Mask Up Oregon

Senator Wagner

Town Hall Recap

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who was able to call into my town hall last week with Representative Salinas and Representative Prusak. It was great to see everyone virtually and to hear about the issues that are most important to you right now. For those of you who were not able to make it this time, we went over bills that we passed in the Special Session and had an important dialogue about issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic like health care, businesses and employment. We also talked about police accountability and the importance of listening to and supporting our BIPOC community. It was great to touch base with community members. I hope you continue to share your comments, concerns and ideas.


News from the Legislature

Police Accountability Committee

In the First Special Session of 2020, Oregon Senate Democrats proudly supported the proposals of the People of Color Caucus. Together, the Legislature was able to pass a package of six police accountability bills. This is a victory for racial justice, but the work does not stop here. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my BIPOC colleagues on legislation that will better serve our vulnerable communities and answer the very basic demands from our BIPOC neighbors to feel safe in our state.

One of the ways we are continuing to work on racial justice is through the creation of the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform, which was established during the Special Session. The Joint Legislative Task Force on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform will be holding its second week of hearings this week, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10am and Friday afternoon at 1pm. You can follow their work here.

The task force is hoping to have further proposals ready for passage, some as soon as the next special session of the Legislature (likely at the end of this month or early August) and others during the next full legislative session. This is incredibly important and long-overdue work.

Emergency Board Meeting

Yesterday, the Legislative Emergency Board held a virtual meeting to allocate over $200 million to assist Oregonians who are struggling as a result of our public health crisis and historic injustice. See the list below for more details. These allocations of federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars will help address some of the economic strain caused, and deepened, by this public health crisis. Please see my statement and the statement from the BIPOC Caucus on these incredibly important investments.

  1. COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance: $25,600,000 to support small businesses, including $2,500,000 in additional dollars to support the fishing industry.
  2. Statewide Business and Cultural Support: $50 million for arts and cultural businesses and activities. 
  3. Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency: $62 million to the Black United Fund and The Contingent for grants to Black-owned businesses, non-profits, and individuals in need of emergency support.
  4. COVID-19 Leave Fund for Quarantined Workers: $30 million to replace lost wages of individuals who need to quarantine because of contact with COVID.
  5. Emergency Relief Checks: $500 will be sent to those still waiting for their Unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment benefits.
  6. Election Security: $2,500,000 to install and operate election intrusion detection technology in each of the 36 counties.
  7. $3.58 million for the Warm Springs Emergency Water Infrastructure project. This is a crucial and necessary action to support our indigenous neighbors who have had insufficient access to clean and safe water.

Even with these large allocations, there is no question Oregon needs additional federal assistance in order to ensure we can provide support and services individuals and families across our state rely on.

Coronavirus Updates

Protect our Community by Wearing a Mask

Face Coverings Required

New data trends show the virus is spreading at concerning rates with daily case counts rising to record highs. Because of these outbreaks, on July 1 Governor Brown implemented a state-wide requirement to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores and other businesses. Additionally, the Governor announced yesterday new requirements for face coverings and limits on social get-togethers. Effective Wednesday, July 15, Oregon’s face covering requirement will be expanded to apply to outdoor public spaces when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. In addition, indoor social get-togethers of more than 10 people will be prohibited.

Masks Outdoors

“We need to do absolutely everything we can to reduce transmission in ways that do not require us to close down businesses again," said Governor Brown. “The proof here will be in the numbers. Either people will adhere to this requirement and be a positive force for stopping COVID-19, or I will be forced to take more restrictive measures.”

“It all depends on you. Your choices determine our future."

Remember the 3 Ws

Tri-Counties Will Remain in
Phase I

With cases on the rise in Oregon, it’s clear that Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties are not likely to move forward in the reopening process. Governor Brown, in consultation with partners from the Oregon Health Authority, made the decision in June to link the tri-county area for purposes of evaluation for reopening. Clackamas County officials have spoken about a desire to be uncoupled from Washington and Multnomah County given the doubts that they will meet necessary criteria to be considered for Phase II reopening in the immediate future.

Much of the work is now focused on remaining in Phase I, which keeps more businesses and services open, rather than resorting to a “phase zero” status. Clackamas County has already once been denied to move forward into Phase II, and even now officials say that they are closely monitoring data and will not choose to pursue reopening if it places citizens at risk. I know that many are anxious about returning to something more closely resembling “business as usual”, but I stand with our county officials as they prioritize the lives of our neighbors above further reopening.

Health Schools Reopening Council

The Healthy Schools reopening council met on Tuesday, July 7th for the first time. The council will continue to meet over the next few months, and you can find a list of members here. One of the reasons why we must continue the hard work to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to make certain our kids can safely return to school in the fall. It’s just one of the reasons physical distancing, good hand-washing and face coverings are so important right now.

News from the Judiciary

SCOTUS Rules Against Reproductive Rights

On Wednesday, July 8th, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that employers may opt not to cover birth control in health care plans. This is deeply disappointing and troubling news. Every person should have the right to choose if or when to have a family. It is decisions like this that contribute to gender and class inequities in our communities. Fortunately, despite this ruling, the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act still stands, and will continue to ensure that Oregonians receive protected reproductive care.

Oregon Court of Appeals Upholds Legal Gender Self-Identification

In other news, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the decision to make non binary a gender option on legal documents. For non binary, genderfluid and other genderqueer individuals, the right to self identify and to see themselves represented in legal documentation is a great step forward on the journey toward equality. I would like to highlight and applaud the efforts of the ACLU and Basic Rights Oregon to secure this momentous decision.

More Resources

Donate Lifeline

Donate Lifeline

If you or a loved one is waiting for a kidney transplant or considering donation, I encourage you to consider the Erase the Wait Mentorship Program. These resources include outreach tools, support systems, and tools to learn more about living kidney donation. There is a virtual training session starting in August - to learn more, please watch this video. If you’d like to register or have any questions, please contact:

Emergency Order for Health Insurance Companies Extended

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services has extended its emergency order for health insurance companies through Aug. 2, 2020. This means that health insurance companies must provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past-due premiums, pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period, and extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications, and provide members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards. You can read the text of the initial order here, and the extension here.

Mental Health and Domestic Violence Resources

If you're struggling to cope in these stressful times, consider reaching out to one of these resources:

  • To reach the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. 
  • If you or a loved one is in crisis, dial Call 800-273-TALK (8255) or go to this link.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
    • You can also visit, but for your safety please be aware that computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear.
  • If you are LGBTQ+ identifying and are in crisis, please contact the Trevor Lifeline.


We must continue to stay vigilant in containing the virus in our state by following the guidance from our public health and safety officials to keep our community safe. Thank you for doing your part in keeping yourself and our community safe and healthy.

Please let me know if you need any assistance in the weeks ahead. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get answers as quickly as possible.



Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19


email: I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301