside to personally tell us that he is undecided, but he will most likely pass the bill if there is no more pressure put on him. WE NEED YOU TO CALL SENATOR FLOYD PROZANSKI AND SENATOR ARNIE ROBLAN RIGHT NOW TO TELL THEM TO DROP THESE BILLS.

Sen. Prozanski: 503-986-1704
Sen. Roblan: 503-986-1705

TALKING POINTS ABOUT HB 2596

-Is being opposed by Oregon Wild, Portland Audobon Society, Cascadia Wildlands, BARK, Friends of Oregon’s Forests, and more organization which collectively represent ten’s of thousands of Oregonians.

-Allows a timber company in a successful lawsuit to collect attorneys fees from the defendant, but does not allow a defendant to claim attorneys fees in the event in the event of a failed lawsuit. This is reprehensible, a prevailing party fee state would be the standard way to apply this type of law, why is it that the Timber industry get such special treatment in a situation where these multi-million dollar
companies will be able to wield such an advantage over unfunded activists? What reason do we have to believe the timber industry, who was willing to ask that activists be imprisoned for over a year for challenging them, wouldn’t use this part of this law to their unfair advantage by suing activists repeatedly, even with the most minimal or nonexistent standing?

-Has a 6 year statute of limitations, again, the standard here would usually look more like 2 years, except in cases of wrongful death which have 3 years. Why is it that the timber industry gets such
special treatment as to get 2-3 times as long as anyone else to wield this threat over a persons head? What justification is their for allowing the timber industry 6 full years to figure out if they had
damages, this is ridiculous. A standard 2 year statute would be much more reasonable, fair, and inline with the treatment everyone else gets from the State of Oregon.

-I am concerned at the fact that I believe the following situation could occur : Timber company buys sale, protesters block logging, courts stop sale while protesters block logging, Timber industry sues
protesters for ENTIRE COST OF SALE. Assuming this is possible, and a reading of the law seems to suggest that it is, there is no reason to assume the timber industry would not attempt this, again, keep in mind they found it reasonable to put protestors in prison for up to 5 years for literally standing in a road.

-This bill is unnecessary, there is nothing preventing Private entities contracting in State forests from suing protestors who cause them damages. Why is it that the State Legislature would be interested
in giving this group even more special treatment and powers then they already wield in this State?

-Nationwide, there is a trend of states doing the exact opposite of what this bill does, and actually banning this type of lawsuit called a  “SLAPP suit”. Even States like Texas recognize the fact that
citizen protesters should not be allowed to be financially intimidated by multi-million or even multi-billion dollar corporations. Why is it that when the State of Texas and others are looking for ways to give more rights to citizens, the State of Oregon is looking to give special rights and treatments to enormous corporations?

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