Oregon legislators grapple with the economy during pandemic

Politics

Fixing Oregon's budget shortfall a top priority

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The coronavirus pandemic is clearly taking a huge bite out of the Oregon economy. That’s why Oregon lawmakers began a second special legislative session Monday to figure out how to fix a budget shortfall of more than $1 billion.

The state’s budget shortfall is a top priority for legislators who plan on making approximately $400 million in cuts and taking $400 million from Oregon’s education reserve fund.

Lawmakers showed up on the floor of the House and Senate wearing masks, but are working in virtual meetings on the bugets. But they and Gov. Kate Brown said they will not reduce the $9 billion in planned spending on education and will instead tap into a reserve fund to help cover that shortfall.

They also expect many state worker jobs that are vacant to stay that way.

Two big questions: How long will this special session last and whether lawmakers will work on other issue, like police reform.

Legislators could decide on whether to move forward with a ban on police from using chokeholds on citizens. In June, the legislature passed a chokehold ban, however, it still allows officers to use deadly force–such as chokeholds–in certain situations.

Other legislation involving law enforcement protocols is a proposal that would restrict when officers are allowed to use physical force.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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