As we approach Tuesday’s election there are still many races that we just don’t know what the outcome will be. It is all but certain that the Democrats will remain in control of both Chambers. In the House, it is most likely that the Ds will retain their supermajority. There is a scenario that in the although unlikely that the Ds could gain a couple of seats to get them to quorum proof – meaning the Rs couldn’t walk to shut the process down. We believe as of today that the numbers in the House will likely either be the same as today or plus one Republican (there will be some seats that which around). In the Senate, the Rs only need to gain one seat to get rid of the super majority held by the Democrats. This is entirely possible but the Rs need to hold onto all incumbents which is too close to tell at this point. Even the one pick up opportunity polling shows as a deadlock at this point. Seats to watch on election night include: House District 9, south coast where the R is likely to win (this is held by a D today); House District 32, north coast where this is too close to call at this point (currently held by a D); House District 54, Bend where the D is likely to win (held by a R today); Senate District 5, central coast where this race appears to be dead even (held by a D today); Senate District 10, too close to call (held by a R today); and Senate District 27, Bend where Republican Tim Knopp should hold on to win a close race.
You will all get a thorough election update on November 4th, if not before.
It looks like Oregon will be going back into Special Session sometime the week before Thanksgiving. They will be looking at both budget and policy issues, with most of the attention spent on wildfire relief, COVID issues and likely looking to extend earlier eviction legislation that has already been extended by executive order. As this date gets closer and we actually know what the date is, we will certainly keep you informed of what types of legislation will be on the list.
What Session will look like in 2021 is still a huge unknown. What we can tell you is, as of today, there is no limitation on legislation being introduced and so far there has been no change to the start date of Session in January. There are some people that are pushing to either start in January and recess until Spring or simply just change our start date to a date in Spring, but so far it appears that we will start in January and work through the end of June. If that is the case, while there may be a limited number of people in the Capitol, we feel most hearings, etc will be conducted remotely. Many in the lobby world are strongly advocating if that is the case to have extended timeline around notice for hearing and work session to make sure there is adequate time for advocates to make contact with legislators prior to votes taking place.
Just as a reminder interim legislative days are set for the week of December 7th.
Governor’s update on Schools:
The Governor and Director Colt Gill held a press conference late this morning in which they revealed new guidelines for potential reopening of in-person student populations between the grades of K-6. Effective immediately all districts would be able to begin planning and potentially qualifying for in-person instruction if certain county metrics are met (much of this was based on state metrics before). The updated reopening metrics remain among the most protective in the country but are now more aligned with the way other states have set their measures. They take into account the measures the CDC has recommended as benchmarks for school reopening, including case rates and test positivity thresholds over 14 days, risk mitigation strategies, and levels of transmission risk across different models of learning. There was an acknowledgement made that though the statewide numbers are climbing, the virus isn’t spreading as fast in every community and many counties have numbers well below the state average. Again the goal as outlined by the Governor and the Department of Education are to provide more opportunities for in-person instruction when the risk is relatively low. The three major changes are as follows:
- The state is removing the statewide 5% threshold for percentage of tests coming back positive and believes that the new approach will be simpler and will better reflect local conditions.
- There is a change in the review period for examining metrics data to two week periods rather than three consecutive one-week periods. The thought here is the change will avoid the situations where a one-time cluster in a smaller county resets the clock for them an additional three weeks.
- There is an expansion from the K-3 exception to elementary schools up to grade 6.
Here is a link to the new guidelines:https://www.oregon.gov/ode/students-and-family/healthsafety/Documents/Ready%20Schools%20Safe%20Learners%202020-21%20Guidance.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
As always if any of you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.
Matt and Thomas
Markee & Associates, Inc
5065 Inland Shores Way #110
Keizer Oregon 97303