Legislative Update

Cheri Helt

Legislative Update

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this update finds you well and safe. I want to give you an update on a few issues I have been working on and advocating for, recent events, and some helpful resources.


Phase 2 Reopening:

Deschutes County is now in Phase 2 of Oregon’s reopening plan. Phase 2 allows for larger gathering, extended restaurant hours, and the reopening of some other parts of our economy. To learn more about Phase 2 guidelines please visit: https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID- 19 and scroll down to “OHA Guidance and Signage” under the “Governor’s Orders and OHA Guidance” tab.

It is important that we all continue to do our part in keeping the curve flat. Continue to use face coverings if you go out in public, practice social distancing, cover your cough and sneezes, wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you are sick.

Latest COVID-19 Data:

Deschutes COVID Curve


Positive COVID-19 Cases

Oregon: 6,218

Deschutes County: 139

Negative COVID-19 Tests

Oregon: 178,132

Deschutes County: 8,177

COVID-19 Related Deaths:

Oregon: 183

Deschutes County: 0


For more information and data on COVID-19 in Deschutes County, visit: https://www.deschutes.org/health/page/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Governor Brown Calls for a Special Session:

Next week, on Wednesday June 24th, the legislature will meet at the Capitol to address the urgent needs of Oregonians regarding police accountability reforms and coronavirus relief.

Cheri Thumbs Up!

I support a special session to accomplish three things:

1) Strengthen police accountability starting with outdated union contracts that protect bad cops and give our many good cops a bad name.

2) Fix the broken unemployment insurance system still denying vital benefits to thousands in need.

3) Protect workers, businesses, non-profits and schools from costly opportunistic lawsuits as they seek to safely re-open from COVID-19 restrictions.

Your voice, and public input from around the state, has always been something I have valued about the legislative process. Public input is essential for a transparent and accountable government to the people we serve. I want to make sure that your voice is heard as we consider different policy proposals. Please email me your thoughts, questions, ideas or concerns.

Child Care:

I was proud to join 17 of my colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Legislative Emergency Board to request $44 million for childcare providers. I want to thank the Legislative Emergency Board for appropriating $30 million for these critical statewide, small businesses and family home care providers.

You can read our letter below:

CC 1CC 2

Emergency Board Funding:

Recently the Legislative Joint Emergency Board approved over $247 million in Federal CARES Act funds to help Oregon businesses, child care providers, hospitals, renters, and more.

  • $75 million to support rental assistance, housing stabilization and mortgage assistance (in addition to $25 million in Hardest Hit money for foreclosure prevention).
  • $50 million for rural hospital stabilization grants.
  • $30 million in assistance to help child care providers stay in business.
  • $25.6 million to enhance behavioral health services for people impacted by COVID-19, with a focus on communities of color, our federally recognized tribes, and vulnerable populations.
  • $20 million to support the Rural Broadband Capacity Program to support safe distancing practices by connecting schools, health care providers and businesses.
  • $10 million in additional support to the Oregon Worker Relief Fund.
  • $15 million to support individuals having difficulty paying their utility bills.
  • $3.5 million to expand access to affordable telephone and broadband service for low-income households.
  • $4 million to support survivors of domestic violence.
  • $10 million to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for small businesses.
  • $3 million in technical assistance to minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • $1 million for 211 to maintain referral services during the pandemic.

There is still more to be done. I will continue to advocate for our students, small businesses, working families and individuals, and child care providers to make sure that our most vulnerable have the tools they need to weather storm of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police Accountability:

I am so proud of our community and I continue to be inspired every day by the peaceful demonstrations calling for justice and change in Bend and across the nation. In the legislature, the People of Color Caucus, made of up of 9 legislators, has made 3 policy proposals.

The first proposal would reform outdated union contracts that protect bad police officers, and give a bad name to good police officers by preventing arbitrators from easing or overturning disciplinary actions against police officers that engage in misconduct.

In Bend, Police Chief Jim Porter is proposing $100,000 to start a body worn camera program. Additionally, the Bend Police Department is shifting “funding from law enforcement associated actions and programs to non-law enforcement associated, which are actually community impactful, with the hopes that if communities can take care of their own problems, we won’t need so much money on the law enforcement side,” said Chief Porter in a recent interview with Central Oregon Daily. I applaud his efforts to improve accountability for our police officers and his commitment to improving relationships with our minority communities.

Helt and Chief Porter

I look forward to working with both my Democrat and Republican colleagues to advance police accountability and other reforms to ensure that communities of color are heard and our policies in education, health care, and housing reflect the value and benefits of diversity, opportunity and justice.


I continue to advocate for a fix for the broken unemployment insurance system that is still denying vital benefits to thousands in need.

If you or a loved one is still struggling to receive your employment benefits, please send me an email at rep.cherihelt@oregonlegislature.gov. Please include your first and last name, phone number, either your Customer ID or Claim Number, and other important details. I will reach out directly to the Employment Department to advocate on your behalf.

For those filing for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the Employment Department has set up a new dedicated hotline for these claims.

Toll Free: 833-410-1004

Local: 503-370-5400

For more information about the claims process and the  Employment Department, visit: https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

As always, I value your voice and want to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns, please reach out to my office by calling (503)986-1454 or emailing me at rep.cherihelt@oregonlegislature.gov


Cheri Signature

                                                                                                                                              Cheri Helt                                                                                                                                     State Representative                                                                                                                   House District 54

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1454
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-371, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.CheriHelt@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/helt