New Mask Requirement, Session Accomplishments, Rural Broadband & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     August 2021

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Dear friends,

    With the delta variant having taken hold in Oregon, across the U.S. and around the world, our state is experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. In addition to a new general indoor mask mandate announced yesterday — regardless of your vaccination status — Governor Brown also announced that masks will be required for K-12 students during the upcoming school year. The Governor is further requiring all executive branch state employees to be vaccinated.

    None of us wanted this backtracking but we can do something about it by masking up, maintaining safe social distancing, washing hands frequently and above all, getting vaccinated! In light of the very infectious delta variant, it's a good idea to wear masks outdoors, as well, when in groups. The vaccines are free, safe and readily available. You can find information about Lane County vaccination clinics, here, and about Douglas County vaccination clinics here.

    For those still reluctant to get vaccinated, please consider children under 12 who are not currently eligible to receive a vaccine. As adults who are eligible, we should get vaccinated unless we have medical condition that compromises our health. Given the delta variant, more young people, including infants, are presenting at hospitals' emergency rooms with COVID-19. This is simply wrong and in some cases  sadly  dead wrong!

    Contributing to a sense of déjà vu this summer, numerous wildfires are burning in Oregon, including in the McKenzie River Valley near where the Holiday Farm Fire burned and in the North Umpqua drainage near last year's Archie Creek Fire, causing moderate-to-unhealthy air quality across our region. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, please monitor local alerts and/or check the Department of Forestry fire blog for latest information. When smoke rolls in, it's important to take precautions such as staying indoors if you're sensitive to unhealthy air and wearing a mask outside to prevent breathing in contaminants.

    Oregon is also in the midst of another heatwave with an excessive heat warning in effect. Please make a plan to stay cool and check on neighbors over the next few days. Information on local cooling shelters can be found here.

    Click here to listen to my latest interview (7/14/21)with Kyle Bailey on KQEN's "Inside Douglas County." He and I discussed Oregon's ongoing response to COVID-19, wildfires and more.

    On Tuesday of last week, my Lane County legislative colleagues and I co-hosted a town hall at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney moderated the event. We appreciated the opportunity to share a review of the 2021 Legislative Session with more than 70 engaged citizens who joined us.

    Also last week, I was honored to join Governor Brown, State Representative Paul Holvey, Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch and other fellow local officials in Blue River to celebrate new state funding for local projects as the community continues to rebuild from 2020's Holiday Farm Fire. I then attended an open house and tour of FEMA's Direct Housing Site serving the community. Following my visit to Blue River, I stopped in Leaburg to catch up with McKenzie Fire & Rescue Chief Darren Bucich about ongoing fire recovery, resiliency, and other topics.

    Below you will find information on:

- Senate District 4 ARPA Local Community Investments
        - 2021 Session Accomplishments: Enhancing Equity
        - Oregonians Can Sign Up for 2021 Health Insurance Until August 15
        - Rural Broadband Capacity Program: Input Requested

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

Senate District 4 ARPA Local Community Investments

   As mentioned in an earlier e-bulletin, part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that Congress passed last spring included substantial funding to Oregon for local community investments. Unprecedentedly, each representative was allocated $2 million and each senator $4 million to support specific projects in and around their districts. I received dozens of requests from local governments and nonprofits for assistance using these funds. I'm happy to share that I was able to support the following projects in Senate District 4, among others, by pooling resources with fellow legislators to extend the reach of federal ARPA dollars:

Lane County

Projects funded via "pooling" of allocated funds with Eugene-area legislators include:

  • FOOD for Lane County
  • Lane County Mobile Crisis response
  • SquareOne Village –– Peace Village affordable housing

Project funded via "pooling" of allocated ARPA funds with Rep. Paul Holvey:

  • Lane Fire Authority –– western Lane County fire response

Projects funded via "pooling" of allocated ARPA funds with Rep. Cedric Hayden:

  • Vida McKenzie Community Center –– rebuilding after the Holiday Farm fire
  • McKenzie School District –– gym roof replacement
  • Family Relief Nursery –– South Lane (also serving Drain)

Douglas County

Projects funded via "pooling" of allocated ARPA funds with Rep. Cedric Hayden:

  • UCAN –– new walk-in freezer for donated frozen foods and kitchen remodel
  • Douglas County Fire District No. 2 –– fire engine replacement
  • NeighborWorks Umpqua –– secure temporary housing for crime victims
  • Glide Revitalization –– operational funds and financial assistance to families impacted by the Archie Creek Fire
  • UCC –– vocational training scholarship for long-haul trucking program

    Separately, I secured $50,000 to assist the City of Sutherlin in repairing Main Street from road damage caused by large truck traffic during fire response and recovery efforts. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services expects to distribute allocated ARPA funds this fall.

