The Oregon Capitol building in Salem. Photo: Chas Hundley
Oregon’s legislators will head back to Salem following Governor Kate Brown’s call to convene a special legislative session to tackle congressional and legislative redistricting.
Following the decennial census, held last in 2020, the Oregon Constitution requires the legislature to draw new districts to split the state into local legislative and congressional districts.
Oregon gained a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives thanks to a growing population in the state following last year’s census.
In a press release, the governor’s office said that the special session will begin Monday, September 20 at 8 a.m.
“In Oregon, we believe your vote is your voice, and every voice matters,” Brown said in a statement. “This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box. Based on my conversations with legislative leaders, and the ongoing public testimony we are hearing from Oregonians across the state this week, I believe the Legislature is ready to begin the next step of the redistricting process.”
The press release also noted a recent decision by the Oregon Supreme Court in State ex rel Kotek v. Fagan that sets the deadline to draw new maps by September 27, 2021. If legislators cannot come to an agreement by the deadline—or if Brown vetoes the results of the special session—drawing maps for legislative districts will fall to Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, while a judicial panel will draw maps for congressional districts.