COVID-19 Updates 12/18/2020

Rep. Sollman

Friends and Neighbors,

Special Session Updates

COVID-19 is having catastrophic impacts on Oregon’s health care systems, economies, schools, and families. Oregon families are suffering with high unemployment. BIPOC communities and low-income workers are facing disproportionate impacts. Thousands fear losing their homes and access to critical services when rental protections and federal funding run out at the end of this year.

It is important for Oregonians that we come together to address these urgent issues.

Monday the Oregon Legislature will hold the 3rd Special Session of 2020 to address these issues. The three concepts up for consideration are linked below.

  • Tenant/Landlord Relief: LC 18
  • School Liability: LC 21
  • Restaurant Package: LC 10

Public Testimony is being heard for these concepts over two committee meetings. One occurred last night and you can watch the playback here

School Liability: LC 21

School Liability is one of the concepts that I have personally been working on, along with Representative Karin Power, the Oregon School Boards Association, the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon School Employees Association and many other stakeholder groups. 

Here is my submitted testimony to the Special Session Committee:

I want to thank the committee for the opportunity to share my support for LC 21.  We all understand the importance of in-person instruction. Returning students to classrooms SAFELY is a priority for every elected official in Oregon.

The problem: In “normal times” there would be insurance to cover infectious/communicable disease in Oregon’s 197 school districts, charter schools, Education Service Districts and community colleges. As of July 1, 2020, Pace Insurance no longer provides this coverage, nor does any other insurance company.  If such coverage existed, we would not be here to bring this policy forward. School board members and school administrators in my district, and leaders across Oregon, have expressed high levels of concern regarding the uncertainty of how a lack of insurance coverage during these times could impact their operational budgets.

While this policy is a necessary step to protect classroom and educational service dollars, it is temporary, and will end when the Governor’s State of Emergency ends. 

This policy will not protect the entities who do not follow OHA, ODE and OSHA guidelines. This policy does not prevent anyone from bringing a lawsuit forward.  What this policy will simply provide is a safety net of protection to the entities involved who are following state guidelines and rules. A judge will determine continuance of a case brought forward.  This policy provides an incentive to follow guidelines and continue to put safety first. 

The work on this policy was not done alone or quickly. Rep Power and I convened a work group to discuss this concept. We invited seventeen various stakeholders to the virtual table, that included: OSBA, COSA, OTLA, OEA, OSEA, Oregon Student Association, Next Up, a parent of two Oregon students impacted by Autism, Confederated Tribes, Disability Rights Oregon, PCUN, Latino Action Network, AFL-CIO, OR Community Colleges, AFT, AFSME, and SEIU. As a result, the initial proposal presented has been modified many times to include the input from the more than eight meetings held and countless conversations.  Not every stakeholder is in support of this concept, but we did what we could to bring them to the table, listen to the concerns and provide changes that were suggested. 

Safety of students and staff will remain the top priority and choice for parents will remain an option. If you do not feel it is safe to send your child to school during this time, nothing in this policy takes that choice from you and Oregon is still required to provide an education to your child. In absence of insurance coverage, we need to ACT NOW so that that those covered by this policy can reopen when allowed to do so and have confidence and the much-needed safety net for their tight-budgets.   

Watch my testimony from last night here.

Written public testimony is still being taken on all of the concepts presented. Submit your written testimony to:  Deadline is Sunday, December 20th at 10:00am. You can watch Saturday's public hearing, from 10:00am-1:00pm, at this link here.

Committee Updates

This week, I participated in virtual Legislative Days and attended committee meetings for the House Education and House Energy and Environment Committees. I am sharing a summary of what we heard this week below. Follow the links to watch the committee meetings on OLIS, the Oregon Legislative Information System.

House Education Committee

Informational Meetings on:

  • Education during COVID-19 and Response to Wildfires
  • Alternative Education in Oregon
  • Overview of GED Program
  • Anti-Racism Policies and Equity Policies in Oregon Schools
  • Update from Broadband Technology Liaison
  • Update on Student Behavioral Health Work Group
  • Discussion of Legislative Concepts

House Energy and Environment Committee

Informational Meetings on:

  • Update on Implementation of State Agency Work to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Resource Adequacy
  • Near and Long-Term Energy and Environmental Policies:
    • Recycling Stewardship Report
    • Alternative Transportation Systems
    • Public Purpose Charge
    • 2020 Biennial Energy Report
    • 100 Percent Clean Electricity Standards
    • Small Scale Nuclear
  • Introduction to Member Bill Concepts
    • I introduced LC 2049 Relating to Extended Producer Responsibility, LC 2193 Relating to Radioactive Waste and LC 1097 Relating to Right to Repair.

House District 30 - 2021 Legislative Session Concepts

In order to provide information and updates on the policies that I am working on for the 2021 Session, this is a continuation of that series.

Oregon’s 2020 fire season has scorched more than 1 million acres and consumed over 2,000 homes and structures, with 13 complex fires burning at one time. We have experienced catastrophic loss of life and the decimation of whole communities including Talent, Phoenix, Detroit, Vida and Blue River. This devastating fire season cost our state $63 million dollars, plus additional hundreds of millions in cost to the federal government.

At the same time, 700 out of 3,600 fire fighters in the state, roughly 20%, are eligible for retirement right now. We continue to have issues meeting capacity and across the state, we are on average, 300 firefighters short per day. Some of our more rural areas especially, have only a handful of firefighters to cover a large area.

We have a need in Oregon for a viable pathway to a career in firefighting through an apprenticeship program.  

Currently, the fire service recruitment model is to volunteer while in school. This can effectively drive potential candidates (especially those already supporting a family) to other paid trades or out of public service all together. The apprenticeship model recognizes and rewards on-the-job training with an introductory wage and benefits. It also allows for the fire service to diversify the workforce and recruit potential non-traditional job seekers and will create a real win for our rural areas by providing opportunity. We want to have people that live in the community be able to work in their community.

This concept, developed in collaboration with the Oregon Fire Fighters Council, would create a firefighter apprenticeship program to be administered by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry. I look forward to partnering with Rep-Elect Dacia Grayber (HD35?) on this concept. Rep-Elect Grayber is a Oregon Firefighter/Paramedic and is also very passionate about workforce recruiting. 

Firefighter Graphics

Community Outreach

Virtual Community Conversation

Join me tomorrow for my 71st Community Conversation and Ugly/Festive Sweater Contest! Sign up below for the link.

Community Conversation
Register Here

Additional Resources

 House District 30 Links

Federal Delegation Links

Education Links

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance

Maya Angelou quote

Be good to yourself and each other. ❤

Onward & Upward,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1430
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-487, Salem, Oregon 97301