Barbed wire tops a chain link fence

A barbed wire fence encloses the Columbia County Jail yard in St. Helens, Ore., in this file photo from Saturday, March 30, 2019.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

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Oregon lawmakers are considering changes to the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing law, created by the passage of Ballot Measure 11 in 1994. Senate Bill 401 would convert mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes — except for murder — to presumptive sentences. This means judges would have discretion over sentencing with some guidance written into the state law. Oregon district attorneys are divided over the bill. We hear from Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth, who is opposed to SB 401 and Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt, who is in favor.

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