April 14, 2017

Oregon State Bar and Citizens Campaign for Court Funding Support Judicial Branch Budget

The Public Safety Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the budgeting authority in the Legislature, held a week of hearings on SB 5013, the budget of the Oregon Judicial Department’s (OJD). Over the week of hearings, Chief Justice Balmer and OJD staff presented the department’s budget, the expected outcome of possible cuts to the current funding level, and their budget priorities. On the last day of testimony, the subcommittee heard public testimony from the Bar, the Citizens’ Campaign for Court Funding, the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, the Oregon District Attorneys Association, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Multnomah Bar Association among others. Thank you to Ed Harnden for traveling to the Capitol and testifying on behalf of the Bar and the Citizens’ Campaign for Court Funding in support of adequate funding for the Judicial Department.

OJD focused on funding for Oregon eCourt, an increase in judicial compensation, and updating court facilities as its main budget priorities. In addition, OJD described the outcomes of cutting its budget by 15 percent, 10 percent, and 5 percent.

The department is expected to return to the subcommittee for a second round of hearings later in the session.

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Increase in Filing Fees, Criminal Fines, and Document Access Fees Proposed for 2017 – 2019 Biennium

With the implementation of Oregon eCourt complete, the project has moved to maintenance funding rather than implementation funding. Current funding sources are insufficient and OJD is facing an approximate $9 million deficit for the 2017 – 2019 biennium. During the OJD budget presentation, the proposed increases to filing fees, criminal fines and document access fees were shared with the subcommittee.

Under the proposal as it currently stands, civil filing fees would increase 5 percent to raise $3.2 million. Criminal fines and assessments would increase by $5 to raise $3.6 million and Oregon Judicial Case Information Network user fees would increase as well to raise an additional $1.5 million.

The increases to the civil filing fees and the criminal fines and assessments will need a statutory change while the user fees would be modified by an order of the Chief Justice. The details of the increase in user fees are under discussion.  Proposed amendments to HB 2795 and HB 2797, which implement these increases, are available on the legislature’s website under the bill numbers.

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Public Defense Services Commission Presents Budget to Ways and Means Committee

On March 28, the Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC) began its budget presentation to the Public Safety subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Adequate funding for PDSC is a Bar priority and Bar president, Michael Lavelle, submitted a letter of support on behalf of the Bar. In addition, Per Ramsfjord, chair of the PDSC and current BOG member, also testified in support of the budget.

The hearings on HB 5033, which lasted three days, focused on the 2017 – 2019 budget as well as priorities for PDSC. This budget cycle, the priorities include pay parity for public defenders, the increase in caseload, and the expansion of the parent-child representation pilot program.

The joint co-chair’s budget for PDSC includes a 3.5 percent reduction from current service level funding for OJD which is approximately a $10.6 million cut.

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Public Records Bills Receive Public Hearing

Over the last two years, the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office, and a number of stakeholders have discussed changes to the way Oregon deals with public records requests. This session, a number of bills were proposed, including SB 106,  SB 481, and HB 2101. SB 106 sets up a legislative process to review state agency public records requests. SB 481 addresses timelines for responding to public record requests are addressed, while HB 2101 requires the legislature to review the approximately 500 public records exemptions currently in statute.

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Chief Justice Edwin J. Peterson Portrait Unveiled

On April 5, the Oregon Supreme Court hosted a portrait unveiling of Chief Justice Edwin J. Peterson.  Chief Justice Peterson was elected to the position in 1983 and served as the Chief Justice until 1991, ultimately retiring from the Oregon Supreme Court in 1994.

Chief Justice Peterson is perhaps best known for his leadership to combat bias in the judicial system and to ensure procedural fairness for all people involved in the court system.  In 1992, he was appointed to chair a task force investigating racial issues in the court system. The task force released its report, Report of the Oregon Supreme Court Task Force on Racial/Ethnic Issues in the Judicial System  in 1994 which found that racial bias existed in law enforcement and the court system. This report continues to be a touchstone and its recommendations and findings are still cited.

