HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

 VETERANS' AFFAIRS

 

April 5, 2005 Hearing Room C

8:30 A.M.  Tapes 55 - 57

 

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

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:            Rep. Betty Komp

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Stembridge, Committee Administrator

Erin Seiler, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                HB 2932 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2852 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2861 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2914 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 3326 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2677 – Public Hearing

                                                HB 2425 – 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 55, A

001

Vice-Chair Farr

Opens the meeting at 8:38 a.m. Opens a  public hearing on HB 2932.

HB 2932 –  PUBLIC HEARING

010

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2932, which requires local governments that provide transportation services to public to provide free passes to veterans.

015

Roger Martin

Executive Director, Oregon Transits Association. Testifies in opposition to HB 2932.

044

Rep. Barnhart

Questions the necessity of the bill if transit authorities are already considering the feasibility of a bus pass program for disabled and unemployed veterans.

063

Rep. Boquist

Comments on the willingness of Oregon Transits Association, Oregon Employment Department, and Tri Met to “do the honorable thing and what’s right” for a group of citizens who need assistance.

076

Kevin O’Reilly

Government Relations/Advocacy Director, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. Testifies in opposition to HB 2932. Submits written testimony on behalf of Jerry Ryan in opposition to HB 2932 (EXHIBIT A).

105

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Testifies in opposition to HB 2932.

121

Vice-Chair Farr

Closes the public hearing on HB 2932. Opens a public hearing on HB 2852.

HB 2852 – PUBLIC HEARING

125

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2852, which creates Veterans’ Family Caregiver Program to provide income to family members who provide in-home care to disabled veteran.

133

Jim Willis

Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). Explains that the services provided by HB 2852 are already available through the Department of Human Services (DHS) and why DHS should continue to be responsible for providing these services.

152

Rep. Bruun

Verifies that DHS is responsible for oversight of in-home care services and asks if DHS specifically provides in-home care for disabled veterans.

164

Willis

States that there is not an in-home care program specifically for disabled veterans, but there is an in-home care program for all disabled citizens.

173

Kevin O’Reilly

Government Relations/Advocacy Director, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. Testifies in support of HB 2852 and identifies pending federal legislation that would provide money for respite program for unpaid caregivers. Submits written testimony on behalf of Jerry Ryan in support of HB 2852 (EXHIBIT B).

205

Rep. Boquist

Asks that if the federal legislation passes, would DHS automatically implement the program or should the bill be amended to include implementation language.

212

O’Reilly

States that if federal legislation passes it would be automatically implemented by DHS.

214

Rep. Boquist

Inquires as to knowledge of in-home care programs and whether County Veterans Service Officers are the best avenue for attaining the aforementioned services for veterans. 

230

O’Reilly

Speaks to knowledge of existing in-home care programs administered by DHS and Oregon Project Independence.

239

Jacqueline Zimmer

Director, Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities (O4AD). Explains that the program recommended in HB 2852 already exists in the DHS budget under the title Relative Foster Care Program.

315

Vice-Chair Farr

Asks if there is a time limit on how long an individual can participate in the Relative Foster Care Program.

326

Zimmer

Explains that the Relative Foster Care Program is utilized primarily for long-term assistance, but short-term assistance could be possible if this was the only option.

342

Rep. Barnhart

Asks if there is a waiting list for participation in the Relative Foster Care Program or if DHS is able to accommodate all applicants who qualify.

352

Zimmer

States belief that the program is close to capacity and explains various options available to a family member willing to provide in-home care to a disabled relative.

380

Vice-Chair Farr

Closes the public hearing on HB 2852. Opens a public hearing on HB 2861.

HB 2861 – PUBLIC HEARING

395

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2861, which requires Director of Veterans’ Affairs to establish program to provide grants to veterans for temporary housing.

400

Jim Willis

Director, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). Speaks to why language relating to County Veterans’ Service Officers needs to be changed.

TAPE 56, A

013

Rep. Boquist

Asks if there are existing housing services that County Veterans’ Service Officers and National Veterans’ Service Officers could help veterans access.

019

Willis

Explains how the State of Oregon is in the process of establishing a Veterans’ Emergency Fund to provide veterans’ financial assistance.

029

Rep. Boquist

Asks what the scope of assistance will be for the Veterans’ Emergency Fund.

033

Willis

States that the Veterans’ Emergency Fund has the potential to be very broad in the type of assistance provided to a veteran.

040

Rep. Nelson

Affirms that ODVA would be willing to work with County Veterans’ Service Officers and National Veterans’ Service Officers in a collaborative effort to assist veterans.

069

Rep. Nelson

Asks to be provided with the data on the number of homeless veterans in Oregon.

076

Vice-Chair Farr

Closes the public hearing on HB 2861. Opens a public hearing on HB 2914.

HB 2914 – PUBLIC HEARING

085

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2914, which expands elderly rental assistance program to include members of Oregon National Guard, military reserve force or organized militia of other states or territories of United States and their spouses, and veterans.

095

Rep. Debi Farr

House District 14. Testifies in support of HB 2914.

125

Rep. Dave Hunt

House District 40. Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of HB 2914 (EXHIBIT C).

202

Chair Nelson

Asks if for information about the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches in Oregon.

216

Rep. Hunt

Expresses surprise at the prevalence of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, particularly in “suburban areas.”

239

Rep. Bruun

Asks why a tax credit is not given.

244

Rep. Farr

Explains the conception and purpose of HB 2914.

252

Rep. Hunt

States that HB 2914 was inspired by a similar and successful elder assistance program.

257

Chair Nelson

Asks if there is data available that categorizes veterans by age and location.

