SENATE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT

 

 

March 03, 2005                                                                                                       Hearing Room B

3:10 P.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes  26 - 28

 

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:        

SB 752 – Public Hearing

SB 507 – Public Hearing

SB 984 – 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 26, A

003

Chair Shields

Opens the meeting at 3:13 p.m. and discusses the agenda. Opens a public hearing on SB 752.

SB 752 – PUBLIC HEARING

014

Judith Callens

Committee Administrator. Explains the provisions of SB 752.

030

Sen. Walker

Summarizes the intent of the bill.

060

Sen. Walker

Reviews the additional reporting requirements for the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) contained within the bill.

090

Chair Shields

Welcomes guests in the audience.

107

Brenda Rocklin

Interim President and Chief Executive Office, SAIF Corporation. Testifies in opposition to SB 752.

122

Chair Shields

Asks Sen. Walker the differences between SB 752 and SB 310.

125

Sen. Walker

Reviews the differences.

146

Rocklin

Notes that her experience with submitting the budget with the Oregon Lottery did not seem to present any problems. Adds they would be able to comply with Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) needs.

189

Chris Davie

Communications Director, SAIF Corporation. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT A) and testifies in opposition to SB 752. Reviews SAIF objections to some of the provisions of the bill.

218

Sen. Walker

Asks for a description of the differences between an “operational report” and a “financial report.”

223

Davie

Summarizes the requirements already contained within the statutes and the differences between the two reports.

242

Sen. Verger

Asks for an explanation of SAIF’s budget procedures prior to their current procedures.

261

Davie

Notes they will provide that information and continues with a review of their objections to the bill.

274

Sen. Walker

Notes the differences between SAIF and other state agencies and summarizes the provisions related to the budget contained within SB 310 (2005).

295

Rocklin

Discusses the provisions in SB 310 (2005) with Sen. Walker.

323

Davie

Responds to Sen. Verger with an explanation of the current reporting requirements.

343

Chair Shields

States that there is a potential for bringing all of the provisions of these bills together.

380

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 752 and opens a public hearing on SB 507.

SB 507 – PUBLIC HEARING

390

Devon Lyon

Oregonians for Sound Economic Policy. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT B) and testifies in support of SB 507.

TAPE 27, A

007

Lyon

Reviews past requests for SAIF documents in 2000 and the intent contained within SB 507.

054

Lyon

States that SB 507 would solve the public record concerns expressed over the past few years.

083

Sen. Walker

Notes that she agrees with the spirit of public record transparency.

090

Chair Shields

Asks Rocklin to respond to the preceding witness.

095

Rocklin

Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT C) and testifies in opposition to SB 507. Notes that the transparency desired with regard to public records is contained within the provisions of SB 310 (2005).

119

Pete Shepherd

Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice. Reviews the Attorney General’s role in public records law.

141

Shepherd

Continues with a discussion of public records law and the presumption of transparency.

184

Shepherd

Reviews how certain requests for public records have been resolved and the relevant case law.

194

Chair Shields

Asks if the appellate court considered previous guidelines on public records laws.

203

Shepherd

Reviews the actions of the appellate court.

230

Chair Shields

Asks what the effect would be if the legislation under consideration was not moved forward.

235

Shepherd

Answers that future requests would face a great deal of uncertainty.

269

Chair Shields

Asks if it would be correct that the recent appellate court decision would set a precedent.

282

Shepherd

Responds that the appellate decision defines one particular circumstance, but is probably not broadly applicable.

307

Sen. Walker

Asks why the appellate court decision doesn’t become part of the case history.

317

Shepherd

Answers that the appellate court decision does not apply to the general categories concerning public records.

337

Sen. Verger

Asks if the court considered SAIF to be similar to other state agencies.

347

Shepherd

Responds that the court held SAIF to be different and reviews the findings.

361

Chair Shields

Asks how the differences between SAIF and other agencies came into being.

375

Shepherd

Reviews the statute.

387

Sen. Walker

Asks who sought the appeal to the appellate decision.

396

Shepherd

Responds that the Attorney General’s office sought review.

399

Sen. Walker

Asks if other state agencies would be impacted by the court’s opinion.

401

Shepherd

Answer that his review indicates that the decision is unique to SAIF.

420

Shepherd

Summarizes how a body of law is accumulated to deal with public records.

TAPE 26, B

001

Sen. B. Starr

Asks about the trade secret exclusion.

