May 10, 2023

Oregon State Bar Bills Pass the Legislature

Over the last month, the Oregon State Bar’s law improvement bills have moved through the second chamber of the Legislature. At the time of publication, all eight of the Oregon State Bar’s Law Improvement Bills have been voted out of both chambers and have been sent to the Governor for her signature. The final deadline to move a bill out of a House policy committee is May 19, 2023.

    • Senate Bill 306 A – Modifies statutes to allow for nonattorney associate members of the Oregon State Bar to practice law in certain scope of practice.
    • Senate Bill 307 – Provides procedure by which party can present offer of judgment in arbitration proceeding.
    • Senate Bill 308 A – Changes title of “small estate affidavit” to “simple estate affidavit.” Modifies eligibility for simple estate affidavit to include estate of decedent dying testate if value of specific bequests does not exceed specified amount and residual beneficiary is decedent’s inter vivos trust.
    • Senate Bill 309 – Modifies number of weeks notice to interested persons in decedent’s estate must be published.
    • House Bill 2324 – Modifies provisions relating to mailing of notice of appeal.
    • House Bill 2325 – Allows public member of board of governors of Oregon State Bar to be elected as president or president-elect of board.
    • House Bill 2329 – Modifies execution formalities for appointment of person to make decisions concerning disposition of remains and for declaration for mental health treatment.
    • House Bill 2330 – Redesignates Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act as Uniform Voidable Transactions Act.

Thank you to the section committee members and volunteers for your efforts to pass these bills through the legislative process.

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PDSC Budget Receives Public Hearing

This session, the Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC) proposed budget received a public hearing beginning April 17.  During the three days of hearings, the Joint Ways and Means Public Safety Subcommittee received testimony from the PDSC as well as a number of interested parties, including representatives from the Oregon Judicial Department, public defenders from throughout the state, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA), and the Oregon State Bar, to name just a few. Thank you to Joe Piucci for testifying on behalf of the Board of Governors in support of SB 5532.

In addition to the testimony provided as part of the PDSC budget process, the Public Safety Subcommittee requested that the PDSC, the Oregon Judicial Department, the Oregon District Attorneys Association and representatives of public defenders in Oregon provide additional information on the unrepresented defendants/persons crisis in Oregon during an informational hearing on April 20.

Conversations about Oregon’s public defense system are ongoing. In addition to the proposed budget found in SB 5532, there are a handful of bills that could affect the delivery of criminal representation including: Senate Bill 337 A currently in the Senate Rules Committee, House Bill 2467 A currently in the Joint Ways and Means Committee, and Senate Bill 1093 currently in the Joint Ways and Means Committee Public Safety Subcommittee. An informational hearing on SB 337 will be held on May 11 in the Senate Rules Committee.

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Judicial Compensation Receives a Public Hearing

On April 27, Senate Bill 233 received a public hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.  The bill would increase the salaries for circuit and appellate judges in the Oregon Judicial Department. On May 4, the bill moved out of the committee and was sent to the Ways and Means Committee.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Megan Flynn, circuit court judges from around Oregon, representatives from the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association testified in support of the bill. Lee Ann Donaldson, 2023 President of the Oregon State Bar, also testified in support of the bill.

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Bar Members Testify at Ways and Means Roadshow

Every long session the Joint Ways and Means Committee hosts public hearings on the state budget at a variety of locations throughout the state with the goal of hearing from Oregonians who are unable to make the trip to Salem to testify in person.

Although the rise of remote conference technology has increased accessibility to the state legislative process, Oregon’s budget committee has continued to offer the opportunity for in-person testimony. This year, committee members travelled to Portland, Ontario, Roseburg, and Newport to receive testimony.

This year Joe Puicci (Portland), Chris Cauble (Roseburg), David Robinson (Newport), and Tim Helfrich (Ontario) testified in support of adequate funding for Oregon’s justice system and shared their support for state funding for the Oregon Judicial Department, Oregon’s indigent defense system, and Oregon’s civil legal aid programs.

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ABA Lobby Days Return to DC

This year the Oregon State Bar, along with Oregon’s civil legal service providers, participated in the American Bar Association’s annual Lobby Day. For the first time since 2019, the ABA Lobby Day was held in Washington DC rather than remotely.

The focus of this year’s Lobby Day was adequate funding for the federal Legal Services Commission, specifically a request to support an FY 2024 appropriation of $800 million dollars, the total amount in President Biden’s proposed budget for legal aid throughout the U.S.

OSB President-elect David Rosen, Ed Harnden (Campaign for Equal Justice), Ayla Ercin (Campaign for Equal Justice), Monica Goracke (Oregon Law Center), and Susan Grabe (Oregon State Bar) shared their support with Oregon’s federal delegation.

A meeting with Representative Bonamici during ABA Days. From left: OSB President-elect David Rosen, Ayla Ercin, Ed Harnden, Representative Suzanne Bonamici, Susan Grabe Front: Monica Goracke

A meeting with Representative Bentz during ABA Days. From left: Susan Grabe, Representative Cliff Bentz, OSB President-elect David Rosen, Ayla Ercin, Ed Harnden, Monica Goracke


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Bills of Interest

    • House Bill 3167– Modifies definitions to allow for publication of legal notices in digital newspaper.
    • House Bill 3294 A – Requires county clerk to replace recorded instrument with court-ordered version that redacts discriminatory language.
    • Senate Bill 234 – Expands authority of Chief Justice of Supreme Court to make rules for gathering specified information and identifying and evaluating disparities and impacts in justice system in Oregon.
    • Senate Bill 807 – Provides procedure whereby elected judge may challenge party, attorney, law firm, district attorney’s office, defense consortium or public defender’s office that files motions to disqualify judge that effectively deny judge assignment to criminal or juvenile delinquency docket.

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

2023 Oregon State Bar Officers and Public Affairs Chair

Lee Ann Donaldson,
President, Oregon State Bar
David Rosen,
President Elect, Oregon State Bar
Kamron Graham,
Immediate Past President, Oregon State Bar
Gabriel Chase,
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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