News to Know: Landmark Legislation, COVID-19 Relief and More

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Representative Smith Warner

Greetings:

I hope you all are doing well during these ever changing times. New projections show that Oregon is at a critical moment in the fight against COVID-19. To alter the trajectory of new infections, it is crucial that every one of us does our part to flatten the curve by continuing to mask up, practice physical distancing and limit our interactions with groups outside our households. I know it is frustrating to go back to tighter restrictions, but we are so close to getting through this pandemic, that every effort (and vaccination!!) can make the difference. Please take a look at the information below to register for my joint town hall, read some recent developments concerning Oregon’s COVID-19 response and relief efforts and review some landmark legislative updates!

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Join me, Representative Pham and Senator Dembrow for our Joint Town Hall this Wednesday, May 5, from 5:30-6:30 PM. We will share updates about our legislative priorities this session. We will be joined by Joint Ways and Means Co-Chair, Representative Dan Rayfield, one of the Legislature’s chief budget writers, who will share more information about this year's budget process. There will be plenty of time for questions. Please register using the link below: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEscu-trjMoG9WdOll1EROtmejba1XZdi-y?fbclid=IwAR0eHZhM0OjLlc1sdDPcpWr8xZ0f9JooBBBKzQEY8NJWkEax2pDeedHbKQg

We encourage you to share questions or any additional accommodations using the registration link. We hope to see you there! As always, please contact my office with any questions you might have, or if you need assistance registering. 


Oregon Health Authority Update

The Oregon Health Authority reports up-to-date information regarding testing and vaccine statistics that can be found on their website. You can schedule a vaccine appointment, review the risk level metrics for schools and counties, read the weekly report that details the overall picture of COVID-19 response efforts and more. Here are some recent developments from OHA:

  • As of April 30, Multnomah County is in the “High Risk” category of the Governor’s health and safety framework. See the State’s guidance based on county risk level.

  • The CDC and OHA are closely monitoring variants of concern (VOC). VOCs are variants that have mutations in the virus genome that alter the characteristics and cause the virus to act differently.

  • The Oregon Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, recently updated long-term care facility visitation policies following successful vaccination implementation. Indoor visitation is permitted in all Oregon counties as long as visitors and residents follow guidance to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19).
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Landmark Legislation Moves Forward!

SB 554Gun Violence Prevention
I am happy to report that SB 544 passed in the House last week. This legislation would require safe storage of firearms, prohibit guns from being brought into the Capitol, and allow public schools and college campuses to prohibit firearms on campus. This is a public health approach to the public health crisis of gun violence. As someone who has introduced and fought for safe storage and other gun violence prevention legislation since I joined the legislature, I am proud of the work the House Democrats have done to finally pass this landmark achievement that will protect every Oregonians from gun violence. SB 544 will now return to the Senate for a concurrence vote. 

HB 2958: Expanding Access to HIV Treatment
House Bill 2958 will make HIV prevention medications, PrEP and PEP, even more accessible and inclusive to the communities who need it most and would allow pharmacists to prescribe, dispense, and administer PrEP and PEP HIV medications. House Bill 2958 passed in the House and is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday in the Senate Committee on Health Care. 

Public Safety and Police Accountability Bills
I was proud to join my colleagues last week and pass nine bills to increase police accountability. Thank you to Rep. Janelle Bynum and the Legislative BIPOC Caucus for leading on these issues. Below, is information about what each bill will do:

  • HB 3164 A: Modifies the crime of interfering with a police officer; to prevent unjustifiable arrests for all Oregonians, but especially BIPOC communities and people experiencing homelessness who are disproportionately impacted.  
  • HB 3273 A & HB 3047 A: Protects people’s privacy and dignity, centering people’s humanity by banning doxing and mugshots in some cases. 
  • HB 2986: Supports training police to investigate, identify and report crimes motivated by prejudice based on gender, which disproportionately affect BIPOC and gender non-conforming folks.
  • HB 2513 A: Provides circulatory, airway and CPR training for police, which will equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to save lives.
  • HB 3059 A: Keeps police from abusing powers by providing more clarity in how to manage “unlawful assemblies.” HB 3059 will allow bureaus more flexibility to not arrest non-violent protestors when an “unlawful assembly” is declared.
  • HB 3355 A: Holds police accountable by requiring a law enforcement officer's uniform and gear to have visible identification during crowd management situations, such as protests.
  • HB 2929 A: Strengthens police misconduct reporting requirements for police.

  • HB 2936 A: Affirms anti-racist values for law enforcement, adds social media policies and standardizes background checks.

Landlord Compensation Fund Is Open

The Landlord Compensation Fund is open and available to help landlords who have past due rental payments. The program covers 80% of past due rent (April 2020 – now) for tenants with a signed declaration of financial hardship if a landlord agrees to forgive the other 20%. Please note this program is not first-come, first serve, and applications will be open until May 17th. If you are interested in applying, please see this check list and visit the Landlord Compensation Fund website for more information.


Earned Income Tax Credit Eligibility

Did you earn less than $56,884 last year? If so, you may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a federal and state tax credit that working Oregonians who earned less than $56,884 last year may have access to. The average amount credited for 2020 was $2,461. Eligible Oregonians must file taxes to receive the EITC and this tax credit for workers either directly lowers taxes owed or adds to a refund. The good news is that everyone who qualifies for the EITC also qualifies for free tax preparation through AARP, CASH Oregon, and others.

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Restaurant Revitalization Fund

More aid is on the way for restaurants, bars and local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. $28.6 billion in federal funding is available to provide emergency assistance. Restaurants should visit SBA.gov/restaurants today to register for the SBA application portal, review program guidance, collect proper documentation, and view a sample application.


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

Sincerely, 

Sig

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