COVID-19 & Special Session Update


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Update                     June 29, 2020

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Dear friends,

    Sorry for fill your inbox today! I'm re-sending my latest weekly update, with refinements (we sent an unedited version earlier in haste to share the information) and to include the latest COVID-19 infection data as well as the Governor's announcement that she is extending her face covering mandate for indoor public spaces to be statewide starting Wednesday.

    Last Wednesday, following weeks of preparatory meetings, the Legislature convened at the call of Governor Brown to consider bills relating to Oregon's response to COVID-19 and police accountability. Some consensus bills that were unable to pass during our February session because of the Republican walkout were also taken up. A list of bills passed during last week's special session is below.

    Governor Brown has indicated that she will call a second special session later in the summer to address the state budget. She decided it would be more prudent and efficient to wait to call the second special session until after Congress completed work on an expected second COVID-19 relief act to provide additional federal assistance to states.

    The Governor's face covering mandate for indoor public spaces went into effect on June 24 for seven counties and will go into effect statewide July 1. I encourage everyone to wear a mask when six feet of social distancing isn't possible. Until a vaccine is available, masks are our best defense against COVID-19 transmission. Masks can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help Oregon stay open for business. Check out the references at the end of this update for articles that explain how masks help us keep each other safe!

    Below you will find information on:

Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data
        - Special Session Bills
        - Updates from the Oregon Employment Department
        - State Distributes $70 Million in Rental Relief & Energy Assistance
        - Primary Resource Links
        - Reference Media

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Latest Oregon COVID-19 Infection Data

    As of June 29, 2020, our state has experienced the following number of positive cases and deaths attributable to COVID-19, as reported by the Oregon Health Authority:

  • 8,121 cases in Oregon
  • 234,769 people tested for COVID-19 in Oregon
  • 204 deaths reported in Oregon

Special Session Bills

    During last week's special session, I had the honor of carrying three of the 24 bills that the Legislature voted on during its first special session of 2020. (The session lasted three days.) Two of those bills –– HB 4201and HB 4205 –– were part of a six-bill package dealing with police accountability (see below).

    While I fully support improved accountability for law enforcement, I believe the vast majority of men and women who serve as police officers in Oregon act professionally and ethically in performing their duties. As a prosecutor for the past 33 years, I've worked with hundreds of officers, state troopers and deputies. All but a small handful perform their duties as we would expect from any professional. HB 4205, which the Legislature passed last week, will ensure that an officer who sees another officer engaged in improper conduct has a duty to intervene and report the conduct to their supervisor. It also provides protections for reporting officers.

    The following bills were passed during last week's special session, by Senate/House bill and in numerical order. (To review more information about each bill, click on its number.)

Senate Bills

    SB 1601 - Allows Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund moneys to be used to maintain existing public transportation services.

    SB 1602 - Requires Governor to facilitate mediation sessions between forest industry and environmental interest representatives.

    SB 1603 - Supports the Broadband Fund in the Rural Telecommunications Act by modifying the services and sales that are subject to the universal service fund surcharge.

   SB 1604 - Restricts arbitration award from ordering disciplinary action that differs from disciplinary action imposed by law enforcement agency if arbitrator makes finding that misconduct occurred consistent with agency's finding of misconduct, and disciplinary action imposed by agency is consistent with provisions of discipline guide or discipline matrix adopted by agency as result of collective bargaining and incorporated into agency's disciplinary policies.

    SB 1605Modifies Oregon Promise program to extend eligibility to certain Oregon foster children who attain their highest level of education while in out-of-state placements.

    SB 1606 - Prohibits hospital from conditioning admission or treatment, or suggesting that treatment is conditioned, on patient having POLST or executing advance directive or other instruction regarding administration, withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining procedures or artificially administered nutrition and hydration.

    SB 1607 - Extends for one year small school district grants and school district funding for foreign exchange students.

    SB 5711Appropriates moneys from General Fund for biennial expenses.

    SCR 211Adjourns sine die 2020 special session of Eightieth Legislative Assembly.

House Bills

    HB 4201 - Establishes a joint committee that will be tasked to look at policies to improve transparency of investigations into and complaints concerning the use of force by police officers. (The original bill called for the Attorney General to oversee investigation of use of force cases. I supported that approach, but the sponsors of the bill decided to form a joint committee to allow more time to consider alternative investigation models.)

HB 4202 - Modifies administrative provisions of corporate activity tax.

    HB 4203 - Declares that a peace officer is not justified or reasonable in any circumstance to use physical force that impedes "the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the throat or neck of the other person" unless it is a circumstance in which an officer may use deadly force as provided by in ORS 161.239. Rules will be adopted prohibiting the training of this force, except as a defensive maneuver.

