Special session expected soon -- with social distancing
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As Congress agreed on a $2 trillion economic relief plan, a bipartisan group of Oregon state legislators thanked members of the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response for their work to develop an emergency relief package to complement federal relief and provide immediate assistance to Oregonians and small businesses economically impacted by the global pandemic.
Legislative leaders said Friday they will work with Gov. Kate Brown to determine the timing of a special session in order to pass the emergency relief package.
“This is a scary and uncertain time for Oregonians across the state,” House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) said. “The Legislature is doing everything we can to act quickly to provide some certainty to people for essential needs like housing and food.”
The committee’s co-chairs, Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene) and Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), proposed providing rental and mortgage assistance and support for Oregonians seeking food assistance and other necessities.
The package also includes expanded protections against residential and commercial evictions, flexible funds to help small businesses and other emergency-related statutory fixes.
“COVID-19 is very serious and unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes,” Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) said. “We must work together and help each other, if we are going to get though these difficult times.”
“In difficult times such as these, Oregonians unite and come together,” House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) said. “The Legislature’s Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response has embodied that Oregon spirit of unity and worked with a common purpose to provide support and aid to help meet the needs of Oregonians.”
Legislative leaders are discussing options that will allow House and Senate members to vote on the relief package while maintaining six feet of separation and following all CDC public health guidelines.