Judge Douglas Tookey, Gena Johnnie, Ed Harnden, Mark Comstock, Mary Zeek, and Hunter Emerick spearheaded the portrait commission.

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Bills of Interest

HB 2191 – Among other things, requires a person to obtain or renew a license from the Secretary of State in order to serve as a commercial registered agent in Oregon. The bill will have a work session on April 14.

SB 95 – Requires certain financial professionals to report suspected elder abuse. The bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Human Services and the Senate Judiciary Committee and is on its way to the Senate Floor.

SB 494 – Establishes the Advance Directive Rules Adoption Committee and updates statutory forms. The bill will have a work session on April 18.

SB 5535 – Sets the 2017 – 2019 budget for the Oregon Department of Revenue. The department’s budget went through four days of testimony in the General Government Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

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Archives



Thank you for reading the Oregon State Bar’s CAPITOL INSIDER.
We hope you enjoy our new format. The archives are still available here.

2017 Public Affairs Committee Members


Kathleen Rastetter, Chair
John Mansfield, Vice Chair
Guy Greco
John Bachofner
Chris Costantino
Rob Gratchner
Eric Foster
Liani Reeves

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

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March 10, 2017

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.

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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.

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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 pubaff@osbar.org for more information.

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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.

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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/.

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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 pubaff@osbar.org if you need help identifying your representatives. We look forward to working with you.

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Archives



Thank you for reading the Oregon State Bar’s CAPITOL INSIDER.
We hope you enjoy our new format. The archives are still available here.

2017 Public Affairs Committee Members


Kathleen Rastetter, Chair
John Mansfield, Vice Chair
Guy Greco
John Bachofner
Chris Costantino
Rob Gratchner
Eric Foster
Liani Reeves

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

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February 16, 2017

2017 Legislative Session Begins

The 2017 legislative session began on February 1, 2017. While it began only two weeks ago, Bar sections and committees are already hard at work, identifying and tracking proposed legislation. If you are a section chair or legislative liaison, you should have received a list of bills for your section to review. Below is a list of some of the bills and a brief description that Bar sections and committees are currently tracking.

HB 2166 —Requires debt buyer to give notice to debtor if debt buyer brings legal action to collect debt and to submit certain filings to court.

HB 2217 —Prohibits guardian or conservator from restricting protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons unless authorized by court order.

HB 2329 —Permits State Board of Psychologist Examiners to assess disciplinary costs against disciplined person.

HB 2352 —Authorizes Secretary of State to investigate alleged or potential violations of business entity statutes, to require business entity to provide list of shareholders, directors, members, and other persons, and to respond to interrogatories in course of investigation or in response to request from law enforcement agency.

HB 2356 —Establishes requirements under which debt buyer may bring legal action to collect debt. Specifies notice that debt buyer must give to debtor. Makes violation of requirements unlawful collection practice.

HB 2605 —Increases number of circuit court judges in certain judicial districts.

HB 2636 —Modifies annual salaries of judges of Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Oregon Tax Court and circuit court.

HB 2713 —Provides that evidence obtained during or as result of defendant’s unlawful detention by peace officer is inadmissible in criminal proceeding against defendant.

If you have any questions or additions to your section’s bill list, please contact pubaff@osbar.org.

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President Levelle Testifies in Support of Bar Priorities, Law Improvement Legislation

On February 7, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees invited the Oregon State Bar to the legislature for a day of presentations and meetings. Bar President Michael D. Levelle traveled to Salem and spent the day testifying in front of the two committees and meeting with legislators. Joined by president-elect Vanessa Nordyke for the hearing, President Levelle spent the day discussing the Bar’s priorities and law improvement bills with legislators.

In addition, four of the bills in the Bar’s law improvement package received their first public hearings and work sessions and were voted out of committee. The four bills were:

SB 490 —Changes method for distributing ballots for voting by Bar members, eliminates position of vice president of Board of Governors, allows Board of Governors to assess late payment penalty, and changes title of executive director of Oregon State Bar to chief executive officer of Oregon State Bar.