2021 Session Accomplishments: Enhancing Equity

    Beginning with this e-bulletin, I'm sharing in-depth summaries of bills passed during the 2021 Legislative Session by subject area. Below is a comprehensive listing of accomplishments related to enhancing equity — by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 289 - Bias Crimes in State Parks: 
This legislation assures that all Oregonians can enjoy and feel safe in our places of natural beauty. It prohibits any person previously convicted of a bias crime while in state parks or waters from entering any state park.

    SB 398 - Punishing the Display of a Noose: This legislation makes displaying a noose a crime when displayed with the intent to intimidate another person. The offense will be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 364 days’ imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both.

    SB 562 - Strengthening Oregon's Indian Child Welfare Act: In 1978, Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to establish minimum standards to guide states with respect to the removal and out-of-home placement of Native children, after acknowledging that such children were removed from their families and communities at disproportionately higher rates than other children. The ICWA supports the integrity of Indian tribes and families, respects the unique values of Native cultures, and prioritizes the value of an Indian child's connection to their culture, family, and tribe. This legislation clarifies and builds on previous legislation, continuing implementation of and compliance with the ICWA, making several technical corrections and adjustments, and providing additional direction concerning the adoption of Indian children, including recognizing customary tribal adoptions.

    SB 567 - Health Care Delivery Anti-Discrimination: This legislation establishes a clear and specific prohibition on discrimination in health care, making it unlawful for a health care provider to discriminate on the basis of a protected class by denying medical treatment to the patient that is likely to benefit the person, or by limiting or restricting the allocation of medical resources to the patient.

    SB 704 - Banning LGBTQIA Panic Defense:
I was proud to chief-sponsor this legislation to prohibit the harmful and discriminatory criminal defense colloquially known as "the gay panic defense." This defense has been used as a mitigating factor by those charged with a violent crime, who argue their sentencing should be less severe because they became aware of the victims’ sexuality or gender. SB 704 provides that the discovery of a victim's actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation does not constitute a reasonable explanation for extreme emotional disturbance for purposes of asserting an affirmative defense to murder in the second degree.

    SB 778 - Office of Immigrant Advancement: This legislation creates the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement that will provide services statewide to new Oregonians and help them navigate career and educational opportunities. The Legislature allocated approximately $4.6 million over this biennium and the next to get the office up and running.

House Bills

    HB 2001 - Diversifying the Educator Workforce: Current law requires school districts to prioritize the retention of its most senior teachers in the event of layoffs and allows a district to retain a teacher with less experience only if it can determine that the teacher being retained is more competent or has more merit. This legislation requires districts to prioritize seniority but retain teachers with less seniority in order to maintain the proportion of teachers with cultural and linguistic expertise compared to teachers without such expertise. The measure maintains the current permissive structure for districts to retain teachers with less seniority but who are determined to have more competency or merit.

    HB 2166 - Education Equity: Governor Brown convened a Racial Justice Council (RJC) in September 2020 to recommend changes to policy and long-term strategies to align with the administration's racial justice and equity goals. This legislation serves as a vehicle for the RJC's policy recommendations related to education. HB 2166 combines various education equity initiatives including the creation of an Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program within the Early Learning Division of the Department of Education (ODE), the formation of a social emotional learning standards advisory group at ODE, the adoption of rules relating to educator equity at the State Board of Education and the establishment of the Public Charter School Equity grant program to support historically underserved students.

    HB 2167 - Racial Equity Office: This legislation allocates $1.2 million to the creation of the Racial Justice Council within the Office of the Governor. The Council shall advise the Governor on policy related to advancing racial equity. Additionally, the Secretary of State, Bureau of Labor and Industries, State Treasurer, and Attorney General are directed to report back to the legislature annually on recommendations for dismantling systemic and institutional racism.

