Bills would waive fines, reimburse Oregon businesses for lockdown losses


Senate Republicans introduced more than a dozen bills addressing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Diners sit at the Carver Hangar, a restaurant in Boring, Ore., on Jan. 6, 2021. As coronavirus deaths soar, a growing number of restaurants like Carver Hangar in states across the country are reopening in defiance of strict COVID-19 rules that have shut them down for indoor dining for weeks, or even months. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — A bill that would grant businesses reimbursement for lost income due to coronavirus lockdown orders is slated for a public hearing Thursday afternoon in the Oregon legislature, part of a slate of Republican-sponsored legislation aimed at helping businesses and individuals recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Senate Bill 531 would give businesses the right to seek reimbursement from the state if they were forced to cease business operations due to Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders issued to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fiscal analysts aren’t able to estimate the impact of the bill yet — only that it could be “significant.”

The legislation is part of a package introduced by Republicans, aimed at providing relief following the pandemic.

Another notable bill would rescind penalties and fines levied against businesses for violations of COVID-19 restrictions if no outbreak occurred as a result of the violation.

Other bills in the package would create a tax credit for landlords who lost income because of non-payment of rent; exempt necessities like prescription drugs, diapers and baby formula from the corporate activities tax; and give people with student loans a tax credit for interest payments.

Currently, Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives (37-23) and Senate (18-12).

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