SENATE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT

 

 

February 04, 2005                                                                                           MAISON ARMORY

10:00 A.M.                                                                                                                Tigard, Oregon

                                                                                                                                       Tapes  7 - 10

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Frank Shields, Chair

Sen. Gary George, Vice-Chair

Sen. Bruce Starr

Sen. Joanne Verger

Sen. Vicki Walker

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Gary Roulier, Committee Assistant

 

VISITING MEMBER:                       Rep. Larry Galizio

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

                                                SB 18 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 19 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SJM 1 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                SB 223 – Public Hearing

Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial Fund – 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 7, A

003

Chair Shields

Opens the meeting at 10:07 a.m. and opens a public hearing on SB 18 and SB 19.

SB 18 and SB 19 – PUBLIC HEARING

024

Sen. Courtney

State Senator, District 11 and Senate President. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT A and testifies in support of SB 18 and SB 19.

049

Sen. Courtney

Notes that the purposes of the bills is to provide some financial relief to deployed soldiers. Explains that SB 18 relates to survivor benefits for families.

080

Sen. Courtney

States that these bills will ensure that Oregon is not raising revenue on the “backs of the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice.” Adds that the measure is retroactive to the 2001 tax year.

093

Sen. Courtney

Explains the provisions of SB 19 which exempts military compensation from income taxation.

135

Chair Shields

Asks how many citizens would be affected by SB 18 and the anticipated revenue impact.

146

Sen. Courtney

Responds that ten National Guard soldiers have died in the line of duty, but does not know the amount of money.

158

Colonel Mike Caldwell

Deputy Director, Oregon National Guard. Reviews the number of National Guard members lost in the war.

174

Chair Shields

Asks for a fiscal impact.

179

Caldwell

Reviews the exemptions for military pay and provides an estimate the impact.

184

Judith Callens

Committee Administrator. Reviews the revenue and impact statements for both SB 18 and SB 19.

193

Sen. Courtney

Adds that that estimate is that it would be approximately $450 per affected person.

197

Sen. Walker

Clarifies that this death benefit is only paid if the death occurs while on active duty.

202

Sen. Courtney

Notes that her clarification is correct.

205

Sen. Walker

Asks if Congress had formerly taxed the entire death benefit.

208

Sen. Courtney

Responds that is correct.

228

General Raymond Byrne

Acting Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT B) and testifies in support of SB 18.

268

Byrne

Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT C) and testifies in support of SB 19.

299

Sen. Verger

Asks if there are adequate Guardsmen to respond to a natural disaster within the state, and whether Oregon has a larger percentage deployed relative to other states.

321

Byrne

Answers that we have enough soldiers to respond to any disasters.

353

Sen. Verger

Asks how the present deployments will affect future recruitment.

358

Byrne

Responds that the reasons that soldiers are leaving the Guard revolve around deployments.

386

Chair Shields

Questions whether the reenlistment numbers have dropped because of the changing role of the Guard.

395

Byrne

Reviews the recruitment and reenlistment rates of the Guard and summarizes steps being taken to maintain retention rates.

TAPE 8, A

007

Chair Shields

Asks about whether Oregon’s percentage of deployed guardsmen is “in line” with other states.

009

Byrne

Responds that there are states that are in worse shape than Oregon.

027

Caldwell

Adds that approximately 70 percent of the Oregon Guard has been deployed at some point since September 11, 2001.

049

Sen. Starr

Asks if there is anything in the law that requires employers to hold jobs for deployed soldiers.

055

Byrne

Reviews statutes requiring employers to hold jobs for deployed soldiers.

061

Caldwell

Continues an explanation of veteran’s reemployment rights.

067

Sen. Starr

Asks for the average length of deployment for Guard members since September 11, 2001.

070

Byrne

Reviews tour lengths.

076

Sen. George

Asks about the reduction in force during the 1990s and if that is the reason the Guard is deploying.

083

Byrne

Speaks to the reductions which were a result of the end of the cold war.

103

Sen. Walker

Asks about employer support.

112

Byrne

Explains the program for employer support and the outreach efforts of the Guard.

154

Chair Shields

Asks if the Guard can still respond to emergencies in some of the small communities where deployments have had a major impact.

171

Byrne

Outlines the use of rear detachments and adds that the Guard can move anywhere in the state on short notice.

182

Caldwell

Summarizes Guard capabilities in the event of emergencies.

200

Sen. George

Asks if there is any online resource to find out what companies are going “above and beyond” in support of their deployed soldiers.

