HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

BUSINESS, LABOR, AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

 

 

January 31, 2005   Hearing Room B

8:30 A.M.  Tapes 16 - 17

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Alan Brown, Chair

Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice-Chair

Rep. Mike Schaufler, Vice-Chair

Rep. George Gilman

Rep. Paul Holvey

Rep. Derrick Kitts

Rep. Chip Shields

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Janet Adkins, Committee Administrator

Katie Howard, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

                                                Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Div. – Informational Meeting

                                                HB 2098 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2117 – 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 16, A

004

Chair Brown

Calls the meeting to order at 8:33 a.m. Opens the informational meeting on the Financial Fraud and Consumer Protection Division.

FINANCIAL FRAUD AND CONSUMER PROTECTION DIV. - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

017

Cheryl Pellegrini

Attorney-in-Charge, Financial Fraud and Consumer Protection Division, Department of Justice (DOJ). Submits a memorandum (EXHIBIT C).  Talks about where division gets funding (EXHIBIT C, Page 1).  Explains the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline. Says that the budget reduction led to less consumer education and outreach. Believes this caused a drop, in 2004, in calls to the Consumer Hotline.  Addresses how consumers can make complaints to the division and how the division then responds.  

105

Pellegrini

Feels that education is more cost effective than litigation.  Outlines some of the private industries who work in conjunction with DOJ.  Mentions the Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

156

Pellegrini

Elaborates the difference between DOJ and regulatory agencies and refers to page two and three (EXHIBIT C).  Explains that the DOJ works to help regulatory agencies enforce their policies. Mentions the regulatory agencies that DOJ has worked with (EXHIBIT C, Page 3).  Indicates that civil investigative demands look into whether a business practice violates the law.  Says that 99 percent of the cases against businesses settle.

220

Pellegrini

Explains the trends in consumer protection (EXHIBIT C, Page 3 - 4).  Talks about the top ten list of consumer complaints.  Discusses the bills that will be coming before the committee.

243

Rep. Shields

Asks for a repeat of the measures that will be coming before the committee.

244

Pellegrini

Reiterates the list of bills and explains the nature of each bill.  Indicates that the telecommunication businesses have the most complaints levied against them and addresses how HB 2218 will better protect those customers.

275

Chair Brown

Inquires what bill deals with telecommunication businesses.

276

Pellegrini

Clarifies that it is HB 2218.

279

Chair Brown

Asks what HB 2218 does.

280

Pellegrini

Explains further what HB 2218 does.  Offers to answer any questions

295

Rep. Schaufler

Asks if consumer fraud has gone up in connection with the growing problem with methamphetamine abuse.

302

Pellegrini

Talks about the relationship between methamphetamine rings and identity theft.  Explains how identity information is used as payment for methamphetamines.  Adds that they also hear from businesses who have received bad payments and are left having to absorb the cost of these bad payments.

347

Rep. Esquivel

Talks about a real estate agent who was forging documents.  Asks why the individual was not brought up on charges and asks if they coordinate with the Real Estate Agency.

352

Pellegrini

Explains that they do not communicate with the Real Estate Department unless DOJ is contacted by them.  Talks about how cases are referred to the DOJ. Emphasizes that the division only enforces civil law and not criminal law.  Adds that the Real Estate Department may not have thought that the situation needed to be investigated further.

390

Rep. Esquivel

Points out that it is a criminal offense to forge someone’s name to a document.

393

Pellegrini

Reiterates that the Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Division does not enforce criminal law.

398

Rep. Schaufler

Asks if the criminal side of the DOJ is in communication with the civil side of the department.

401

Pellegrini

Affirms that the two divisions are in contact when the cases have overlapping jurisdiction.

423

Chair Brown

Asks about gift cards and if people are complaining about them.

TAPE 17, A

001

Pellegrini

Talks about the conditions of the gift cards’ redemptions and how it became a problem.  Explains how companies that were going into bankruptcy and would still sell cards.  Discusses how bankruptcy law is changing so that the companies will still have to honor the gift cards.  Says that there are seven or eight states that have enacted legislation.

