January 12, 2021

Oregon Legislature Convenes its 81st Legislative Assembly on January 11, 2021

On January 11, 2021, the Senate President and Speaker of the House opened the 81st legislative assembly for organizational days. Ninety legislators were sworn in. During the first day, legislators voted to adopt chamber rules, and pre-session-filed bills were formally introduced. Bills that were pre-session filed are available for public review on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). The Legislative Session will begin on January 19, 2021.

This year, the legislature is expected to address a number of complicated budgetary and policy issues that will affect the practice of law. Topics of interest include Ballot Measure 110, adequate funding for the courts, civil legal services and indigent defense, tort liability, equitable policing, aid and assist, fines and fees, emergency powers, and a host of other issues.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature will begin the session remotely. Public hearings in both chambers will be over videoconference. In response to the unique challenges of a remote legislative process, the public record will be extended for 24 hours after the start of each public hearing to allow for the submission of comments, support, and opposition. For more information on the legislative process, please see below.

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Oregon State Bar and the Legislative Process

Public Affairs is available to assist all Oregon State Bar sections and committees to track proposed legislation. If a section or committee identifies specific bills to follow, please contact Kellie Baumann in Public Affairs at [email protected], to ensure that legislation is included in a section’s bill-tracking list.

As bills are introduced, Public Affairs will review all proposed legislation and refer specific bills to groups that may be interested in the subject. Throughout the session, a section or committee’s legislative contact will likely receive periodic emails from Public Affairs notifying him or her of bills that might interest the group.

Once a section or committee has identified bills to follow, those bills will be input into the group’s bill-tracking page. Each group has its own page on the Public Affairs Department’s webpage. This will enable each group to receive updates and to review changes to any legislation that a group has expressed an interest in following.

If you have any questions about proposed legislation, do not hesitate to reach out to Public Affairs.

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Oregon House and Senate Announce Committee Assignments for the 2021 Legislative Session

Over the last week the Speaker of the House and Senate President have each released committee assignments for the 2021 Legislative Session. House committee appointments can be found here and Senate committee appointments can be found here.

In both the House and the Senate, some changes have been made in to the Judiciary Committees.

House Judiciary Committee. This session, not only will the House have a Judiciary Committee, the speaker also created two subcommittees, a Subcommittee on Civil Law and a Subcommittee on Equitable Policing.

House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Janelle Bynum, Chair
Rep. Ron Noble, Vice Chair
Rep. Karin Power, Vice Chair
Rep. Maxine Dexter
Rep. Ken Helm
Rep. Jason Kropf
Rep. Rick Lewis
Rep. Lily Morgan
Rep. Kim Wallan
Rep. Marty Wilde

House Subcommittee on Civil Law

Rep. Karin Power, Chair
Rep. Kim Wallan, Vice Chair
Rep. Ken Helm 
Rep. Jason Kropf
Rep. Lily Morgan

House Subcommittee on Equitable Policing

Rep. Janelle Bynum, Chair
Rep. Ron Noble, Vice Chair
Rep. Maxine Dexter
Rep. Rick Lewis
Rep. Marty Wilde

Senate Judiciary Committee and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation.

This session, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been specifically tasked with Ballot Measure 100 implementation. Ballot Measure 110, which passed this past November, decriminalizes certain drug crimes and redirects funding to prevention and social services.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, Chair
Sen. Kim Thatcher, Vice Chair
Sen. Sara Gelser
Sen. Dennis Linthicum
Sen. James Manning, Jr.
Sen. Dallas Heard
Sen. Michael Dembrow

Ways and Means Committee – Public Safety Subcommittee

Sen. Chris Gorsek, Co-Chair
Rep. Janeen Sollman, Co-Chair
Sen. Bill Hansell
Sen. Floyd Prozanski
Rep. Dacia Grayber
Rep. Jason Kropf
Rep. Gary Leif
Rep. Duane Stark

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Final Special Session of 2020 completed in late December

On December 21, 2020, the legislature met for its third and final special session of 2020. Public hearings were held prior to the special session on December 17, and December 19, 2020, to allow members of the public to testify virtually and submit written materials regarding the proposals considered. To review the public testimony and materials from the public hearings, please go here .

The Joint Committee on the Third Special Session of 2020 considered six policy and budgetary proposals. Five of the six proposals passed out of committee and passed both chambers to be signed by the Governor.

      • HB 4401 – Eviction moratorium and landlord assistance fund
      • HB 4402 – School liability protection
      • SB 1801 – Restaurant package
      • SB 1803 – Healthcare liability protection (did not pass out of committee)
      • SB 5731 – Transfer of state funds to the Emergency Board for COVID-19 and wildfire costs
      • SCR 231 – Adjournment

While SB 1803 did not move out of committee, the issue of healthcare liability, as well as general business liability, is expected to be discussed further during the 2021 Legislative Session.

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New Database for Chief Justice and Supreme Court Orders

The State of Oregon Law Library (SOLL) has launched a new searchable and publicly available database for Chief Justice Orders and Supreme Court Orders (non-case related). Searches can include text or metadata, such as order number, subject, and description. The database currently includes all orders from 2019 and 2020, and will include new orders going forward. Older orders are being added based on resource availability. The orders are posted as PDFs at this link: https://cdm17027.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p17027coll10.

For more information, contact Amanda Duke at SOLL: [email protected].

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

2021 Oregon State Bar Officers and Public Affairs Chair

David Wade, President, Oregon State Bar
Kamron Graham, President Elect, Oregon State Bar
Liani Reeves, Immediate Past President, Oregon State Bar
Katherine Denning, 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

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