SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are looking to convene a special remote hearing to approve tens of millions of dollars of aid to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including hospitals, rentals and workers.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports top lawmakers in both parties say they anticipate the Legislature’s Emergency Board will meet next week to allocate tens of millions of dollars in emergency funds as the state awaits federal stimulus payments. Items likely to be up for consideration, majority Democrats said, include direct assistance for renters, additional resources for homeless services and domestic violence prevention, help for small businesses and money for people awaiting unemployment insurance.
“We’re gonna deal with some of the things that we think have got to move now,” Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said Wednesday. “There’s some real emergencies out there.”
The Emergency Board, which has the power to allocate state funds when the Legislature is not in session, has around $50 million to work with. House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said Thursday she hoped to leave around $20 million in the fund to address wildfires and other hazards.
By contrast, the state is expecting roughly $1.6 billion in additional federal funds to help combat the pandemic.
Top Republicans said early Thursday they were still awaiting a draft agenda.