Special Session #2, Latest Rev Forecast, Holiday Shopping Tips & 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-mail: sen.floydprozanski@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/prozanski
e-Bulletin                     December 2021

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Dear friends,

    On Monday, December 13, the Legislature convened for its second special session of 2021, called by Governor Brown to address several emergency needs: helping tenants stay in their homes while keeping landlords whole; providing relief to farmers and ranchers hurt by drought; supporting Afghan refugees arriving in Oregon; and fighting illegal marijuana operations plaguing Southern Oregon. A detailed summary of our actions can be found below in this newsletter. I’m grateful to my colleagues who joined me in taking time from their day jobs to travel to Salem and complete this important work in one day!

    Click here to listen to my most recent interview (12/20/21) with Kyle Bailey on KQEN's "Inside Douglas County." We discussed the second special session and issue of illegal cannabis grows in Southern Oregon.

     Prior to the second special session,
my colleagues and I met November 15-17 for Legislative Days committee hearings and a meeting of the full Senate to consider executive appointments. The Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, met for hearings on reforming Oregon's antiquated non-unanimous juries law, Ballot Measure 110 implementation, and other topics. I also participated in meetings of the Senate Natural Resources & Wildfire Recovery Committee as well as the Ways & Means Public Safety Subcommittee, on both of which I serve as a member.

    While it's not news anyone wanted as the holidays arrive, Oregon is bracing for another surge in COVID-19 cases with arrival of the Omicron variant. The latest forecast from scientists shows that Omicron will cause more hospitalizations than the Delta variant, which led to the deaths of nearly 2,500 people in Oregon since the summer of 2021. The Oregon Health Authority has issued this response plan to address Omicron.

    Being fully vaccinated (and boosted) still provides robust protection against severe illness and hospitalization. To find and make an appointment to receive a vaccine, click here. A walk-in clinic is also being held at the PeaceHealth Riverbend Annex Tuesdays through Sundays:


    Below you will find information on:

        - Second Special Session Successes
        - 2021 Regular Session Accomplishments: Services to Support Oregonians
        - December Revenue Forecast
        - Improving Access to Health Care in Douglas County Schools
        - Holiday Shopping Tips to Protect Your Money and Information

     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. Please stay healthy and safe this holiday season. Remember to check ODOT's  TripCheck.com for road conditions and traffic information if you're traveling around Oregon.


            Santa observing the tree being decorated at your Oregon Capitol (2019)

Second Special Session Successes

    During the Legislature's one-day special session on December 13, we passed four major bills that accomplish the following:

Helping Tenants Stay in Their Homes While Keeping Landlords Whole

    SB 891 & SB 5561 - Preventing Evictions and Keeping Oregonians Housed: This legislation will prevent thousands of evictions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming winter months. It extends the safe harbor period for tenants who have applied for rental assistance and provides support for Oregon's rental assistance program. SB 891 extends "safe harbor" provisions from February 2022 to June 30, 2022. The safe harbor will last while rental assistance applications are being processed, but until no later than September 30, 2022. 
SB 5561 contains $100 million in additional emergency rental assistance to ensure low-income tenants have access to housing in the winter; $100 million to support partnerships with existing programs as Oregon transitions from pandemic-related emergency rental assistance to long-term, locally-delivered eviction prevention services; an additional $10 million to the Landlord Guarantee Fund to reimburse landlords for non-payment of rent and other fees incurred during the safe harbor period; and $5 million to speed up the delivery of federal funds.

Relief to Farmers and Ranchers Hurt by Drought

    SB 892 & SB 5561 - Drought Relief Package to Support Rural Communities: This legislation includes $40 million for an agricultural forgivable disaster loan program; $12 million for the Klamath Basin for domestic well assistance; $9.7 million to address drought relief on Klamath Tribal lands; and $10 million for agricultural workers who miss work due to unsafe working conditions resulting from extreme heat or smoke.

Fighting Illegal Marijuana Operations Plaguing Southern Oregon

    SB 891, SB 893 & SB 5561 - Preventing Illegal Cannabis Operations and Providing Relief for Humanitarian Crises: This legislation will create financial assistance to local law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations as they work with a statewide plan to address the problem of illegal cannabis and aid migrant workers caught in the middle.

