SALEM, Ore. --- Governor Kate Brown announced that she would hold a press briefing on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the close of a whirlwind three-day Special Session — likely the first of two such sessions this year, according to Brown.
The session focused primarily on police accountability and reform bills, in addition to coronavirus relief measures, and a few bills that fizzled in the acrimonious short legislative session earlier this year. Brown said that she would touch on the outcomes of each of these bills in her press conference on Saturday.
“I called the Oregon Legislature together because I have been concerned that Oregon needs to take further action in response to two crises unfolding across the country,” said Governor Brown. “The first is related to the ongoing and urgent concerns caused by the COVID-19 crisis and the economic threat the pandemic poses to people who were already struggling to get by."
“I also called lawmakers into this special session in order to respond to the clarion call for police reform," she continued. "Across the state, tens of thousands of Oregonians have taken to the streets to demand racial justice and police accountability. It will take far more work to set our state on a path toward racial justice, but these are very important steps forward.”
In a statement issued on Friday night, Governor Brown described 11 bills that successfully passed in this first Special Session:
- SB 1604 – Limits the ability of an arbitrator to overturn police discipline when a law enforcement agency uses a discipline guide.
- HB 4201 – Establishes a legislative joint committee to examine use of force and transparency.
- HB 4205 – Directs the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) to adopt rules requiring police officers to intervene to stop certain acts of misconduct such as excessive force or acts of discrimination. Officers who report misconduct should not face retaliation.
- HB 4207 – Directs DPPST to establish a statewide database for police officers whose state certification have been suspended or revoked.
- HB 4208 – Limits the use of tear gas by law enforcement for crowd control, unless event has been declared a riot.
- HB 4203 – Limits the use of force by police officers that would impede breathing or blood circulation, unless circumstances would justify deadly force.
Evictions and Foreclosures
- HB 4213 – Codifying the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions the Governor first put in place through executive order, allowing working families to stay in their apartments and homes and small businesses to continue operating. The bill also creates a payback period to give Oregonians time to catch back up on payments they've missed.
- HB 4204 – Creating a moratorium on foreclosures so people and small businesses who are late on their mortgage payments don’t lose their home or place of business while they are working to get back on track.
Rural Broadband Access
- SB 1603 – Makes a significant investment in rural broadband internet access, a critical investment for rural Oregon schools.
- HB 4212 – Implements a number of COVID-19 response measures, including protecting CARES Act payments from garnishment so federal dollars go directly into people’s pockets and allowing local governments to continue operating while providing public access through remote and virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also allows for online notarization to protect public health.
- SB 1602 – Includes provisions for responsible forest management agreed to by the timber industry and environmental groups.
Governor Brown says that she will call a second Special Session in the coming weeks for business related to the state budget, which is expected to be hammered by coronavirus-related losses.
"We are holding off on the next session for a few weeks to give Congress time to take action," said Brown. "And I hope Congressional leaders will hear the call from states across the country and step in with additional federal support."
Stay with NewsWatch 12 for details from the press conference.