HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

 VETERANS' AFFAIRS

 

March 15, 2005   Hearing Room C

8:30 A.M.  Tapes 38 - 39

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Donna Nelson, Chair

Rep. Phil Barnhart, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Betty Komp

 

MEMBERS EXCUSED:            Rep. Debi Farr, Vice-Chair

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Stembridge, Committee Administrator

Erin Seiler, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                HB 2192 - Work Session

                                                HB 2665 – Public Hearing

                                                SB 223 – 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 38, A

004

Chair Nelson

Opens the meeting at 8:33 a.m. Opens a work session on HB 2192.

HB 2192 - WORK SESSION

029

Jim Stembridge

Explains HB 2192, which exempts public employees on military leave in Active Guard Reserve Program from employer-sponsored health coverage. Submits and summarizes -1 amendments (EXHIBIT A). Submits and summarizes – 2 amendments (EXHIBIT B).

043

Rep. Komp

Comments that allowing a total of 24 months will ensure that all possible safety nets are in place for soldiers returning from combat.

055

Stembridge

Clarifies that -1 amendments were adopted in conceptual form during the committee meeting on February 8, 2005.

069

Rep. Bruun

MOTION:  Moves HB 2192 to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  5-1-1

EXCUSED:  1 – Farr

ABSENT: 1 - Barnhart

 

Chair Nelson

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

REP. KOMP will lead discussion on the floor.

099

Chair Nelson

Closes the work session on HB 2192. Opens a public hearing on HB 2665.

HB 2665 – PUBLIC HEARING

105

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2665, which expands eligibility for appointment as Adjutant General. Submits and summarizes the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT C).

114

Rep. Boquist

Speaks in support of the bill. Identifying the purpose is to provide the Governor the option, should he not find a serving Oregon National Guard Officer, to consider soldiers from other branches of the military for appointment as Adjutant General.

156

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department (OMD). Introduces Retired Colonel Jim Noteboom, former Judge Advocated General (JAG) for the Oregon National Guard.

176

Jim Noteboom

Attorney, Karnopp Petersen, LLP. Testifies in opposition to HB 2665. Explains that the intent is good, but cautions that the Oregon National Guard would view it as a vote of no confidence given the proud tradition, unit cohesion, and strong leadership within the organization.

197

Noteboom

Addresses the “good reasons” for the statutory requirement that a soldier serve at least six years in the Oregon National Guard before a being considered for appointment as Adjutant General.

267

Noteboom

Speaks to the importance of the requiring that Guard soldier hold at least the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before consideration for appointment. Cites examples from other states in which an active duty officer was brought in as Adjutant General and resulted in problems.

294

Chair Nelson

Asks what criteria other states have adopted for National Guard appointments.

298

Noteboom

Identifies the various criteria that states use to determine appointments for the National Guard.

307

Caldwell

Testifies in opposition to HB 2665. Affirms the position that there is a resentment amongst National Guard officers, if the National Guard leadership has not served in the institution that they are asked to lead. Explains the inherent differences between the National Guard and active duty officers, particularly the community involvement component.

357

Caldwell

Addresses the barriers that exist between the National Guard and active duty officers, specifically the prejudices and stigmas attached to each branch.

388

Noteboom

Speaks to how the Army has done an “abysmal job” in building one cohesive Army force.

TAPE 39, A

046

Rep. Boquist

States that the focus of the bill is on the future, not the past, of the Oregon National Guard.

063

Rep. Boquist

Asks for verification of the number of Lieutenant Colonels or Colonels who have served in combat.

068

Caldwell

Believes that there have been 12 to 15.

070

Rep. Boquist

Speaking to the “no-confidence” issue, asks how it speaks to a vote of no confidence if the 15 to 20 Colonels in the Oregon National Guard are not considered more qualified to be the Adjutant General in Oregon over someone brought back for a third time in 17 years.  

079

Noteboom

Speaks to relationship with Adjutant General Rees, noting why this is as critical a period for the Oregon National Guard to have strong leadership.

100

Rep. Boquist

Acknowledges the challenges with equipping and training Oregon National Guard soldiers and asks who is responsible at the Federal level for supporting the National Guard.

110

Caldwell

States that the responsibility for training and equipping National Guard soldiers ultimately rests in the U.S. Congress.

146

Caldwell

Speaks to the fact that Governor Kulongoski took 18 months to appoint an Adjutant General as a sign of the quality of officers and leadership in the Oregon National Guard.

174

Rep. Boquist

Defines Adjutant General as the serving senior military officer for the Oregon National Guard. Gives the details of Adjutant General Rees’s military career.