Supporting Afghan Refugees Arriving in Oregon

    SB 5561 - Helping Afghan Refugees: In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Senator Kayse Jama and Representative Khanh Pham have led efforts to support a compassionate response to evacuate Afghan allies. This past summer, following withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan, more than 70,000 Afghan individuals and families fled to the U.S. to escape widespread instability. This legislation allocates $18 million for collaboration between state agencies and community partners to meet immediate needs of Afghan refugee families as they enroll their children in school, secure housing, adjust their legal status, and find employment. Local resettlement agencies have committed to welcoming up to 1,200 Afghan arrivals in the next year.

2021 Regular Session Accomplishments: Services to Support Oregonians

    Continuing my summaries of bills passed during the 2021 regular legislative session by subject area, I'm happy to share this comprehensive listing of accomplishments related to services to support Oregonians  by Senate/House bill and in numerical order:

Senate Bills

    SB 266 - Improving Quality of Care at Long-term Residential Facilities: The Department of Human Services (DHS) is currently required to make an acuity-based staffing tool available that it and residential care facilities may use collaboratively to evaluate whether the facility has enough qualified caregivers to meet residents' needs and to share staffing plan information with residents and their families. This legislation requires DHS to assess whether residential, memory care, and long-term care facilities consistently meet residents' needs. As part of its assessment, DHS is directed to consider whether each resident has a person-centered service plan and whether the subject facility consistently provides timely 24-hour access to supports needed for activities of daily living, timely responses to issues affecting resident dignity, and care that is delivered in conformity with each resident's plan.

    SB 703 - Caregiver Quality Metrics: During the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature passed HB 3359, directing DHS to work with the Quality Measurement Council to develop a metrics reporting system so that the performance of residential care facilities and assisted living facilities could be evaluated. SB 703 makes various changes to quality metrics oversight of these facilities including the addition of a representative of direct care workers to the council, additional notification requirements and added responsibilities at DHS to evaluate the cost of care, medical assistance reimbursements and direct care compensation and report to the legislature by January 1, 2023.

    SB 710 - Use of Restraints in Child Care Settings: Unnecessary and improper use of restraints and involuntary seclusion in residential facilities and child caring agencies can traumatize and physically injure the individual subject to restraint, as well as the person applying the restraint. This legislation codifies, centralizes, and makes existing rules around the use of restraint and involuntary seclusion, and corresponding training and certification requirements more robust. It also clarifies the narrowly tailored exceptions for permissible uses of restraint and requires secure transportation service providers who operate in Oregon to be licensed by DHS.

    Senate Bill 714 - Minimum Staffing Ratios: This legislation is a companion measure to SB 266, which requires DHS to assess whether residential, memory care, and long-term care facilities consistently meet residents' needs. SB 714 also requires DHS to take specified regulatory actions based on the results of assessments that could include requiring enhanced oversight of a facility and imposing license conditions.

House Bill

    HB 3073 - Department of Early Learning and Care: The Early Learning Division of the Department of Education was established by passage of HB 3234 in 2013. That measure transferred certain duties previously assigned to the Early Learning Council to the Division. Since that time, the Division has served to govern and manage most of the state's early childcare and education programs and services. HB 3073 (2021) makes the Early Learning Division into an independent state agency, titles the new agency the Department of Early Learning and Care, modifies related definitions and duties, and transfers the Employment Related Day Care subsidy program currently managed by the Department of Human Services to the newly created agency.

December Revenue Forecast

    Another strong Economic and Revenue Forecast was released at a joint virtual meeting of the Senate and House Revenue Committees last month. The positive forecast is due to prudent investments in individuals and Oregon families trying to make ends meet. We have an opportunity to invest further in education and health care systems, and to support frontline workers, when the Legislature meets in February for its one-month "short" session.

Revenue Outlook

    2021-23 net General Fund resources are up $703 million from the September 2021 forecast. The current General Fund ending balance is $2,040 million versus September's projected ending balance of $1,337 million. The ending balance is also up $1,478 million from the 2021 Close-of-Session estimate. Projected 2021-23 lottery resources are up $22 million from the September 2021 forecast.

Kicker Outlook

    A personal kicker of $558.3 million is projected for 2023. The projected corporate kicker of $250 million is to be dedicated to K-12 education spending in the 2023-25 Biennium.

Economic Outlook

    Oregon's economic recovery from the pandemic continues to be robust. Booming wage gains are now offsetting fading federal aid. Household incomes and consumer spending remain strong, supporting an overall bright outlook. The economy is set to reach full employment a year from now, or three times faster than in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

    A fundamental challenge remains on the supply side of the economy, trying to keep pace with demand. Labor runs through everything, from production to logistics to sales. Firms are looking to hire as quickly as possible, while labor supply has been slower to recover. Labor shortages are likely to ease some in the coming months as more workers search for a job in earnest. Even so, the labor market will remain tight for structural reasons such as retirements, less immigration, and the continuing threats of COVID-19 infection.

