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2021 Second Special Session Held on December 13, 2021
In mid-December, the Oregon State Legislature held the Second Special Session of 2021. This session, which lasted one day, was called by the Governor to address continuing landlord-tenant issues, the drought in much of Oregon, an increase in illegal marijuana grows throughout the state, and to provide support to the Afghan refugees who are arriving in Oregon.
This session the legislature considered four bills and one concurrent resolution:
- Senate Bill 891 – Extends suspension of termination of residential tenancies for nonpayment of rent for tenants who have applied for emergency rental assistance and provided documentation of application to their landlord on or before June 30, 2022, throughout period that application is pending.
- Senate Bill 892 – Directs State Department of Agriculture to establish forgivable loan program to provide financial assistance to farming and ranching producers in Oregon with lost gross farm income in calendar year 2021 due to qualifying natural disaster.
- Senate Bill 893 – Requires prioritizing financial assistance to local law enforcement agencies to partner with community-based organizations in order to address humanitarian crisis associated with unlawful marijuana cultivation or distribution operations in awarding grants through Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program.
- Senate Bill 5561 – Appropriates moneys from General Fund to specified state agencies for specified expenses.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 41 – Adjourning sine die 2021 second special session of Eighty-first Legislative Assembly.
All four of the bills passed both chambers and were signed by the Governor on December 14, 2021.
Similar to other special sessions over the last few years, committee hearings and the submission of public testimony were completed before the legislature gaveled in for the session. To review the public testimony, please visit the committee hearing held on December 11, 2021. The legislature’s deliberations and votes were held during the special session. Materials and video for the special session can be found here.
Landlord-tenant information. During the regular 2021 legislative session, the Oregon Legislature passed SB 278. The bill, which passed in June of 2021, provided an eviction safe harbor for renters if they showed their landlords documentation of their application to the state’s rental assistance program. Under SB 278, the safe harbor lasted, depending on location, either 60 or 90 days. The rental assistance provided by the program covered 12 months of back rent and utilities as well as three months of future rent and utilities.
Under SB 891, which passed last week, the safe harbor for nonpayment of rent was extended. Renters now have until before their first court appearance or June 30, 2022, (whichever comes first) to share their Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Application with their landlord and establish the safe harbor. If, however, the application is closed, or the funding does not cover the cost of unpaid rent, the landlord may continue with eviction proceedings for unpaid months.
Drought Relief. SB 892, created a forgivable loan program for farmers and ranchers in Oregon who lost gross farm income due to a qualifying natural disaster. The legislature, in SB 5561, the session’s funding bill, provided the Department of Agriculture $40 million for the program.
Public safety. SB 893 builds off legislation (SB 1544, 2018) first passed in 2018. The original legislation created the Illegal Marijuana Market Enforcement Grant Program at Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission (CJC). SB 893 requires the CJC to prioritize local law enforcement efforts to address unlawful marijuana cultivation or distribution operations when awarding grants.
Afghan refugees. SB 5561 was the sole budget bill passed during the second special session. In addition to funding for the bills mentioned above, the budget bill provided approximately $18 million in funding to assist Afghan refugees in their transition to Oregon. This funding will be used for a variety of services, including immigration legal services.
2022 Legislative Session – What to Expect
The 2022 Legislative Session will open on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, and constitutional sine die (last day of session) is March 7, 2021. Colloquially referred to as the “short session,” expected topics include a budget rebalance, continued focus on COVID-19 and the attendant challenges, housing, the Ramos decision, the Private Forest Accord, and the Public Defense Services Commission.
Before the 2022 session, the legislature will hold Legislative Days. During this three-day period, January 11–13, 2022, legislators will meet to discuss legislative concepts expected to be introduced during the 2022 legislative session, hold hearings, and finalize legislative concepts. Bills must be pre-session filed with the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House on January 14, 2022.
Over the last few years, significant work has been done on the state Capitol, with a focus on seismic retrofitting. This project will continue through the 2022 legislative session, and parts of the state Capitol, including the majority of the hearing rooms, are expected to be closed while construction continues. Additional information on the 2022 legislative session, hearings, chamber votes, and access is expected to be shared in the new year.
Dates of Interest
|Legislative Days||January 11 – 13, 2022|
|Bill Submission Deadline||January 14, 2022|
|First Day of Legislative Session||February 1, 2022|
|First Chamber Deadline||February 14, 2022|
|Release of Revenue and Economic Forecast||February 9, 2022|
|Second Chamber Deadline||February 24, 2022|
|Constitutionally-required last day of session||March 7, 2022|
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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