SALEM, Ore. -- Today the Oregon Legislature released its safety plan for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session.
The plan for floor sessions will be similar to previous ones, creating distance for when members can be on the floor for voting.
They'll also continue with committees meeting only virtually.
Public hearings and work sessions won't happen on the same day, and the public record will be open longer so people can participate.
House Speaker Tina Kotek says they want to model best workplace practices so that the work can get done safely.
“As we know the pandemic will be with us for a foreseeable future. More than 1,500 Oregonians have died from COVID-19 and our state's hospital capacity continues to be stretched. Then, there's still a high level of community spread throughout the state, and Marion County has been designated at extreme risk for quite awhile. We do not want our actions in the Capitol starting this month to make matters worse," Kotek said.
Physical entry to the Capitol is permitted for authorized personnel, but legislators say if public health conditions improve, public entry will be expanded.
Kotek says they're going to communicate more with the public about the safety plan, making sure everyone understands how they can participate remotely by phone or video.
“Our goals have been to both balance public health with public input and participation in the legislative process. We have focused on safety primarily, and we want to have a plan that focuses on making sure the process in this environment is transparent. We want public engagement and we want to be able to do the people's work," Kotek said.
The Legislature will meet on Monday for the swearing in of new members.
The Legislative Session will begin on Tuesday, January 19th.