March 1 Newsletter

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Representative Smith Warner


Thank you to everyone who attended the first virtual constituent chat series of the year. It was great to connect with you all and to hear about the issues that you care about this legislative session. Below, you’ll find the latest news about Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccine schedule, the most recent revenue forecast, and more. 

Updates to the COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule

Friday, Governor Kate Brown held a press conference to announce updates to Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination schedule. If you were unable to tune in, you can rewatch the press conference here. Highlights include:

Vaccine eligibility will open to people 65 and older on March 1. The Oregon Health Authority expects to receive enough vaccines to immunize at least 75% of all seniors by March 29, weeks ahead of our original timelines. Additionally, the first members of the general public will be eligible for the COVID vaccine no later than June 1 and remaining groups of the general public on July 1. The illustration below explains when eligible populations will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

OHA Guidelines

The Oregon Health Authority also announced that Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 986,812 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The current percentage of eligible Oregon seniors vaccinated is one in four. Starting today, seniors who live in the metro area who have not had the opportunity to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated will have an opportunity to utilize the Get Vaccinated Oregon tool to register for a COVID-19 vaccine. People will be notified when an appointment becomes available to them. You can find more information concerning OHA's vaccine efforts here

March Revenue Report

Last week's relatively good revenue news is the result of the Oregon Legislature’s smart and prudent budgeting decisions. However, a positive revenue forecast does not reflect the reality on the ground for many Oregonians, who are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. 

Bottom Line

The data shows that we have lost 150,000 jobs in Oregon. We know that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-wage workers and BIPOC communities across the state. Our recovery efforts must prioritize those who have been most directly impacted by this crisis. As we plan Oregon’s recovery, these communities must be kept top-of-mind.

Our state economists could not have been clearer: for Oregon’s economy to fully recover, we must get this virus under control. While my colleagues and I work to invest available funds to help struggling Oregonians, it is imperative that Congress also do their part to pass another COVID-19 relief package so that we can connect those in our state who most need assistance with the resources they need to survive. You can find more information about the revenue forecast here.

Showing My Support for HB 2205

Last week I introduced  House Bill 2205, the Just Enforcement Act, in the Civil Procedure subcommittee of the House Committee on Judiciary. Throughout the pandemic, our state agencies received record numbers of reports of workplace abuse and health and safety violations. During 2020, OR OSHA received complaints from 23 of the 35 largest workplace COVID outbreaks and were only able to investigate two. Currently, a lack of outreach, accessible information and a fear of retaliation for speaking out has left Oregon’s most vulnerable workers - those in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and other low-wage industries - with little trust in the system that exists to protect them. The Just Enforcement Act would bring in needed resources to address long term funding needs for these agencies. You can rewatch the public hearing here

Oregon Employment Department Update

Under the Continued Assistance Act, the employment department is required to switch some folks to different benefit programs: 

  • The department is moving about 16,000 people who have been receiving Regular UI Extended Benefits (EB) to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefit program now that the federal government has told Oregon to stop paying EB. People do not need to do anything to be switched to PEUC and should continue claiming their weekly benefits through the Regular UI portal on the online claims system.

  • The department is also moving some people who have been receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to PEUC. These claimants will need to file for their weekly benefits through the Regular UI program, rather than the PUA program

Claimants should check their claim status online to confirm their program. If you have ongoing questions, you can reach out the employment department through this contact form. In some cases, people may experience a brief delay (a business day or two) in receiving benefits during this switch. 

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301