SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday she will convene a special legislative session next week to address the state’s COVID-19 pandemic and to improve police accountability following weeks of protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Brown said the session would start June 24. And, in a statement, Brown said she will likely call for a second special session later in the summer to address the huge budget hit coronavirus limitations on businesses and spending.
“In the meantime, I am finalizing a list of $150 million General Fund savings for this biennium, to be released by the end of this week as part of my efforts to put Oregon’s budget on better footing,” Brown said in a statement.
Last month state economists said Oregon faces an 11% drop in revenue from the previous biennium as the coronavirus pandemic triggered a shutdown order and a consequent drop in tax payments.
General Fund and other major revenues have been reduced relative to the March forecast by $2.7 billion in the current biennium and $4.4 billion in the 2021-23 budget period.
The governor said she wants to codify several of her executive orders she made recently in response to the pandemic into law, including the temporary eviction moratorium.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports itt remains unclear how lawmakers will meet in Salem while maintaining social distancing. The last legislative session imploded when Republicans staged a walkout to kill a cap-and-trade policy bill aimed at easing climate change.
The governor’s announcement already concerned some Republicans.
“I fail to understand why the Governor is calling the legislature in for a special session, an expensive undertaking for taxpayers, in the middle of a pandemic, when it is not intended to address the state budget deficit,” Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod, R-Stayton, said in a statement.