2021 Legislative Session Update: April 1

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Representative Smith Warner


Since the start of this legislative session, my top priority has been to pass urgently needed legislation to help Oregonians who have been most severely impacted by the pandemic, while protecting the health of the public, Capitol staff, and my fellow legislators. 

As many of you know, recent House floor sessions were cancelled after two potential COVID-19 exposures.  We responded by following public health guidelines to quarantine for 10 days and getting tested for COVID-19. Committee meetings still took place, and I continued to meet virtually with constituents, organizations and advocates about the issues that matter most to them this session. After a one week pause, we received the go-ahead and were able to resume floor sessions this week. You can find a schedule of floor session and future committee meetings here.


Here’s a look at one of my meetings with the House Committee on Rules, Portland Community College, Moms Demand Action and a recent remonstrance I did on the House floor.

Remembering Mr. Minoru Yasui

March 28th is Minoru Yasui Day in Oregon in remembrance of the late lawyer and civil rights leader who challenged the exclusion zones, curfews, and internment of Japanese Americans during WWII in Oregon.  Please watch this powerful video from filmmakers Alan Zhou and Kyler Wang, discussing "Breaking the Curfew - The Story of Minoru Yasui."

As we reflect on the contributions of Minoru Yasui, we must not believe that the work he did was the end of our efforts to stamp out hate. Recently, hate crimes and racist behavior targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have increased to alarming numbers here in Oregon and across the country. I stand in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across Oregon in combating racism and these horrific crimes.


House Passes HB 3261

I am happy to report that House Bill 3261, a bipartisan bill chief sponsored by Rep. Pam Marsh passed out of the House yesterday. It  is on its way to the Senate Committee on Housing and Development. This bipartisan bill will make it easier for local governments to set up shelters and low-income housing to help our houseless neighbors and provide a path to stability. You can find more information about this bill here

Vaccine Eligibility Updates

The Oregon Health authority reports up-to-date information regarding testing and vaccine statistics that can be found on their website. You can review the daily update and read the weekly report that details the overall picture of the COVID-19 response in Oregon. Here are some recent developments from OHA:

  • All people in Group 6 are now eligible to get vaccinated statewide. 22 counties began vaccinating people in Group 6 this week, after they attested that they were ready to move forward.

  • In light of increasing vaccine supplies from the federal government and the progress counties and health care providers have made vaccinating seniors, OHA will again be accelerating its timelines for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for people in Phase 1b, Group 7 (frontline workers, people with underlying health conditions, and people living in multigenerational households).

  • Frontline workers, people aged 16+ with underlying conditions and people living in multigenerational households will now become eligible to get vaccinated on April 5. In keeping with Oregon’s commitment to equity, this change gives Group 7 populations more time to get vaccinated. It also ensures that counties that have seen a plateau in demand among older adults can make sure they can continue to administer vaccines at a rapid pace.
  • Everyone age 16+ will continue to be eligible to get vaccinated on a statewide basis by May 1, with one new change: Counties may open to all residents on April 26, based on an application. OHA will ask counties to include an attestation that they are ready to move forward and to document their efforts to vaccinate previously eligible populations and that they expect to have appointments available to expand sooner than May 1. Counties must submit their applications by April 15. OHA will announce decisions by April 22. In counties that have been approved, eligibility for people age 16+ could be as early as April 26.

2020 Unemployment Benefit Exemption

The Department of Revenue recently announced that it will adjust the tax returns for Oregon taxpayers who have already filed their 2020 returns and are due relief from income taxes paid on recently exempted unemployment benefits earned in 2020. Oregon taxpayers who received unemployment in 2020 and have not yet filed their tax returns, can do so following instructions recently provided by the IRS. The change affects Oregon taxpayers who had already filed their state income tax returns, paying taxes on 2020 unemployment benefits, before Congress made the change to the tax code. More information is available on the department website.

Online License Renewals Coming Soon!

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles announced that starting in early May many Oregonians will be able to renew their driver licenses and ID cards online. This won’t be available to everyone but it will be available for the more “typical” renewal transaction. This will help folks avoid the DMV if they are unable to come in. Beginning in May folks should check out the website to see if their renewal qualifies or if they need an appointment to come in.

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: Rep.BarbaraSmithWarner@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithwarner