HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

 

August 23, 2003   Hearing Room E

2:00 PM Tapes 139 - 140

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Dan Doyle, Chair

Rep. Linda Flores, Vice-Chair

Rep. Laurie Monnes Anderson, Vice Chair

Rep. Vic Backlund

Rep. Phil Barnhart

Rep. Betsy L. Close

Rep. Joanne Verger

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Cara Filsinger, Administrator

                                                Janet Adkins, Administrator

                                                Sandy Thiele-Cirka, Administrator

Annetta Mullins, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD: SB 943 A – Work Session

                                                HB 3528 – Work Session

                                                SB 772 B – Work Session

                                                SB 183 A – Work Session

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

Tape 139, A

004

Chair Doyle

Calls meeting to order at 2:07 p.m. announces order agenda items will be considered, and opens a work session SB 943 A.

SB 943 A – WORK SESSION

015

Sen. Jason Atkinson

District 2.  Testifies in support of SB 943 A.  Explains that the bill is the result of a two-month work group.  There is a crisis for contractors, especially small contractors.  Explains the requirement for liability insurance and states that few insurance companies were willing to write liability insurance for Oregon companies.  The premium for one company that had $1 million in coverage went up to almost $800,000 a year from $83,000 a year.  A small contractor saw his premium jump from $38,000 to $224,000 and his coverage dropped from one-half million, which is required by law, to less than $250,000.  SB 943 A would allow the Construction Contractors Board and the Insurance Division flexibility to try to find a remedy.  There will be a need to review this in 2005.  Explains that SB 943 A is before the committee today because they feel such an urgency they don’t think they can wait until 2005. 

 

Sen. Atkinson

States there is some interest in doing what Nevada has done in 2005 but it will take a lot of education of legislators.  Another idea is to move more to a California model or to a Washington system, as well as self-insurance—whether small to medium size contractors could be pooled to allow this to occur. 

077

Rep. Verger

Asks if whatever the groups come up will be accepted.

086

Scott Barrie

Oregon Building Industry Association.  States yes, “as long as that alternative provides equal protection.”  However, there could not be a drop in the protection for the consumer.

096

Rep. Verger

Asks if the one-half million is excessive.

101

Barrie

States they are not lowering the level.  Most of the contractors have more than the $500,000 insurance.  The first $100,000 is the most expensive. 

104

Sen. Atkinson

Comments that the problem is not the $100,000 coverage but the number of companies that are willing to write a policy.

114

Rep. Flores

Asks what Nevada does.

 

Barrie

Explains that Nevada allows contractors to bid on contracts based on the amount of security they have.

139

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves SB 943 A to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

143

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

AYE:            In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

REP. CLOSE will lead discussion on the floor.

149

Chair Doyle

Closes the work session on SB 943 A and opens a work session on HB 3528.

HB 3528 – WORK SESSION

152

Chair Doyle

Advises members they have the HB 3528-5 amendments (EXHIBIT A).

155

Rep. Mary Gallegos

District 29.  Explains the HB 3528-5 amendments (EXHIBIT A).  Explains that a three percent public purpose charge on electric bills.  The program is administered by the Public Utility Commission (PUC), which has utilized a nongovernmental agency, the Energy Trust of Oregon.  There is no governmental oversight of those funds and their use.  The consensus of many people is to eliminate the program entirely.  They think they have a good resolution in the HB 3529-5 amendments that helps keep the program in tact and would move the oversight of those funds from the PUC and the Energy Trust over to the Department of Energy (DOE).  Explains that the DOE already does many of the renewable and conservation grants and programs and they could administer this in the same way they do the other programs.  The fiscal impact would be very minimal because they could use the funds the same as the Energy Trust uses them, and DOE could continue to use the Energy Trust if they choose. 

192

Chair Doyle

Notes the new language on page 8 of the HB 3528-5 amendments.

 

Rep. Gallegos

Explains the only change is who can use it. 

208

Chair Doyle

Asks what DOE would be making determinations on under the new language on pages 8 and 9.

 

Rep. Gallegos

Responds that this just allows DOE to use a non-governmental agency.

220

Rep. Backlund

Asks if this bill would be moving the oversight to the DOE, and the public purpose charge would go away January 1, 2008.

228

Rep. Gallegos

Responds that it would move the oversight.  The sunset was already in statute. 

 

Rep. Backlund

Asks if there would be better oversight by DOE than the PUC.

