- Twelve members of the Oregon State Legislature will meet online next week to ramp up the State's efforts towards slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
The purpose of the committee is to quickly make recommendations for legislative action to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The committee will work to:
- Provide short-term economic relief to low-income workers and small businesses. This could include paid sick leave supported financially by the State.
- Protect Oregonians from evictions and foreclosures
- Evaluate and monitor statewide public health strategies for responding to COVID-19 and make necessary changes to empower the State to respond effectively
- Recommend expedited budget and policy changes to the Oregon Legislature
Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) is Central Oregon’s only representative on the 12-member committee.
“There’s a lot of questions about what is happening,” Knopp told the Source this morning. “The legislative branch holds the executive branch accountable for decisions that they are ultimately making right now. There is a lot of work to be done. We’ll explore what could make it easier for the agencies to be able to act in the crisis. Some agencies might not have all the tools that they need.”
Knopp has been on daily calls with the Oregon Health Authority and staff from other agencies working on coronavirus. Knopp was chosen for the committee because he is a member of the Senate Interim Committee on Health Care, and because of his experience working with small businesses.
“I have a business background so I can provide significant input on what businesses are going through; what decisions need to be made in terms of their staff,” Knopp said.
Knopp is committed to making sure people continue to earn a paycheck throughout the crisis.
“Many of these families just can’t stop getting money for a few weeks,” he said.
Will legislators set aside their partisan differences and work together for now?
"I believe this will bring people together," Knopp said. "Obviously the coronavirus is not going to discriminate based on area... This shouldn't be a partisan issue."
Knopp said the committee is likely to meet sometime next week.
Other Members of the Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response:
Senator Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), Co-Chair
Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), Co-Chair
Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas)
Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-NW Portland/Beaverton)
Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie)
Rep. Greg Barreto (R-Cove)
Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley)
Rep. Paul Evans (D-Monmouth)
Rep. Raquel Moore-Green (R-Salem)
Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego)
Rep. Duane Stark (R-Grants Pass)
The first presumed case of COVID-19 in Deschutes County was reported March 11 by Deschutes County Public Health. As of March 13 at 9:30 a.m., there are 30 confirmed cases in Oregon across nine counties. Starting Monday, all schools across Oregon will close through the end of the month. Stay up to date with all the latest coronavirus news in Central Oregon at the Source’s “Coronavirus HQ” page.
The Source is maintaining an active, growing list of event cancellations in Central Oregon. Check out our event cancellations in Central Oregon page, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with updated event information.