March 18, 2021

Oregon State President David Wade testifies to House and Senate Judiciary Committees

During the opening month of the Oregon Legislature, Oregon State Bar President David Wade and OSB General Counsel Amber Hollister presented an overview of the Oregon State Bar and its work to protect the public to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Ballot Measure 110 Implementation and the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Law. OSB President Wade and Ms. Hollister provided an overview of the bar’s regulatory function, its mission to protect the public, and the public services the bar provides, and answered questions.

Additionally, the current and former chairs of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners, Joanna Perini-Abbot and the Hon. Angela Lucero respectively, testified along with Mr. Wade and Ms. Hollister to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Law about the Oregon bar exam and the Oregon State Bar. The written testimony is posted here.

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Oregon State Bar Bills Pass the Senate

On March 11, 2021, the Senate voted on three proposals from the Oregon State Bar’s Law Improvement Program: the OSB Consumer Law Section bill (SB 181), the OSB Estate Planning and Administration Section bill (SB 182), and the OSB Nonprofit Law Section bill (SB 185), All three bills passed the Senate and are now on the Speaker’s desk awaiting assignment to a House Committee.

In addition, SB 184, a proposal from the OSB Military and Veterans Law Section, passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Committee on Business and Labor for consideration. Thank you to the section members for volunteering your time and expertise!

      • Senate Bill 181 – Directs court to consider, in determining amount of award of attorney fees, whether attorney performed services on pro bono basis or award of attorney fees otherwise promotes access to justice.
      • Senate Bill 182 – Terminates authority of spouse as agent under certain estate planning documents upon annulment, separation or dissolution of marriage.
      • Senate Bill 184 – Modifies laws relating to preference given to veterans in public employment.
      • Senate Bill 185 – Specifies circumstances under which members of nonprofit corporation and board of directors of nonprofit corporation may discuss issues or take action by electronic means without meeting.

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How a Remote Legislative Session Works

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Legislative Session began remotely. A remote legislative session means that legislators, like many Oregonians, are primarily working from their homes and local communities. Committee meetings are held via video conferencing, and meetings with constituents, stakeholders, and other legislators are hosted either via phone or video conferencing. For those who travel to Salem to testify, there is an outdoor kiosk with a video connection set up to allow people to testify at the Capitol.

Committee hearings are hosted on Microsoft Teams and then broadcast through the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). To find a specific bill, view an agenda, or watch a hearing, go to the 2021 Legislative Session link in OLIS.

Beginning in January, legislators traveled from their home counties to Salem for floor sessions. For the first month or so of the legislative session, floor sessions were scheduled primarily to introduce proposed legislation. As of March 1, 2021, the House and Senate chambers began to meet twice a week to vote on bills on the House and Senate floor, in addition to introducing proposed legislation.

For more information on the legislative schedule and internal deadlines, visit the Secretary of the Senate’s web page.

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Bills of Interest

This legislative session, close to 2,500 bills have been introduced so far, and more are expected. Below are a few bills that may be of interest to practitioners.

      • HB 2009 – Establishes temporary limitations on lenders’ remedies for borrowers’ failures to make payments on obligations secured by mortgages, trust deeds or land sale contracts for certain real property.
      • HB 2176 – Eliminates minimum amount of fee added to judgment that includes monetary obligation that court or judicial branch is charged with collecting.
      • HB 2998 – Provides that party or attorney may not move to disqualify judge in judicial district with three or fewer circuit court judges.
      • HB 3230 – Establishes universal representation program in Oregon Department of Administrative Services.
      • HB 5012 – Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Judicial Department for certain biennial expenses.
      • SB 513 – Requires student to demonstrate proficiency in civics in order to receive high school diploma.
      • SB 765 – Makes permanent provisions allowing notary public to perform notarial act using communication technology for remotely located individual under certain circumstances.

For a comprehensive list of introduced list, go to the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS). For a list of bills by practice area, go to the Oregon State Bar’s Public Affairs page.

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Chief Justice Order 21-009 released on March 11, 2021

Last week Chief Justice Martha Walters released Chief Justice Order (CJO) 21-009 and a letter to the public. This new CJO replaces CJO 20-016 (restrictions on court operations) and CJO 20-047 (Amended) (additional restrictions during “freeze”).

The CJO addresses and updates court functions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last year, the Oregon Judicial Department has responded to the pandemic by expanding virtual access to the court system as well as following health and safety guidelines. However, many of the situations that were crucial to limit in March of 2020 are now options due to a greater understanding of the virus and a decreasing case count in March of 2021. The CJO addresses and provides guidance to the court system and its stakeholders until the court can lift social distancing requirements.

On March 15, 2021, Chief Justice Walters hosted “Courts, COVID, and Moving Forward,” a virtual CLE that addressed the changes to court processes. To review the materials from the CLE, click here.

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

2021 Oregon State Bar Officers and Public Affairs Chair

David Wade, President, Oregon State Bar
Kamron Graham, President Elect, Oregon State Bar
Liani Reeves, Immediate Past President, Oregon State Bar
Katherine Denning, Chair, Public Affairs Committee, Oregon State Bar Board of Governors

For questions about articles, legislation, or the legislative process, please contact:

Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director
Amy Zubko, Public Affairs Legislative Attorney

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