At about 7:15pm on Friday, the first special session of 2020 concluded its work. Much of the focus of the special session centered on police accountability and measures deemed time sensitive or necessary during the pandemic. There were also a few bills that were enacted from the previous short session that ended abruptly with a Republican walk-out.
This was the first time that a legislative session was conducted, at least in part, virtually. The Joint Committee on the Special Session conducted their public hearings via video and only met in person to conduct work sessions. Members of both chambers remained in their offices except to conduct floor votes in the respective chambers. The Joint Committee met for most of the day on Wednesday and Thursday during which the public testimony and work sessions for 25 bills were conducted. We have provided a list of most of those bills and a link to them for your convenience. There is also a brief summary of some of the measures that will be of interest to you below.
The state continues to face a nearly $2.7 billion shortfall during the biennium ending on June 30, 2021. It is expected that the assembly will convene in another special session in late-July or early-August to address budget matters confronting the state. Both the Governor and Speaker are hoping that federal relief funds will be forthcoming. But it is also rumored, for example, that the state will forego issuing any further lottery bonds for the remainder of the biennium, thereby potentially jeopardizing dozens of projects statewide that would have received financial backing of the state before the pandemic created this budget crisis. This includes the Special Public Works Fund and the Water Development Fund.
SB 1601A: Transit
SB 1602A: Forestry Memorandum of Understanding
SB 1603: Broadband Universal Service Fund Charge
SB 1604: Law Enforcement Arbitration
SB 1605: Out of State Placement for Foster Youth and Family First
HB 4202: Corporate Activities Tax Fix
HB 4203A: Prohibition on Use of Chokeholds
HB 4204A: Temporary Foreclosure Limitations
HB 4205A: Law Enforcement Duty to Report and Intervene
HB 4206A: Meat Inspections
HB 4207A: Disclosure of Law Enforcement Discipline Actions
HB 4208A: Limitation of Munitions Used to Control Assemblies
HB 4209: Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board Administration
HB 4210: Driving Privileges
HB 4211: Student Success Funding
HB 4212A: COVID-19 Response Omnibus Bill
Sections 1-2 | Local Governing Body Meeting and Operation Changes
Sections 3-5 | Garnishment Modifications
Sections 6-8 | Judicial Proceeding Extensions and Electronic Appearances
Sections 9-17 | Emergency Shelter
Sections 19-32 | Notarial Acts
Sections 34-35 | Enterprise Zone Termination Extensions
Section 36 | Individual Development Account Modifications
Sections 40-43 | Race and Ethnicity Data Collection and Reporting During COVID-19 Pandemic
Sections 44-47 | Physician Assistants
HB 4213A: Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratorium
SB 5711A: State Financial Administration
SB 1603 - Broadband Universal Service Fund Charge – nearly all bills were passed with bipartisan support. This bill was the exception. Republicans believed it was a tax increase, thereby requiring a 3/5ths majority. Democrats maintained it was the expansion of an existing fee. This new fee that will be charged to cell phones and commercial radios will provide approximately $5 million a year to expand broadband to areas that are not currently served or are under-served.
HB 4202A – Corporate Activities Tax Fix – this bill makes a number of technical changes to the recently approved Corporate Activities Tax including modifications to the sale of milk by diaries.
HB 4212 contained language that would have given Oregon Health & Safety Administration (OSHA), who administers workplace health and safety issues, incredibly broad rule-making authority to develop workplace rules addressing communicable diseases not only on a temporary basis but also on a permanent basis. Businesses, non-profits, public bodies, schools and others are opposing these sections. Those sections of the bill were ultimately removed. However, OSHA recently announced it will be composing rules on this topic.
Additionally, there was an amendment to HB 4212 that would have extended liability coverage from COVID-19 related lawsuits unless the employer (including business, government, non-profit and schools) were negligent. The amendment did not go forward; however, a work group will be pulled together to develop a proposal for a future session. Whether that legislation will be retroactive remains to be seen.
Sections 34 and 35 of HB 4212 allow an enterprise zone that would otherwise terminate on June 30, 2020, to terminate on December 31, 2020. It authorizes the sponsor to re-designate otherwise terminating enterprise zones prior to January 1, 2021, but specifies that re-designation will not take effect before December 31, 2020.
