SENATE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT

 

 

February 08, 2005   Hearing Room B

3:10 P.M.Tapes  11 - 13

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Sen. Frank Shields, Chair

Sen. Bruce Starr

Sen. Joanne Verger

Sen. Vicki Walker

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:            Sen. Gary George, Vice-Chair

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Gary Roulier, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

Introduction of Committee Measures – Work Session

SB 402 – Public Hearing

SB 405 – Public Hearing

SB 420 – 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 11, A

003

Chair Shields

Opens the meeting at 3:00 p.m. and opens a work session on introduction of committee bills.

INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE MEASURES – WORK SESSION

011

Judith Callens

Administrator. Presents LC’s 1213, 1217, 2077 (EXHIBITS A, B, C) and summarizes the provisions of the legislative concepts.

029

Sen. Walker

MOTION:  Moves LC's:  1213, 1217, 2077 BE INTRODUCED as committee bills.

 

 

VOTE:  3-0-2

EXCUSED:  2 - George, B. Starr

 

Chair Shields

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

031

Chair Shields

Closes the work session and opens the public hearing on SB 402.

SB 402 – PUBLIC HEARING

041

Callens

Explains the provisions of SB 402.

048

Sen. Ben Westlund

State Senator, District 27. Testifies in support of SB 402.

083

Sen. Westlund

Explains that the bill would allow small water districts to have the county assessor collect past due accounts as part of the property tax. Presents the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT D).

114

Chair Shields

Asks if there are any unforeseen consequences with low income citizens.

123

Sen. Westlund

Answers that a water district would have the ability to shut off water service, but adds that there would be some “timeline” protection through the use of the county property tax collection method rather than  private company collection.

134

Gil Riddell

Policy Manager, Association of Oregon Counties. Testifies that the cost associated would take away from assessments and collections of revenues for school and other local districts.

168

Riddell

Requests the committee consider a subsequent referral to the Revenue Committee.

187

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 402 and opens a public hearing on SB 405.

SB 405 – PUBLIC HEARING

191

Callens

Explains the provisions of the bill. Presents the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT E).

201

Fred VanNatta

Oregon Board of Optometry, Oregon Board of Architects Examiners, Oregon Board of Massage Therapists, Oregon State Contractor’s Board. Testifies in support of SB 405, which gives the semi-independent boards the authority to borrow funds to buy real property.

230

VanNatta

Discusses the language in SB 405.

260

David Plunkett

Executive Director, Oregon Board of Optometry. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT F) and testifies in support of SB 405.

287

Plunkett

Summarizes a bill in the House dealing with audit reports of semi-independent boards.

312

Plunkett

Comments on review procedures being modified for semi-independent agencies.

336

Sen. Verger

Asks about the rationale for not giving agencies the authority to borrow money to buy buildings.

342

VanNatta

Responds that he does not believe it was a conscious policy decision.

351

Sen. B. Starr

Asks how many agencies this will affect.

362

VanNatta

Answers there are ten or eleven licensing boards that would be affected.

371

Sen. B. Starr

Expresses a desire to see the list of the affected agencies.

379

Bill Foster

Acting Administrator, Facilities Division, Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT G) and testifies in opposition to SB 405.

416

Greg Jeffrey

Finance Manager, DAS. Reviews the history of property acquisitions utilized by state agencies.

TAPE 12, A

012

Carol Halford

Administrator, Oregon Board of Architect Examiners. Submits written testimony on behalf of William Seider in support of SB 405 (EXHIBIT H) and testifies in support of SB 405.

033

Bob Keith

Administrator, Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board. Testifies in support of SB 405.

The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony

 

Andy Leisinger

State Landscape Architect Board. Submits written testimony in support of SB 405 (EXHIBIT P).

041

Chair Shields

Asks the DAS representatives to consider the cost savings of the bill. Closes the public hearing on SB 405 and opens a public hearing on SB 420.

SB 420 – PUBLIC HEARING

052

Sen. Kate Brown

State Senator, District 21. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT  I) and testifies in support of SB 420.

