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Law Improvement Bills Move out of the First Chamber
After the first month of the legislative session, six of the Oregon State Bar law improvement bills have either passed out of their first chamber or are on the way to a floor vote. The two Board of Governors bills, SB 490, which implements administrative changes, and SB 491, which implements the changes from the Bar’s Discipline System Review Committee, have passed the Senate and been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. The Estate Planning and Administration Law Section’s bill, HB 2608, which modifies the Uniform Trust Code, and the Business Law Section’s bill HB 2610, which allows for electronic signatures, have passed the House and been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On March 1, the two bills from the Family Law Section, SB 492 and SB 522, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 492, which simplifies the spousal support modification process, passed out of committee without amendment on a 3–2 vote. SB 522, which allows courts to allow a claim for life insurance proceeds from a third-party beneficiary in specific situations, passed out of committee with a 5–0 vote. The two Family Law Section bills passed the Senate by a 16–13 vote and a 31–0 vote respectively on March 7.
75th Anniversary of Japanese American Internment Recognized by Legislature
Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 14 passed out of the Senate on February 16, 2017. The resolution acknowledges the 75th anniversary of Japanese American internment during World War II and recognizes the national Day of Remembrance.
The resolution was brought forward by the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs. Representatives from the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, the Commission, as well as Oregonians who lived in the internment camps, were invited to sit on the Senate floor during the vote.
The resolution received bipartisan support in the Senate. Senators Dembrow, Thomsen, Monnes Anderson, Prozanski, and Ferrioli all spoke in support of SCR 14. On March 7, 2017, SCR 14 was amended in the House Rules Committee. The House will vote on it in the coming week.
Oregon State Bar Day at the Capitol – May 23, 2017
Please join the Oregon State Bar for the biannual Day at the Capitol on May 23, 2017. This is an opportunity to meet your legislators; advocate for court funding, indigent defense, and civil legal services; and develop an in-depth understanding of the legislative process. Additional information will be released in the next few weeks.
If you are interested in participating, please contact the Public Affairs Department at [email protected] for more information.
Bills of Interest
Over the last few weeks, Bar sections and committees have continued to engage on a variety of pieces of proposed legislation. Not only has the Bar expressed support for judicial compensation and increasing the number of judges, the Consumer Law Section and the Administrative Law Section have also submitted testimony regarding proposed legislation.
HB 2605 – Increases number of circuit court judges in certain judicial districts. The Oregon State Bar submitted testimony in support of this bill.
HB 2636 – Modifies annual salaries of judges of Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Oregon Tax Court, and circuit courts. The Oregon State Bar submitted testimony in support of this bill.
SB 98 – Requires certain persons that service residential mortgage loans in Oregon to obtain or renew license. The Consumer Law Section submitted testimony in support of this bill.
SB 131 – Modifies provisions relating to allowance of telephone testimony in certain proceedings. The Public Affairs Committee directed the Bar to engage in a work group to ensure the bill addressed the use of telephone testimony in both civil and criminal cases.
Citizens’ Campaign for Court Funding Hosts Breakfast with the Chief Justice
On February 21, Mike Haglund, Ed Harnden, and Peter Bragdon hosted Chief Justice Thomas Balmer and members of the Corporate Counsel and Business Law sections, as well as a number of interested attorneys, to discuss the importance of funding Oregon’s court system in the current budget cycle. The Citizens’ Campaign for Court Funding was founded in 2011 in response to the budget cuts and subsequent furlough days the courts experienced during the 2009–2011 biennium.
The Governor’s proposed budget, released just before the legislative session began, suggested that the courts’ current-service-level funding should be cut by 3 percent. Taking into consideration the constitutionally and statutorily mandated payments, this would result in an approximately 5 percent cut to Oregon’s court budget for the 2017–2019 budget. These cuts could result in fewer staff and delays in court scheduling.
To find out more about the Citizens’ Campaign for Court Funding, please contact Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director. Additional information on this important project can be found at https://publicaffairs.osbar.org/court-funding/.
Ways and Means Road Shows
Thank you to the Bar members who participated in the Ways and Means Roadshows over the last month. We appreciate your commitment to funding Oregon’s courts, indigent defense, and civil legal services.
Vanessa Nordyke – Salem, OR
Eric Foster – Ashland, OR
Steve Corey – Hermiston, OR
Gerry Gaydos – Eugene, OR
Steve Bryant – Madras, OR
If you are interested in advocating for the Bar’s legislative priorities, please let us know who represents you in the state legislature. The Oregon State Legislature provides a search tool: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html.
Please e-mail [email protected] if you need help identifying your representatives. We look forward to working with you.
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2017 Public Affairs Committee Members
Kathleen Rastetter, Chair
John Mansfield, Vice Chair
Public Affairs Department
Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director
Amy Zubko, Public Affairs Legislative Attorney
Matt Shields, Public Affairs Staff Attorney
Kellie Bagnani, Public Affairs Assistant