Special Session Summary, Town Hall July 14, and SO Census Day

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Rep. Pam Marsh

July 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It was the quietest and most reflective July 4th that most of us have ever experienced. Much of that was due to safety measures required by our response to COVID-19—no parades, no fireworks, and (I hope!) few big family gatherings. The death of George Floyd and subsequent national introspection also cast an appropriate somber note on the holiday. 

We should be proud of the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, though for our neighbors of color, we’ve fallen well short in the execution of those lofty words. The resulting disparities are evident in significant wealth gaps, disproportionate involvement with law enforcement, neighborhood displacement, disparate health outcomes, and a host of other measurements resulting from both deliberate and implicit racism. Our challenge is to contain and reverse the heritage of inequity and hate that infects our institutions and our communities.

The Oregon legislature took the first tentative steps toward a new future in our special session in June, passing a package of law enforcement reforms negotiated by our People of Color Caucus. Over the next six months, the new Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform will identify additional legislation to be considered in 2021. To be clear, this is just the first step. Addressing systemic racism is going to require that we adopt equity as a measure to evaluate every decision or policy in front of us. 

I didn’t get to march as I usually do as the Lady Liberty in Ashland’s July 4th parade, but I did have an opportunity to review the words inscribed on the statue and to reflect on their relevance to the work ahead. Let us commit to use the coming weeks, months, and however long it takes to ensure that all people across this nation can truly breathe free.


Representative Pam Marsh

State Representative
Oregon House District 5 - Southern Jackson County

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

In this Issue - Quick Links

Online Town Hall, Tuesday, July 14, 7:00-8:00 PM

Since we can't meet in person, let's meet online! Join me on Tuesday, July 14 at 7:00 PM for a virtual town hall. I'll discuss the details and implications of the recent Special Session, share what's on the horizon for later this summer, and answer questions. Register HERE in advance to receive a link to the Zoom meeting. 

Rep. Marsh on Zoom

Special Session Summary

Coronavirus and law enforcement concerns drove the agenda in the Oregon Legislature’s first Special Session of 2020 in June. In all, we passed 22 bills and a couple of resolutions in an intense but productive three-day session that was further complicated by the need to conduct business while physical distancing. Here is a summary of the highlights:


SB 1603 Establishes the Rural Telecommunications Investment Act to support rural telecommunications and expand broadband availability across Oregon.

The pandemic has demonstrated the significant gaps in broadband coverage across the state. More than 20% of urban residents and 40% of rural ones have no internet or services far below minimal FCC standards. SB 1603 will expand the universal service fund to help local communities identify, plan and fund broadband services in under-served communities throughout the state.

This is a bill I have championed for two years, so I am particularly pleased that it has finally passed. This is one component of a comprehensive program to ensure that all Oregonians have access to the technology that drives so many aspects of our lives. 


  • HB 4201A establishes a Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform, composed and co-chaired by both Senate and House members. The committee is directed to examine policies to improve transparency in investigations and complaints regarding use of force by police officers; increase transparency in police protocols and process to build public trust; examine policies that reduce the prevalence of serious physical injury or death caused by use of force, the authorization of use of force under state law, and the disparate impact on communities of color; determine most appropriate policy for independent review of deadly force; and make recommendations to the Judiciary committees by December 31, 2020.

  • HB 4203A outlaws the use of respiratory restricting restraints (i.e. chokeholds) unless used in a circumstance in which an officer is allowed to use deadly force as provided in ORS 161.239. Rules will be adopted prohibiting the training of this force, except as a defensive maneuver.

  • HB 4205A requires police and reserve officers to intervene to prevent or stop another officer from engaging misconduct. Misconduct is defined as “unjustified or excessive force that is objectively unreasonable under the circumstances or in violation of the law enforcement agency's use of force policy; sexual harassment or sexual misconduct; discrimination against a person based on protected class; committing a crime; or violation of the minimum standards for fitness for public safety personnel.” The bill requires the officer to report the misconduct as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after the misconduct.

  • HB 4207A requires establishment of a statewide online public database of records for officers whose certification has been revoked or suspended. Law enforcement agencies will be required to request and review applicant's personnel files from current or prior employing law enforcement agencies.

  • HB 4208A 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. Before using tear gas in the event of a riot, law enforcement must 1) announce their intent to use tear gas; 2) allow sufficient time for individuals to evacuate the area; 3) announce for a second time that they intend to use tear gas.

  • SB 1604 requires an arbitrator in a police misconduct case to uphold the discipline decision of the Chief of Police if the arbitrator finds that misconduct did indeed occur.


  • HB 4213A extends the current moratorium on residential and commercial no-cause evictions through September 30, 2020 and creates a six-month repayment grace period after the moratorium ends for tenants to repay their back rent accrued during the moratorium. During the repayment period, tenants may not be evicted for failure to repay their back rent, but they must keep paying their ongoing monthly rent. An exception applies if a landlord sells the home to an individual who intends to occupy it.

    Tenants should note that evictions can commence October 1 if that month’s rent goes unpaid. Residents of Jackson County who need helping paying rent should contact ACCESS at 541-494-1210 or rental@accesshelps.org as soon as possible for assistance.

