FILE - Oregon Capitol Building

The Oregon state capitol building in Salem, Oregon.

(The Center Square) — The Oregon state legislature is reconvening for a second special session this month to tackle the state's multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, Gov. Kate Brown announced.

State lawmakers will return to the capitol in Salem, Oregon on Monday, August 10. June's special session saw them voting masked and six feet apart, per Gov. Brown's health orders.

"We need to tighten belts in state government, just like every Oregon family is doing during this economic crisis," Brown said in a statement Friday. 

The state report from June estimated that Oregon could see an approximate $2.7 billion deficit over the current two-year budget cycle and a $4.4 billion deficit by 2023.

The report also said that the Oregon Rainy Day Fund and Education Stability Fund stood at $1.6 billion in April.

A round of deep budget cuts proposed by state lawmakers in July could slash funding for a host of agencies, from state police to rural health programs. The proposal left the Oregon education fund virtually untouched.

State lawmakers additionally proposed $500 relief checks last month to Oregonians waiting on unemployment benefits with no further details on how such relief would be implemented.

The first special session this year saw 22 bills debated over the three day voting marathon allowing little time for public comment.

Police reform took center stage in the session with two bills banning chokeholds and tear gas in mosts instances passing with solid bipartisan support. Another passed bill placed tougher restrictions on arbitrators overturning police disciplinary findings. 

Last special session also saw the extension of the state's eviction moratorium through October 1 and the moratorium on rent payments through March 31, 2021. Gov. Brown maintains the authority to extend both moratoriums further.

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod, R-Stayton, made it clear that he wanted his colleagues to keep their eye on the state's fiscal crisis.

"Policy bills should be off the table," Girod said in a statement. "The focus should be on the budget."

As state governments across the country grapple with major budget shortfalls amid the current nationwide recession, the National Governors Association last week requested another $500 billion in federal funds from Congress.

The state legislature's 160-day regularly scheduled session begins on Feb. 1, 2021.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.