SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

 

April 26, 2005                                                                                                         Hearing Room B

1:00 P.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes 66 – 67

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Rick Metsger, Chair

Sen. Bruce Starr, Vice-Chair

Sen. Jason Atkinson

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Theresa Van Winkle, Committee Administrator

James Goulding, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD :

                                                HB 2439 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                HB 2578A – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                HB 2637A – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                HB 2719A – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                HB 2604A – Public Hearing

                                                SB 671 – 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 66, A

003

Chair Metsger

Calls the committee to order at 1:10 p.m.   Opens a public hearing on HB 2439.

HB 2439 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Rep. Greg Macpherson

House District 38.  Testifies in support of HB 2439, explaining its provisions.  Introduces Mr. Morrow and Mr. Hull.

034

Andrew Morrow

Business Law Section, Oregon State Bar.  Submits written testimony in favor of HB 2439 (EXHIBIT A).

051

Chair Metsger

Summarizes his understanding of the measure.

056

Sen. Atkinson

Wonders why they need this measure.

060

Morrow

Points out there were inadvertent changes in previous legislation and this is to restore the original language.

073

Steven Hull

Attorney, Portland.  Submits his written testimony in favor of the measure (EXHIBIT B).

075

Chair Metsger

Closes public hearing on HB 2439 and opens a work session on HB 2439

HB 2439 – WORK SESSION

077

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves HB 2439 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

078

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. B. STARR will lead discussion on the floor.

079

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on HB 2439.  Opens a public hearing on HB 2578A.

HB 2578A – PUBLIC HEARING

082

Chair Metsger

Declares a potential conflict of interest as his company works with credit unions.

084

Pamela Leavitt

Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO).  Testifies in favor of HB 2578A.  Defers to Mr. Scoggins.

092

Harold Scoggins

Attorney, Farleigh Witt.  Presents written testimony in favor of HB 2578A (EXHIBIT C).  Explains the provisions of the measure.

129

Chair Metsger

Close public hearing on HB 2578A.  Opens a work session on HB 2578A.

HB 2578A – WORK SESSION

134

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves HB 2578A to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

136

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. MONNES ANDERSON will lead discussion on the floor.

138

Chair Metsger

Closes the work session on HB 2578A.  Opens a public hearing on HB 2637A.

HB 2637A – PUBLIC HEARING

141

John McCulley

Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals.  Presents written testimony in favor of HB 2637A (EXHIBIT D).

180

Chair Metsger

Closes the public hearing on HB 2637A.  Opens a work session on HB 2637A.

HB 2637A – WORK SESSION

191

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves HB 2637A to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

193

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. METSGER will lead discussion on the floor.

195

Chair Metsger

Closes the work session on HB 2637A.  Opens a public hearing on HB 2719A.

HB 2719A – PUBLIC HEARING

202

Rep. Chip Shields

House District 43.   Presents written testimony in favor of HB 2719A (EXHIBIT E).

229

Shawn Miller

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).  Voices additional support for the measure.

237

Chair Metsger

Closes the public hearing on HB 2719A.  Opens a work session on HB 2719A.

HB 2719A – WORK SESSION

240

Sen. B. Starr

MOTION:  Moves HB 2719A to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

242

 

VOTE:  4-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Deckert

 

Chair Metsger

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

SEN. ATKINSON will lead discussion on the floor.

247

Chair Metsger

Closes work session on HB 2719A.  Opens a public hearing on HB 2604A.

HB 2604A – PUBLIC HEARING

260

Jana Jarvis

Government Affairs Director, Oregon Association of Realtors.  Presents written testimony in favor of HB 2604A (EXHIBIT F).

275

Matt Farmer

Associate General Counsel, Oregon Association of Realtors.  Explains the provisions of the measure before the committee. 

310

Farmer

Provides additional testimony on statutory duties of real estate licensees.

360

Farmer

Notes the desire to set a clear standard of conduct.

390

Farmer

Discusses consequences of violating standards to promote better conduct.

423

Cynthia Balzola

President, Oregon Association of Realtors.  Testifies in favor of HB 2604A.

TAPE 67, A

005

Balzola

Provides background on the previous realtors conference in deciding needed legislative action.

033

Brian DeMarco

Manager, Land Development and Policy Coordination, Oregon Real Estate Agency.  Presents a packet of written testimony in opposition to HB 2604A (EXHIBIT G).  Advocates the adoption of the -A4 amendments (EXHIBIT H).

