3rd Special Session, COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs, & 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
Email: sen.floydprozanski@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/prozanski
e-Bulletin                     January 2021

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Dear friends,

    It goes without saying that 2020 was a year most of us were ready to leave in the rear view mirror. While the calendar change doesn't mean all of last year's problems are behind us, there is reason for optimism with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and new emergency measures passed during the Legislature's third special session of 2020.

    During that one-day special session on December 21, the Legislature not only addressed urgent needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also allocated an additional $100 million to assist Oregonians affected by the Labor Day wildfires. Knowing that federal assistance through FEMA has been a slow process for many of those impacted by the wildfires, it's my hope that these additional state funds will assist them. (As a member of the Senate Natural Resources & Wildfire Recovery Committee, I expect the committee to continue to work on issues involving fire recovery and future wildfire-preparedness during the legislative session.)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a public health and economic toll on every part of our state, our country and the world. Some of us have lost loved ones and friends. Further, our hospitals are stretched as their workers do the heroic work of taking care of Oregonians during this incredibly challenging time. As of January 13, 2021, a total of 110,411 Oregonians have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. For more details, including demographics of those receiving the vaccine, visit the
Oregon Health Authority's Vaccinations Dashboard. In total, as of today, more than 129,109 Oregonians have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 1,708 have died from the virus. Please stay vigilant and follow pandemic protocols so we can all be safer: stay home as much as possible, wear a mask in public, maintain six feet of distance from other people, and wash your hands frequently.

   As we begin the 81st Legislative Assembly, health safety must continue to be a top priority. Everyone who enters the Capitol building — elected members, their staff, employees of the legislative branch, lobbyists and the general public — need to be assured that their personal health is a priority of the Capitol's administrator, who has determined due to the pandemic that the building cannot be opened to everyone at this time.

    Even though I would prefer to have our Capitol open to all during the legislative session, I accept the decision that the state cannot provide the necessary safe distancing to conduct in-person committee hearings or in-person attendance of floor sessions. We have seen a similar situation in the state’s circuit court system. In Lane County, it is necessary to use three courtrooms to try a single case to address the safe distancing requirements. Due to the limited space in the legislative hearing rooms, the legislature would need to conduct hearings through out the day and into the night to accommodate the various committees and severely reduce the number of occupants in the Capitol. It would also be near impossible to monitor the entire building to ensure safe distancing and wearing a properly fitted facial cover.

    Knowing that our democratic process requires public participation and input, I'm heartened by the way Capitol staff has created improved processes to allow Oregonians to participate remotely, without needing to find a way to physically travel to Salem. Additionally, large monitors located outside of the Capitol will continue to be available for public use during the legislative session.

    With the 2021 regular Legislative session officially starting on January 19, my colleagues and I met on January 11 to "officially" organize the session. We swore in new legislators, newly appointed legislators and re-elected legislators. We also approved our respective chamber rules and had the first reading of pre-session filed bills. (More than 800 bills were read in the Senate.)

    Besides being a member of the Natural Resources and Wildfire Committee during the 2021 session, I will continue to serve as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This session, the Judiciary Committee will be tasked with implementing Ballot Measure 110 that was passed by the voters in November. I will also continue to serve as a co-chair of the Senate Conduct Committee and will be a member of the Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Public Safety. A position that I haven’t held since my service in the House of Representatives.

    Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not address the violence that we experienced at the state capitol during the third special session on December 21 and the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. No matter what position an individual takes on a political or social issue, violence is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated! Our democracy is built on a framework of allowing everyone to lawfully assemble, express themselves and seek redress from government, but those rights do not permit individuals to use violence against others or property.

    Like most, I found the attack on the U.S. Capitol surreal and sobering. As we learn more about the actions of the rioters — as well as the deaths and injuries suffered by the men and women who serve to protect our nation’s capitol — it is imperative that those rioters be held fully accountable for their conduct. We cannot tolerate or accept such lawlessness. I was glad to see the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives take swift action in sanctioning Rep. Mike Nearman (R-Dist 23) for his actions of opening an entry door of the closed Capitol to protesters who were not unauthorized to enter the building.

    As much as I would like to say such conduct will not occur in the future, I can't; the FBI has intercepted communications from various extremist groups across the country that are planning and calling for more direct violence in the coming week at the U.S. Capitol and all 50 state capitals. I hope that each and every one of us will stand united against these direct attacks and threats to our democracy. We cannot tolerate insurrection in a free society.

    Below you will find information on:

        - Recap of Third Special Session
        - COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
        - Oregon Extends Telehealth Agreement for Health Insurance Plans
        - Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Reopens
        - 2021 Transportation Projects Around Senate District 4

    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

Recap of Third Special Session

   The Legislature convened for its third special session of 2020 on December 21. Members wore masks and maintained physical distancing when on chamber floors, otherwise remaining in our offices to participate in virtual meetings. The following four bills passed during the one-day special session, by Senate/House bill and in numerical order. (To review more information about a bill, click its number.) I was proud to vote in favor of each of these measures.

