New COVID Framework, Wildfire Recovery Tracker, Veterans Town Hall & More


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-Bulletin                     December 2020

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Dear friends,

    I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. As tough as it is to limit gatherings with family and friends outside our households this holiday season, sacrificing now will mean Oregon can emerge sooner from the social and economic restrictions needed for health and safety during this COVID-19 pandemic.

    The two-week "freeze" ordered by Governor Brown ends on Wednesday, December 2. The Governor and the Oregon Health Authority released a new health and safety framework with four different risk levels for counties based on their level of COVID-19 spread. The framework is intended to establish sustainable protection measures for Oregonians in counties with rapid infection growth while balancing economic needs of families and businesses in the absence of a federal aid package.

    Under the new framework, the following activities will be allowed, with proper health and safety protocols, in counties with extreme risk (the majority of Oregon counties at this time both Douglas and Lane counties are currently identified as extreme risk counties):

  • Social and at-home gatherings with people from outside your household will be limited to a maximum of six people, with a recommended limit of two households.

  • Restaurants, bars, and other eating and drinking establishments will be limited to a maximum of 50 people for outdoor dining only, with only six people per table. Take-out is strongly encouraged.

  • Indoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment establishments, including gyms, will remain closed. However, outdoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment activities, including outdoor gym activities, will be allowed, with a maximum limit of 50 people outdoors.

  • Retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and indoor and outdoor shopping centers and malls will be limited to a maximum of 50 percent of capacity, with curbside pickup encouraged.

  • Faith institutions, funeral homes, mortuaries, and cemeteries will be limited to a maximum of 25 percent of capacity or 100 people indoors (whichever is smaller), or 150 people outdoors.

  • Office workplaces will be required to utilize remote work to the maximum extent possible, with public-facing offices closed to the public.

  • Personal services businesses will be allowed to continue to operate with health and safety measures in place.

  • Long-term care facilities can allow limited outdoor visitation, following established health and safety protocols.

    Notably, the framework allows for resumption of outdoor dining at restaurants and bars with certain limitations, and it reduces the capacity of retail and grocery stores to 50 percent. Oregon counties that are successful in reducing their COVID-19 risk levels in the coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower risk levels and resume additional activities.

It's important to note that there is no zero risk category under the framework. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen, and stay open. At every risk level, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, it's imperative that we continue to wear face coverings, watch our physical distance, wash hands, stay home when sick, and keep social gatherings as small as possible. "COVID fatigue" is real, but if we don't work together, this situation will continue even longer and more Oregonians will be directly impacted by the virus.

    With fall weather having fully set in and winter on the horizon, the devastating wildfires of September and October have fallen from the headlines. However, official recovery efforts continue. With support and guidance from the Governor's office, I continue to co-convene weekly meetings of the South Valley / Mid-coast Wildfire Economic Recovery Team  encompassing the Holiday Farm Fire  and I have been advocating for increased resource allocation to Archie Creek Fire recovery through the Southern Oregon Wildfire Economic Recovery Team. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has launched a new real-time Wildfire Recovery Tracker that provides current statistics related to the wildfires. Of sad note: The number of fatalities remains at nine while one person is still missing. 4,026 homes and more than 1,400 structures (non-residences) were destroyed.

    The Legislature is scheduled to hold its next set of legislative days during the weeks of December 7 (Senate) and December 14 (House). Committees will meet virtually for informational hearings and to introduce committee measures for the 2021 regular session. Some joint committees may also meet during those two weeks or later in December. Agendas will be posted and links to live streams available on the Legislature's website. There is also a possibility that Governor Brown will call a third special session (or a "catastrophic disaster" special session) prior to the end of the year or prior to the 2021 regular legislative session, which is scheduled to start on January 19. (Please note: As required under the Oregon Constitution, the Legislature will meet on January 11 to organize the two chambers for the start of session the January 19.)