083

Sen. Brown

Reviews the current rewrite of the ethics code.

094

Sen. B. Starr

Asks if the Governor’s proposed budget includes additional funding for the Government Standards and Practices Commission.

104

Sen. Brown

Responds she is not sure, but deems it a “conflict of interest” that the legislature is responsible for adequately funding a commission that provides legislative oversight.

114

Chair Shields

Comments on the budget issues and asks if there would be opposition to a “cap” on these assessments.

123

Sen. Brown

Answers she is well aware of the budget restrictions but restates that it is “extremely important” that we find a dedicated revenue source.

147

Sen. Verger

Asks how the witness would answer the argument that local governments would be paying for a state program.

150

Sen. Brown

Responds that it is the responsibility of elected officials to work towards restoring credibility of government. Adds that the commission is charged with overseeing ethics for all government bodies.

165

Lori Sattenspiel

Oregon Community College Association (OCCA). Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT J) and testifies in opposition to SB 420.

175

Chuck Clemans

Board Member, Clackamas Community College and President, OCCA. Testifies in opposition to SB 420.

218

Clemans

Emphasizes that while he agrees with the importance of the commission, it should not be funded “on the backs” of students at the community colleges.

233

Clemans

Reviews the current budget shortfalls for the community colleges.

254

Clemans

Adds that the community colleges are an “essential tool” in the state economy.

277

Genoa Ingram

Oregon Fire District Directors Association. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT K) and testifies in opposition to SB 420.

320

Ingram

Agrees that most commission violations are targeted at local officials.

348

Ingram

Reviews past efforts to define ethics for volunteer firefighters.

381

Ingram

Notes that passage of SB 420 will take funds away from education, health care and public safety.

401

Chair Shields

Asks what the term “legislative interest” means.

TAPE 11, B

001

Ingram

Responds with an explanation. Hopes that the committee will not tax volunteer firefighters.

023

Chair Shields

Asks if the bill has a target budget for the commission.

034

Ingram

Points out the proposed budget for the commission on  page three of  the exhibit (EXHIBIT K).

037

Chair Shields

Reviews the budget proposal and wonders what Sen. Brown’s intentions were.

042

Callens

Reviews the potential revenue impact.

061

Sen. Verger

Asks about how the statute moves from “public official” to “volunteer.”

066

Ingram

Answers with an explanation of the interpretation of “volunteer.”

074

Chair Shields

Opines on the necessity of more narrowly defining “volunteer.”

083

Ingram

Summarizes efforts to redefine “volunteers.”

096

Tim Josi

President, Association of Oregon Counties (AOC). Testifies that they cannot support the bill in its current concept. Agrees with Sen. Brown that the system is “broken.”

135

Josi

Reviews other legislation introduced that will impose fees on local governments.

163

Sen. B. Starr

Asks how beneficial it would be if the commission had the staffing to adequately educate affected individuals.

171

Josi

Responds that it would be very beneficial.

178

Paul Snider

Legal Counsel, AOC. Testifies in support of SB 420.

181

Callens

Reviews the statutory definition of public official.

203

Sarah Wetherson

Money in Politics Research Action Project. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT L) and testifies in support of SB 420.

235

Wetherson

Summarizes the duties of the commission and adds that the commission lacks the resources to carry out its base function.

265

Wetherson

Emphasizes that the need for the commission has not gone away and restates support for SB 420.

297

Margaret Noel

President, League of Women Voters of Oregon. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT M) and testifies in support of SB 420.

321

Noel

Comments that it would be beneficial to have a funding source that was separate from the legislature.

333

Chair Shields

Agrees that something has to be done but adds that the “how” is extremely difficult.

347

Andi Miller

Common Cause. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT N) and testifies in support of SB 420. Notes that providing a “minimal level of service” should not be the goal.

403

Christy Monson

Counsel, League of Oregon Cities. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT O) and testifies in opposition to SB 420.

