Read all newsletters from Rep. Post regarding the Wuhan virus
Earlier this week, an individual who was present in the House Chamber last week tested positive for COVID-19. In response, all floor sessions were cancelled until Monday, March 29. Here is a statement from the House Minority Leader, Rep. Christine Drazan.
While it is important for those working in the building throughout this 2021 Legislative Session to remain safe and take precautions, it is equally important for us to have an open and transparent legislative process. As long as the majority insists on pushing controversial legislative proposals for a wide range of topics while the building remains closed to the public, we will continue to depend on the Constitution so that your voice is heard. Read more here.
Potential OSHA Permanent Rules
I'm sure you've heard about the potential OSHA rules being considered. Please see the below response from OSHA:
As we discussed, some of the material that is circulating is simply inaccurate (there is nothing in the proposed Oregon OSHA rule that requires any individual to be vaccinated, for example). And the bulk of the issues being raised are already included in the temporary rule (our Rulemaking Advisory Committee encouraged us to make minimal changes, and as a result we did not make changes to the appendices, but I think it is likely that a number of them will be revised to more directly focus on worker exposure as part of the final rule; Appendix A-13, which addresses K-12 education, is particularly likely to undergo significant revisions).
With regard to the "permanent" nature of the rule, as we have discussed before, the rule needs to go through permanent rulemaking. We considered including a sunset date, describing specific criteria that would trigger automatic repeal, or tying it to the governor's emergency declaration but — for the proposal, at least — we did not try to predict an exact date, we did not believe it was appropriate to identify specific criteria given the range of issues that needed to be addressed (and the fact that it might be appropriate to repeal different provisions of the rule at different times), and we wanted to continue to avoid tying the rulemaking (which we are adopting using the normal process and our existing authority) to the emergency declaration. We are certainly open to comments on that issue, and particularly if someone has ideas about how the repeal should be triggered that they want to suggest. How to phase out the rule — and how best to build that expectation into the rule itself — is very much an open issue in the proposal. You can certainly encourage people to provide comments on that score.
The rule does, however, include the following note near the very beginning of the text: "Note: Although the rule must be adopted as a permanent rule, its purpose is to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon OSHA intends to repeal the rule when it is no longer necessary to address that pandemic. Because it is not possible to assign a specific time for that decision, Oregon OSHA will consult with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, and other stakeholders as circumstances change to determine when all or part of the rule can be appropriately repealed."
Oregon OSHA will not leave the rule in place once the need to address the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
As I mentioned, the rule largely tracks with the existing temporary rule that took effect last November (and which itself is based in large measure on existing OHA requirements as they related to various workplaces). We have a document on the web that briefly compares the existing rule and the proposal, which you can find at https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules... (PDF).
We also put together a summary to address some of the confusing, inaccurate, and incomplete information being circulated. I have pasted a copy of it into the text below:
There is incomplete and at times inaccurate information circulating about Oregon OSHA's proposal to extend requirements for employers to protect workers against the risks of COVID-19. We think you should have the facts and access to the actual rule proposal documents:
- Under state law, the current emergency temporary rule addressing COVID-19 in the workplace — adopted in November 2020 and which expires May 4, 2021 — cannot be extended beyond 180 days.
- To extend protections for workers against the coronavirus disease — which remains a significant concern in Oregon — Oregon OSHA must propose a permanent rule that replaces the temporary one.
- As specifically indicated in the rulemaking proposal, Oregon OSHA expects to repeal the permanent rule once it is no longer needed to address the pandemic in the workplace.
- The worker protections we seek to extend against COVID-19 are rooted in measures proven to be effective in our battle against the spread of this disease, including physical distancing, use of face coverings, sanitation, and employee information and training.
- We encourage you to read the actual rule proposal documents. Here they are: https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules... (PDF).
- Please take a look, too, at the following summary comparing the proposed rule to the existing temporary rule: https://osha.oregon.gov/OSHARules... (PDF).
- We are currently taking public comments on our rule proposal. The feedback is essential to us as we move forward with this process. You can provide written comments to [email protected] by April 2, and they will be considered as part of the record.
- We have more facts, resources, and information about COVID-19 and the workplace here: https://osha.oregon.gov/covid19.
DMV Update and Online Renewal
A quick update on Oregon's DMV and their work to improve customer service across the state...
- Field offices continue to see lots of Oregonians — 33,000 weekly customer visits last week
- Knowledge tests and drive tests also remain high, with ~9,500 and ~2,200 administered last week respectively
Title and Registration
- Title production remains constant, with ~20,000 titles issued last week
- Upfront imaging of title transactions continues to progress, with thousands of titles already entered into DMV's system. This does two significant things: 1) allows more work to be distributed electronically to a larger number of staff, thereby reducing the overall transaction time; and 2) allows staff to know where a specific transaction is at a given point in time, which will help as customers call in seeking update on their transaction.
- Title processing times are currently 19 weeks for in-state and out-of-state titles, and 15 weeks for mailed-in dealer titles
- Since rolling out the new AI technology at DMV call centers in January, we have seen a 40% reduction in the number of customers who receive an “all lines are busy” signal, indicating that more individuals are getting their questions answered by this system, allowing more complex questions to be handled by phone agents
- Call center wait remain between 35 and 40 minutes
MAJOR news! Starting in early May many Oregonians will be able to renew their driver licenses and ID cards online. This won't be available to everyone but it will be available for the more "typical" renewal transaction. This will help folks avoid the DMV if they don't want to come in and is one change in our constant evolution to modernize the way we serve Oregonians: by offering more options to do business. Beginning in May, folks should check out the website to see if their renewal qualifies or if they need an appointment to come in.
State Representative - HD 25
email: [email protected] I phone: 503-986-1425
address: 900 Court St NE, H-479, Salem, OR 97301