210

Byrne

Responds that he is not aware of any “one stop” resource to access that information but will provide a list to the committee.

231

Chair Shields

Comments that it would be beneficial to publicly acknowledge those employers.

242

Byrne

Thanks the Governor and the legislature for support.

251

Caldwell

Reviews legislation regarding health benefit packages for deployed soldiers.

276

Sen. George

Asks if the health care packages need to be modified.

280

Caldwell

Answers that is an option.

292

Rep. Galizio

Wonders if there are any obstacles to benefits for secondary education for Guard members.

310

Caldwell

Summarizes bills in the legislature which were filed to address several of these issues.

340

Byrne

Explains other legislation on tuition benefits.

366

Rep. Galizio

Talks about the federal tuition support that was put into state community colleges.

400

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 18 and SB 19, and opens a public hearing on SJM 1.

SJM 1 – PUBLIC HEARING

414

Byrne

Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT D) and testifies in support of SJM 1.

TAPE 7, B

007

Byrne

Reviews federal support of the Guard and the lack of “Full Time Manning.”

037

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SJM 1 and opens a work session SB 18.

SB 18 – WORK SESSION

040

Sen. George

MOTION:  Moves SB 18 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation and BE REFERRED to the committee on Revenue by prior reference.

 

 

VOTE:  5-0-0

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

 

Chair Shields

The motion CARRIES.

050

Chair Shields

Closes the work session on SB 18 and opens a work session on SB 19.

SB 19 – WORK SESSION

053

Sen. George

MOTION:  Moves SB 19 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation and BE REFERRED to the committee on Revenue by prior reference.

 

 

VOTE:  5-0-0

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

 

Chair Shields

The motion CARRIES.

063

Chair Shields

Closes the work session on SB 19 and reopens a public hearing on  SJM 1.

SJM 1 – PUBLIC HEARING

074

Mike Sullivan

Lobbyist, Association of American Pulp and Paper Workers. Testifies in support of SJM 1. Asks that the joint memorials address funding for the federal Veteran’s Administration.

105

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SJM 1 and opens a work session on        SJM 1.

SJM 1 – WORK SESSION

112

Chair Shields

Reads into testimony the language of SJM 1.

140

Sen. George

MOTION:  Moves SJM 1 be sent to the floor with a BE ADOPTED recommendation.

153

Sen. Walker

Speaks to the “woeful” under funding of the Veteran’s Administration and recommends the legislative body adopt a memorial addressing this subject.

163

Sen. Verger

Worries about the memorials not receiving the appropriate attention at the federal level.

182

Sen. Starr

Notes that hand delivering memorials to the Oregon federal delegation is one way to ensure that the memorials get into member’s hands.

198

 

VOTE:  5-0-0

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

 

Chair Shields

The motion CARRIES.

200

Chair Shields

Closes the work session on SJM 1 and opens a public hearing on SB 223.

SB 223 – PUBLIC HEARING

209

Callens

Explains the provisions of SB 223.

236

Paula Brown

Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs (ODVA). Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT E) and testifies in support of  SB 223.

269

Brown

Summarizes the intent of SB 223.

302

Brown

Reviews the requirement for mortgage default insurance on loans in excess of 80 percent “loan-to-value” ratios.

318

Sen. Walker

Asks if the proposed loans are “zero down.”

328

Brown

Responds that they are.

329

Sen. Walker

Asks if the closing costs are financed.

331

Dona Lanterman

Home Loan Origination Manager, ODVA. Responds that the closing costs are not included in their payment.

341

Sen. Walker

Asks at what point the department would no longer require the borrower to carry mortgage insurance.

351

Brown

Answers that it is mandatory to release borrowers from the requirement for mortgage default insurance at 78 percent.

366

Sen. Walker

Asks about the default rate.

370

Bruce Shriver

Chief Financial Officer, ODVA. Answers that the default rate for the ODVA program is 1.5 percent, which favorably compares to 1.8 for other loan programs.

410

Shriver

Reviews overall statistics for the program dealing with loan delinquency.

428

Chair Shields

Asks what lessons were learned from the high default rate experienced in the 1980s.

TAPE 8, B

003

Shriver

States that the key difference is the requirement for mortgage insurance.

023

Chair Shields

Questions if the department can guarantee that we won’t have a “replay” of the defaults of the 1980s.

034

Shriver

Answers that they are “highly confident” that they have covered the risks.

039

Chair Shields

Asks for a review of the history of the home loan defaults in the 1980s.

