Special Session Update from Senator Findley

Senator Findley


Last week, I joined my colleagues in Salem for a special legislative session called by Governor Brown with the purpose of passing legislation related to police accountability and COVID-19 relief. At one time, we heard there could be as many as 50 bills brought in front of the legislative assembly for a special session. In the end, only 22 policy bills made it all the way through the process, and that is a lot to process in only three days. Needless to say, it was a quick and busy time.

There are a handful of bills that passed in the special session that are going to greatly benefit Senate District 30, such as House Bill 4209, the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board bill that allows the Board to continue their great work with minor technical fixes to language in the original legislation from 2017.

Other substantial bills that many of you have asked about over time that made it through the process include:

  • SB 1603 – Raises existing tax on phone service to cellphone providers and establishes a Broadband Fund with up to $5M per year in support.
    • I voted against this measure because only weeks ago, we allocated $20M to rural broadband support from the Emergency Board without having to raise taxes.
  • HB 4202 – Corporate Activities Tax (CAT) relief for dairy farmers and specified nonprofit cooperatives along with a list of other technical fixes from the 2019 legislative session. I voted in support of this legislation.
  • HB 4213 – Extends the statewide moratorium on residential and commercial evictions to September 30, 2020. I voted against this legislation.
  • HB 4204 – Prohibits lenders from pursuing foreclosures against homeowners and borrowers through September 30, 2020. Missed payments will be due at end of borrower’s loan term if other arrangements are not made. I voted in support of this legislation.
  • HB 4206 – Directs Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to adopt rules establishing a program for state inspection for processing and sale of meat products. I voted for this legislation.
  • SB 1607 -  Extends funding for high schools defined as small schools to continue receiving grants under the Small School District Supplemental Fund and extends funding for foreign exchange students. I carried and supported this bill.

Click here to see a complete list of bills passed in the special session.

One thing I was disappointed to see not pass in the special session was liability protection for schools and private businesses in Oregon from COVID-19 related suits. Without any sort of liability protection, schools will not be able to open in the fall and businesses who follow all OHA safety guidelines could still be held liable for the natural spread of COVID-19. Even with bi-partisan and bi-cameral support, the presiding officers and the supermajority decided not to prioritize these critical policies.

Last week’s session was focused around passing policy bills to respond to political issues that have risen in the past few months, but it did not address some key issues our state is facing. The special session should have been focused on fixing our state’s budget. The revenue forecast in mid-May reported that we could be looking at a $2 Billion shortfall and we have done nothing to address that. I hope the legislature can convene again swiftly to address the budget issues we are facing immediately. We cannot ‘kick the can down the road’ as we have a habit of doing with other issues. This must be addressed.

Lastly, Governor Brown reported today that she will be extending the face covering executive orders to indoor public places across the entire state. The mandate which originally only covered seven Oregon counties will go into effect on Wednesday, July 1st. Click here to see the official release.

We know there are many significant changes and they are happening quickly, both locally and at the state level – we feel those changes too. My staff and I are committed to working hard for you and keeping you informed as often as possible. Please reach out with questions, concerns or problems you are facing, and also feel free to share the good news you might be experiencing as the state reopens from the stay-at-home orders.

Please be safe and well.

LF Sig2

Lynn P. Findley Oregon State Senator, District 30

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