061

Sen. B. Starr

Observes there was a public hearing in the other chamber.  Asks if he was involved in that process.

064

DeMarco

Offers he was involved peripherally.  States Ms. Osborne will provide additional details.

065

Sen. B. Starr

Wonders about his agency supporting the compromise reached in the previous work group. 

076

DeMarco

Notes that everything occurred quickly in the other chamber. 

080

Becky Osborne

Regulation Manager, Oregon Real Estate Agency.  Discusses her involvement in the previous work group.  Talks about objections voiced within the work group.

097

Sen. B. Starr

Asks if their testimony on HB 2604 in the other chamber was in support, neutral, or opposed to the measure.

103

Osborne

Replies their agency opposed the bill in the public hearing.  Offers their objections were noted in the work group.

117

Sen. Deckert

Desires to know what their objections are.

121

Osborne

Testifies in opposition to the measure.  Submits an e-mail correspondence from Phil Querin (EXHIBIT I).  Apologizes for not having her written testimony, notes she will make sure that they receive it. 

161

Osborne

Continues to testify in regards to their concerns with the measure.

195

Osborne

Opposes the change from a “negligence” standard to a “gross negligence” standard.

227

Christine Chute

Business Activities Section, Oregon Department of Justice.  Submits written testimony relating their concerns with HB 2604A (EXHIBIT J).

265

Chute

Continues to discuss the litigation problems that will arise from the passage of the measure.

297

Chair Metsger

Asks what the current “negligence” standard is.

303

Chute

Offers the legal definition of “negligence”.

313

Sen. B. Starr

Questions the current statute standard for architects.

317

Chute

Replies that there is currently a “gross negligence” standard in statute for architects.  States there are other related provisions that are similar to the “negligence” standard.

330

Sen. B. Starr

Wonders if the standard is similar for tax consultants.

333

Chute

Understands that it is similar, replies she will provide additional details.

340

Sen. Atkinson

Wonders where the head of their agency is.

350

Osborne

Notes why the head of the agency is not present.

370

Sen. Atkinson

Questions if the agency has recruited anyone to testify against the measure.

373

Osborne

Relays that she has stepped in to testify.

380

Sen. Atkinson

Reads from a transcript of the work group held in the House.  Notes his concern that she did not object to the language at that time.

390

Osborne

Explains that she was talking about language omitted by legislative counsel.

407

Sen. Atkinson

Asks why she didn’t object to the bill.

410

Osborne

Replies.

TAPE 66, B

003

Osborne

Continues to explain that they were not aware of a number of the changes.

005

Sen. Atkinson

Asks when she first received the bill.

007

Osborne

Replies that they received it on February 21. 

010

Sen. Atkinson

Comments on his frustration.  Discusses the volume of legislation moving through the process and the importance of honoring agreements.

019

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Views this as a “consumer protection” measure.  Discusses the need to streamline the language.

042

Chair Metsger

Comments on the previous discussions held on the bill.

051

Sen. Deckert

Considers how this language will be a problem for the consumer.  Asks that he be able to meet with them at another time.

055

Osborne

Replies they would be happy to provide him with additional details.

059

Chair Metsger

Asks about the proposal of having a standard for “repeated negligence”.

065

Chute

Comments on the difference of combining “gross negligence” with “repeated negligence”.

073

Rep. Derrick Kitts

House District 30.  States his name for the record.

075

Rep. Sal Esquivel

House District 6.  States his name for the record.

078

Rep. Kitts

Testifies in regard to the work group held on HB 2604A.  Notes the compromise reached in the work group.

097

Rep. Esquivel

Testifies on HB 2604A.   Talks about the seven page agreement to protect consumers. 

130

Rep. Esquivel

Notes the harsh “negligence” penalty currently imposed on realtors.

155

Rep. Esquivel

Details the difference between a “negligence” and a “gross negligence” standards.  Offers there is a need for distinction between penalties.

160

Sen. Atkinson

Asks if an agreement was reached on the House side that has changed on the Senate side.

162

Rep. Esquivel

Agrees that is the case.

173

Arthur Kegler

Oregon Association of Realtors.  Testifies in favor of HB 2604A. 

200

Kegler

Observes the primary issue is “intent” in defining “negligence” and “gross negligence”. 

The following material is submitted for the record without public testimony:

 

Emily Cedarleaf

Executive Director, Multifamily Housing Council of Oregon.  Submits written testimony for the record (EXHIBIT K).