    HB 4204Establishes temporary limitations on lenders being able to enforce default remedies on obligations secured by mortgages, trust deeds, land sale contracts or other instruments.

    HB 4205 - This bill requires police and reserve officers to intervene to prevent or stop another officer from engaging in an act they know, or should reasonably know is misconduct.

    HB 4206 - Authorizes State Department of Agriculture to adopt rules establishing program of state inspection for processing and sale of meat products from amenable species, including but not limited to cattle and sheep.

    HB 4207 - Requires the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to establish a statewide online public database of records for officers whose certification has been revoked or suspended and specifies the information to be provided as well as timeline for posting. Requires law enforcement agencies to request and review an applicant's personnel files from current or prior law enforcement agencies.

    HB 4208 - Prohibits law enforcement agencies from using tear gas for crowd control, except for circumstances that meet the definition of a riot in ORS 166.015. In the event of a riot, the legislation requires sufficient notification and ability for individuals to evacuate an area before tear gas is deployed.

    HB 4209 - Allows Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board to enter into agreement with third-party administrator to operate programs for awarding grants and making loans that enhance and expand workforce development and economic development in Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region.

    HB 4210 - Repeals driving privilege suspension and eliminates imposition of driving privilege restrictions for failure to pay fine.

    HB 4211 - Clarifies timing of when Department of Education is required to make transfers from Fund for Student Success.

    HB 4212 - Authorizes governing bodies of public bodies, other than State of Oregon, to conduct all public meetings using telephone or video conferencing technology or through other electronic or virtual means.

    HB 4213 - Prohibits residential and commercial evictions under specified conditions during emergency period.

    HB 4214 - Modifies Oregon's dependency code to align with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

    HCR 212 - Establishes deadlines for pre-session filed legislative measures for 2021 regular session of Eighty-first Legislative Assembly.

Updates from the Oregon Employment Department

    I continue to hear from constituents who are facing challenges or delays in dealing with the unemployment benefit process; I share their frustrations. What follows is the latest update that the Oregon Employment Department (OED) provided to legislators last week:

  • Status of Claims –– OED have processed 99 percent of all regular unemployment claims received since the surge in claims. Nobody can receive benefits until their claim is processed, and for most people, once it is processed, they quickly receive their benefits. For some, though, other work must be done before they can receive benefits. We are now focusing on those complex claims that require more interventions.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) –– The effort called "FOCUS PUA" has OED processing PUA claims at a rapidly increasing rate. In the six weeks since first launching this new program on April 28, the department paid about 17,000 claims. They intend to address the approximately 70,000 PUA claims have not yet processed in the next seven weeks, by August 8. Over time, OED will be able to more quickly process claims as the process is improved and staff become more experienced.

  • IT efforts –– OED has added 138 phone lines and will add 150 more lines over the next two weeks. The department continues to work with its vendors to make the system more stable, even as they continue adding more and more capacity.

  • Workshare – Between March 15 and June 13, OED had 1,231 employers participating in the program. In the prior 12 months, 168 employers participated.

  • Staffing –– OED's entire Unemployment Insurance Division contributes to getting benefits to people. Before the pandemic's impact on our economy, there were fewer than 450 people in that Division. Now there are more than 750. That doesn't include about 70 other temporary employees or the 400 employees from other parts of the agency who shifted from their usual work to help get benefits to Oregonians.

State Distributes $70 Million in Rental Relief & Energy Assistance

    Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has distributed $55,000,000 in COVID rental relief funds and $15,000,000 in Energy Assistance to local organizations statewide.

    At the June meeting of the Legislature's Joint Emergency Board, lawmakers unanimously allocated $95 million in Coronavirus Relief funds to OHCS for housing stabilization, rent assistance and energy assistance. $55,000,000 is dedicated to emergency rental assistance. Eligible tenants must have had their ability to pay rent impacted by the COVID pandemic and live at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income of the county in which they reside.

    These rental relief funds were distributed to Community Action Agencies (CAAs) across the state. The Oregon Legislature also provided $15,000,000 in Energy Assistance to Oregonians financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregonians concerned about their ability to make upcoming rent payments or concerned about keeping the lights on should contact 211 to find out about assistance options in their area. CAAs and key partners are taking applications for assistance from residents in their service area. These services are provided free of charge by CAAs.

    To find out how to access these resources in your area visit or call 2-1-1.

Primary Resource Links

    Here's a list of government resources that you may find useful:

Reference Media

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