Update from Representative Anna Scharf on the Special Session

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Representative Anna Scharf
Representative Anna Scharf and family

Dear Friend,

If you've been following the news at all, you may have seen that the legislature was called by the Governor into a 1-day session to address the ongoing issue of housing needs.

In my opinion, this session was unnecessary. It was called by Governor Brown because of yet another state agency failure, their inability to get rent assistance checks to tenants and landlords out the door as already prescribed by the Legislature during the 2021 session. Democrat state leaders have not addressed the numerous errors and mistakes at Oregon Housing and Community Services Department that are hurting Oregonians. This is a complete failure of leadership. I have joined my Republican colleagues in calling for significant changes to the ongoing failure of state agencies. We called on the Governor to dramatically increase oversight, make changes within her powers to ensure this money gets to real people in need, and to make meaningful change in agency behavior and leadership.

The additional legislation passed during this special session will hold the state accountable in several ways. Here is a summary of the measures that passed:

Housing Extension
SB 891 extends the prohibition against landlords evicting tenants who have not paid their rent. Senate Bill 5561 includes a $215 million package to provide additional rental assistance, to speed up the process of applications, and ensure landlords are fully paid. While the additional funding may fill unforeseen gaps in need, the extension was unnecessary because the delayed relief was caused by the ongoing failures at the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department which have not been fixed.

Drought Relief
In response to the impact of the recent heat dome, wildfire smoke and record drought have had on farming communities, SB 5561 includes a $100 million drought relief package to support farmers and irrigators across the state who have been impacted by drought, heat or fire. SB 892 establishes a forgivable loan program to provide financial assistance for Oregon farmers and ranchers who lost gross income in 2021 due to a qualifying natural disaster.

Illegal Cannabis Enforcement
SB 5561 approved $25 million to prevent illegal operations and address the humanitarian crisis impacting workers at these sites. SB 893 and SB 5561 will create financial assistance to local law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations as they work within a statewide plan to confront the cartels operating in Southern Oregon. Anything I can do to support our law enforcement and stop this issue from spreading further in our state, I will support.

Afghan Refugee Support
Senate Bill 5561 includes $18 million to help Afghan refugees after President Biden’s chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan. This bill is intended to help Afghans who risked their lives to help American troops fight terrorism. It will provide for services including housing and interpretation as they settle into their new lives in Oregon.

Lastly, as we approach the end of the year, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As always, I am honored to represent you and look forward to connecting with you in the New Year. My office is always here to help and at the first of the year we will be moving back into our office at the Capitol and hope to welcome you in person.


Representative Anna Scharf

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1423
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-381, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.AnnaScharf@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/scharf