022

Rep. Shields

Inquires about the investigation of a trade school called BCTI and Marsh Inc. and the Portland School District. 

025

Pellegrini

Addresses consumer protection issues and trade schools.  Says that it falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education.  Explains that the DOJ sometimes steps in to identify funds that the school may have so that students can receive refunds or have the credits transferred to another program.  Discusses action that is taken against trade schools that have false credential. Refers to Marsh Inc. and says that they have an open investigation under Anti-Trust Laws.  Says that they are working in conjunction with the Insurance Division.

060

Chair Brown

Closes the informational meeting on the Financial Fraud and Consumer Protection Division and opens the public hearing on HB 2098.

HB 2098 – PUBLIC HEARING

068

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2098.

081

Carol Halford

Administrator, Oregon Board of Architect Examiners (AIA).  Speaks in support of HB 2098.  Submits written testimony on behalf of William Seider, Chair, AIA, in support of HB 2098 (EXHIBIT A).  Explains HB 2098.  Feels that education is more cost effective than litigation.

109

Rep. Esquivel

Asks why it is a ceiling of $5,000 for the offense.

115

Halford

Says that $5,000 is not always the amount that is assessed but it is the maximum amount that can be assessed in a civil penalty.  Explains that it is a common amount for boards across the state.

128

Rep. Esquivel

Asks if the AIA will collect administrative costs in addition to the $5,000 maximum.

132

Halford

Says that currently you can only get $5,000 for each case.  Clarifies that HB 2098 will allow the AIA to assess the $5,000 and then assess the amount of money that it took to pursue the case.

138

Chair Brown

Closes public hearing on HB 2098 and opens the public hearing on HB 2117.

HB 2117 – PUBLIC HEARING

148

Janet Adkins

Committee Administrator.  Explains HB 2117.  Submits fiscal statement (EXHIBIT G).

181

Kelly Paige

Executive Director, Oregon Board of Investigators (OBI).  Submits and summarizes written testimony  in support of HB 2117 (EXHIBIT B).  Gives history of OBI.  Explains what the bill amends (EXHIBIT B, Page 1).

240

Paige

Talks about getting rid of the criminal penalty for not caring a identification card (EXHIBIT B, Page 1).  Continues explaining HB 2117 and what it amends.  Talks about desired additional amendments (EXHIBIT B, Page 3).

286

Rep. Schaufler

Wants testimony in regards to 703.460(2) amendment (EXHIBIT B).

288

Paige

Explains how OBI came up with the definition of private investigative activities and looked at the list of exceptions that they had in the statute.  Felt that process servers do a lot of investigative activities in their work and took out the exemption for process servers.

311

Rep. Holvey

Asks about the cards that are carried by the private investigator and if they are required to identify themselves.

313

Paige

Explains that the requirement to carry the card or face criminal prosecution was not enforceable.  Believes that most private investigators will continue to carry the card.  

338

Rep. Holvey

Clarifies the original question.

343

Paige

Explains that they are not required to identify themselves with the card.

351

Rep. Schaufler

Asks if citizens are legally bound to say anything to private investigators.

353

Cynthia Hamilton

Chair, OBI.  Says that in her personal experience as a private investigator that she is always quick to identify herself.  Speaks to the nature of different types of private investigators and why they may not identify themselves.

370

Rep. Schaufler

Reiterates the original question.

371

Hamilton

Says that a citizen is not legally bound to speak to a private investigator.

376

Rep. Shields

Asks about the three-year lag time for reapplication and if there is an appeal process for those whose licenses have been revoked

383

Paige

Explains that they have had one denial of the license and one revocation in her three years at OBI.  Says that they would not have to review the application if it has been revoked should HB 2117 passes.

