COVID in the Capitol

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... But No Break From Bad Bills

This week definitely didn’t go as planned. We started out expecting a jam-packed schedule with nearly 20 hours of floor session, but it came to screeching halt Monday afternoon with the announcement that someone on the House side of the building had tested positive for COVID. 

Despite Representatives being back to “work from home” mode, the week has been full speed ahead with contentious committee hearings, work sessions, discussions—and an especially contentious vote to pass SB 554 out of the Senate and over to the House. It feels truly unimaginable that I have not been at the Capitol for any of it, but is even more unimaginable that you—the people—haven’t been there either!  

This is not how our Legislature was designed to function, and we will keep doing all we can to bring the voice of citizens back into the Capitol—with the highest commitment to safety, and as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are some bills making noise this week: 

  • SB 554: drastically impedes the ability to conceal carry a handgun 
  • HB 2357: eliminates Oregon Forest Research Institute 
  • HB 2942: paves the way for criminals to work in classrooms 
  • SB 401: reduces mandatory minimums for many violent crimes 
  • HB 2457-1: prevents the State's attempt to tax PPP loans 
Working from Home

Hazards of working from home: dogs insisting on interrupting virtual meetings

Funding for HD 17 from the American Rescue Plan Act

There has been a lot of large numbers thrown around in the media about the American Rescue Plan Act and what it could mean for Oregonians. Below are the estimated funding allocations for our cities and counties in House District 17, as well as to the State of Oregon and the state-wide total for local entities.

ARPA HD 17 Funding Allocation Charts

OSHA Comment Graphic

OR-OSHA Public Comments Due April 2nd

OR-OSHA is considering the adoption of permanent COVID-19 Workplace Rules that layer new regulations on local employers nearly 14-months into the pandemic!

The proposed permanent workplace rules would go into effect May 5th and would put even more burden on our local businesses--many of which are already struggling to survive the significant cost endured the past 12 months from this pandemic. We can't afford to see any more of our businesses close their doors permanently due to COVID-19.

Do you think OR-OSHA's COVID-19 rules should be permanent or expire when the Governor's declaration of a public health emergency is rescinded? Do you think our businesses have borne enough of a burden during this pandemic? Submit your comments before April 2nd and make your concerns known.

You can read the proposed rules HERE.

Send comments to Administrator Michael Wood via email at or by mail to: Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA, PO BOX 14480, Salem, OR 97309

Celebrating National Ag Week

Happy National Ag Week! According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, “Oregon agriculture directly and indirectly contributes 686,518 jobs, $29.71 billion in wages, $12.12 billion in taxes, and $2.85 billion in exports to the state.” And fun fact: I grow grass seed, which is the #5 Agriculture Commodity grown in Oregon! 

Jami at the farm

Representative Cate Combining Grass Seed in the
"Grass Seed Capital of the World" (aka Linn County)

COVID Vaccine Information Update

This morning Governor Brown announced beginning Monday, April 5, all people in Phase 1B, Group 7 will become eligible for vaccination, two weeks earlier than previously planned. You can read her full press release, which contains who falls into these eligibility groups, HERE.

For more information on getting vaccinated, please use the resources below.

County Vaccine Expansion Graphic

To view previous newsletters, please visit my website.

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1417
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-378, Salem, OR 97301