Joint Legislative Leadership Calls for Special Session to Address Impacts from COVID-19

Recognizing the “urgent and wide-ranging needs facing Oregonians” in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, Democratic and Republican legislative leaders called for a special session at a future date to consider an emergency response package to address statewide impacts on families, workers and businesses.

The joint statement was endorsed by House Speaker Tina Kotek, House Democratic Leader Barbara Smith Warner, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, Senate President Peter Courtney and Senate Democratic Leader Ginny Burdick.

“This is an uneasy time,” the joint statement read. “Democrats and Republicans here in Oregon are working together to keep all of our communities safe. We must take care of each other and we must do all we can to save lives, reduce the spread of the disease, and build greater supports for workers and families.”

A Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will meet for the first time this Wednesday.

The committee, which Kotek and Courtney formed last week, will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to protect the legislators and staff participating in the meeting.

Committee members will receive online and remote public testimony. The committee will hear only invited testimony during the meeting. Members of the public can submit ideas, feedback and testimony via email to by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Written testimony will be posted on OLIS and the committee meeting will be livestreamed on OLIS.

The committee is charged with identifying actions to support low-income and vulnerable Oregonians and small businesses as they comply with public health guidance. These actions could include short-term economic relief, protection from housing instability, support for those not eligible for state programs (such as sick leave and unemployment insurance) and more.

They are asked to monitor public health strategies and response for COVID-19 and consider additional statutory changes to assist with the public health emergency, and make timely budget and policy recommendations to the Legislature.

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