TAPE 12, B

009

Monson

Reviews a study of ten other states, all of which fund their ethics commission with state funds. Adds that one possible funding solution may be to increase fines.

021

Richard Walsh

City Council President, City of Keizer. Testifies in opposition to          SB 420.

044

Walsh

Points out that the commission is a state program and should be funded by the state.

064

Walsh

Adds that it is “absurd” to tax volunteers.

080

Chair Shields

Asks if the witness has an idea of what the bill would cost the League of Oregon Cities.

089

Monson

Answers that they don’t know the extent of who would be covered by the requirement.

103

Chair Shields

Asks how many League of Oregon City members would be affected by this requirement.

120

Monson

Answers that it would cover all public officials and volunteers, state and local.

128

Walsh

Notes that local governments would be paying for a state commission under this bill.

133

Sen. B. Starr

States that creating ethics commissions for each local entity may not be an efficient alternative.

160

Ken Strobeck

Executive Director, League of Oregon Cities. Testifies in opposition to SB 420. Emphasizes that everyone in the state benefits from ethical behavior, so it should be a function that is funded by the state.

206

Sen. Verger

Asks how often the cities utilize the commission.

212

Strobeck

Answers that their organization conducts training for newly elected officials.

230

Monson

Adds that the commission has not had a lot of time to deal with local issues.

241

Chair Shields

Asks if they consult with the commission on their training.

251

Monson

Responds that their trainers are attorneys familiar with the statutes, but they do consult with the commission.

264

Ken Armstrong

Oregon Ports Group and Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. Testifies in opposition to SB 420. Notes that there are approximately 8,200 volunteer firefighters in the state.

290

Armstrong

Remarks that this is a “general fund” issue.

298

Sen. Verger

Asks how many times the group that he represents uses the commission.

301

Armstrong

Answers that they typically would not be utilizing the commission.

312

Jim Green

Oregon School Boards Association. Testifies in opposition to SB 420. Reviews the number of teachers and volunteer school board members in the state.

347

Chair Shields

Restates the differentiation between “paid” versus “volunteer” persons.

363

Green

Reviews the stated figures. Adds that they want to make sure that if there are complaints, they are investigated.

399

Chair Shields

Expresses an interest in finding a solution.

TAPE 13, A

004

Callens

Clarifies the definition of volunteers and notes that legislators and employees would also be subject to the fees suggested in SB 420.

014

Sen. Verger

Notes that the resulting figure would be quite large if the fee were assessed on all state employees.

The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony

 

Sen. Bill Morrisette

Senate District 6. Submits written testimony in support of SB 420 (EXHIBIT Q).

 

Marge Kafoury

Director, Office of Government Relations, City of Portland. Submits written testimony in opposition to SB 420 (EXHIBIT R).

017

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 420 and adjourns the meeting at 5:11 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Introductions, LC 1213, staff, 13 pp
  2. Introductions, LC 1217, staff, 3 pp
  3. Introductions, LC 2077, staff, 2 pp
  4. SB 402, -1 amendments, Sen. Ben Westlund, 1 p
  5. SB 405, -1 amendments, staff, 1 p
  6. SB 405- written testimony, David Plunkett, 2 pp
  7. SB 405, written testimony, Bill Foster
  8. SB 405, written testimony of William Seider, Carol Halford, 1 p
  9. SB 420, written testimony, Sen. Kate Brown, 1 p
  10. SB 420, written testimony, Lori Sattenspiel, 1 p
  11. SB 420, written testimony, Genoa Ingram, 9 pp
  12. SB 420, written testimony, Sarah Wetherson, 3 pp
  13. SB 420, written testimony, Margaret Noel, 1 p
  14. SB 420, written testimony, Andi Miller, 4 pp
  15. SB 420, written testimony, Christy Monson, 3 pp

 

 

Testimony submitted for the record without public testimony.

     P.  SB 405, written testimony, Andy Leisinger, 1 p

     Q. SB 420, written testimony, Sen. Bill Morrisette, 1 p

     R. SB 420, written testimony, Marge Kafoury, 1 p