Contact: Andrea Dominguez, Chief of Staff
Oregon House District 60 Newsletter
Issue #16
Legislative Special Session #2 Review
On Monday, the Legislature convened for our second special session of the year to address the $1.2 billion budget deficit, and unlike in a usual session, only two Joint Committees were established—one for the budget and one for policy items. Only the Speaker of the House and the Senate President could introduce legislative concepts.
Transparency and Public Input
The Special Session excluded public testimony, public hearings, and public engagement, and allowed only for the legislators that were on the committees to provide testimony. This is not the way I prefer we legislate—when we conduct hearings behind closed doors, without public input and with pre-determined outcomes through back-door deals, the democratic process is broken. It hinders greatly the transparency that is expected of Oregon’s governing body and that I am committed to as your legislator. I will be submitting a bill in the next session to hopefully keep this from occurring in the future.
Liability protections for schools
In addition to balancing the budget crisis, the next priority item should have been addressing the school insurance liability issue. The majority of our school districts lost their protection from frivolous liability lawsuits in June, meaning anyone who might contract Coronavirus at a school event or on school grounds could sue the school district and the district would have no protection. The immunity protection for schools, as long as they are following all public health guidelines, was supposed to be on the docket this special session, but unfortunately it was not taken up for consideration. Delaying this decision all but removes any possibility of schools reopening for in-person instruction until well beyond September.
School re-opening metrics
Several weeks ago, the Governor released her school reopening metrics, which were a one-size-fits-all approach to schools across Oregon. As we know, our frontier communities and school districts are not the same as compacted districts in other areas of the state.
A workgroup of rural legislators, school superintendents, county commissioners, and members from both the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority proposed to Governor Brown a different approach, one that accounts for the distinctions and uniqueness of our schools.
We put together a plan to re-evaluate and adjust the metrics to re-open our schools, while maintaining a safe atmosphere for students, teachers, and school employees. Governor Brown released those new metrics yesterday, and we are very pleased with the outcome and grateful to all who worked with us.
The new metrics apply to counties with fewer than 30,000 residents, or counties with less than six people per square mile. A copy of the metrics can be found here.
Getting our students back into a school building has been a priority of mine, and I am thankful I could help lead this conversation for our communities. I want to express great gratitude to the local superintendents, local public health authorities, and the rest of the legislators and commissioners in Eastern Oregon for all of the work that went into this so we could be successful, and so our kids and families have the support they need.
The Employment Department has updated their website to be more user-friendly for unemployment claims. This should also expedite payouts on claims. They have launched the “Benefits While You Wait” program to help those whose cases are awaiting adjudication. You can check out the program here.
Joint Virtual Town Hall
The next joint virtual town hall meeting with Senator Findley, Rep. Bonham, and I will be held on Thursday, August 20 at 5:30pm (PST). To register, please click here.
We are continuing to help all constituents who may need help on anything related to an unemployment claim. Please send us an email with your name, address, phone number, customer I.D. number, and a brief description of the problem at
We know things are changing often and rapidly, and that all of us are adjusting our daily lives. Thank you for staying connected with our office, and as always, reach out if there is anything we can do to better serve you. Together we will get through this.
Stay safe.
Representative Mark Owens
House District 60
Frontier Oregon--The Best Part of the State
Voting Record for the 2020 Second Special Session:
HB 4301-Passed
Provides clarification on when peace officer or corrections officer may use force that impedes normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure on throat or neck. It also aligned policy with case law. This bill did not exclude any tools that our law enforcement can use. I fully support our law enforcement and we need to continue to fund them. 
I voted for this bill.
HB 4302-Passed
Establishes and modifies fees and requirements relating to permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration and geothermal well drilling operation.
I voted against this bill.
HB 4303-Passed
Directs State Treasurer to transfer moneys from Education Stability Fund to State School Fund.
I voted for this bill.
HB 4304-Passed
Modifies requirements relating to certain fiscal reports.
I voted against this bill.
HB 5221-Passed
Modifies amounts of lottery funds allocated from Administrative Services Economic Development Fund to state agencies.
I voted against this bill.
HCR 221-Passed
Amending Legislative Branch Personnel Rule 27 and adopting Legislative Branch Personnel Rule 27-A.
I voted for this bill.
SB 1701-Passed
Provides that unemployed individual receiving unemployment insurance benefits for weeks ending before January 1, 2022, who has earnings from less than full-time employment may earn greater of $300 or one-third of individual's weekly benefit amount before individual's weekly benefit amount is reduced.
I voted for this bill.
SB 1702-Died
Temporarily authorizes payment of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals performing services in other than instructional, research or principal administrative capacity for educational institution or institution of higher education in circumstances in which payment is currently denied.
Died in Committee
SB 1703-Passed
Provides temporarily that during statutorily declared emergency Governor may authorize Director of Department of Revenue to disclose certain information set forth in tax report or return to Director of Employment Department if Director of Department of Revenue determines that administration of any federal or state law or program requires disclosure to enable Employment Department to verify identity or income level of any person for purposes related to emergency or any consequences of emergency.
I voted for this bill.
SB 5721-Passed
Modifies amounts and purposes authorized for issuance of general obligation bonds and revenue bonds for biennium.
I voted for this bill.
SB 5722-Passed
Modifies limits on payment of expenses from specified funds by certain state agencies for capital construction.
I voted for this bill.
SB 5723-Passed
Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Emergency Board for allocations during biennium.
I voted against this bill.
SCR 221-Passed
Adjourns sine die 2020 second special session of Eightieth Legislative Assembly.
I voted for this bill.
More information about these bills can be found on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) at:
District Office:
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District Office:
258 S. Oregon Street
Ontario, OR 97914