What a week for Oregon

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Rep. Mark Owens


We’ve had quite a week in Oregon.

The Governor has twice-changed the metrics by which she assesses county risk levels and upended 15 counties in the process, anti-second amendment legislation came up for a vote (and passed, unfortunately), a bill I co-sponsored to bring oversight to the Governor’s executive orders came up for a vote (and failed, unfortunately), and last but definitely not least, we’re honoring our mothers, and two more incredible students from  House District 60.

This is a long newsletter today, but an important one. We haven’t covered every topic that’s come up recently so if there’s anything specific you’d like to hear about, now or in future newsletters, let us know.

As always, my staff and I are here for anything you need. Please continue to stay in touch with us, ask questions, request updates on legislation, and let us know how we can best serve you.

Thank you and be safe,

Representative Mark Owens
House District 60

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, stepmoms, grandmas, aunts, and others who are in this role who give unconditionally, and sacrifice and care for your kids and your families. We honor you not just this weekend, but every day.

I’m particularly grateful to my mom for all she did raising our family and the support she still provides, and to my wife for being an amazing mother to our two great kids, working as a public school teacher, and having patience and grace while she supports the work I do to represent House District 60 as our state representative.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Creating a system of checks and balances...or trying to

Over the last year, many of you have asked why legislators aren’t doing more to curtail the Governor’s executive orders. As I’ve shared in our virtual town halls and other messaging, I’m working hard within the means available to do so.

I’ve co-sponsored a bipartisan bill, House Bill 2243, that would give the Legislature oversight on Governor Kate Brown's emergency powers and the COVID-19 response. Yesterday, House Republicans brought this bill to the House Floor.

The motion narrowly failed: 27 for, 28 against. Read our press release here.

I’ve Chief Sponsored two additional bills to limit the states of emergency and emergency powers:

  • HB 2020: Establishes durational limits for states of emergency declared under certain statutes.
  • HB 3153: Modifies laws relating to duration and termination of states of emergency and emergency powers under certain statutes.

I’m also supportive of HJR 18 introduced by Rep. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) that would terminate the state of emergency relating to COVID-19.

It’s important to understand that in order for bills like this to pass, you need a majority of legislators to vote in favor. Unfortunately, as yesterday showed, even with bipartisan support, there aren’t enough legislators who agree that the governor having sole-authority to put extreme measures in place is not the way this state should be governed.

We will continue to advocate for this legislation, and any other means by which its possible, to bring oversight and checks and balances to the system.

Letter to Governor Brown

Gov letter


Last Wednesday, Sen. Lynn Findley and I sent a letter to Governor Brown asking her to reconsider the newest set of executive orders and lockdowns placed on our Oregon counties, communities, and small businesses.

Read the letter here or clicking the image.

Thousands of you signed along with us, and your voice was heard. We’re here to represent you, advocate for you, and fight for the future of our state. We will keep doing so and we need you to stand with us. Thank you.  

Governor Brown changes course

In the last week, Governor Kate Brown has announced multiple significant updates and multiple changes and reversals to county risk levels and COVID-19 guidelines. Last week, Governor Brown had moved 15 counties to the Extreme Risk level.

This week, that’s already changed. Effective Friday, May 7, the 15 counties in Extreme Risk will now be in the High Risk category. In total, 24 counties will be at High Risk, four at Moderate Risk, and eight at Lower Risk.

Thankfully, while frustrating, the quick change in direction means our businesses who were preparing to close for the fourth time can remain open while still implementing the guidelines necessary to keep their patrons safe. 

County Updates

  • A complete list of counties and their risk levels is available here
  • Review the list of sector-by-sector guidelines and what’s permitted here.
  • Visit the Oregon Coronavirus website here.

Vaccine Eligibility

Let me be clear: I believe the decision to get vaccinated is a personal, medical decision, but one of my responsibilities as your state representative is provide you with resources and information. Oregonians age 16 and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Individuals meeting these criteria can use the following resources to get linked to vaccine information in their communities:

Standing up for our 2nd Amendment Rights

On Thursday, I stood up in frustration to speak at length about the attack on our second amendment and constitutional rights coming out of the legislature this session, and to voice my strong opposition and NO vote to SB 554 on the House floor.

This legislation has been spun to be about public safety, but it’s not. In fact, it makes it worse. By penalizing law-abiding citizens, we’re making criminals out of Oregonians who have done their training, followed the laws, passed background checks, and more. Dangerous situations will become more dangerous. Dangerous criminals will become more powerful, victims will become more vulnerable.

You can watch a portion of my floor speech here or clicking the graphic below.

554 Thumnail

Please hear me out: we absolutely need to address devastating suicide rates, mental health crises that lead to volatile situations involving guns, and violent crime. This legislation won’t do that. This legislation can’t fix those problems. This legislation is a distraction from addressing those things.

District 60 Student Spotlights

Marcus Judd

Marcus Judd

Marcus is a Junior at Prairie City High School in Grant County where he maintains a 4.0 GPA, has qualified for the National Honors Society, is a Future Farmers of America member and is taking dual-credit classes through Treasure Valley Community College. Marcus has participated in the Peer Lunch Buddy Mentoring Program since he was a freshman, spending time with at-risk elementary students.

Marcus loves to play football and basketball. Marcus made varsity during his freshman year and has received an award from OSAA in his basketball division. Every year since eighth grade, he attends a yearly NBC basketball camp located at Eastern Oregon University. In addition to sports, Marcus participates in the High Desert Youth Range camp and the Lake Creek Youth Camp both located near Grant County.

Thank you, Marcus for being such a giving student, and achieving so much during your high school career. We look forward to seeing what your future holds.

Jessica Zander1

Jessica Zander

Jessica is a Senior at Crane Union High School in Harney County and is a light to her classmates and peers, setting an example wherever she may be. Jessica received the Crane Union High School Student of The Year award, which is voted on by the staff of Crane Union High School and is the highest honor a student can receive.

She is involved in the National Honors Society, the school newspaper, and is the Associated Student Body Treasurer. She has a great love for animals and is currently interning for a local veterinarian.

Jessica is also a personal friend of the family and it has been a pleasure watching her grow into a great young lady that is a role model in all she does.

Save the Date

Our next Joint Virtual Town Hall is coming up on Wednesday, May 26 at 5:30pm PDT. Mark your calendars now, register early, and keep your eyes out for more information as it nears.

District Phone: 541-889-8866
Capitol Phone:
District Address: 258 S. Oregon St, Ontario, OR 97914
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-475, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.MarkOwens@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/owens