    HB 2433 - Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion: This legislation extends and modifies many tax expenditures, including Oregon's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This measure made the earned income tax credit more equitable by eliminating the distinction between taxpayers filing with a Social Security Number and those filing with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This change allows both resident or nonresident individuals to claim Oregon's EITC and applies to tax years 2022 through 2025.

    HB 2475 - Discount Utility Rates for Lower-Income Households: This legislation, known as the Energy Affordability Act, will allow the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to consider differential energy burdens for low-income Oregonians in setting their rates. It also permits PUC to consider social equity factors and consult with environmental justice groups. This change will allow energy to be discounted for those who need it most.

    HB 2842 - Healthy Homes Initiative: Fifty-four percent of Oregonians live in housing built before 1978. Housing that has not been retrofitted for energy efficiency is expensive to heat or outfit with proper filtration, and, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), has been correlated with poor health outcomes for residents, including asthma and other respiratory issues. This legislation establishes the Healthy Homes Program within OHA, for the purpose of awarding grants to eligible entities which provide financial assistance to low income households and communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution or other hazards, and to landlords for the repair and rehabilitation of residential dwelling units.

    HB 2935 - C.R.O.W.N. Act: This legislation, known as the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, prohibits employers and schools from discriminating against natural hair or any form of hairstyle specific to a race, culture, or religion. It also requires any voluntary organization that administers interscholastic activities to have an equity focus and permit students to wear religious clothing when applicable.

    HB 3265 - Sanctuary Promise: This legislation strengthens Oregon's commitment to protecting undocumented immigrants. HB 3265 requires any law enforcement officer who arrests a foreign national to inform the person of any immigration implications that may arise. It also prohibits any public agency from denying services based on documentation status and prohibits law enforcement from inquiring about an individual's citizenship status without connection to a criminal investigation. The bill also prohibits a public body from entering into contracts with federal immigration enforcement to disclose citizenship status or related identifying information. Finally, it allocates approximately $905,000 for the Criminal Justice Commission and the Department of Justice to engage in annual reporting and for DOJ to create a reporting mechanism for any violations of the sanctuary promise.

    House Bill 3354 - Equity in Educator Licensing Standards: Oregon currently uses the EdTPA assessment to evaluate candidates for licensure. EdTPA is a performance-based assessment created by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) at Stanford University as a more practical assessment than other teacher preparation and licensing exams. Although EdTPA was designed to be more equitable than other assessments, there are still notable inequities in passing rates among demographic subgroups. This legislation requires the use of multiple measures to evaluate licensure candidates.

Oregonians Can Sign Up for 2021 Health Insurance Until August 15

    If you don't qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and don't get health insurance through your job, now through Sunday, August 15, is an important time. It is the last chance for most people can sign up for an individual or family plan to have coverage in 2021.

  • More than 78 percent of Oregonians have been determined to be eligible for financial help through the Marketplace.
  • Oregonians are receiving an average of $400 per month in premium tax credits to reduce their monthly premium.
  • People who received unemployment insurance benefits in Oregon can get coverage for as low as $1 per month, even if they got benefits for only one week in 2021. is the online home of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government. It is the state-level partner of, the national website where people enroll in Marketplace plans and access financial help.

    Health insurance sold through the Marketplace is individual and family coverage offered by private companies, such as Bridgespan, Kaiser Permanente, Moda, PacificSource, Providence, and Regence. Not every company is available in every part the state, but at least three insurance companies and at least nine plan choices are available everywhere in Oregon.

    An insurance expert can help you – at no cost – apply for the subsidy and enroll in coverage. They are listed at For more information, visit or call 855-268-3767.

Rural Broadband Capacity Program: Input Requested

    A highlight of the recently adjourned legislative session is a $120 million appropriation for Rural Broadband Capacity Program. This funding will be prioritized to bring broadband to unserved areas and will allow communities and private providers to deploy service to rural areas faster. To help inform where the need for connectivity is the greatest, please let my office know if you or your neighbors need broadband access so that we may pass the information along to service providers.

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