The First Special Session of 2020

Representative Raquel Moore-Green

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Hello ~

The First Special Session of 2020, as it has been titled, was an interesting process. It presented challenges for legislators in the building and for the public. It was difficult for those of us in the building to navigate and provide input on the proposals before us as well has having time to fully review the legislation. Because the Capitol building is closed to the public, it felt like the public was not invited into the process, and that is unfortunate.

The social distancing and the laser focus to keep members apart so as not to cause a cloud of germs to linger hindered the natural flow of ideas and opinions. While the public participated via written and voice testimony, it left a rather sterile sense to the work that we are performing on behalf of our constituents and at the end of the day all Oregonians. Our system of legislation is founded on the public having full access to their senators and representatives, to have the ability to participate and follow along with session.

From the first indicator of a special session being called, I stated we should be focused on the state’s budget and the projected $2.7 billion dollar shortfall.

This special session as called by the Governor “…to take up two urgent issues facing our state: the COVID 19 pandemic and police accountability” morphed into what seemed more like a short session. This session resulted in 24 pieces of legislation being passed.

There were pieces of legislation that were important-

  • We passed legislation to allow local government and special government body public meetings and operations to be able to continue–– this was important to cities and counties as they find ways to hold meetings under the COVID19 restrictions.
  • An amendment proposed by me to HB 4212 that allows Physician Assistants to continue to practice at the highest level and assist with COVID19 treatment, was a result of the work by the Joint Special Committee On Coronavirus Response.
  • We passed legislation that aligns Oregon child dependency proceedings with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and creates provisions that promote Indian children's continued connection to culture, family, and their tribe.
  • We were able to pass an arbitration bill and five other police accountability bills in a bipartisan manner.
  • We also passed legislation regarding non-discrimination provisions and federal protections for individuals with disabilities and patient rights ensuring the ability of individuals with a disability to access in-patient medical services and support persons during the COVID-19 crisis as well as protecting patients facing end of life conversations among health care professionals, individuals with disabilities, and their families and support persons.

However, this session will be memorable for what we did not do, there were significant missed opportunities. Namely addressing the 2.7-billion-dollar budget shortfall and limited liability.

On the issue of limited liability – we had bipartisan support to help our schools and business find pathways to reopen safely. We were unable to get this issue out of committee – it was referred to a work group further delaying relief to everyday Oregonians.

Dealing with the issue of gubernatorial overreach and legally questionable executive orders did not happen.   And last but possibly the most important thing to Oregonians right now – we did not address the substantial backlog and mismanagement at the Oregon Employment Department.

We were called to session to be responsive to the needs of Oregonians, to be accountable and transparent. To work with our colleagues across the aisle to protect public health and move our state toward economic recovery. Even though we faced challenges to propose amendments and other issues of concerns we were able to work together in a bipartisan manner. The work produced on police accountability is good for all Oregonians and a solid starting point as we continuously improve the quality and expectations of our law enforcement professionals.

We know there is a sequel to this session, it is my hope that we have learned a few things on how to respond to the situation in which we find ourselves. I trust next time will be better formulated and focused on the budget shortfall.

Thank you for engaging with your state government. Please know my door is always open and my staff, Pam McClain, Lena Prine, and I welcome your participation.

Yours truly,


Representative Raquel Moore-Green
House District 19 - South Salem, Turner & Aumsville

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1419
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-385, Salem, OR 97301

Be sure and follow my legislative Facebook @reprmghd19