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Yesterday, the Legislature was essential

Oregonians are struggling. This pandemic is unlike anything that any of us have ever lived through.

Yesterday, the Oregon Legislature met in a one-day special session to stand strong against the deadliest phase of this public health emergency, and prepare the state for recovery.

The result? Big wins for Oregon families.

At the most basic level, we ensured that thousands can stay dry in their homes this winter by extending the residential eviction moratorium and providing rental assistance for tenants. And we committed to compensating participating landlords that continue to provide housing, so that they can pay their bills, too.

For Oregon's struggling restaurants, we authorized additional ways to serve customers, and limited how much food delivery companies can charge for access to those customers.

And we restocked the State's emergency fund to help families survive the next phase of the pandemic:

  • Approving $400 million for ongoing pandemic public health costs, including testing, contact tracing, vaccinations, and PPE;

  • Providing $200 million in tenant and landlord relief;

  • And allocating $100 million for wildfire recovery and prevention.

It wasn't without controversy: armed right-wing extremists attempted to force their way into the Capitol. But they did not succeed in stopping our hard work.

Our efforts in Oregon, paired with Congress's stimulus bill, will be just the start. Early next year, we will meet again for the legislative session and continue to partner with the Biden-Harris administration to "Build Back Better."

There's much more to do. But we made critical progress yesterday. As the Oregon Senate Majority Leader, I'm proud to work with such an outstanding group of elected officials and staff.

Stay tuned. More to come.


Posted on December 22, 2020.