HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

BUSINESS, LABOR, AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

 

 

May 18, 2005 Hearing Room B

8:00 A.M. Tapes 131 - 133

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Alan Brown, Chair

Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice-Chair

Rep. Mike Schaufler, Vice-Chair

Rep. Paul Holvey

Rep. George Gilman

Rep. Derrick Kitts

Rep. Chip Shields

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Janet Adkins, Committee Administrator

Katie Howard, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

SB 172 – Public Hearing and Work Session

SB 386A – Public Hearing

SB 119A – Public Hearing and Work Session

SB 353A – Public Hearing and Work Session

SB 13A – Public Hearing and Work Session

SB 15 – Public Hearing

SB 17A – Public Hearing

SB 983 – Public Hearing and Work Session

SB 600A – Public Hearing and 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 131, A

001

Chair Brown

Calls the meeting to order at 8:07 a.m. and opens a work session on SB 172.

SB 172 – PUBLIC HEARING

003

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 172 relating to changing the date for beginning the reconsideration period for workers’ compensation claims when the reconsideration is requested by the insurer or self-insured employer.

016

Chair Brown

Inquire about the changes made on pages 4, 9 and 11 of the bill.

027

John Shilts

Administrator, Workers’ Compensation Division.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 172 (EXHIBIT A).  States that SB 172 would move to the earliest of any of the three actions and speed up the process of reconsideration.  Says that there is no reason to wait for reconsideration when both parties request it.  Indicates that they are trying to move away from basing action on the latest timeline. 

062

Chair Brown

Asks about the statutes that are being repealed.

065

Shilts

Explains that the statute being repealed is obsolete and stresses that no one has requested this physical in the last twenty years.  States that he knows of no opposition to SB 172.

099

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing and opens a work session on SB 172.

SB 172 – WORK SESSION

103

Rep. Esquivel

MOTION:  Moves SB 172 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

110

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

REP. ESQUIVEL will lead discussion on the floor.

111

Rep. Esquivel

MOTION:  Moves SB 172 be placed on the CONSENT CALENDAR.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

114

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

115

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 172 and opens a work session on SB 386A.

SB 386A – PUBLIC HEARING

117

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 386A relating to modifying the process for re-examination of a claim in which permanent total disability benefits are being paid and the criteria for termination of those benefits.  Talks about the possible amendments being drafted.

136

John Shilts

Administrator, Workers’ Compensation Division.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 386A (EXHIBIT B)

160

Shilts

Talks about the definition of “gainful occupation/employment.”

193

Shilts

States that the reason for the two thresholds is because not everyone works full-time. 

224

Shilts

Discusses the rescinding of permanent/total disability benefits: what must be done in order to accomplish this aspect.

260

Shilts

Comments on the wage threshold that contemplates that the worker can make an honest wage while disabled.

290

Shilts

Says that the amendments being created address the recommendations of the Workers’ Compensation Management-Labor Advisory Committee. 

317

Rep. Schaufler

States his reasons for leaving the committee at this time: Budget Committee meeting.

324

Rep. Holvey

Expresses his concerns about the amount of examinations that can be required of a worker in all workers’ compensation claims.  Asks if a limit exists for the amount of examinations that are required.

338

Shilts

Stresses that three examinations can be required by the worker’s insurer per case opening. 

359

Rep. Holvey

States that often times there are several different insurers involved in a claim and workers can be required to go to nine or ten examinations. 

389

Shilts

Remarks that during the last interim the Management Labor Advisory Committee took up the issue of the Independent Medical Examinations.

403

Jim Egan

Attorney, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 386A (EXHIBIT C).  Declares that permanent total disability does not exist in Oregon anymore.

450

Egan

States that only Oregon and New York city, where the 9/11 Trade Center terrorist attacks resulted in 3000 murders, had deaths exceeding the number of catastrophic injuries (those injuries causing disability claims).

TAPE 132, A

021

Egan

Declares their support for SB 386A.

046

Rep. Kitts

Commends the witness on his testimony and speaks in support of SB 386A. 

056

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing on SB 386A.  Recesses the meeting at 8:40 a.m. and calls the meeting back to order at 8:42 a.m.  Opens the public hearing on SB 119A.