Sections 1 and 2 of HB 4211A impact public meetings and similar issues for local government. Below is a side-by-side comparing the Governor’s Executive Order and the provisions contained in the new law below. It should be noted that the provisions of Section 1 of the bill expire 30 days after the Governor’s Executive Order declaring an emergency is withdrawn or overridden by the Legislative Assembly.
|Governor Kate Brown's Executive Order 20-16 Issued April 15, 2020||HB 4212A|
|Emergency period – the time that these provisions apply||As long as Executive Order 20-03 is effect which declared the State’s state of emergency.||Provisions apply until 30 days after the date on which the declaration of a state of emergency (EO 20-03) issued by the Governor on March 8, 2020, and any extension of the declaration, is no longer in effect.|
|Public meetings during the emergency period||Local Government Bodies shall conduct public meetings and hearings by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means whenever possible. For meetings held by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means The public body shall make available a method by which the public can listen to or virtually attend the public meeting or hearing at the time that it occurs.||The governing body of a public body may hold all meetings by telephone or video conferencing technology or through some other electronic or virtual means. When a governing body meets using telephone or video conferencing technology, or through other electronic or virtual means, the public body shall make available a method by which the public can listen to or observe the meeting.|
|When a local government cannot conduct a meeting or hearing by telephone, video or other electronic means persons attending the meeting must maintain social distancing.||If the governing body of the public body elects not to use telephone or video conferencing technology or other electronic or virtual means to conduct meetings, all persons attending meetings held in person must maintain social distancing, including maintaining intervals of six feet or more between individuals, wherever possible.|
|A public body does not have to provide a physical space for the public to attend the public meeting or hearing.||When conducting a virtual or telephonic meeting the public body does not have to provide a physical space for the meeting.|
|Recording of the virtual or telephonic meetings||N/A||If the telephone or video conferencing technology allows the public body to do so, the public body shall record the meeting and make the recording available to the public. This paragraph does not apply to executive sessions.|
|Public testimony during public meetings||Any statutory or policy requirements that testimony be taken in-person do not apply if the public body provides for an opportunity for submission of testimony by telephone, video, or some other means including email that the body can consider in timely manner.||Any public testimony or comment taken during a meeting need not be taken in person if the public body provides an opportunity to submit testimony or comment by telephone or video conferencing technology, or through other electronic or virtual means, or provides a means of submitting written testimony, including by electronic mail or other electronic methods, and the governing body is able to consider the submitted testimony in a timely manner.|
|Quorum of the public body||A quorum of the public body consists of a majority of its members excluding those unable to attend because of illness due to COVID-19.||The minimum number of members of a governing body required for the body to act shall exclude any member unable to attend because of illness due to COVID-19.|
|Executive Sessions||The provisions of EO 20—16 public meetings do NOT apply to Executive Session meetings.||Executive Sessions can be held in person or virtually. However, members of the press can attend in person or virtually/telephonically regardless of whether the Executive Session is being conducted in person or virtually.|
|Local budget meetings||Existing requirements under ORS 294.305, 294.565, or 294.900-.930 to provide the public an opportunity to appear before the budget committee may be satisfied by providing a method of appearing or meeting by telephone, video or other electronic means or submitting written communications that the committee or governing body may consider timely.||N/A|
|Publication of any notice, summary or other documents required may be satisfied by posting the notice, summary or other documents in a prominent manner on the internet.||N/A|
|If a municipal corporation fails to comply to get a budget passed by June 30th 2020 then it may make reasonable expenditures for the continued operation within its existing or most recently adopted budget provided the municipal corporation cures the lack of an adopted budget as soon as reasonably practicable.||If a municipal corporation fails to comply to get a budget passed by June 30th 2020 then it may make reasonable expenditures for the continued operation within its existing or most recently adopted budget provided the municipal corporation cures the lack of an adopted budget as soon as reasonably practicable.|
HB 4213A - Residential and Commercial Eviction Moratorium – Among other things, this bill prohibits and restricts landlords from taking specified actions based on a residential or commercial tenant’s nonpayment balance during the emergency period of April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.
Finally, the Governor’s office has asked the Management Labor Advisory Committee to review and identify problems or gaps in the workers’ compensation system relative to the COVID-19 outbreak – including an analysis of and recommendation for a COVID-19 occupational presumption. Her office has asked for this information by mid-July.