Oregon lawmaker calls for December special session for COVID relief work

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — House Speaker Tina Kotek on Wednesday called for a special legislative session so lawmakers can allocate additional funds to help Oregonians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the state’s budget situation has stabilized and since Congress is unlikely to pass another relief package this year, I urge the Governor to declare a catastrophic disaster so the legislature can convene a remote special session in December,” Kotek said in a statement.

The Portland Democrat said she is particularly interested in seeing the state spend $100 million to keep Oregonians housed and stabilize the rental market as the pandemic continues into 2021.

Kotek’s push for a special session came as the state’s latest revenue forecast was released Wednesday. It was essentially unchanged from the September estimate by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, showing lawmakers would likely have $124 million more in tax revenue for this two-year budget period compared with the forecast three months ago.

The total adopted state budget for the 2019-21 biennium is about $86 billion.

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