 

Rep. Gallegos

States that the Energy Trust is a non-governmental agency.  They cannot be required to provide documents.  States they have been told they can go to the office and sign non-disclosures if they want to review how the funds are being used, who the contracts are with, and where they are.   States that it is their understanding that many of the contracts are being issued to companies in Washington, D. C., Colorado, and California.  These are Oregon tax dollars that are being sent out of state. 

250

Rep. Verger

Asks if there have been complaints about how the public purposes money is being spent.

262

Rep. Gallegos

Responds the problem that many have had is in the way the Energy Trust operates. 

250

Rep. Barnhart

Notes the presence of PUC Commissioner Beyer and a representative of the Governor’s office staff, and ask permission to ask questions.

278

Rep. Close

Asks whether a nongovernmental agency could be audited and whether there would be public records if DOE continues to use a non-governmental agency.

 

Gallegos

Responds yes, they would have to write contracts with them and specify how they would do that.   Adds that it is not a requirement.

291

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT HB 3528-5 amendments dated 8/14/03.

296

Rep. Barnhart

Comments that he has been informed the Governor’s office opposes this bill and there is some additional information that the PUC could provide about the administration of the current system.  States he will oppose the bill.

303

Rep. Monnes Anderson

Comments she believes the way the system is set up, the PUC’s interest is in ratepayers.  If there are problems, we should be dealing with PUC rather than making a change.

311

Rep. Verger

States she is happy to consider Rep. Gallegos amendment, however, with limited testimony, she will oppose the bill. 

315

Rep. Backlund

Comments this seems to be a complex issue and is having difficulty having to vote so quickly.  States he will vote to get it out of committee and then have time to think about it. 

328

 

VOTE:  4-3-0

AYE:               4 - Backlund, Close, Flores, Doyle

NAY:               3 - Barnhart, Monnes Anderson, Verger

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

REP. GALLEGOS will lead discussion on the floor.

337

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves HB  3528 to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

 

 

 

342

 

VOTE:  4-3-0

AYE:               4 - Backlund, Close, Flores, Doyle

NAY:               3 - Barnhart, Monnes Anderson, Verger

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

REP. GALLEGOS will lead discussion on the floor.

350

Chair Doyle

Closes the work session on HB 3528 and opens a work session on SB 772 B.

SB 772 B – WORK SESSION

355

Sen. Bruce Starr

District 15.  Testifies in support of SB 772 B.  Comments on SB 996 (2001 Session) and the appointment by the governor of a group to look at how Oregon could create a statute to allow innovative financing for transportation projects.  Explains that SB 772 B allows the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), when there is a private company that has an idea about how to build and finance a transportation facility using private capital, to invite companies in to talk.  Currently, there is no statutory provision that allows ODOT to invite a company to talk.  The bill will not allow ODOT to get around land use regulations, environmental regulations, or the public hearing process.  They have worked with the Department of Justice and have adopted amendments to take care of their concerns about how Oregon would be protected financially.

467

Sen. B. Starr

Introduces SB 772-B15 conflict amendments (EXHIBIT B).

TAPE 140, A

017

Rep. Close

Comments that on page 4 of SB 772 B, there is a reference to Chapter 279.  Ask if this bypasses those statutes and if agreements are made, if there will be competitive bidding.

028

Jim Whitty

Oregon Department of Transportation.  Explains there must be competitive bidding in some manner or form for any project that involves federal highway funds.  If only state funds are used, they would anticipate doing the same thing.  It is a rarity that they use only state funds.

 

Rep. Close

Asks what percentage of projects might use only state funds, or whether only local streets use only state funds.

 

Whitty

States that local governments have their own processes.  This does not govern what they do.  This is only for ODOT state highways.

047

Mike Marsh

Oregon Department of Transportation.  States that whether state or federal funds are used, there will be competitive bidding.

 

Rep. Close

Comments that SB 772 B says the provisions of Chapter 279 do not apply to concepts or proposals submitted under Section 3 of this Act.

051

Marsh

Explains they want to ensure there is a competitive idea if there is a proposal.  They would have to determine what the market is for a project and know what others would pay for it.

055

Rep. Close

Asks if the requirement for ODOT to get the information is in the bill.

 

Marsh

Responds affirmatively.  Explains they will also do administrative rules to clarify those elements of the bill.

058

Rep. Verger

Comments she believes public-private partnerships are the way to go.

068

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT SB 772-B15 amendments dated 8/23/03.

