Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney is recovering from a bout with COVID-19 as lawmakers convene virtual meetings this week as part of regularly scheduled legislative committee days.
The legislature will hold nearly 40 remote hearings Tuesday through Friday, with the Senate meeting in Salem Friday to confirm executive appointments made by Gov. Kate Brown.
“Sen. Courtney has had COVID-19 and is doing better now,” said Johnmartin Sherman-Lewis, Courtney’s spokesperson. “He is double boosted and has every intention to preside over the Senate later this week.”
Sherman-Lewis said that Courtney, 78, checked into the hospital briefly on his doctor’s recommendation out of an abundance of caution, but was discharged about a week ago and is recovering at home to prepare for the in-person session.
An ongoing construction project at the State Capitol has kept most hearings remote, but the Senate chambers are not impacted and so they will convene normally on Friday.
The Senate committee on rules and executive appointments on Tuesday will consider 121 appointments made by Brown to boards, councils and commissions on topics ranging from aviation and apprenticeships to university boards and workforce training. The full body will then vote Friday on those confirmations.
Other legislative committees will hear testimony to give updates on issues facing Oregon such as the upcoming wildfire season, drought, implementation of the state’s ballot measure decriminalizing drug possession, eviction prevention and providing homeless services.
Courtney is one of several Pacific Northwest leaders to test positive for the virus in recent weeks, including both Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Lt. Gov. Denny Heck. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden also contracted the virus in April.
Courtney, the longest-serving member of the Oregon Legislature, is not seeking reelection and plans to retire at the end of his current term.