SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

 

June 27, 2003                                                                                                      Hearing Room 343

8:00 a.m.                                                                                                                   Tapes 180 - 181

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Ginny Burdick, Vice-Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Charles Starr

Sen. Vicki Walker

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:          Sen. John Minnis, Chair

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Bill Taylor, Counsel

Nancy Massee, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           SB 904 Public Hearing

 

 

 

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 180, A

004

Vice Chair Burdick

Calls the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. and opens public hearing on SB 904.

SB 904 PUBLIC HEARING

017

Bill Taylor

Committee Counsel.  Explains SB 904 which abolishes the Dispute Resolution Commission. Explains the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT A).

032

Vice Chair Burdick

Explains the bill is due to the budget crisis not a criticism of the Commission.

046

Donna Silverberg

Oregon Mediation Association. Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Describes mediation resolution activity. Makes recommendations that would save money.

160

Silverberg

Continues presentation on negative actions that could occur if the Commission is abolished. Addresses sections of SB 904 that are agreed to and those where changes are suggested.

228

Martha Pagel

Schwabe, Williamson, Wyatt. Testifies for public policy and in opposition to SB 904. Supports changes suggested by Ms. Silverberg.  Emphasizes the importance of local mediation programs.

287

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the role of the Executive Director, and what will be happening to that position under this bill.

295

Pagel

Explains that under this bill, the entire staff would be eliminated.

306

Andy Wiselogle

Multnomah County.  Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Explains cases that have been heard.

314

Vice Chair Burdick

Asks if there is an analysis of savings from mediation programs.

344

Silverberg

Acknowledges that there have been studies done, but is not able to reply to what the current numbers are.

356

Sen. Walker

Wonders if these funds are not from the general fund, where the savings will go.

366

Silverberg

Says the funds will go to the Judicial Department.

380

Pagel

Describes how mediation keeps cases out of courts.

398

Pete Shepherd

Deputy Attorney General. Describes assistance of the Department of Justice. Explains the dilemma that the department has become involved in. Describes the need for resources to carry out the duties of dispute resolution if assigned to the Department of Justice.

477

Sen. Walker

States the addition of staff to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to carry out dispute resolution would be very expensive.

TAPE 181, A

027

Shepherd

Responds DOJ would need two additional full-time employees.

045

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks what the impetus for this bill was.

049

Shepherd

Responds that staff from Legislative Fiscal Office contacted DOJ.

054

Michael Niemeyer

Executive Director, Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission. Discusses savings by mediation versus court action. Discusses costs to state agencies that would be less for mediation action routinely than litigation.

115

Sen. Walker

Responds that Niemeyer’s report is very helpful.

123

Niemeyer

States he does not know the background of this bill.

153

Taylor

Asks what functions of the commission would be lost.

156

Niemeyer

Responds staff would go from 6.3 full-time employees to 2.

208

Bryan Johnston

Former State Representative. Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Gives background on dispute resolution evolvement.  Suggests the movement to the University of Oregon for dispute resolution activity. Ask the Senate Judiciary to set policy for the Commission.

248

Sen. Walker

Wonders if moving the bill to DOJ would keep the program from expanding.

253

Johnston

Agrees. Explains how Oregon has been a leader in the movement of dispute resolution.

281

Charles Wiggins

Law Professor, University of San Diego. Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Describes usefulness of dispute resolution in communities.

408

Betsy Coddington

Director, Resolution Northwest.  Demonstrates a situation that would call for local mediation skills.  Explains how community mediation works.

TAPE 180, B

030

Lois Kenagy

Volunteer mediator, Albany, OR. Testifies in opposition to SB 904.  Gives background on dispute resolution programs and her personal experience on the Commission.

097

Sophia Douglas

Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor. Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Refers to statements of volunteers from the organization.  Describes restitution agreements that are the goal of conciliation.

126

Jane Gordon

Executive Director, Dispute Resolution Program, University of Oregon Law School. Testifies in opposition to SB 904. Describes how there is an important need for dispute resolution programs.

180

Sen. Walker

Comments on the usefulness of University of Oregon law students in the program.

189

Gordon

Describes student work in mediation programs.

209

Vice Chair Burdick

Closes the public hearing on SB 904 and adjourns the meeting at 10:22 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – SB 904, written testimony submitted by Pete Shepherd, 6 pp