February 8, 2019

Oregon State Bar Testifies in Support of Increasing the Number of Judges in Oregon and Judicial Compensation

On the first day of session, the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) provided an overview of Oregon’s court system to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. During the hearings, Chief Justice Martha Lee Walters and State Court Administrator Nancy Cozine provided an overview of the OJD and answered questions from committee members. The presentation delved into the structure of the court system and the types and volume of the different cases that come before the courts. The OJD’s presentation can be found here.

In addition to an overview of the court system, the OJD presented three bills to the Judiciary Committees. In the morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony in support of SB 186, which updates the references to the consumer price index for the Oregon Tort Claims Act. In the afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony in support of increasing judicial compensation (HB 2238) and increasing the number of circuit court judges in Oregon (HB 2239). Supporting adequate and stable judicial funding is one of the OSB’s legislative priorities for the 2019 legislative session, and the Bar submitted testimony in support of both bills heard in the House Judiciary Committee. In addition, Mark Comstock, former Board of Governors member, and Lea Ann Easton, chair of the OSB’s work group tasked with updating The Specific Standards for Representation in Juvenile Dependency Cases traveled to the Capitol to testify in support of these two pieces of legislation.

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Oregon State Bar Focuses on Consumer Protection in Salem

On January 30, Christine Costantino, 2019 Oregon State Bar (OSB) President, and Amber Hollister, OSB General Counsel, traveled to Salem to represent the Bar. At the request of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, they discussed the Bar’s 2019 Legislative Priorities and the 2019 Law Improvement Package, provided legislators with an overview of the OSB, and met with legislators. In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on SB 358, the 2019 Bar Act bill.

The presentation highlighted the Bar’s commitment to consumer protection, access to justice, and a fair and impartial judiciary. Legislators had an opportunity to learn about the Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service, including the Modest Means Program and the Military Assistance Panel; the Client Security Fund; and Bar member involvement with the Campaign for Equal Justice. The OSB looks forward to working on these important issues during the 2019 legislative session.

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Oregon State Bar Bills Receive First Hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

On February 4, three of the OSB Law Improvement Program bills received a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 359, the Business Law Section’s proposed bill to ratify defective corporate acts, received a public hearing and a work session and will move out of committee and to the Senate floor. SB 360, the Nonprofit Organizations Law Section’s proposed bill to update ORS Chapter 65, Oregon’s law on nonprofit corporations, received a public hearing. SB 361, the Sustainable Future Section’s proposed bill to update Oregon’s Prudent Investor Rule, also received a public hearing. Thank you to Valerie Sasaki and David Ludwig of the Business Law Section, Susan Bower of the Nonprofit Organizations Law Section, and June Wiyrick Flores of the Sustainable Future Section for making the trip to Salem on a snowy Monday morning.

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Bills of Interest

Oregon Judicial Department
HB 2238 – Modifies annual salaries of judges of Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit courts and Oregon Tax Court.
HB 2239 – Increases number of circuit court judges in certain judicial districts.
HB 2240 – Authorizes State Court Administrator to establish Central Violations Bureau and designate employees to act as violations clerks.
HB 2241 – Authorizes Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to impose fees on public bodies for use of certain electronic court services.
SB 186 – Changes index for determining cost of living adjustments to limitations on damages under Oregon Tort Claims Act.
SB 187 – Provides that judicial marshal certified by Department of Public Safety Standards and Training qualifies as police officer under Public Employees Retirement System.

Oregon State Bar
SB 357 – Directs Oregon State Bar to include in Legal Services Program methods of evaluation of legal services providers and support for Judicial Department’s efforts to improve public access to and information about court system.
SB 358 – Removes provisions prohibiting Oregon State Bar from charging membership fees to members admitted to practice law for 50 years or more, modifies provisions relating to information provided to bar by Department of Revenue, and modifies provisions regarding submission of certification and disclosures for lawyer trust accounts.
SB 359 – Provides structure and procedures by which business corporations and nonprofit corporations may ratify and approve defective corporate actions.
SB 360 – Updates laws that govern nonprofit corporations in this state.
SB 361 – Modifies prudent investor rule to allow trustee to consider environmental, social and governance factors of investments when making investment decisions.
HB 2459 – Provides procedure for certain persons that hold interest in real property to request and obtain lien information statement that shows amounts necessary to satisfy encumbrance against real property from other person that holds encumbrance.
HB 2460 – Provides that transferee of homestead is not liable for amounts of outstanding deferred property taxes due on homestead if transferee receives no interest in real or personal property from estate.

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Save the Date

President’s Legislative Reception
Thursday, February 21, 2019
5:00pm – 7:00pm
Salem Convention Center
200 Commercial St SE, Salem, OR 97301

Oregon State Bar Day at the Capitol
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
8:00am – 5:00pm
Willamette University Hearings Room & OCJC Lobby
900 State St, Salem, OR 97301

If you are interested in attending either event, please contact Kellie Baumann at [email protected].

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Thank you for reading the Oregon State Bar’s CAPITOL INSIDER.
The archives are available here.

2018 Public Affairs Committee Members

Eric Foster, Chair
Eddie Medina, Vice Chair
Whitney Boise
John Bachofner
Kate Denning
Kamron Graham
Bik-Na Han
Michael Rondeau 

Public Affairs Department

Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director
Amy Zubko, Public Affairs Legislative Attorney
Matt Shields, Public Affairs Staff Attorney
Kellie Baumann, Public Affairs Assistant

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