2020 Special Session: Episode II

Gov. Kate Brown issues statement on whether Oregon could have a second special session in 2020

Governor Kate BrownPhoto by Todd Cooper

The last time the Legislature met seems like ages ago since it was pre-COVID-19. The 32-day legislative session in February and early March ended with only three bills sent to the governor’s desk because Republican legislators walked out in protest over Democrats re-introducing climate action.

With the presence of COVID-19 in Oregon and its detrimental impact on the state, Gov. Kate Brown announced April 2 that she will call for a special session when there is “sufficient clarity about the federal stimulus.” She says this is so state money would focus on filling in gaps left by the federal stimulus package.

“Once we have sufficient clarity about the federal stimulus, I will call a special session and ask lawmakers to take further action,” Brown says in a statement this afternoon. “In the meantime, my team is reviewing the policy changes recommended by the legislative committee to determine which are the most urgent and which can be accomplished through other means.”

President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act Friday, March 27. The $2 trillion landmark legislation has numerous elements to it, such as more money for unemployment insurance and small business loans. But the highlight of that bill for many is the $1,200 check most people will receive — except students who are usually dependents on their parents taxes, the unhoused and more.

“The federal government’s recently passed CARES Act should bring significant, critically-needed financial resources to Oregon as we continue to face this public health crisis,” Brown said. “The CARES Act includes investments in essential medical supplies, expanded unemployment insurance, and increased support for small businesses.”