    According to Oregon's Office of Economic Analysis, in a supply-constrained economy real economic growth is challenging. Firms invest in new technologies to raise productivity, but this takes time. Persistent inflation is a risk. The Federal Reserve, and many private forecasters, expect inflation to cool some as the impacts of reopening the economy fade and supply chain struggles ease. While not the baseline outlook, the ultimate risk is that the economy runs too hot and the Fed will raise interest rates sharply, creating a boom/bust dynamic in the years ahead instead of engineering a soft landing.

Corporate Activity Tax Projections

    Collections related to the 2020 tax year are now expected to total approximately $1,054.0 million, which is somewhat lower than projected at the September forecast due to greater-than-expected refunds in October. At the same time, significantly higher estimated payments for the third quarter of tax year 2021 than previously predicted have increased the projection for collections related to this tax year. As a result, the forecast for revenues in the 2021-23 biennium have risen to $2,392.7 million. Given little change in the economic outlook, the forecast for Oregon's Corporate Activity Tax revenues in future biennia has also increased substantially.

Improving Access to Health Care in Douglas County Schools

    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced that the agency is investing $107,478 for Mercy Foundation, Inc., to expand health care access in rural Douglas County. 
This investment will assist Mercy Foundation in expanding services to 22 Douglas County schools. USDA's participation supports this partnership with local providers Cow Creek Health & Wellness Center and Evergreen Family Medicine to provide school-based telehealth services via a virtual care system for 6,400 students. The system will close gaps in access to rural care to improve health outcomes for low-income vulnerable youth.

    This award is funded through USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine program, which helps to fund distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas to increase access to education, training and health care resources that are otherwise limited or unavailable. Applications for this 100 percent grant program are accepted through a competitive process.

Holiday Shopping Tips to Protect Your Money and Information

    As many of us complete last-minute holiday shopping, t
he Oregon Department of Justice offers 10 practical tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information online:

  1. Protect your personal information. Take time to read privacy policies and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If there isn't a policy posted, assume that your personal information may be sold to others without your permission.

  2. Know the seller. Anyone can set up an online store or create an app. Confirm the seller's physical address and phone number in case you have any problems or questions.

  3. Stay away from pop-up ads and e-mail deals. Phishing pop-up ads and emails can look similar to those sent by top retailers. Many of these unleash viruses or spyware on your computer when you click on them. Ignore or delete these emails, no matter how good a deal seems, and make sure you have the latest firewall and antivirus software installed on your computer to protect against online attacks.

  4. Review shipping, return and exchange policies. Also, confirm that the seller does not charge a restocking fee on a returned item or charge excessive shipping and handling fees in an effort to recoup some of the cost on sale items.

  5. Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of every online transaction you make, including the product description, price, copy of your receipt, and any correspondence with the seller. These records will be important if you have a problem with the seller, product or service.

  6. Be skeptical of offers that sound too good to be true. Scam artists often lure shoppers to their websites or apps with outrageously low prices or offers of free products. Before you buy, shop around to get an idea of how much other retailers are asking for the same or similar items. Even at steep discounts, retailers tend to price similar items within a general price range. Remember: "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is."

  7. Stick to secure websites. If you shop online, always verify that the website you are purchasing from is secure. You are especially vulnerable when shopping on a smartphone. Mobile browsers have a much shorter address field, and as a result, you may not see the full URL on your phone. This makes it harder to spot a scam. Make sure that the website has a valid "HTTPS" connection with a lock symbol, not "HTTP," which is vulnerable to attacks.

  8. Use "plastic" wisely. Consider using a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards make fraud easier to discover because they give shoppers more time to notice unauthorized charges, notify their credit card company and promptly report any unauthorized transactions. If you notice unauthorized charges, notify your credit card company of the issue, and have them removed from your bill.

  9. Be careful when downloading apps. Bogus holiday deal apps made by scammers can fool you into typing in your credit card information, while other apps may feature malware that can steal your personal data or lock your smartphone until you pay a ransom fee. To stay safe, research who developed the app, and only download apps from official app stores like Apple and Google.

  10. Report fraud. If you have a problem with an online purchase or charge, try to work it out with the seller first. If you cannot resolve the problem, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.

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