289

Rep. Hunt

Speaks to the need to concentrate efforts in areas where veterans can be provided with the most assistance because of limited available funds. 

313

Rep. Boquist

Asks if the sponsors of HB 2914 would be amenable to an amendment that would make soldiers enlisted under Federal Title 10 and 32 eligible to participate in rental assistance program.

357

Rep. Farr

Confirms willingness to draft an amendment.

368

Patti Whitney-Wise

Executive Director, Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force. Submits and summaries written testimony in support of HB 2914 (EXHIBIT D).

TAPE 55, B

009

Rep. Boquist

Confirms the need to have program structured on a “need basis” so that more affluent officers are not receiving an inequitable amount of assistance.

030

Whitney-Wise

Explains how the low-income housing rent subsidy is funded through the Federal Housing Program and why the program must be protected from further funding cuts.

058

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department (OMD). Explains why the OMD does not officially support HB 2914.

074

Caldwell

Confirms and explains why the language of HB 2914 should be amended to include Federal Title 10 and 32 status soldiers.

139

Rep. Boquist

Asks what would be the appropriate language to ensure that lower grade soldiers are eligible to participate in rental assistance program.

148

Caldwell

Explains how to determine what language should be used to amend the bill.

205

Caldwell

Speaks to efforts to educate employers and business leaders about hiring veterans and the legality of asking about National Guard and Reservist status.

221

Rep. Boquist

Verifies that under basic housing rules, a soldier must spend housing allowance on housing otherwise it would be withdrawn.

237

Rep. Hunt

Asks if housing allowance is adjusted for familial size or if it is strictly based on pay grade.

246

Caldwell

Explains that housing allowance and basic allowance for subsistence are adjusted based on martial status.

253

Rep. Farr

Verifies that it would appropriate to add an amendment to HB 2914 providing a supplemental housing allowance for soldiers receiving poverty level salaries.  

307

Jacqueline Zimmer

Director, Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities (O4AD).

363

Dustin Withee

Intern, O4AD. Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of HB 2914 (EXHIBIT E).

TAPE 56, B

034

Zimmer

Speaks in support of amendments that would include people with physical disabilities as eligible participants in rental assistance program purposed in the bill.

106

Rep. Boquist

Verifies the need to continuously monitor and adjust income-eligibility level to allow more people to participate in program.

118

Phillip Kennedy-Wong

Director of Public Policy, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Testifies in support of HB 2914.

191

Kennedy-Wong

Addresses need to assist deployed Oregon National Guard and Reservists who are defaulting on their home loans.

245

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2914. Opens a public hearing on HB 3326.

HB 3326 – PUBLIC HEARING

265

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 3326, which requires waiver of local government business license fees for veterans.

275

Kevin O’Reilly

Government Relations/Advocacy Director, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. Testifies in opposition to HB 3326. Submits written testimony on behalf of Jerry Ryan in opposition to HB 3326 (EXHIBIT F).

352

Rep. Farr

Questions whether the original intent was to provide just a one time new business license.

372

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Testifies to conditional support of HB 3326.

TAPE 57, A

005

Michelle Deister

Senior Staff Associate, League of Oregon Cities. Testifies in opposition to HB 3326.

009

Bill Penhollow

Assistant Executive Director, Association of Oregon Counties. Testifies in opposition to HB 3326.

026

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 3326. Opens a public hearing on HB 2677.

HB 2677 – PUBLIC HEARING

039

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2677, which creates Oregon National Guard Life Insurance Reimbursement Program and Oregon National Guard Life Insurance Reimbursement Program Fund.

047

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon Military Department (OMD). States that OMD does not officially support HB 2677, but suggests that it be made retroactive.

068

Chair Nelson

Asks about status of reenlistments for the Oregon National Guard.

070

Caldwell

Speaks to the recent increase in reenlistment numbers for the Oregon National Guard.

088

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Testifies in support of HB 2677.

121

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2677. Opens a public hearing on HB 2425.

HB 2425 – PUBLIC HEARING

134

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Explains HB 2425, which directs State Parks and Recreation Commission to allow free use of state parks, campsites, and day use areas on any day by disabled veterans and active duty military personnel.

170

Rep. Gene Whisnant

House District 53. Submits and summarizes written testimony in support of HB 2425 (EXHIBIT G).

200

Rep. Farr

Questions if the original intent was to limit cost coverage to a campsite and day use fee.

217

Kevin O’Reilly

Government Relations/Advocacy Director, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America. Testifies in opposition to HB 2425. Submits written testimony on behalf of Jerry Ryan in opposition to HB 2425 (EXHIBIT H).

245

Tim Wood

Director, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Submits and summarizes written testimony on HB 2425 (EXHIBIT I).

305

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Testifies in support of HB 2425.

365

Chair Nelson

Closes the public hearing on HB 2425. Adjourns the meeting at 10:53 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 2932, written testimony of Jerry Ryan, Kevin O’Reilly, 1 p
  2. HB 2852, written testimony of Jerry Ryan, Kevin O’Reilly, 2 pp
  3. HB 2914, written testimony, Dave Hunt, 2 pp
  4. HB 2914, written testimony, Patti Whitney-Wise, 1 p
  5. HB 2914, written testimony, Dustin Withee, 2 pp
  6. HB 3326, written testimony of Jerry Ryan, Kevin O’Reilly, 1 p
  7. HB 2425, written testimony, Gene Whisnant, 1 p
  8. HB 2425, written testimony of Jerry Ryan, Kevin O’Reilly, 3 pp
  9. HB 2425, written testimony, Tim Wood, 1 p