TAPE 16, B

001

Patricia A Vollbrecht

President, Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators (OALI).  Talks about how many people at her company are from out of state.  Submits and reads from written testimony in opposition to HB 2117 (EXHIBIT E).

067

Ann Fischer

Attorney, Washington County.  Speaks against HB 2117.  Expresses concerns about the quality of investigators in the state and would like to see higher standards for investigators.  Believes that HB 2117 lowers the standards for private investigators.  Takes issue with the provisional investigators license. Remarks that HB 2117 seems to be written so that a private investigator can have a provisional investigator’s license for an indefinite period of time.  Says that out-of-state licensees should not be charged.

135

Fischer

Talks about revocation of a license and how soon one can apply under HB 2117.  Mentions the issue of actually getting the investigator’s file and finds this part of HB 2117 reasonable.

172

Rep. Shields

Asks about the difference between the registration of corporations in statute and what the bills wants the registration to be for private investigators from out-of-state.

179

Fischer

Explains that a corporation maintains a registered agent in the state. Indicates that the agent or business that is designated by the corporation has to know where you are located at all times.

212

Dave Barrows

Legislative Representative, Oregon Association of Process Servers (OAPS) and Burlington North Santa Fe.  Talks about line 37 on page two of HB 2117.

220

Aaron Crowe

President, OAPS.  Explains that process servers have been in Oregon for 57 years.  Believes that it is important for an attorney to be able to hire a process server and private investigator.  Speaks to the differences between a process server and a private investigator.

247

Dave Barrows

Asks for the exemption to be re-instated for process servers in line 37 on page two of HB 2117.  Says a lot of problems exist in Section 2 of HB 2117.  Expresses concern about HB 2117.

286

Chair Brown

Asks if line 44 and 45 on page two and line one on page three of HB 2117 would put the railroad investigators back into the exemption. 

290

Barrows

Responds that he does not know if railroad investigators are licensed by the federal government.  Clarifies his position and wants more dialogue before the HB 2117 moves forward

300

Rep. Schaufler

Agrees that more conversation needs to occur in regards to HB 2117.

301

Crowe

Refers to the language on line 37 of page two of HB 2117 and explains the amendment OAPS would like to see.

316

Jim Markee

Oregon Collectors Association (OCA).  Explains that his industry uses process servers on a regular basis.  Refers to subsection 16 on page two of HB 2117 and the negative consequences it will have on landlords.  Refers to line 12 through 17 on page one of HB 2117 and believes that the sections definition of investigative services is too broad.  Refers to lines 44 and 45 on page two and line one on page three of HB 2117.  Says that the collection agency may not be able to locate people who owe money if HB 2117 passes.  Believes that the bill has some unintended consequences and thinks that the bill needs to be discussed further.

420

Alan H Crowe

Administrator, National Association of Professional Process Servers.  Submits written testimony in opposition to HB 2117 (EXHIBIT D).  Gives a history of the organization.  Provides background information on the organization.

TAPE 17, B

001

Crowe

Reads from prepared testimony (EXHIBIT D).  Talks about the difficulty process servers have when trying to locate individuals.  Speaks in opposition to HB 2117.

058

Thia Bell

Citizen, Lane County.  Submits and reads from prepared testimony in opposition to HB 2117 (EXHBIT F).  Speaks in opposition to HB 2117.  Adds that she is concerned that the board members term limits are limited by rule and not by statute.

144

Chair Brown

Closes the public hearing on HB 2117 and adjourns the meeting at 10:11 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 2098, written testimony, Carol Halford, 1 p
  2. HB 2117, written testimony, Kelly Paige, 3 pp
  3. Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section, memorandum, Cheryl A Pellegrini, 5 pp
  4. HB 2117, written testimony, Alan H Crowe, 1 p
  5. HB 2117, written testimony, Patricia A Vollbrecht, 2 pp
  6. HB 2117, written testimony, Thia Bell, 1 p
  7. HB 2117, fiscal statement, staff, 2 pp