November 11, 2020

Election Results 2020: Legally Trained Legislators and Statewide Officials

This election cycle, a number of legally trained candidates successfully ran for office. In the State Senate, Senator-elect Kate Lieber (Beaverton/Aloha) will join Senate President Peter Courtney (Salem), Senator Betsy Johnson (NW Oregon), and Senator Floyd Prozanski (Lane County) in January. Senator-elect Lieber replaces Senator Mark Hass who will have been a member of the legislature for 20 years when he steps down.

Senator Shemia Fagan (SE Portland/Milwaukie) will be leaving the legislature as she moves on to her next challenge as the newly elected Secretary of State. Congratulations to Senator-elect Lieber and Secretary of State-elect Fagan and thank you to all of the legally trained senators.

Senator Courtney is expected to continue in his role as Senate President. A vote of the chamber will occur in January. In addition, Senator-elect Lieber was voted in as a Senate Assistant Majority Leader. The chamber will remain split between Democrats and Republicans at 18-12.

In the House of Representatives, one new legally trained legislator, Jason Kropf (Bend), will be joining in January. Representative-elect Kropf will be replacing Representative Cheri Helt. He will join Representative Ken Helm (NE Washington County), Representative Karin Power (Milwaukie), Representative Dan Rayfield (Corvallis), Representative Kim Wallan (Medford), and Representative Marty Wilde (Eugene), who all won their reelection campaigns this year. Congratulations to all!

Representative Rayfield is expected to continue in his role as Co-Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, and Representative Wallan is the House Republican Whip. In the House, the chamber is now split 36-25 with one remaining race expected to go to a recount.

In addition to the changes in the legislature, four statewide or federal legally trained officials were elected. As mentioned above, Secretary of State-elect Fagan will move from the Senate to the Office of the Secretary of State. In addition, former State Senator Cliff Bentz, who resigned from the Senate in January 2020, will be headed to Washington, DC, to represent Oregon’s Second Congressional District. Congressman Greg Walden, who has served in this role for many years, is retiring. Congratulations to Congressman-elect Bentz. In addition, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici also won reelection this year.

Thank you to all of the legally trained candidates who ran this year.

Back to top

Board of Governors Approves Proposals for Submission to 2021 Legislature

On November 20, 2020, the Oregon State Bar’s Board of Governors and its Public Affairs Committee met remotely to consider the proposed 2021 law improvement package. After discussion in both the committee and the full board, 10 proposals will be submitted to the Oregon State Legislature for consideration during the 2021 legislative session.

This year the following sections and committees will be submitting legislation for consideration:

      • The Oregon State Bar Board of Governors
      • The Oregon State Bar Consumer Law Section
      • The Council on Court Procedures
      • The Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section
      • The Oregon State Bar Estate Planning & Administration Section
      • The Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section
      • The Oregon State Bar Military and Veterans Law Section
      • The Oregon State Bar Nonprofit Organizations Law Section

To view a list of proposals, please visit the Oregon State Bar Public Affairs Department web page.

Back to top

Chief Justice Walters Releases Guidance in Response to Increasing Spread of COVID-19

On November 17, 2020, Chief Justice Walters issued Chief Justice Order (CJO) 20-047, which encourages remote proceedings and imposes restrictions on in-person court operations during this time of increased spread of the COVID-19 virus. The CJO is effective on November 19, 2020, and will continue through at least December 4, and until further order; it is available here.

In simple terms, CJO 20-047 provides:

      • Courts may conduct any proceedings or operations they determine are appropriate as long they do so by entirely remote means—meaning that case participants appear by remote means and not in the courtroom
      • Circuit courts may conduct specified proceedings in person, including criminal trials subject to speedy-trial requirements, other criminal jury trials if the presiding judge approves on a case-by-case basis, juvenile delinquency adjudications, and Category 1 and Category 2 proceedings (set out in the order). Courts are encouraged, however, to use remote means if reasonably feasible and permitted by law, even when an in-person proceeding is allowed.
      • A presiding judge may, in certain specified circumstances, on a case-by case basis, permit a particular proceeding to be conducted in person.

The CJO reflects the Oregon Judicial Department’s (OJD) advances to date in conducting remote proceedings statewide. OJD is currently reviewing the recommendations from individual Bar members and the workgroups the court formed. Please continue to communicate with OJD through [email protected], as Oregonians work together to improve court access through remote means during the pandemic and beyond.

Back to top

Oregon Council on Court Procedures Requests Public Comment

The Oregon Council on Court Procedures has requested public comment on this biennium’s proposed revisions to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure. This year, they have drafted proposed changes to ORCPs 15, 21, 27, 31 and 55. The Council will meet December 12th to vote on which rules to promulgate. These rule changes will be submitted to the Oregon legislature, and absent legislative action would take effect January 1, 2022.

Council staff have requested that comments be submitted by December 7th. If you would like to see the proposed rules or make comments, please visit the Council’s website at:

Back to top

Return of CLEs at the Capitol

After a break in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate Interim Judiciary Committee and the Oregon State Bar are pleased to present a virtual CLE at the Capitol in early 2021. Additional information will be shared as dates are finalized.

Back to top


Thank you for reading the Oregon State Bar’s CAPITOL INSIDER.
The archives are available here.

2020 Oregon State Bar Officers and Public Affairs Chair

Liani Reeves, President, Oregon State Bar
David Wade, President Elect, Oregon State Bar
Christine Costantino, Immediate Past President, Oregon State Bar
Eric Foster, Chair, Public Affairs Committee, Oregon State Bar Board of Governors

For questions about articles, legislation, or the legislative process, please contact:

Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director
Amy Zubko, Public Affairs Legislative Attorney

Back to top