June 29, 2022

Speaker of the House Releases New Interim Committee Assignments

In mid-June, Speaker Dan Rayfield (D – Corvallis) released updated committee assignments for interim House committees. Legislators moved into new roles based on interest, expected departures from the legislature, and new responsibilities within their respective caucuses. Below is a partial list of committee membership changes. A full list of changes can be found here.

House Interim Committee on Business and Labor. Representative Nathan Sosa (D – Hillsboro) joined the committee.

House Interim Committee on Economic Development and Small Business. Representative Janelle Bynum (D – Happy Valley) became the chair of the committee. Representative John Lively (D – Springfield) will stay on as a vice chair. Representative Jason Kropf (D – Bend) was discharged from the committee.

House Interim Committee on Housing. House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D – West Eugene and Junction City) will remain as a member but is no longer chair of the committee. Representative Maxine Dexter (D – Portland) will now chair the committee.

House Interim Committee on Judiciary. Representative Jason Kropf became the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Janelle Bynum is no longer serving as Judiciary chair but will remain as a member.

House Interim Committee on Rules. Representative Barbara Smith Warner (D – Portland) will no longer be chair of the committee but will remain as a member. Representative Julie Fahey will chair the committee, with Representative Paul Holvey (D – Eugene) serving as vice chair.


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Emergency Board Releases State Funding to Public Defense Services Commission

The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board takes on many of the responsibilities of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means in the second year of the two-year budget cycle. The Board, which is made up of legislators and has three subcommittees (Education, General Government, and Human Services), reviews funding requests, approves federal grant requests, and generally oversees the state budget between the end of a short legislative session in an even-numbered year and the beginning of a long legislative session held during an odd-numbered year.

This spring the Emergency Board met in early June to receive reports, approve grant requests, and allocate previously appropriated funds. In addition, the Emergency Board reviewed approximately 40 individual items ranging from licensing fees for nurses to affordable housing stabilization.

During the June Legislative Days, the Emergency Board and the General Government Subcommittee received reports and requests for funds from the Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC). Of particular interest was $100 million that was earmarked through a special-purpose appropriation for the PDSC during the 2021 Legislative Session. After discussion at both the subcommittee and full committee levels, the funding was released to the PDSC. Funding is expected to be directed as follows:

          • $70.3 million for the Criminal Trial Division,
          • $14.6 million for nonroutine expenses,
          • $5 million for court-mandated expenses, and
          • $10.2 million for the Juvenile Division.

The legislature will meet again in September for another three days of policy and budgetary hearings.


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Oregon Judicial Department Establishes Pretrial Release Guidelines

During the 2021 Legislative Session, the legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 48. The bill, which was introduced by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, requires the establishment of pretrial release guidelines. On June 7, 2022, Chief Justice Walters signed Chief Justice Order (CJO) 22-010, which establishes release guidelines that govern pretrial release orders (PROs) issued by presiding judges in each judicial district.

The legislature’s stated goals in the establishment of statewide PRO guidelines, found in SB 48, were to

          • provide a consistent pretrial release decision-making structure across the state;
          • reduce reliance on the use of security to govern pretrial release;
          • include provisions for victim notification and input; and
          • balance the rights of the defendant and the presumption of pretrial release (for most crimes) against community and victim safety, and also the risk of failure to appear.

The criteria in CJO 22-010 was developed with input from the Chief Justice’s Criminal Advisory Committee. The CJO went into effect immediately, and a standing PRO in each judicial district will go into effect on July 1, 2022.


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Chief Justice Issues New Order on Remote Proceedings and Protective Measures

On June 23, 2022, Chief Justice Walters issued CJO 22-012 on remote hearings and protective measures. CJO 22-012 consolidates many provisions from previous CJOs issued since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and will go into effect on June 30, 2022.

Key provisions include the following:

          • Court proceedings may be conducted in person or by remote means, as determined by the presiding judge or, as applicable, the Tax Court Judge, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
          • In forcible entry and detainer (FED) proceedings, whether held remotely or in person, an attorney representing a party may appear by remote means, with no need to file a motion requiring court approval (and regardless of any Supplementary Local Rule to the contrary), as long as the attorney has provided notice to the court of the intent to appear remotely.
          • Notwithstanding any statutory requirement to the contrary, any category of arraignment may be conducted remotely, without agreement of the parties.
          • Exhibits may continue to be eFiled in the circuit courts, at the presiding judge’s determination, and the presiding judge also may establish timing and form-of-submission requirements.
          • Protective face coverings are not required to be worn, unless an exception applies. Exceptions include requirements that apply in correctional facilities, requirements that apply by Presiding Judge Order, or when otherwise directed or required as a reasonable protective measure.
          • Social distancing may be required in the public areas of a court facility by Presiding Judge Order, and social distancing otherwise may be directed or required as a reasonable protective measure.
          • Any person in a court proceeding may request that appropriate protective measures be taken, to be determined by the judge presiding over the proceeding.