Senate Bills

    SB 1801 - Allows restaurants and bars to sell and deliver "cocktails to-go" for off-premises consumption. The bill requires rules to limit the number of beverages ordered to two per "substantial food item" ordered. SB 1801 also limits fees third-party apps like Postmates and DoorDash can charge restaurants for their services.

SB 5731 - Adds $100 million to the Emergency Board for Wildfire Response and $200 million to Housing and Community Services Department for HB 4401 (see below).

House Bills

    HB 4401 - Extends
a statewide moratorium on evictions until July 1, 2020. The bill creates a $150 million fund to help landlords whose tenants have been unable to pay their rent since the start of the pandemic. It will allow landlords to seek up to 80 percent of unpaid rent while forgiving the remaining amount. HB 4401 provides $50 million to help tenants directly pay their rent, with requirement that they sign a sworn statement in order to benefit from the new relief.

    HB 4402 - Provides liability protections for schools against COVID-related lawsuits. Many school districts do not have liability insurance policies that would cover the risk of virus spread. I heard from school district superintendents who voiced concern that one lawsuit could financially devastate their districts and further prevent their schools' ability to reopen.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

   I've received a number of questions and concerns from constituents about the COVID-19 vaccine and have been working with the Oregon Health Authority on answers. While they don't have answers to every question yet, the agency provided some frequently asked questions (and answers) to share:

  • I'm in a Phase 1a group, where do I go?

    At this time, there is no central telephone number to contact or website registry. OHA is working with local public health, health care partners and 211 to determine the best contacts in each community. OHA will post the community contacts on our COVID-19 website as soon as we have them. Check your local public health website to see if they have additional information.

  • I don’t know if I’m in Phase 1a, how do I check?

    Please check the Oregon COVID-19 Vaccine Sequencing Plan. For additional questions, e-mail: COVID19.vaccine@dshoha.state.or.us. 

  • Do I need to show any proof I'm in Phase 1a?

    The Oregon Health Authority is not requiring verification and has no plans to request verification from vaccinating providers. Vaccine providers may require an individual to self-attest they are in a Phase 1a group.  

  • I've been turned away from getting a vaccine by a COVID-19 vaccine provider. What do I do now?

    If you believe you qualify for Phase 1a, please contact your local public health authority to be connected to a vaccine provider.

    OHA is updating FAQs on the website; here is a link to the most recent Phase 1a Vaccine Sequencing FAQ.

    To view a recording of the latest Oregon Health Authority briefing on progress of COVID-19 vaccinations, click here.

Oregon Extends Telehealth Agreement for Health Insurance Plans

The State of Oregon has reached an agreement with several health insurance companies to continue providing expanded telehealth options through at least June 30, 2021.

The agreement follows guidance issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority in late March requiring health insurance plans to provide in-network coverage for multiple telehealth platforms.

In June 2020, the state and insurers agreed that expanded telehealth options would continue, including payment to providers at the same rate as an in-person visit, through December 31. The new agreement that extends the options through June 30 means health insurance companies will continue to provide coverage for expanded telehealth services and pay for these services at the rates they established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following companies have agreed to provide expanded telehealth services through June 30, 2021:

        Health Net
        Kaiser Permanente

    In addition to these companies, the Oregon Health Plan will continue to offer pay parity and other allowances for many telehealth services, offering the same rate as an in-person visit for physical health services, behavioral health services, and some dental and long-term care services.

It is important to note that this agreement does not apply to self-insured plans. The state encourages self-insured plans to cover expanded telehealth services for members. These are plans in which an employer assumes the financial risk of providing health care benefits to its employees. Oregonians who have a self-insured plan should check with their employer about their coverage options.

Oregonians are encouraged to contact their insurance company or health care provider if they have questions about using telehealth services.

Visit the division’s COVID-19 telehealth webpage for frequently asked questions and more information. For information on insurance and financial topics, visit the Division of Financial Regulation’s COVID-19 consumer site.

For up-to-date information and resources on COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 website.

If you have questions about an insurance company or agent or need to file a complaint, call the Division of Financial Regulation’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or email dfr.insurancehelp@oregon.gov.

Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Reopens

    On Monday, January 11, 2021, The Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP loan portal system will initially accept First Draw PPP new loan applications from participating financial institutions. The SBA says the program will soon allow for applications from additional lenders and for additional loans for some businesses that have previously received PPP.

    The Paycheck Protection Program is a federal loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. There is $284 billion allocated to the program in this round. SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Some changes to the program have been made this round to expand its use. The program will cover some costs that were previously not eligible, such as general operational costs and supplier costs. The program is also now available for 501(c)(6) organizations.

    For more information, visit the SBA website.

2021 Transportation Projects Around Senate District 4

    The Oregon Department of Transportation has rolled our interactive websites and maps for projects planned in 2021. For Region 2, which includes Eugene-Springfield, Eastern Lane County and the Willamette Valley, click here. For Region 3, which includes Douglas County and Southwest Oregon, click here. Projects of particular note include replacement of the ​​​​​​​​​the Oakland Bridge (built in 1925) that will provide two lanes of traffic and wider shoulders, and continued reconstruction of the Beltline Highway / Delta Highway interchange to improve safety and traffic flow​.​​​


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