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Berger Wants to Revive Oregon Meth Registry BillKevin Hays Salem-News.com
The bill would require the state to alert residents -- whether through an internet registry or other means -- when a convicted meth maker is released from prison into their neighborhood.
(SALEM) - If you are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in Oregon, you may be required to register in Oregon with state, or local police if a bill passes the state legislature next session.
The bill, which drew some support last session, will be re-submitted by Republican Rep. Vicki Berger of Salem, and would require people who are convicted for meth manufacturing to register with state police or a local police agency like convicted sex offenders.
Berger said the bill is in response to a letter written by a local physician last year to the Governor who is fed-up with Oregon's meth problem.
Beger says that there are two roadblocks in getting the bill passed
First, Berger said her colleagues in the Legislature may frown on the bill, since fighting meth was such a hot topic in the last session.
Second, the cost.
The Oregon State Police says that it costs $14 million annually to keep track of the over 14,500 registered sex offenders.
The cost of keeping track of those convicted of manufacturing meth could be the same or more, but because statewide numbers on the sex offender program are not completely in, it's not clear what it will cost the state Berger said.
She says the bill is a practical solution to Oregon's growing problem dealing with meth.
"People want to know when a convicted sex offender moves into the neighborhood, and this would also warn them if a 'meth cooker' was living next door as well," Berger said. "The hope is that with notifying people about convicted meth cookers living next door, residents will keep an eye on the home, and if they see anything out of the ordinary, they would call police."
Berger added that her colleagues in the Legislature may also frown on the bill, since fighting meth was such a hot topic in the last session, and that most of the money for public safety this session will be going to getting more troopers on Oregon’s highways.
It is a first line of defense in battling the state's meth problem by stopping a problem before it happens she said.
Berger, is being challenged by Democrat Connie Garcia of Independence in the 2006 November General Election.
Garcia could not be reached for comment on this story.
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