HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

VETERANS' AFFAIRS

 

 

February 1, 2005   Hearing Room C

8:30 A.M.  Tapes 12 - 14

(corrected 07/28/05)

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Donna Nelson, Chair

Rep. Phil Barnhart, Vice-Chair

Rep. Debi Farr, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Betty Komp

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Stembridge, Committee Administrator

Erin Seiler, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

                                              HB 2135 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                              HB 2136 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                              Veterans’ Issues – Informational Meeting         

                                                     

 

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 12, A

001

Chair Nelson

Opens the meeting at 8:31 a.m. Acknowledges veterans in the attendance.

029

Chair Nelson

Opens a public hearing on HB 2135.

HB 2135 - PUBLIC HEARING

030

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2135, which extends certain benefits to members of Oregon National Guard serving under Title 10 of United States Code.

050

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department. Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of HB 2135 (EXHIBIT A).

071

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2135. Opens a work session on HB 2135.

HB 2135 – WORK SESSION

080

Rep. Barnhart

MOTION:  Moves HB 2135 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

083

Rep. Barnhart

Speaks in strong support of HB 2135.

099

Rep. Boquist

Verifies that HB 2135 brings state statutes into exact compliance with federal statutes.

117

Chair Nelson

Addresses the importance of ensuring that all Oregon National Guard soldiers have access to benefits.

140

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

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

 

Chair Nelson

The motion CARRIES.

REP. NELSON will lead discussion on the floor.

149

Chair Nelson

Closes the work session on HB 2135. Opens a public hearing on HB 2136.

HB 2136 - PUBLIC HEARING

152

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2136, which revises provisions relating to Oregon militia.

165

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department (OMD). Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of HB 2136 (EXHIBIT B).

193

Caldwell

Explains the purpose of HB 2136 is to update State Code in an effort to maintain consistency with the federal Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

235

Caldwell

Reviews the key components of the bill, noting that it authorizes the OMD to make regulations that govern “our actions and behaviors.”

285

Rep. Barnhart

Asks if any of the changes have substantive value that need to be fixed by this committee or by the Judiciary Committee.

294

Caldwell

Points out that the changes are minor and the major purpose of the bill is to provide clarification regarding the application of federal rules.  

328

Rep. Barnhart

Comments that having two different sets of rules governing the deployment status of soldiers does not make sense. Asks who is responsible for the costs of holding a person in county jail.

342

Caldwell

Responds that he has never had anybody locked up.

361

Major Mark Ronning

State Judge Advocate, OMD. Explains why the threat of jail is hollow.

TAPE 13, A

020

Rep. Bruun

Expresses concern as to a provision in the bill regarding wearing military uniforms. Asks if it is aimed at members of the militia or anybody wearing a uniform.

032

Caldwell

Explains that the “key” of the statute is whether the individual is wearing an official uniform. 

057

Rep. Bruun

Verifies that it would be a violation when a person attempts to misrepresent oneself as active in the military or having achieved a status within the military that does not truly represent the situation.

061

Caldwell

Stresses that this law is intended to apply to a person who purposefully tries to mislead someone else in an official capacity.

071

Ronning

Clarifies that HB 2136 gives local law enforcement officials that authority to prevent people who are not authorized from wearing an official uniform. 

084

Rep. Bruun

Restates concern that a “kid in college” who, though, wearing a uniform, does so without the intention of misleading someone in an official capacity.

095

Rep. Barnhart

Questions if it really would be a violation for a soldier who is legally authorized to wear an official uniform to appear before a legislative body without authorization from superiors.

106

Caldwell

Explains why a person not authorized, by law or regulation, may not wear any official uniform.

110

Rep. Barnhart

Cites a possible exception to the rule.

117

Ronning

Confirms that there could be an exception to the rule. Discusses the ability of the Oregon National Guard to rectify the impair behavior of a soldier while in uniform.  

125

Rep. Boquist

Asks for a background summary of the bill.

138

Ronning

Summarizes the history, development, and purpose of  HB 2136

202

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2136. Opens a work session on HB 2136.

HB 2136 - WORK SESSION

207

Rep. Farr

MOTION:  Moves HB 2136 to Judiciary with a DO PASS recommendation.

212

Rep. Barnhart

Expresses concern about the penalty for the unauthorized wearing of an official military uniform being a class B misdemeanor.

235

 

VOTE:  7-0-0

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

 

Chair Nelson

The motion CARRIES.

241

Chair Nelson

Closes the work session on HB 2136. Opens an informational meeting on Veterans’ Issues.

VETERANS’ ISSUES - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

252

Jim Willis

Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). Discusses the Veterans’ Home Loan Program.

300

Willis

Explains the eligibility criteria for home loan and the current number of veterans eligible for a home loan from ODVA.

350

Willis

Identifies the federal laws that limits eligibility to specific veterans and restricts ODVA ability to make funds available for loans.

385

Rep. Barnhart

Asks how limited are the funds for the Veterans’ Home Loan Program and how the program is doing as a business enterprise.

400

Willis

Explains the long-term viability of the Veterans’ Home Loan Program.

TAPE 14, A

027

Willis

Addresses the ability of ODVA to meet current demand for home loans and the effect of fluctuations in the interest rate on demand for loans.  

110

Willis

Responds to concerns regarding the future of the Veterans’ Home Loan Program if the Federal Tax Code is not revised.

145

Rep. Boquist

Asks how changing the definition of veteran would impact eligibility for home loan.

151

Willis

Discusses how changing Oregon’s definition of a veteran effects eligibility for a home loan.

200

Rep. Boquist

Asks if changing the definition of veteran increases eligibility. 

216

Willis

Replies that changing the definition of a veteran in Oregon would not increase access to federal benefits because they are tied to the federal definition of a veteran.

259

Willis

Addresses concern about the distance that veterans have to travel for healthcare services and the need to allow veterans to access healthcare in their own local area.

327

Chair  Farr

Closes the informational meeting on veterans’ issues. Adjourns the meeting

at 9:48 a.m.

           

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

  1. HB 2135, written testimony, Colonel Mike Caldwell, 1 pp
  2. HB 2136, written testimony, Colonel Mike Caldwell, 3 pp