SB 491 —Makes changes to Oregon State Bar’s disciplinary system.

HB 2608 —Modifies applicability of previous amendments to Oregon Uniform Trust Code.

HB 2610 —Specifies methods by which persons may sign and transfer corporation’s documents in electronic form. Specifies circumstances, dates, and times under which corporation’s documents are delivered and effective.

HB 2608 and HB 2610 were voted out of the House on February 14th. SB 490 and SB 491 are scheduled for a vote on February 21st in the Senate.

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Ways and Means Roadshow

Every two years, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, the legislature’s budget writing committee, schedules visits in communities all over the state. A bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers travels throughout the state to hear about the funding priorities of Oregonians. This year, the committee is off to an early start, with the first public hearing on Friday, February 10, in Salem and the second hearing on Saturday, February 11, in Portland. Vanessa Nordyke, president-elect of the Oregon State Bar, submitted testimony on behalf of the Bar.
The schedule for the remaining public hearings is posted below. If you are available to attend a hearing on behalf of the bar, please contact the Public Affairs Department at pubaff@osbar.org.

Friday, February 17 – UMATILLA / HERMISTON
Hermiston High School
5–7 p.m.

Saturday, February 18 – MADRAS
Performing Arts Center, Madras High School
1–3 p.m.

Friday, February 24 – ASHLAND
Rogue River Room, Southern Oregon University
5–7 p.m.

Saturday, February 25 – EUGENE
Lane Community College
1–3 p.m.

Friday, March 3 – TILLAMOOK
Officer’s Mess, Port of Tillamook
6–8 p.m.

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OSB President’s Reception

On February 9, Marion County Bar members, legislators, and members of the judiciary joined Michael D. Levelle, President of the Oregon State Bar, for the President’s Reception in Salem. The event, held every year in Salem during the legislative session, provides lawyers, judges, legislators, and Bar leadership with the opportunity to discuss many of the issues that are affecting the practice of law and the judiciary. Thank you to the legislators, Bar members, and judges who came out to support the Bar.


Rep. Jodi Hack, OSB Public Affairs Director Susan Grabe and OSB President Michael D. Levelle


Rep. Bill Post, BOG member Vanessa Nordyke, Rep. Ron Noble, Rep. Rich Vial and OSB CEO/Executive Director Helen Hierschbiel

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Archives



Thank you for reading the Oregon State Bar’s CAPITOL INSIDER.
We hope you enjoy our new format. The archives are still available here.

2017 Public Affairs Committee Members


Kathleen Rastetter, Chair
John Mansfield, Vice Chair
Guy Greco
John Bachofner
Chris Costantino
Rob Gratchner
Eric Foster
Liani Reeves

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

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January 27, 2017

Committee assignments announced for the 2017 Legislative Session.

In late December 2016, the Senate President and the Speaker of House released committee assignments for the 2017 Legislative Session. A full list of committee assignments can be found here.

Many of the bills that the Bar tracks are assigned to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and the Public Affairs Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee. For this session, the House Judiciary Committee will be chaired by Representative Jeff Barker (D – Aloha) and co-chaired by Representative Jennifer Williamson (D – Portland) and Representative Andy Olsen (R – Albany). Returning members are Representative Mitch Greenlick (D – Portland), Representative Ann Lininger (D – Lake Oswego), Representative Bill Post (R – Keizer), and Representative Sherrie Sprenger (R – Scio). In addition, there are a number of new committee members, including Representative Chris Gorsek (D – Troutdale), Representative Tawna Sanchez (D – Portland), Representative Duane Stark (R – Grants Pass), and Representative Richard Vial (R – Scholls). Representatives Williamson, Lininger, and Vial are all legally trained legislators.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will be chaired by Senator Floyd Prozanski (D – Eugene), and vice-chaired by Senator Kim Thatcher (R – Keizer). Senator Michael Dembrow (D – Portland) is returning to the committee after a break and will be joined by the following new members: Senator Dennis Linthicum (R – Klamath Falls) and Senator James Manning (D – Eugene). Senator Prozanski is a legally trained legislator.