012

Shepherd

Reviews case law related to trade secrets.

037

Sen. Walker

Notes that the decision by the appellate court allowed us to discover many of the problems associated with SAIF.

053

Chair Shields

Asks how the attorney general’s office would have felt about the inability to discover problems within SAIF if they had prevailed in the case.

060

Shepherd

Responds by reviewing the role of the attorney general and how they normally advise agencies on questions of public records disclosure.

103

Chair Shields

Closes the public hearing on SB 507 and opens a public hearing on SB 984.

SB 984 – PUBLIC HEARING

110

Callens

Explains the provisions of the bill.

126

Brian Boe

Vice President of Public Affairs, Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT D) and testifies in support of SB 984.

178

Boe

Reviews the history of workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon.

208

Boe

Summarizes the intent of SB 984.

249

Boe

Discusses the number of employers in the assigned risk plan.

299

Boe

Continues with comments on the advantages of SAIF’s federal income tax exemption.

350

Boe

Relates the practice of accommodation accounts.

388

Sen. B. Starr

Asks if one of the risks of passing this legislation is that we would go back to a situation where SAIF is losing money.

400

Boe

Answers that he does not believe that would occur and reviews how other states manage workers’ compensation insurance.

TAPE 27, B

012

Chair Shields

Comments on why the assigned risk pool is so large and the public mission of SAIF.

023

John Shilts

Administrator, Workers’ Compensation Division, Department of Consumer and Business Services. Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT E) and testifies on their concerns about SB 984.

077

Shilts

Continues discussion of technical issues within the bill.

082

Chair Shields

Asks who pays for the premium credits.

093

Shilts

Responds that the credits are subsidized by all policy holders within the state.

104

Chair Shields

Asks how other states handle the assigned risk pool and discusses the credits program with the witness.

127

Shilts

Answers that those in the assigned risk pool would pay lower premiums with credits and summarizes how other states handle subsidies.

153

Sen. B. Starr

Asks about SAIF’s ability to remain solvent if SB 984 is passed.

177

Shilts

Answers that SAIF would be taking on more risk with less opportunity to mitigate their exposure.

182

Sen. Walker

Asks if the reason Oregon has such low rates is that we are efficient in the prevention of accidents.

199

Shilts

Answers that the major reason for low rates is the decline of injuries. Discusses the reason for the lower accident rates with Sen. Walker.

221

Sen. Walker

Stresses that SAIF is not the reason for the low rates in the state.

241

Shilts

Emphasizes the importance of information on the assigned risk pool.

255

Chair Shields

Notes the difference between businesses that have high loss records and new businesses.

268

Davie

Presents written testimony (EXHIBIT F) and testifies in opposition to SB 984.

311

Davie

Reviews legislation related to federal taxation of state workers’ compensation insurance funds.

360

Chair Shields

Asks what percentage of new businesses wind up in the assigned risk pool.

374

Davie

Does not know how many businesses would be in that pool but adds the information will be made available.

392

Sen. Verger

Notes that those businesses not interested in accident prevention should not be subsidized by those who are.

TAPE 28, A

002

Shilts

Agrees that policy discussions should be held on who subsidizes the assigned risk pool.

014

Davie

Summarizes an informal survey of accounts in the assigned risk pool.

034

Sen. B. Starr

Asks about the standard imposed by SB 984 that would not comport with sound insurance principles.

039

Davie

Responds that SAIF is required by current statute to perform in accordance with sound insurance principles.

050

Sen. B. Starr

Asks if this would affect SAIF’s ability to remain solvent.

052

Davie

Answers that taking additional bad risks would force them to charge higher premiums to other accounts.

065

Sen. Verger

Comments that companies investing in safety are attempting to not be a burden on their insurance carrier.

075

Davie

Agrees that taking on higher risks would penalize those good businesses.

084

Shilts

Notes that low workers’ compensation rates give Oregon a competitive advantage.

099

Chair Shields

Discusses the committee work plan, closes the public hearing on SB 984 and adjourns the meeting at 5:16 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. SB 752, written testimony, Chris Davie, 2 pp
  2. SB 507, written testimony, Devon Lyon, 5 pp
  3. SB 507, written testimony, Brenda Rocklin, 4 pp
  4. SB 984, written testimony, Brian Boe, 10 pp
  5. SB 984, written testimony, John Shilts, 16 pp
  6. SB 984, written testimony, Chris Davie, 3 pp