194

Rep. Boquist

States that the focus of this bill is on the future of the Oregon National Guard and the potential for advancement of young Colonels in the Oregon National Guard.  

224

Rep. Boquist

Asks how many active duty officers that have returned from active duty and become Oregon National Guard soldiers.

233

Caldwell

Discusses the important role that Oregon National Guard soldiers have in their community.

273

Caldwell

Concludes testimony by reenforcing opposition to the bill and his support for the appointment of Adjutant General Rees.

401

Caldwell

Addresses regulations regarding the ability of the Oregon National Guard to draw and store ammunition in Oregon.

TAPE 38, B

064

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2665. Opens a public hearing on SB 223.

SB 223 – PUBLIC HEARING

080

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains SB 223, which increases the maximum veterans’ home loan amount to one hundred percent of net appraised value on homes that are real property.

087

Paula Brown

Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of SB 223 (EXHIBIT D).

092

Chair Nelson

Asks what the economic impact of the Veterans’ Home Loan Program has been in Oregon.

098

Bruce Shriver

Chief Financial Officer, ODVA. Explains the economic impact of the Veterans’ Home Loan Program for Oregon.  

104

Brown

Details the positive economic impact that expanding the Veterans’ Home Loan Program will have in Oregon (EXHIBIT D, Page 1).

115

Brown

Explains how the bill will change the current Veterans’ Home Loan Program (EXHIBIT D, Page 2).

130

Chair Nelson

Asks what the restrictions are on who can apply for a loan.

135

Brown

Explains the restrictions that prevent some Oregon National Guard soldiers from applying for a home loan.

153

Brown

Identifies the language that requires mortgage default insurance on any loans in excess of 80 percent loan-to-value ratios.

201

Chair Nelson

Asks about the rate of default within the Veterans’ Home Loan Program.

211

Shriver

Confirms that there have previous problems with defaulting on loans and that ODVA has had to absorb the entire loss.

243

Brown

Concludes testimony by stating that in addition to requiring mortgage insurance, ODVA has adopted more stringent underwriting guidelines.

271

Rep. Bruun

States concern with regards to the leveraging of 100 percent of a borrowers assets. Asks if there is a significant higher default average amongst those with higher leverage percentages.

289

Dona Lanterman

Loan Division Officer, ODVA. States that when the total picture of defaults is looked at, it has not been the case that those with higher loan-to-value rates default more frequently.

311

Rep. Bruun

Comments on the negative effect of having 97 percent or 100 percent leverage on loans.

327

Brown

Explains that ODVA makes every effort to prevent defaults and assist those buyers who are danger of becoming delinquent.

359

Chair Nelson

Asks if there are bridge funds available to assist veterans who face foreclosure or fall on hard financial times.

362

Shriver

Responds that there are no bridge funds, but ODVA does whatever it can to prevent buyers from defaulting on loans.

398

Brown

Verifies that there is not a 30 day requirement in a combat zone for soldier to receive an expeditionary medal and qualify for a home loan.

TAPE 39, B

005

Chair Nelson

Asks whether an Oregon National Guard soldier injured during training will they qualify for a loan.

007

Brown

States that no they do not qualify for Veterans’ Home Loan if they did not serve in a theater of operation where an expeditionary medal authorized.

030

Rep. Hunt

Asks what the additional loan products are that become available to buyers.

035

Brown

Clarifies that the ability to make the 100 percent loan is the additional loan product.

039

Rep. Hunt

Asks what soldiers who have not previously attained a home loan have being doing for housing.

042

Brown

States that it is probably a mixture of those who rent or attain private loans, but the ones that ODVA is hoping to help are those who have not purchased a home yet.

058

Lanterman

Verifies that there is not a minimum income requirement to qualify for a loan. The problem is not that people do not qualify for loans; the problem is in the ability to get the money to put down.

106

Brown

Clarifies that if a service member is discharged based on a service-connected disability before actually entering combat zone they would qualify for a home loan.

116

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Testifies in support of SB 223.

134

Walter Crews

Legislative Representative, Noncommissioned Officers Association. Testifies in support of SB 223.

158

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on SB 223. Opens a work session on SB 223.

SB 223 – WORK SESSION

163

Rep. Barnhart

MOTION:  Moves SB 223 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

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

EXCUSED:  1 - Farr

 

Chair Nelson

The motion CARRIES.

REP. BRUUN will lead discussion on the floor.

181

Chair Nelson

Closes the work session on SB 223. Adjourns the meeting at 10:07 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 2192, -1 amendments, staff, 3 pp
  2. HB 2192, -2 amendments, staff, 3 pp
  3. HB 2665, -1 amendments, staff, 1 p
  4. SB 223, written testimony, Paula Brown, 2 pp