SB 119A – PUBLIC HEARING

064

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 119A relating to authorizing the Director of the Department of Consumer and business Services to provide assistance directly to certain injured workers through the Reemployment Assistance Program.  Submits the fiscal impact statement (EXHIBIT E)

076

John Shilts

Administrator, Workers’ Compensation Division.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 119A (EXHIBIT D).  States that workers want help finding a job and deciding what kind of work to pursue. 

111

Shilts

Describes how the preferred workers program works: provides incentives to employers in exchange for employing disabled workers. 

145

Shilts

Mentions the Management-Labor Advisory Committee’s (MLAC) recommendations to make available to disabled workers the skills and resources to get a job. 

181

Shilts

Discusses the second part of HB 119A relating to the re-training program.  States that if the administrative review decides that the worker is eligible while the insurance company decides that the worker is not eligible, appeals can be made.  Stresses that the stay of benefits becomes available to the worker if the insurer appeals the decision.  Explains that if the department’s decision is overturned by the insurer then the money is reimbursed to the insurer.  Informs the Committee that only four decisions have been overturned by appeal in the last three years.

228

Rep. Shields

Asks if job placement is allowed for workers in the preferred workers program.

232

Shilts

States that the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services at the Department of Human Services works with disabled individuals in order to provide this type of service.

259

Rep. Holvey

Inquires about the cost per worker placed for this program.

263

Shilts

States that the figures from the proposal that was developed with the Office of Vocational Services are $3,000 per eligible worker.

277

Rep. Kitts

Shares that this program is over $600 more than the JOBS plus bill heard the other day.

288

Chair Brown

Opens the work session on SB 119A.

SB 119A – WORK SESSION

289

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves to RESCIND the MOTION to send SB 119A to the WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE and BE REFERRED to the committee on HOUSE BUDGET.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

297

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

298

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves SB 119A WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION as to passage and BE REFERRED to the committee on BUDGET.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

EXCUSED: Schaufler

(NOTE: Please see page 8, tape 133, A, of this tape log for Rep. Schaufler’s vote.)

321

Chair Brown

The motion CARRIES.

323

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 119A and opens a public hearing on SB 353A.

SB 353A – PUBLIC HEARING

324

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 353A relating to modifying the disclosure statement required in instruments transferring or contracting to transfer the fee title to real property.

341

Harlan Levy

Oregon Association of Realtors.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 353A (EXHIBIT F)

399

Rep. Esquivel

Clarifies information on the disclosure statement and says that it will go into the deed itself.  Notes that it has nothing to do with a realtor disclosure statement.

411

Levy

Concurs with Rep. Esquivel’s statement.

419

Rep. Kitts

Commends Rep. Esquivel for the statement.

430

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing and opens a work session on SB 353A.

SB 353A – WORK SESSION

433

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves SB 353A to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

EXCUSED: Schaufler

(NOTE: Please see page 8, tape 133, A, of this tape log for Rep. Schaufler’s vote.)

444

Chair Brown

The motion CARRIES.

REP. ESQUIVEL will lead discussion on the floor.

TAPE 131, B

016

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 353A and opens a public hearing on SB 13A. 

SB 13A – PUBLIC HEARING

016

Caralyn Fischer

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 13A relating to extending the sunset clause on the law requiring the report by the Public Utility Commission to the Governor and Legislative Assembly on various matters relating to the telecommunications industry. 

034

Rep. Kitts

Clarifies that this applies to states where the commission may NOT impose recording requirements.

047

Chair Brown

Simultaneously opens the public hearings on SB 15 and SB 17A. 

SB 13A, SB 15, SB 17A – PUBLIC HEARING

048

Sen. David Nelson

Senate District 29.  Speaks in support of SB 13A, SB 15, and SB 17A.  Describes the necessity of passing these bills.

090

Sen. Nelson

Talks about the fiber-optic network created in 1999 by US West.

130

Sen. Nelson

Discusses the interim group put together to address improving access to healthcare in Oregon.  Notes how telecommunication has enabled collaboration between doctors in different regions.

178

Rep. Kitts

Asks about SB 13A and the testimony of Mr. Parker in regards to the extension of the sunset clause and the difference between it and SB 17A.

190

Sen. Nelson

Replies with information on the different sunset clauses in the different bills.

