KWSO News 7/18/19

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon will substantially overhaul its hate crime laws for the first time since the early 1980s. Gov. Kate Brown signed a measure this week strengthening the definition of bias crimes and adding “gender identity” as a protected class. The move responds to an uptick in reported hate crimes in the past few years. FBI data shows that hate crimes have increased in Oregon by 40% from 2016 to 2017 while arrests and convictions for those crimes have gone down. But that data likely underestimates the true number of hate crimes. Many local law enforcement agencies don’t report bias crimes to the FBI or say that none have occurred. The new law encourages victim-focused responses to allegation of hate crimes and more accurate data collection.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the Community Action Team are getting ready for the move of the old Commissary Building from its current location beside the police station to the new site by Highway 26. Through a series of grant opportunities, the Community Action Team has secured funding to move and wholly remodel the building, creating the Warm Springs Small Business Incubator Center. There will be space for artists, a café, and other local small businesses. Another component will be an adjacent food court. The Community Action Team is now recruiting for a person to manage the future food court project and train potential new court vendors. The Closing date for applications is July 31st. Contact Chris Watson or Demus Martinez at the WSCAT office for more information.

The school board for an Idaho high school that was the site of two student walkouts this spring in defense of its mascot voted this week to “retire” the nickname after a board meeting that stretched longer than four hours before a packed gymnasium at the local elementary school.  Teton High in Driggs, just west of the border with Wyoming, has claimed the Redskins mascot since 1929. Other high schools around Idaho use mascots and nicknames with Native American depictions, according to the Idaho Statesman. Oregon passed a law that prohibited native mascots in public schools but later amended it to allow them with the agreement of tribes. Two of Idaho’s largest tribes, the Shoshone-Bannock and Nez Percé, previously met with that district’s officials to advocate for the change.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. officials tasked with carrying out federal public safety policy for tribes missed a deadline to provide input on legislation to curb violence against Native American women for a second straight month. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, had set a July 8 deadline for Interior and Justice Department officials to offer positions and guidance on a slate of bills that aim to stem domestic violence, homicides and disappearances of Native Americans on tribal lands. Hoeven, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, had set the deadline for both departments after criticizing officials for filing late testimony and saying they arrived at a hearing in June unprepared to fully discuss the merits of legislation. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Justice Department told the AP late Monday that the department is working as quickly as possible to provide positions on the bills.