041

Shriver

Summarizes the history of the ODVA home loan program, to include loan volume.

077

Chair Shields

Asks what changes had to be made.

090

Shriver

Reviews the “tightening up” of underwriting standards and other changes.

108

Chair Shields

Asks if the department was able to recoup the losses.

111

Shriver

Responds that the department bore some losses.

117

Chair Verger

Asks for an explanation of the percentages.

129

Shriver

Explains the percentages, to include the default rate relative to the total number of loans outstanding.

152

Sen. George

Asks if the interest rates were part of the problem in the 1980s and whether we have more flexibility today.

162

Shriver

Answers that is correct and summarizes bond rates from that period.

185

Sen. George

Points out that this home loan program is a benefit to our veterans, and the losses borne in the 1980s were minor “relative to the sacrifices of our veterans.”

194

Chair Shields

Asks if other states have similar programs.

200

Shriver

Reviews other state loan programs.

236

Sen. Verger

Asks how many veterans within the state are eligible for these loans.

240

Shriver

Summarizes the requirements and estimates that there are 60,000 veterans within Oregon that are eligible.

262

Brown

Details department procedures on collections.

290

Sen. Verger

Speaks to the importance of home ownership.

304

Sen. Walker

Comments on the some of the physical problems associated with service-connected disabilities.

333

Brown

Agrees and notes that these benefits are an “entitlement.”

354

Sen. Walker

Stresses the importance of informing veterans of their entitlements. Asks for an average monthly payment for mortgage default  insurance.

371

Lanterman

Answers the amount would vary, but an average for a $150,000 home insured to 100 percent value would be $175 per month.

414

Chair Shields

Comments that this would be in addition to the mortgage payment.

TAPE 9, A

010

Lanterman

Summarizes “piggyback” loans.

018

Walter Crews

Oregon State Legislative Director, Non Commissioned Officers Association. Testifies in support of SB 223.

061

Wayne Harvey

Beaverton, Oregon. Testifies in support of SB 223. Notes that he is not eligible for the loan program because he is not a veteran of a “qualifying area.”

107

Lyle Voth

Newberg, Oregon. Testifies in support of SB 223. States that there is a rumor that the home loan program had been dropped.

128

Chair Shields

Emphasizes that he is interested in finding a way to provide more publicity for this loan program.

147

Caldwell

Comments that the requirements are that a soldier serve 210 days of federal active duty service to qualify for this loan program. Discusses how to publicize the loan program with the chair.

190

Chair Shields

Reemphasizes the importance of publicity.

210

Sen. George

Talks about a bill dealing with raising death benefits, and discusses the possibility of packaging the bills.

234

Lanterman

Points out that her earlier estimate for the monthly mortgage insurance payments was incorrect, and notes the correct amount would be $135 per month.

252

Brown

Stresses that the ODVA is “more than willing” to do the press releases.

263

Chair Shields

Tells the committee that future committee meetings will be held at 3:10 p.m.

277

Sen. Verger

Comments on the work being done by Rep. Nelson in the Oregon House.

289

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 223, and opens an informational meeting on the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial Fund.

AFGHAN-IRAQI FREEDOM WAR MEMORIAL FUND – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

302

Clay Kesterson

President, Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial Fund. Relates the history of the project, which began when they lost their son (an Army helicopter pilot) in Iraq.

336

Kesterman

Summarizes the design of the memorial.

371

MJ Kesterson

Vice President, Afghan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial Fund. Outlines upcoming fund raising events for the memorial.

401

MJ Kesterson

Explains that it is an important project for the families that have lost family members in Iraq.

TAPE 10, A

003

Sen. Starr

Asks for the total amount for the project.

009

Clay Kesterson

Responds that they are estimating $350 - $500,000 but adds that much of that will be “in-kind” donations of labor and materials.

021

Sen. George

Asks that committee members keep each other informed on parades and other events taking place within their districts that are honoring veterans.

045

Voth

Pledges the support of his American Legion Post to the memorial project.

053

Chair Shields

Asks to be keep informed on the project, closes the informational meeting, and adjourns the meeting at 1:09 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 18 and SB 19, written testimony, Peter Courtney, 2 pp
  2. SB 18, written testimony, Raymond Byrne, 1 pp
  3. SB 19, written testimony, Raymond Byrne, 1 pp
  4. SJM 1, written testimony, Raymond Byrne, 2 pp
  5. SB 223, written testimony, Paula Brown, 5 pp