SILVERTONAPPEAL.COM ❚ WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 ❚ 3B Mandatory reporting bill closer to passing Natalie Pate Salem Statesman Journal USA TODAY NETWORK Teachers may no longer be required to report sexual activity between teenagers under a bill that a legisla- tive committee sent to the full Senate Feb. 6. Under current law, school staff and other manda- tory reporters have to report any sexual activity — from kissing to intercourse — involving someone un- der the age of 18. The report must be filed with law en- forcement or the Oregon Department of Human Ser- vices. The purpose is to identify and protect children from abuse. But the strict interpretation, brought to light in a Salem-Keizer Public Schools staff training last year, was met with scrutiny by many concerned this cuts off communication between students and trusted adults. Opponents also feared it would put mandatory re- porters in a difficult position, making them more likely to be punished for not reporting something they saw as consensual. Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, and Rep. Bill Post, R- Keizer, sought to quell these concerns with Senate Bill 1540. The bill clarifies a report does not have to be made for sexual activity between 14- to 21-year-olds who are within three years of each other. However, reports are still required if there is any suspicion of abuse, harassment, force or coercion, re- gardless of age. The bill was expected to move through and pass easily, especially with bipartisan and bicameral sup- port with the co-sponsors. But it met opposition this week when an amend- ment expanding the lower age bracket down from 14 to 12 was introduced. Gelser said the proposed amendment to 12 years of age aligned with current practice across the state. Keeping it at 14 would require major policy and prac- tice change for all medical professionals across the state, she said, based on regulations going back 20 years. Various health care practitioners gave testimony at the hearing, including officials from the Oregon Med- ical Association, supporting Gelser's argument. "In our effort to create legislation that keeps us at the status quo of where we have always been," Gelser said, "that number would be 12. "If it's 14, every healthcare practitioner, therapist, counselor, psychiatrist will have to change their prac- tice and their training," she said. "And it raises ques- tions about unintended consequences." Gelser acknowledged the concerns, saying she, her- self, was worried when it was first brought to her atten- tion last week. However, she eventually came to the same conclusion. "The argument is not that the Legislature ... thinks 12-year-olds should be having sex," Gelser said. "Do I personally believe that if two 12-year-olds are engaged in sexual activity there should be a conversa- tion with an adult? Absolutely," she said. "But do I be- lieve that conversation should come with a knock on the door from a police officer if there was no abuse? I don't." She reiterated that mandatory reporters can and should continue to report, regardless of age, if there is suspicion of abuse. "You can always report," she said. "Anytime you are concerned, you should report." Post, whose wife is a special education teacher in Salem-Keizer, was opposed to the amendment but continued to support the bill. "I wish all young people would refrain from sex at that age," he said, "but if not, I want them to have someone to talk to and I don't want that person's job on the line." Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, listens to one of her peers speak in the Senate Chamber at the Oregon Capitol Building in Salem, Oregon, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. CONNOR RADNOVICH / STATESMAN JOURNAL While Post said "his heart just doesn't like (the amendment)," he continued to support the bill be- cause "his constituents need (it)." "I want to do what's right for those kids and the teachers," he said. A representative from the Oregon District Attorney's Association ar- gued the amendment made the bill Rep. Bill Post too broad and expressed concern that this would limit the number of reports they re- ceive — something that is invaluable in detecting and preventing abuse. "I think we can all agree we need to do a better job of recognizing and protecting kids from abuse," said Brendan Murphy, a deputy district attorney for Marion County. Murphy said mandatory reporting is often incor- rectly seen as something that will immediately result in criminal charges. Instead, he said they should be seen as a "snapshot of information used to assess if kids are safe, whether that be a school response (or) DHS response or crimi- nal investigation." "When child abuse occurs, child safety experts only get snapshots or pieces of information to put that puz- zle together," he said. "Experts need as many puzzle pieces as possible to see the picture, and get it right." Murphy argued the ball has historically been dropped in protecting college gymnasts, kids in foot- ball camps and altar boys in Catholic churches. And he said that any sexual activity of children 12 and 13 years old concerns him. "We need all the help we can get," he said. Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, voted against the age-range amendment. The overall bill, including both amendments, was approved unanimously with one absence and sent to the Senate floor. Kimberly Schott, a junior at McNary High School in Keizer, was one of the leading forces behind the initial bill. After hearing about the requirement from a teacher, Schott became concerned this would limit students' abilities to speak with trusted adults, especially stu- dents who couldn't talk about the topic with their fam- ilies. So Schott took action. She and other students start- ed an online petition and held a small protest outside " "- # #& && '#,& /#+& "- #! JOBS.STATESMANJOURNAL.COM PUBLIC NOTICES POLICY Public Notices are published by the Statesman Journal and available online at w w w .S ta te s m a n J o u r n a l.c o m . The Statesman Journal lobby is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can reach them by phone at 503-399-6789. In order to receive a quote for a public notice you must e-mail your copy to SJLegals@StatesmanJournal.com , and our Legal Clerk will return a proposal with cost, publication date(s), and a preview of the ad. LEGAL/PUBLIC NOTICE DEADLINES All Legals Deadline @ 1:00 p.m. on all days listed below: ***All Deadlines are subject to change when there is a Holiday. The Silverton Appeal Tribune is a one day a week (Wednesday) only publication • Wednesday publication deadlines the Wednesday prior LEGAL/PUBLIC NOTICE RATES Silverton Appeal Tribune: • Wednesdays only - $12.15/per inch/per time • Online Fee - $21.00 per time • Affidavit Fee - $10.00 per Affidavit requested VLOYHUWRQDSSHDOFRP +&" & #& /#+& ".* , the Capitol in October. They met with Post and Gelser in the fall, looking for answers. Now, more than 4,500 people have signed the petition and the bill is moving forward. "It’s really cool," Schott said. "It shows how far ... a high school student can get. It shows all the people who said I couldn’t make a difference — it shows they were wrong." However, after hearing about the age-range amend- ment, Schott had a lot of reservations. "That could put students at risk and that’s not what I’m fighting for," she told the Statesman Journal. "I feel like that would make it easier for 12-year-olds to be abused." Schott said she wanted to voice her concern about the amendment since "it could turn south" and her "name is behind it." As for the district, Lillian Govus, a spokeswoman for Salem-Keizer, said, “Our role is to comply with the law as it is written." No district staff spoke on the bill at the hearing Tuesday. “If there are legislative changes, we’ll work with the (district attorney) to ensure that we are in full compli- ance," she said, "just as we’ve done in the past.” Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJour- nal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist. +*#"' $*' '&,' '*+ **'!" #+&" %#!( ''' " $&"* "'/ *&#+ +"/ STATESMANJOURNAL.COM/HOMES TRUST THE HOMETOWN EXPERTS AT SILVERTON REALTY SERVING THE EAST VALLEY SINCE 1975 Kristen Barnes Broker 503.873.3545 ext. 326 Marcia Branstetter Broker, GRI 873-3545 ext. 318 Micha Christman Offi ce Manager 503-873-1425 Becky Craig Broker 873-3545 ext. 313 Karen Gehrt Broker 873.3545 ext 312 Michael Schmidt Broker, GRI 873-3545 ext. 314 Ryan Wertz Broker 873-3545 ext. 322 Meredith Wertz Broker, GRI 873-3545 ext. 324 Chuck White Broker 873-3545 ext. 325 Christina Williamson Broker 873-3545 ext. 315 Mason Branstetter Principal Broker, GRI 873-3545 ext. 303 SCOTTS MILLS SILVERTON SILVERTON LYONS SALEM SILVERTON #A2455 DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH 3 BR, 2 BA 1730 SQFT 4.53 ACRES CALL MICHAEL AT EXT. 314 $269,900 (WVMLS#728469) #A2454 RESIDENTIAL BUILDING LOT .15 ACRES CALL CHUCK AT EXT. 325 $69,900 (WVMLS#728134) #A2440 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 4 BR, 1.5 BA, 2247 SQFT CALL MASON AT EXT. 303 $324,000 (WVMLS#725845) #A2451 PRIVATE SUBDIVISION 3 BR, 2.5 BA 1696 SQFT CALL MEREDITH AT EXT. 324, RYAN AT EXT. 322 $318,900 (WVMLS#727848) #A2453 GREAT CURB APPEAL 2 BR, 1BA, 720SQFT CALL KAREN AT EXT. 303 $28,900 (WVMLS#727718) #A2450 PRIVATE LOCATION 4 BR, 3 BA 2680 SQFT 3.2 ACRES CALL MEREDITH AT EXT. 324, RYAN AT EXT. 322 $499,700 (WVMLS#727928) SILVERTON SALEM SALEM SALEM SILVERTON SILVERTON #A2448 WONDERFULLY UPDATED 3 BR, 2.5 BA 1719 SQFT CALL MEREDITH AT EXT. 324, RYAN AT EXT. 322 $309,800 (WVMLS#727801) #A2443 LOTS OF CHARACTER 4 BR, 1.5 BA 1395 SQFT CALL MEREDITH AT EXT. 324, RYAN AT EXT. 322 $249,000 (WVMLS#726243) #A2449 CLASSIC SILVERTON HOME 2 BR, 1 BA 1140 SQFT CALL MEREDITH AT EXT. 324, RYAN AT EXT. 322 $228,700 (WVMLS#727854) #A2452 2.13 COMMERCIAL ACRES ID ZONE 2.130 ACRES CALL CHUCK AT EXT. 325 $189,000 (WVMLS#727845)) #A2446 GREAT FAMILY HOME 4 BR, 3 BA, 2780 SQFT CALL CHUCK AT EXT. 325 $449,950 (WVMLS#726473) #A2341 2 HOMES ON 2 ACRES 3 BR, 2 BA 1367 SQFT. 2.630 ACRES CALL CHUCK AT EXT. 325 $549,900 (WVMLS#709561) Brokers licensed in Oregon WWW.SILVERTONREALTY.COM | 303 OAK STREET | SILVERTON Call us today! 503.873.3545 | 1-800-863-3545 FOR RENT Call Micha at 503-873-1425 or see them on our website.