News & Politics

Oregon Emergency Bill Would Suspend Due Process Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D-Portland) convened the Oregon legislature into emergency session on Wednesday, which is expected to last two or three days. The agenda has several bills, including HB 4212. That bill includes a clause written by Martha Walters, the chief justice of Oregon’s Supreme Court, at the request of Brown. This clause will allow Walters to suspend due process for up to sixty days if she deems it necessary during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of the legislature reining Gov. Brown in after her illegal orders under the CCP coronavirus pandemic, they have proposed to expand the emergency powers of state government.

They’ll totally give them back after the emergency ends, though.

The relevant sections of the bill (in bold) don’t pass constitutional muster, but will probably pass anyway:

Authorizes Chief Justice of Supreme Court, during emergency period and for 60 days thereafter, and upon finding of good cause, to extend or suspend time period or time requirement in rule or statute in specified court proceedings. Authorizes presiding judge of circuit court to extend custody and postpone trials upon finding of good cause, and within specified limits. Authorizes Chief Justice to direct or permit electronic court appearances. Extends time to commence civil action or give notice of civil claim if expiration of time falls within emergency period or within 90 days after end of emergency period.

Immunizes owner, officer, operator, employee or agent of isolation shelter, or public entity, from civil liability that is predicated on claim of illness, injury or death from COVID-19. Exempts from immunity conduct that constitutes gross negligence, malice or fraud, that is willful, intentional or reckless, that is criminal or that is unrelated to COVID-19.

Requires Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt temporary and permanent rules establishing emergency temporary infectious disease standards. Directs Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules regarding race and ethnicity data collection by health care providers. Declares emergency, effective on passage.

Quick question: What is an isolation shelter, exactly?

More to the point, any emergency going forward can justify the courts suspending due process in any case. Of course, the bill contains an emergency clause, which means it takes effect immediately upon passing and severely limits the power of the people to refer it to the general ballot for a vote.

One also wonders how the Oregon Health Authority, which already wrote rules for itself to enforce emergency coronavirus rules outside of law enforcement agencies, will collect and use data on race and ethnicity. This goes well beyond the intent of the agency when the legislature first created it as part of the set of Obamacare Medicaid expansion passed a decade ago.

It bears repeating that Chief Justice Martha Walters recused herself from the decision to vacate a lower court’s ruling that Gov. Brown’s emergency pandemic orders were illegal. Turns out, she’s best friends with Kate, so they had to settle for a 6-0 ruling. Brown appointed five of the seven justices on the Supreme Court, while previous Democratic governors appointed the other two.

Oregon Supreme Court Cancels Reopening, Allowing Governor’s Orders to Stand—for Now

The legislature, facing a large budget deficit due to the complete lockdown of Oregon’s economy in response to the Wuhan virus, will not consider budget remedies during this session. Instead, the emergency being tackled is that of systemic racism:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will call the Legislature into a special session on June 24 to pass police accountability legislation and adopt some of her coronavirus executive orders into law.

Law enforcement oversight will be the focus of the session, Brown said in a statement.

Before demonstrations erupted nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the governor had planned a special session to rebalance the state budget and tackle coronavirus policies. That budget work can wait until a second special session later in the summer, Brown said Tuesday.

“The public’s call for significant police reform is too urgent to wait until the next regular legislative session,” the governor said. “It’s imperative that the Legislature take action on these issues right away.”

Brown said she also wants lawmakers to pass into law “several pandemic-related policies that I have implemented via executive order, including the temporary eviction moratorium and protecting CARES Act payments from garnishment …”

So we need to make the eviction ban permanent, along with, as rumor has it, foreclosure protection for property owners who now can’t collect rents or evict non-payers. Instead, after years of not doing a thing about the police, it’s suddenly become urgent to act, because of the protests.

Oregon Gov Pulls Out All the Stops to Destroy Mother Who Reopened Her Salon

Kate Brown and her cronies are actively proving what many of us thought about Democrats. They’re thrilled to push racial divides as a distraction and an intimidation tactic, while they quietly expand the power of the state. It’s for our protection, after all.

This makes the recall effort all the more vital to restore some sanity to the State of Oregon.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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