July 7, 2021

End-of-Session Bills Bring Additional Funding for the Oregon Judicial Department

On June 26, 2021, after 159 days, the Oregon Legislature completed its legislative duties one day before the constitutional deadline. This year ended with significant state and federal funding for projects throughout Oregon, including additional funding for the Oregon Judicial Department.

Two end-of-session bills, House Bill 5006 and House Bill 3011, provided funding and the requisite statutory changes to programs throughout Oregon. Some of these projects were legislative priorities, and some projects and programs received funding at the direction of a local legislator. Federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was sent to the Department of Corrections, for water and sewer infrastructure projects, and for broadband access, to name just a few. State funding was used for wildfire recovery, behavioral health, and seismic rehabilitation, among other projects. Additional funds were earmarked for the following purposes:

Deschutes County receives funding for two new judicial seats

In addition to the statewide funding, the Oregon Judicial Department received funding for two new judicial seats and staff in Deschutes County. Over the last decade, the Oregon Judicial Department has requested additional judicial seats each session in different parts of the state. This year, with the growing population in the Bend area, Deschutes County was prioritized. The positions will begin on January 1, 2022.

County courthouses receive funding in Benton, Linn, Crook, and Clackamas Counties

Since the 2011 legislative session, the Oregon Judicial Department and the Oregon Legislature have worked together to rehabilitate, update, and replace courthouses throughout the state. This biennium, the legislature provided bonding authority and a state match for four counties to move forward with their courthouse plans:

      • Benton County: $20.7 million
      • Linn County: $16 million
      • Crook County: $11.8 million
      • Clackamas County: $1

The Legislature has requested that the Oregon Judicial Department, along with Clackamas County, return before the 2022 Legislative Session to report on the “design, build, finance, operation, and maintenance public-private partnership (P3) agreement(s) for the Clackamas County Courthouse.” HB 5006 Preliminary Budget Report, p. 60 (6/29/2021).

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Senate Bill 278 Provides Eviction Safe Harbor and Additional Compensation for Landlords

On Friday, June 25, 2021, the Governor signed Senate Bill 278 to ensure that tenants who had applied for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP), but had not yet been approved, would be able to benefit from federal funding released in May.

The OERAP provides up to 12 months of rent to those that qualify. This funding may all be used for back rent or split between back rent and up to three months’ rent going forward. Under SB 278, tenants who have applied for the program may submit proof they have applied for OERAP to the landlord, and the landlord must hold off on the eviction process for an additional 60 days.

In addition, under SB 278 the amount of reimbursement for landlords under the Landlord Compensation Fund was increased from 80 percent to 100 percent. Landlords who have already applied to the Landlord Compensation Fund will not have to reapply for the increase in funding.

On June 24, 2021, the Oregon State Bar presented a webinar for the public entitled “Housing Law and COVID-19 in Oregon: An Update on Eviction Moratoriums, Financial Assistance, and Legal Services”. For more information on the services available to the public, please visit the Landlord and Tenant Law page on the Oregon State Bar’s public information page.

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New Chief Justice Order No. 21-025 to Update Court Operations Guidance

Chief Justice Martha Walters issued a new Chief Justice Order, CJO 21-025, effective June 30, 2021, which sets out updated provisions on court operations and supersedes earlier COVID-related orders and updates.

The new order:

      • Lifts earlier social distancing restrictions, except that Presiding Judges (PJs) and others may exercise authority to impose restrictions in particular circumstances.
      • Lifts earlier protective face covering requirements, without regard to vaccination status, except (1) in correctional settings; and (2) when the PJ exercises authority to be consistent with more restrictive county requirements, to protect public health and safety, or otherwise in particular circumstances. Any person who chooses to do so may continue to wear a protective face covering while in a court facility (with narrow, continuing exceptions in which a person may be directed to remove a face covering while in a proceeding).
      • Provides that proceedings may be conducted in-person or by remote means, as determined by the PJ.
      • Continues time extensions, as follows: Scheduling first appearances and trials in Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) proceedings remains extended (to 14 days and 30 days respectively); various deadlines pertaining to Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) Diversions continue to be extended, but most of those extensions now end as of September 7, 2021; and time to file various tax appeals remains extended.
      • Withdraws other pre-existing restrictions from the last operations order, CJO 21-009 (now superseded).

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How a Bill Becomes a Law

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, the House and Senate adjourned sine die and the legislative session closed. After the legislature adjourns, there are still a few steps each piece of legislation needs to complete.

Governor’s Signature. During the legislative session, the Governor has five days (including holidays but excluding weekends) to veto whole bills or “single items in appropriation bills.” Or Const, Art V, §§ 15a, 15b(3). For bills that are passed in the last five days of session, the Governor has 30 days (including holidays but excluding weekends) to veto a bill. A bill may pass without the Governor’s signature. If the 30 days have passed and the Governor has not vetoed the bill, it is presumed signed. Or Const, Art V, § 15b(3). This year the Governor has until August 7, 2021, to issue a veto.

Effective Date. In Oregon, the default effective date for a bill is January 1 of the following year. ORS 171.022. See generally Or Const, Art IV, § 28. This session, a bill without a specifically noted effective date in the text of the legislation will have an effective date of January 1, 2022.

Some bills, many of them from the legislature’s budget committee, the Joint Ways and Means Committee, will have an emergency clause. An emergency clause makes the bill effective upon passage, that is, when either the Governor proactively signs the bill or either 5 or 30 days have passed and the bill was not vetoed.

Other bills, for example, bills that raise revenue, can have an effective date of 91 days after sine die. This year, 91 days after sine die is September 25, 2021.

The fourth option is to have a specific effective date identified within the text of the bill. In some circumstances, different sections of a bill will have different effective dates. Also, some bills will have both an effective date and an operative date. In many circumstances, this is used to allow state agencies the opportunity to develop administrative rules.

Resources. Information on a bill can be found in the Oregon Legislative Information System. For bills passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, click on the “Bills” icon in the upper right hand corner and enter the bill number. For a quick analysis of legislation tracked by the Oregon State Bar, look for the 2021 issue of Legislation Highlights, which will be published this fall.

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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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