197

Rep. Shields

Notes that the council could be jeopardized by outside funding sources.

203

Sen. Nelson

Agrees with Rep. Shield, but states that these individuals on the council spend their own money to attend meetings and events throughout the year because they care about what they’re doing.

208

Rep. Kitts

Talks about a per diem that would be given to the members.

247

Christopher Tamarin

Oregon Economic and Community Development Department.  Submits written testimony in support of SB 15 (EXHIBIT H).

268

Tamarin

Discusses the established policy relating to the availability of broadband services to everyone in Oregon.

317

Rob Myers

Oregon Telecommunication Coordinating Council (ORTCC).  Speaks in support of SB 15.  Describes the makeup of the council. 

331

Rep. Kitts

Expresses his concern about the length of the sunset clause. 

354

Tamarin

States that the two bills deal with two separate issues.  Declares that the sunset clauses were recommended by the council.

379

Rep. Kitts

Asks if the council knows the effectiveness of the telecommunication projects.

388

Tamarin

Replies that the council is made up of representatives from around the state who are knowledgeable of the most recent reports and documentation relating to the issues they address.

405

Rep. Kitts

States that the Universal Service Fund (USF) was set up to provide phones to the rural communities.  Shares his concern that the fund is being used for purposes other than what it was created for (phone lines). 

432

Tamarin

Agrees that the USF was created for basic phone services (not broadband).  Declares that the two bills they are discussing here have nothing to do with the USF.

TAPE 132, B

001

Rep. Schaufler

Observes that five years for a sunset is not really that long of a time to adequately analyze the results.

009

Chair Brown

Talks about the vulnerability of sunsets.  Stand at eases at 9:33 a.m. Reconvenes the committee at 9:36 a.m.

026

Cathy Brittan

Speaks in support of SB 17A. 

030

Edwin Parker

Submits written testimony in support of SB 13A (EXHIBIT G).

053

Lee Beyer

Chairman, Oregon Public Utility Commission.  Speaks in support of SB 13A, SB 15 and SB 17A. 

081

Beyer

Talks about SB 15 dealing with the sunset clause on the ORTCC.  Discusses SB 17A relating to taking a look at the telecommunication industry and the policies imbedded in statute during this interim.

110

Rep. Kitts

Asks about the USF not dealing with any of these bills.

118

Tamarin

States that the USF does not relate to SB 15 and SB 13A. 

132

Rep. Kitts

Asks how the ORTCC will provide telecommunication services to undeveloped communities.

145

Tamarin

Stresses that the ORTCC creates policy recommendations.  Admits that SB 17A will include a new recommended approach to the USF.

165

Rep. Kitts

Illustrates that the USF is designated for phone lines but this bill, and other bills, would broaden its uses and responsibilities.  Proclaims that the money will then have to be raised elsewhere to provide for the original intent of the fund.

184

Beyer

Responds that Rep. Kitts’ premise is correct and believes it is a discussion that the legislature needs to have.  Talks about how the federal USF disperses it’s monies and notes that the federal mechanism will change in the future.  Believes that it will be appropriate for the task force to look at the fund on a state level after the federal USF is altered. 

216

Rep. Kitts

Inquires if the ORTC has a bill in the legislature that allow USF funds to be used to increase the availability of broadband services.

231

Brittan

Remarks that it is important to understand that the state USF is just a forum for discussion.  Says that a senate bill (currently not in play) was introduced to change the way the USF receives and disperses the fund.  Argues that dial tone is not a basic line of service as it was once considered. 

297

Beyer

Declares that they are not opposed to exploring different funding sources and proclaims that many states are trying to get telecommunication services to rural areas.  Talks about “voice over the internet protocol” technology. 

341

Rep. Kitts

Explains his problem with the sunset extended for such a long period of time and talks about his concern with the USF being diluted.  

371

Rep. Schaufler

Speaks in support of SB 13A, SB 15, and 17A.  Stresses that the needs change; reports that he is more comfortable with the USF being used on telecommunications. 

392

Beyer

Clarifies that the PUC manages the USF and statutorily it can only be used in telecommunication methods.

402

Rep. Shields

Asks what the percentage of rural areas in Oregon have access to broadband capabilities.

