Oregon Legislative Special Session

Published Friday, March 27, 2020

In anticipation of a special legislative session next week, the chairs of the Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response sent a letter to legislative leadership narrowing down the longer list of 47 policy proposals to an 11-page priority list. 

The list includes stability for working families; health care system needs; short term employer supports, and items that need more conversations or information to proceed or to be considered in the next set of recommendations. Here are those specifically applying to employers and businesses. You can read the full letter by clicking here

Evictions and foreclosures: The committee recommended strengthening the governor’s ban on residential evictions, including a ban on commercial evictions. The recommendations also include prohibiting foreclosures. 

Sick leave: The committee recommended ensuring clear statutory authority to allow parents to use leave to be home with their sick children in the event of a statewide public health emergency resulting in school or child-care closures. 

Short term employer support: The committee recommended allocating additional funds to Business Oregon’s flexible strategic reserve fund and requiring grants and loans be generated for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing rental assistance and utility costs and discussing offsetting cash flow challenges for small businesses subject to federal leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

Corporate activities tax: The committee co-chairs identified technical fixes to the CAT as a top priority. While acknowledging the request from businesses to delay implementation of the tax that went into effect January 2020, the co-chairs did not list it as a top priority. The co-chair’s letter stated: “While the committee could not reach a final decision to delay the tax, some consensus was found on considerations and information needed to better understand the impact of a delay. Some of those questions included: can you differentiate businesses by their margins, or by participation in the federal PFML program, and is there a balance to be struck between new and current local taxes, and more.”