Happy July 4th and Legislative Special Session Update

Sheri Schouten

Happy July 4th and Legislative Special Session Update



Last week was a long one, as I and my fellow legislators returned to Salem for a Special Session of the Legislative Assembly dedicated to COVID-19 economic response, racial justice issues, and police reforms.


Rep. Schouten Wearing A Mask on the House Floor

Over three very long days the legislature passed a number of important measures, despite new procedures to keep members safe in session. Read a summary of our work here.


Happy Independence Day!

After a busy last couple weeks, Dick and I are looking forward to some quiet time alone over the long holiday weekend. Please remember to keep your Independence Day celebrations small and local.

Happy Fourth of July



To counter coronavirus and return our economy to full health, Oregonians will need to work together to keep each other safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. That means following basic public health practices such as:

  • Wearing a mask to cover your mouth and nose when you’re in public indoor spaces;
  • Staying 6 feet away from other people; and
  • Washing your hands frequently

Speaking as a nurse and the mother of three grown boys, these are all common sense and simple actions we can take to not spread viruses.

Oregon’s economic recovery will stall out if we don’t reduce the spread. Essential workers will continue to put their health, and the health of their families, at risk if we don’t reduce the spread. People of color will continue to get sicker at higher rates if we don’t reduce the spread. Health care workers will continue to get sick if we don’t reduce the spread. And, more people will die.

But if everyone does their part, I am confidant we can control the spread of disease and save many lives.


Wearing A Mask Is An Act Of Love


Face Coverings Required

Starting yesterday, face coverings are required statewide for all indoor public spaces. You can find all the details here.

One of the things the state is doing to help is ramping up its distribution of masks to businesses and county health departments. For example, the state already had 1.5 million masks on hand and has sent 200,000 to grocers and distributed the rest to county governments to help with the new requirement.


Children – Infection Rates, Wearing Masks

Coronavirus infections are increasing among children. As reported by The Oregonian cases among Oregon children younger than 10 were up noticeably this month, representing the fastest growth rate of new infections in any age range. Public health officials have said that most of the spread to children is coming from community spread, as adults bring the virus into their homes or children are socializing with children from other households. 

This is certainly a concerning trend. This, and the overall increase in infection rates, might influence whether schools can open in the fall. But, as I said above, we can hold the line on these numbers by common sense actions – wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart, and washing our hands regularly.

Currently, masks are strongly recommended for children between 2 and 12 years of age.

Children under 2 should not wear masks.

Because children between the ages of 2 and 12 years of age can have challenges wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering properly (e.g., excessively touching the face covering, not changing the face covering if visibly soiled, risk of strangulation or suffocation, etc.), public health experts say that if face coverings are worn by this age group, they should be worn with the assistance and close supervision of an adult. Masks, face shields, or face coverings should never be worn by children when sleeping.


Policing Reforms

The police accountability and transparency bills  the legislature passed last week are a long overdue beginning. I’m looking forward to more public conversation and new ideas to break down the institutional polices that have injured Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Oregon.

On Tuesday, Speaker Kotek announced the appointment of the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform, created by the passage of House Bill 4201 during last week’s special session. The committee will start their work next week to continue the review of current policing practices and make recommendations for further reforms. Read more about the committee’s mission and membership in the announcement here.


Eviction Moratorium Information

The legislature passed legislation last week lto extend the Governor’s prohibition on evictions through September 30th. We know that most renters are still paying their rent, and many are making sacrifices to do so. It’s really important to keep people housed while we are fighting the coronavirus and the economy starts to revive.

Because of the pandemic, tenants can defer paying their rent between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Landlords cannot evict tenants for nonpayment during this time. Tenants will have a six-month grace period (until March 31, 2021) to pay back the deferred rent.

Landlords cannot charge late fees or other charges based on nonpayment of rent from April 1 through September 30. Landlords also cannot give notices of termination without cause or file for an eviction based on a termination without cause between April 1 and September 30.

The Oregon Law Center has put together some information for tenants. You can find it here

General information for renters during the pandemic can be found here.


As always, thank you for the privilege to serve as your State Representative in Salem. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy in this difficult time.

Please enjoy your July 4th weekend!

Warm regards,

Rep. Sheri Schouten

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1427
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-280, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.SheriSchouten@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/schouten