The Public Affairs Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee reviews agency budgets as well as any proposed legislation affecting the budgets of Oregon’s public-safety system. The House co-chair will be Representative Duane Stark (R – Grants Pass), and the Senate co-chair will be Senator Jackie Winters (R – Salem). The remaining members are Senator Lew Fredrick (D – Portland), Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D – Portland), Representative Jeff Barker (D – Aloha), Representative Jeff Huffman (R – The Dalles), Representative Carla Piluso (D – Gresham), and Representative Tawna Sanchez (D – Portland).

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Bill-tracking system available for sections and committees

The Public Affairs Department is available to assist all Oregon State Bar sections and committees track proposed legislation. If a section or committee has already identified specific bills to follow, please contact Kellie Bagnani in The Public Affairs Department at kbagnani@osbar.org, to ensure that legislation is included in the section’s bill-tracking list.

As bills are introduced, the Public Affairs Department will review all proposed legislation and refer specific bills to groups that may be interested in the subject. Throughout the session, a section or committee’s Legislative Contact will likely receive periodic emails from the Public Affairs Department notifying him or her of bills that might interest the group.

Once a section or committee has identified bills to follow, those bills will be input into the group’s bill-tracking page. Each group has its own page on the Public Affairs Department’s webpage. This will enable each group to receive updates and to review changes to any legislation that a group has expressed an interest in following.

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How to take a position as a Bar section or committee

Sections and committees have a number of ways to provide feedback on proposed legislation. Bar members may formally support or oppose proposed legislation and provide technical feedback through a section or committee.

When a section or committee wishes to provide input or feedback on a legislative issue, it should notify the Bar’s Public Affairs Department. This is particularly important if a section or committee wants to take a position for or against a bill, but the rule also applies to taking positions on broader issues. If your group is interested in particular issues, please let the Public Affairs Department know. Click here for a brochure describing the Bar’s Public Affairs Program and Article 12 of the OSB Bylaws (regarding legislation and public policy).

If a section or committee would like to take a position, it will need approval from the Public Affairs Committee before taking any action. The section’s or committee’s executive committee should vote to take a position and submit a written request to the Public Affairs Committee. The request should set forth the section’s or committee’s position and describe how it is appropriate under the legislative policies established by the Board of Governors. Please find the request form on the Oregon State Bar’s Legislative webpage.
Once approved, the section or committee is responsible for presenting its position or testimony on that issue. The Public Affairs Department is a legislative resource for the Bar’s sections and committees. If you have questions about the process, please contact Amy Zubko at (503) 431-6317 or azubko@osbar.org or Matt Shields at (503) 431-6358 or mshields@osbar.org.

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Proposed changes to PERS

Once again, it appears that PERS will be a topic of discussion and debate for the Oregon Legislature. With a substantial funding hole made up of an approximate $22 billion unfunded actuarial liability, and a corresponding increase in employer contributions, a number of legislators are considering ways to modify the current PERS system. For this session, a variety of bills have already been presession filed by legislators from both chambers. Legislative changes to the PERS system range from proposed changes to the use of an individual account program (or “IAP”) (SB 560) and changes to the final average salary calculation (SB 559), to a study on the feasibility of offering PERS benefits to volunteer firefighters (SB 459) and a limitation on postdoctoral scholars receiving PERS benefits (SB 214).

Additional bills may be introduced in the coming weeks. If a section or committee is interested in a particular PERS bill, please let the Public Affairs Department know.

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2017 Public Affairs Committee Members


Kathleen Rastetter, Chair
John Mansfield, Vice Chair
Guy Greco
John Bachofner
Chris Costantino
Rob Gratchner
Eric Foster
Liani Reeves

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

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