  • HB 4204A directs lenders to defer or forbear both residential and commercial mortgage payments during the pandemic emergency period—March 8 through September 30, 2020— if a borrower is unable to pay. Deferred payments during this period must be allowed to be added to the end of the loan, at the same lending terms as in place during the emergency period. Lenders are prohibited from imposing a default rate of interest or assessing charges, fees, or penalties to the borrowers.


SB 1602A affirms a Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2020 by representatives from the forest industry and environmental interests that strengthens the state’s aerial pesticide spray regulations and sets the stage for fundamental reform of the Oregon Forest Practices Act. Core provisions in the bill are:

  • Improved stream buffers on salmon and steelhead streams in the Rogue-Siskiyou region.
  • New 50’ buffers against aerial spray of pesticide near tens of thousands of miles of small streams.
  • Much larger buffers against aerial spray of pesticide near homes, schools, and drinking water intakes.
  • A first-in-the-nation system to allow people living near forest land to sign up for 24-hour electronic notices before aerial spray of pesticide occurs, along with increased transparency.
  • Funding to begin mediation between representatives of the parties to bring a fuller package of rules to increase protections for threatened and endangered aquatic species. Topics will include stream buffers, steep slopes, and roads.


HB 4210 removes the authority of courts to impose driving privilege suspensions for failure to pay traffic-related fines. Suspending a driver license for inability to pay fines keeps people from being able to pay their debts, trapping them in a cycle of poverty.


HB 4212A made a number of legislative fixes in response to the COVID emergency, including allowing notaries to perform work using electronic technology; temporarily waiving local zoning regulations for siting homeless shelters and navigation centers; requiring COVID-19 health care providers to collect data on race, ethnicity, and other factors relevant to public health; and allowing local governments and other public bodies to hold virtual meetings during the pandemic.

Southern Oregon Census Day - Friday, July 10

Southern Oregon Counts

It’s not too late to get counted in the 2020 Census! 

Submit your census questionnaire online, by phone or by mail on Friday, July 10, 2020. To complete the census online, go to 2020census.gov. Do not worry if you have lost the census form you received by mail, or if do not have a 12-digit census ID number; the website will prompt you to submit it another way.

By taking the 2020 Census, you can help to ensure that Southern Oregon communities have funding for critical services and representation we need for years to come. The chance to be counted only comes once every ten years. Please don’t miss this opportunity to help shape the future of our region!

A Word on Wearing Masks

As of July 1, Oregon joined approximately 20 other states to require the use of face coverings in every indoor space used by the public—grocery stores, elevators, restrooms, churches, gyms, retail stores, restaurants, etc. Children between 2 and 12 years of age are encouraged, but not required, to use masks, and individuals with specific medical issues are exempt.

It has been more than 100 days since the initiation of the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives order. Today, more than 10,000 Oregonians have been diagnosed with the virus, and the current trends are alarming: the number of cases has grown in each of the past five weeks, and hospitalizations are increasing 6% per week. Last week, Oregon has its first outbreak in a childcare facility, reflecting the increase of the disease in younger people. Sporadic cases—those not associated with a specific outbreak—are also growing, suggesting acceleration of community transmission. Rural counties in central and eastern Oregon, including Deschutes, Malheur and Umatilla, have been particularly impacted by the recent growth in cases.

The new mask mandate is enforceable by law and violations can be a Class C misdemeanor, though no one expects or wants police to take on mask enforcement. Impacted businesses that are responsible for the health and safety of employees and customers will largely be in charge of communicating and enforcing the new standard. If businesses fail to implement the rule, OSHA and other state agencies will step up.

The good news is that Oregon still has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 among states. We flattened the curve once, and we can do it again. Our early efforts prevented an estimated 1,500 hospitalizations and 70,000 Oregonians from illness. Right now, our health care system has adequate capacity, and we will continue to monitor metrics including hospitalizations, case numbers, community spread, etc. to gauge the need for additional actions. 

We now find ourselves at another crossroad. If we let down our defenses the virus will take hold again, overwhelming hospital capacity and forcing businesses to shut down. The simple act of wearing a mask allows us to protect ourselves and each other, and to continue on the path of economic recovery. 

What happens next is up to each of us.

Please remember: The more people you interact with and the longer you stay together, the greater your risks of contracting or transmitting COVID. Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep physical distancing, and please consider the risks of your actions on yourself and others.

And, when we run into each other, please know that I’m smiling even if you can’t see my face!

Every Oregonian Mask Up

COVID-19 Local Resources Online

A comprehensive list of links to resources for food, mental health, health insurance, unemployment, small business support, housing, childcare and more is provided online at my website: COVID-19 Community Resources & Assistance.

Here is a list of ways to support our community during this crisis: COVID-19 Ways to Help, Give & Volunteer.

Please contact me to share additional resources and services. My staff will continue to update these lists. 

Contact Me

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1405
District Phone: 541-282-4516
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-375, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.PamMarsh@oregonlegislature.gov
Website and e-Subscribe: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/marsh