072

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

 

Chair Doyle

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

072

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves SB 772 B to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

075

Rep. Monnes Anderson

Thanks Sen. Starr for talking to the members prior to the meeting.  States she concurs that public-private partnerships are so important and if it is going to save money, we need to have this option.

081

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

AYE:            In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

REP. FLORES will lead discussion on the floor.

 

Chair Doyle

Closes the work session on SB 772 B and opens a work session on SB 183 A.

SB 183 A – WORK SESION

089

Chair Doyle

Advises members that they have the SB 183-A5 amendments (EXHIBIT C).  Explains that SB 183 A is a fix to SB 179 that has been signed by the governor.

 

Susan Schneider

City of Portland.  Testifies in support of SB 183 A (EXHIBIT D) with the SB 183-A5 amendments (EXHIBIT C).

114

Chair Doyle

Explains that Section 5 of SB 179 B provides that children are present any time on any day, but it is only when children are either occupying or walking within a cross walk, waiting on the curb or shoulder of the highway at the cross walk, or if a crossing guard is present. 

121

Schneider

Explains that the cross walk defined in that section is only a crosswalk that is not adjacent to a school.

123

Chair Doyle

Responds that is the point of corrections, but one of the concerns he had in trying to fix SB 179 B was that when someone goes through a school zone 24/7, you could be cited if they were going beyond the speed.  States that his understanding of the bill is that is not totally the case.  Children still have to be present under those conditions.

 

Schneider

Responds that is true of SB 179 B when it goes into law.  It also means there are no times when the fine would double on the local streets.  The amendment is to deal with that piece.  Adds that a judge has the discretion to say that a double fine is inappropriate. 

139

Schneider

Explains that Section 1(5) on pages 2 and 3 of the SB 183-A5 amendments doubles the fines for only the offense of speeding.  In other cases, doubling fines in school zones applies to all offenses.

145

Rep. Close

Comments she knows of people who were cited at 3:00 a.m. for speeding in a school zone where there were no children.  The judge did not have any mercy. 

152

Chair Doyle

Explains that SB 179 B has passed into law and if children are present at three in the morning at a crosswalk in a school zone, then it is considered a school zone even though school is not in session.  What has not been covered, and what we are trying to fix here with the technical amendment to SB 179 B, is to have it applies only on streets that are not connected to a school.  This applies fines on school zone roads that are actually connected to schools. 

165

Rep. Close

Asks if it applies whether children are there or not.

 

Chair Doyle

States this supports Section 5 of SB 179 B which provides the definition of when children are present.  We are not undoing SB 179 B.  We are just making sure traffic fines can be doubled on school zone streets that are connected to a school.  

183

Rep. Close

Asks which part of the SB 183-A5 amendments does that. 

185

Christy Munson

League of Oregon Cities (LOC).  Advises that the relative piece is on page 2 at the bottom and on page 3 of the SB 183-A5 amendments.

208

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT SB 183-B5 amendments dated 8/14/03.

211

Chair Doyle

Explains that this is a gut and stuff to the original SB 183 and that the provisions in SB 183 have been passed by the Senate in another bill.

217

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

 

Chair Doyle

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

220

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves SB 183 A to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

222

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

AYE:            In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

REP. BARNHART will lead discussion on the floor.

227

Chair Doyle

Closes the work session on SB 183 A and opens a work session on SB 494 A.

SB 494 – WORK SESSION

232

Rep. Flores

MOTION:  Moves SB 494 A to the floor WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION as to passage and the SUBSEQUENT REFERRAL to the committee on Ways and Means BE RESCINDED and BE REFERRED to the Special Committee on Budget.

238

Rep. Monnes Anderson

Comments this bill will prohibit public employers from using public funds to assist, promote, or deter union organizing. 

245

Chair Doyle

Explains that the motion would move the bill as it came from the Senate to the Special Committee on Budget.

249

 

VOTE:  6-1-0

AYE:               6 - Backlund, Close, Flores, Monnes Anderson, Verger, Doyle

NAY:               1 - Barnhart

 

Chair Doyle

The motion CARRIES.

267

Chair Doyle

Recesses the meeting at 2:53 p.m. subject to further notice.

267

Chair Doyle

Reconvenes and adjourns the meeting at 5:03 p.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 3528, HB 3528-5 amendments, Rep. Gallegos, 9 pp

B – SB 772, SB 772-B15 amendments, Rep. B. Starr, 4 pp

C – SB 183, SB 183-A5 amendments, Susan Schneider, 3 pp

D – SB 183, prepared statement, Susan Schneider, 1 p