LOC News

Special Session Update

Although the special session had not concluded when this week’s LOC Bulletin was published, we want to give our member cities a snapshot of what has been going on this week in the Legislature. The session began with police reform as the driving force for urgency in the wake of nationwide and international protests over the death of George Floyd, police brutality, and racial injustice in America. A package of six bills related to police reform was identified as a priority of the Legislature and is expected to pass.

In addition, as an historical civil rights moment is unfolding, the Coronavirus pandemic is continuing, and this was the first time the Legislature met as a full body to address that issue. COVID-19 has spurred the Legislature to prioritize bills relating to: technical fixes for the Commercial Activities Tax passed during the 2019 session; broadband investment; foreclosure protections; commercial and residential evictions; and safe harbor liability protections related to cities, business, and schools that  are implementing public health protections to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The following is a more detailed summary of these bills.

Police Reform Package:

The Joint Committee on the First Special Session, co-chaired by Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, passed out six pieces of legislation on police reform this week. The following is an overview:

  • SB 1604 - makes the establishment of a discipline matrix or guide a mandatory subject of collective bargaining, meaning the topic cannot be refused by one party in a labor negotiation.  Once such a guide or matrix is in a contract, an arbitrator could not override discipline imposed by a police chief that’s in accordance with the agreed upon guide;
  • HB 4201 - creates a taskforce on police reforms that will report back to the Legislature in 2021 with recommendations on police transparency and use of force. It is anticipated that much of the work of this group will be to reform instances of deadly force and force that results in serious physical injury; 
  • HB 4203 - limits the instances when a choke hold or other physical tactics that restrict the air and blood flow in the neck can be used to instances in which deadly force is authorized under existing law. The practice will be banned as a means of securing custody or control of an individual; 
  • HB 4205  -requires that all police and reserve officers must intervene in instances of excessive force and other serious misconduct and report that misconduct to a supervisor. 
  • HB 4207 - creates an online database of officers who have had actions taken against their police certifications and requires police agencies to keep the personnel records of police officers for 10 years and provide those records to any agency seeking to hire a police officer who works for has worked for them.  A city would also have immunity from civil action for releasing that information. 
  • HB 4208 - bans the use of projectile fired tear gas or other irritants to disperse public disturbances, but allows their use during a declared riot.  Aerosol sprayers, such as the containers an officer carries on their belt and which must be used in close proximity, are not addressed in the bill.

All bills are headed to the floors of both chambers today and passage is expected. 

Liability Protection: 

The Legislature had been poised to take up liability protection that would have protected cities and other entities that comply with guidance given by the governor’s executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority for claims resulting from COVID-19.  Instead, the presiding officers sent that issue to a workgroup with the hope that it will be taken up in the next special session.  Given this protection will not be provided now, cities should be in regular contact with their attorneys and CIS risk managers when implementing their re-opening plans.  This is a very disappointing outcome given the broad coalition of support that included local governments, schools and the business community.  LOC will work within the work group process to advance our concerns.

Broadband Investment:

  • SB 1603 has been a priority bill for the last two sessions.  The LOC is part of a large coalition of supporters that includes schools, cities, counties, telecommunications providers, cable providers and others. SB 1603 will help close the digital divide by expanding the Oregon Universal Service Fund (OUSF) to include cell phone users in the fee pool. The additional funds generated by adding cell phone users to this fee pool  will establish a sustainably funded broadband grant program within the state’s newly established Broadband Office to help cities pay for broadband planning and/or infrastructure projects.

Corporate Activities Tax (CAT) Fix:

  • HB 4201 makes a series of technical fixes is expected to pass both chambers today.


  • HB 4204 would enact a moratorium on foreclosures until September 30 and gives homeowners an opportunity to roll payments plus interest to the end of their loan.

Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board: 

  • ​​​​​​​HB 4209 clarifies that the board may administer 10 programs as opposed to 10 grants.  The bill allows the board to work with a third party administrator. 

Residential and Commercial Evictions:

  • HB 4213 would extend the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions until September 30, 2020 and provide a 6-month grace period for repayment.

Omnibus Kitchen Sink:

  • HB 4212 includes:
    • An Emergency Shelter and Siting Concept (from the 2020 session).  Would waive all local siting and zoning regulations and the land use appeals process, for approving the siting of emergency shelters for a 90-day period.
    • Local Government and Special Government Body Public Meetings and Operations. Relief from public meeting law allowing local governments to conduct all meetings using telephone, video conferencing or other electric means.
    • Garnishment Modifications. Protects CARES Act recovery rebate payments from garnishment.
    • Judicial Proceeding Extensions and Electronic Appearances.
    • Low Income Utility Bill Assistance. Establishes the low-income utility payment fund within state treasury independent from the General Fund.
    • Pilot Program for Remote Notary Services.
    • Isolation Shelter Liability Limit.  For owners and operators of isolation shelters used for isolating transition.
    • Extends Termination of Enterprise Zones.  Those set for termination June 30, 2020 would now terminate  December 31, 2020.

Contact: Jim McCauley, Legislative Director – jmccauley@orities.org

Last Updated 6/26/​​​​​​20