408

Beyer

States that he cannot recall the percentages.  Recalls that there is a difference between the numbers inside the city and outside the city. 

431

Rep. Shields

Wonders how rural areas are doing on such crucial economic issues.

441

Tamarin

Estimates that 80 percent of Oregon communities have access to broadband services. 

TAPE 133, A

022

Jinny Ling

Qwest Communications.  Speaks in support of SB 17A.  Says that it is the ‘next step’ for the industry to work with the commission in addressing broadband issues.   

040

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing on SB 13A, SB 15, and SB 17A and opens a public hearing on SB 983.

SB 983 – PUBLIC HEARING

044

Caralyn Fischer

Committee Assistant.  Describes SB 983 relating to directing the Public Utility Commission to adopt rules relating to the termination of local exchange residential telephone service that would significantly endanger certain persons.

056

Sen. Vicki Walker

Senate District 7.  Testifies in support of SB 983. 

077

Cheryl O’Neill

Executive Director, Womenspace.  Testifies in support of SB 983.

100

O’Neill

Discusses several occurrences where domestic abuse victims did not have access to basic phone services.

142

Jeff Bissonette

Citizen’s Utility Board.  Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 983 (EXHIBIT I). 

147

Denise Washington

Executive Director, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.  Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 983 (EXHIBIT J).

156

Rep. Schaufler

Commends the witness for testifying on such an important issue.

168

Sybil Hebb

Oregon Law Center.  Submits testimony and testifies in support of SB 983 (EXHIBIT K).

174

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing and opens the work session on SB 983.

SB 983 – WORK SESSION

176

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves SB 983 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

184

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

REP. SHIELDS will lead discussion on the floor.

185

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 983.  Re-opens the work session on SB 119 and SB 353 for the purpose of allowing Rep. Schaufler to vote.

SB 119 AND SB 353 – WORK SESSION

190

Rep. Shields

MOTION:  Moves to SUSPEND the rules for the purpose of ALLOWING Rep. Schaufler to vote AYE on SB 119 & SB 353.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

(NOTE: Please see page 8, tape 133, A, of this tape log for the original vote.)

198

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

199

Rep. Schaufler

Votes Aye on both SB 119 and SB 353.

204

Chair Brown

Closes the work sessions on SB 119 and SB 353 and opens a public hearing on SB 600A.

SB 600A – PUBLIC HEARING

205

Caralyn Fischer

Committee Administrator.  Describes SB 600A relating to reorganizing and restating the telecommunications utility regulation law.  Submits the –A2 amendment (EXHIBIT L).

232

Schelly Jensen

Verizon.  Testifies in support of SB 600A. 

258

Lee Beyer

Oregon Public Utilities Commission.  Testifies in support of SB 600A. 

280

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing and opens a work session on SB 600A.

SB 600A – WORK SESSION

282

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT SB 600A-A2 amendments dated 3/28/05.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

285

Chair Brown

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

287

Rep. Kitts

MOTION:  Moves SB 600A to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

294

Chair Brown

Declares the motion CARRIED.

REP. KITTS will lead discussion on the floor.

309

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 600A and opens a work session on SB 13A.

SB 13A – WORK SESSION

312

Rep. Kitts

Recommends putting these bills on another agenda so Sen. Nelson can address the issues he may have.

324

Chair Brown

Explains that the Committee intends to work SB 13A, SB 15, and SB 17A on Friday May 20, 2005. 

340

Chair Brown

Closes the work session on SB 13A.  Adjourns the meeting at 10:25 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 172, written testimony, John Shilts, 3 pp
  2. SB 386, written testimony, John Shilts, 3 pp
  3. SB 386, written testimony, James Egan, 5 pp
  4. SB 119, written testimony, John Shilts, 3 pp
  5. SB 119, fiscal analysis, staff, 1 p
  6. SB 353, written testimony, Harlan Levy, 2 pp
  7. SB 13, written testimony, Edwin parker, 1 p
  8. SB 15, written testimony, Christopher Tamarin, 2 pp
  9. SB 983, written testimony, Jeff Bissonette, 1 p
  10. SB 983, written testimony, Denise Washington, 2 pp
  11. SB 983, written testimony, Sybil Hebb, 2 pp
  12. SB 600, -A2 amendment, staff, 1 p