 

Rick Harris

Oregon Association of Realtors.  Submits written testimony for the record (EXHIBIT L).

 

Tim Pfau

AFSCME, Council 75.  Submits written testimony for the record (EXHIBIT M).

220

Chair Metsger

Notes the committee needs more time to weigh the issue before them.  Closes public hearing on HB 2604A.  Opens a public hearing on SB 671.

SB 671 – PUBLIC HEARING

232

John Stageberg

Oregon Mutual Utility Development (OMUD).  Testifies in favor of SB 671. 

270

Stageberg

Continues to explain the measure and the current situation with Portland General Electric (PGE).

300

Stageberg

Observes this provides for customer ownership of PGE.

324

Chair Metsger

Points out the issue of Oregon Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) oversight and what the PUC actually has power to oversee.

344

Ivan Gold

Attorney, Perkins Coie, representing OMUD.  Clarifies the PUC’s ability to regulate a public utility.

381

Sen. Deckert

Wonders how the PUC could regulate PGE in this scenario.

407

Gold

Replies that nothing would change from the current scenario.  Clarifies PUC’s regulatory ability.

TAPE 67, B

005

Gold

Continues explaining the PUC’s regulatory authority.

014

Sen. Deckert

Relates his concern that the PUC only has the ability to pass on rate increases to the consumer.

020

Gold

Replies, relating his experience in the industry.

037

Sen. Deckert

Questions the tax status of the entity.

048

J.T. Pendergraft

Certified Public Accountant, OMUD.  Notes the Internal Revenue Service is evaluating the status.  Replies that for tax purposes you can be a co-op without actually being a co-op.  Talks about the requirements.

079

Sen. Deckert

Notes the difficulty of this decision without clear research results.

091

Sen. B. Starr

Considers if their company would proceed without passage of SB 671.

101

Stageberg

Replies this provides the best financial offer for returning PGE to a publicly owned utility.    

117

Sen. B. Starr

Wonders about the financial impact of issuance of bonds on the ratepayer.

119

Stageberg

Provides an example on the rate bond maturity and credit. 

135

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Requests greater clarity on potential tariffs.

145

Stageberg

Explains that it would be the principal and interest on their debt payments. 

179

Chair Metsger

Observes the mixed signals he is receiving on this issue.  Asks about additional components needed in this bill.

189

Rick Willis

PUC.  Affirms that he is correct.  Details the number of areas where current laws are not written to address a mutual.  Notes amendments would be needed to allow regulation of this company.

201

Jeff Bissonnette

Citizens Utility Board (CUB).  Offers his views on the mutual utilities concept.  Offers a number of concerns.

230

Bissonnette

Voices his concerns with this proposal as it is not “self-contained” like the proposal in SB 1008.

240

Chair Metsger

Asks for clarification.

245

Bissonnette

Replies in regard to the language in the measure he is referring to.

263

Chair Metsger

Offers it would be helpful to have additional clarity on this issue.

271

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Considers the issue of liability if something goes wrong. 

277

Willis

States that it is likely to be passed on to the customers.

282

Sen. Monnes Anderson

Asks about the scenario of PGE going bankrupt.

288

Willis

Describes that as a mutual utility it would be very difficult for PGE to go bankrupt.

295

Sen. Monnes Anderson

States that PGE customers might see their rates go up in the event of financial difficulty.

297

Willis

Replies that is correct.

304

Chair Metsger

Asks the proponents to work on language for a governance structure for the PUC.  Closes the public hearing on SB 671.  Adjourns the committee at 3:00 PM. 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 2439, Written testimony, Andrew Morrow, 2 pp
  2. HB 2439, Written testimony, Steven Hull, 2 pp
  3. HB 2578A, Written testimony, Harold Scoggins, 3 pp
  4. HB 2637A, Written testimony, John McCulley, 1 p
  5. HB 2719A, Written testimony, Rep. Chip Shields, 1 p
  6. HB 2604A, Written testimony, Jana Jarvis, 4 pp
  7. HB 2604A, Written testimony packet, Brian DeMarco, 16 pp
  8. HB 2604A, -A4 amendment, staff, 1 p
  9. HB 2604A, E-mail Correspondence, Becky Osborne, 2 pp
  10. HB 2604A, Written testimony, Christine Chute, 1 p
  11. HB 2604A, Written testimony, Emily Cedarleaf, 5 pp
  12. HB 2604A, Written testimony, Rick Harris, 3 pp
  13.  HB 2604A, Written testimony, Tim Pfau, 12 pp