    Below you will find information on:

- December Revenue Forecast
        - Medicare Open Enrollment Period Until December 7
        - Roseburg VA Health Care System Virtual Veterans Town Hall December 17
        - Oakland Receives State Funding Award for Water Infrastructure

    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

December Revenue Forecast

    The December 2020 Economic and Revenue Forecast was released at a joint virtual meeting of the Senate and House Revenue Committees. The forecast, summarized below, shows that while Oregon's economy is recovering from the COVID-19 economic hit more quickly than expected, our state is still in a recession and faces one of our most challenging ever budget cycles. With low-income workers hit hardest, I am committed to ensuring all Oregonians recover and that we do not exacerbate preexisting disparities.

Revenue Outlook

   Net General Fund and lottery resources for the 2019-21 Biennium is up $97.5 million from the September 2020 forecast. The current projected General Fund ending balance is $1,794 million versus September's projected ending balance of $1,714 million. The projected ending balance is also up $1,289 million from the 2019 close-of-session estimate.

    The Rainy Day Fund is projected to receive $218.6 million following the end of the 2019-21 biennium. Projected 2019-21 lottery resources are also up $17.2 million since the September 2020 forecast.

The projected ending balances for the reserve accounts for the 2019-21 biennium are as follows: Education Stability Fund ($427.2 million), Rainy Day Fund ($942.3 million) and General Fund ($1.79 billion). This totals $3.163 billion in reserves.

Kicker Outlook

    Currently, no personal kicker is projected for 2021. The projected corporate kicker of $193.5 million is to be dedicated to K-12 education spending in in the 2021-23 biennium.

Economic Outlook

    While the economic recovery continues, the virus remains in control. Expectations were already that growth would slow noticeably over the colder, wetter months ahead. The latest surge in COVID-19 cases all but ensures it. Businesses and consumers are likely to pull back out of fear of the virus, and more restrictive public health policies are being implemented so that the health care system does not breach capacity. When the weak labor market and spreading virus is combined with months of federal inaction regarding both the pandemic and the economy, it brings the recovery to its most challenging point yet.

Even so, expectations remain that the economic expansion will endure. In fact the forecast continues to expect the current recovery will be faster overall than in past severe recessions here in Oregon. Coming out of the early 1980s and again in the aftermath of the Great Recession, it took Oregon around five years to fully regain all the recessionary job losses once the recovery was underway. Today, the economy is expected to return to health by mid-2023, or about two years faster. There are at least three main reasons for this including key assumptions regarding the timeline for a widely available medical treatment, federal fiscal policy, and the underlying strong economy just prior to the pandemic.

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Until December 7

    Medicare's Open Enrollment period has begun, and you have until December 7 to review your coverage or make changes. You can go here (or call 1-800-MEDICARE) to sign up or shop for new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug (Part D) plans. There are resources offered at no cost via Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA), which you can reach by calling 1-800-722-4134, to answer your questions about enrolling.

Roseburg VA Health Care System Veterans Town Hall December 17

    The Roseburg VA Health Care System invites all veterans, their family members and stakeholders to a virtual veterans town hall on December 17. The virtual town hall will be an open dialogue to update enrolled veterans and beneficiaries about care and allow veterans an opportunity to be heard and have their questions answered. An agenda will be shared by Roseburg VA moderators for all to join the virtual meeting. (Attendees are encouraged to participate via the application's instant messaging feature to discuss agenda items.)

    What: Roseburg VA Health Care System Virtual Veterans Town Hall

When: December 17, 5-6 p.m.

Where: Virtual via Cisco WebEx
    Join Meeting
Dial In: 404-397-1596
        Meeting access code –– 199 245 4810
        Password –– 2suQiBpP9@2

Oakland Receives State Funding Award for Water Infrastructure

    The City of Oakland has been awarded $31,000 in special state funding to improve its wastewater treatment and drinking water infrastructure. This award will enable the city to move forward with its Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, and its Seismic Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan.

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