SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

 

 

January 31, 2005                                                                                                 Hearing Room 343

1:30 p.m.                                                                                                                       Tapes 17 - 18

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Ginny Burdick, Chair

Sen. Charles Starr, Vice-Chair

Sen. Roger Beyer

Sen. Floyd Prozanski

Sen. Charlie Ringo

Sen. Vicki Walker

Sen. Doug Whitsett

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Joe O'Leary, Counsel

Dale Penn, Committee Assistant

 

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD & WITNESSES:

                                                Measure Introduction

                                                SB 182 – Public Hearing

Craig Prins –  Oregon Criminal Justice Commission

                                                            Terry Leggert – Marion County Circuit Court Judge

                                                            Leonard Williamson – Department of Justice

Stan Czerniak – Department of Corrections

Mary Botkin – American Federation of State, County, and  Municipal Employees

Andrea Meyer – American Civil Liberties Union    

Geoff Sugerman – Western Prison Project

Steve Shelton – Department of Corrections

Jef Van Valkenburgh – Attorney General’s Office

                                                SB 115 – Public Hearing                               

Stan Czerniak – Department of Corrections

Jef Van Valkenburgh – Attorney General’s Office

Geoff Sugerman – Western Prison Project

 

                                                           

 

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 17, A

004

Chair Burdick

Calls the meeting to order at 1:32 p.m.

MEASURE INTRODUCTION

005

Joe O’Leary

Committee Counsel.  Reads LC 1653 for introduction (EXHIBIT A).

008

Sen. Starr

MOTION:  Moves LC 1653:  BE INTRODUCED as committee bill.

 

 

VOTE:  6-0- 1

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

EXCUSED:  1 - Beyer

011

Chair Burdick

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

015

Chair Burdick

Opens a public hearing on SB 182.

SB 182 - PUBLIC HEARING

019

Joe O’Leary

Committee Counsel.  Introduces SB 182 which relates to the administrative process being exhausted before allowing grievances to be filed with the courts.

028

Craig Prins

Executive Director, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.  Reports SB 182’s involvement with the criminal justice system’s task force.

043

Terry Leggert

Marion County Circuit Court Judge.  Talks about inmate litigation in Marion County.  Testifies in support of SB 182.

070

Chair Burdick

Asks if other states require this method.

072

Judge Leggert

Replies that the federal government has required this since 1983.

074

Sen. Ringo

Wonders what the administrative process entails.

077

Judge Leggert

Describes administrative process.

090

Sen. Prozanski

Inquires about the checks and balances in the administrative process.

115

Judge Leggert

Comments on the Circuit Court process as well as the administrative process, and the timelines involved.

140

Leonard Williamson

Department of Justice.  Testifies in support of SB 182.  Identifies the federal examples of cases that have been dismissed when an individual does not seek administrative process for grievances.  Illustrates court cases in Oregon where the individual making a complaint does not exhaust the administrative process.

187

Sen. Ringo

Inquires about the grievance process.

191

Williamson

Describes the grievance process for the committee and goes on to discuss special cases such as racial grievances.

232

Chair Burdick

Asks about timelines for grievances.

235

Williamson

Replies with schedules for grievances.

247

Chair Burdick

Wonders about response timeline for grievances.

250

Williamson

Explains that he doesn’t know that information, as the rules have recently been changed.

260

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the four types of grievances, and if they have talked about them all.

264

Williamson

Describes other types of grievances.

277

Sen. Ringo

Asks which types of complaints are common, or what is a typical grievance.

280

Williamson

Cites examples of regular grievances, including religious preparation of food.

289

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the number of lawsuits.

292

Williamson

Does not have that information.

295

Sen. Ringo

Asks about the scope of the problem.

299

Williamson

Gives examples of the width of the current grievance problem.

318

Sen. Ringo

Asks, again, about the scope, and questions the recent example given.

323

Williamson

Responds concerning the example.

341

Sen. Prozanski

Asks about the grievances; tries to walk through the process.

365

Williamson

Describes the process again, and a certain exemption listed by Sen. Prozanski.

372

Sen. Prozanski

Asks who would receive the complaints that go beyond the regular administrative methods available to the inmate.

385

Williamson

Describes a committee that reviews the grievance in an institutional approach (doctor, nurse, etc.).

392

Sen. Prozanski

Asks who oversees the grievances within the process.

399

Williamson

Responds that Dr. Shelton, the Medical Director, can be approached with the grievance in any circumstance.

416

Sen. Prozanski

Asks what occurs if the Therapeutic Care Committee denies the grievance.

420

Williamson

Declares that the Director, Max Williams, or other administrative heads, before the administrative process is exhausted.

465

Stan Czerniak

Assistant Director for Operations, Department of Corrections (DOC).  Explains the grievance process to the committee.

TAPE 18, A

044

Czerniak

Explains information relating to the grievance process, focusing on the timelines.

080

Chair Burdick

Asks if the timelines quoted include acute medical problems.

082

Czerniak

Responds that those grievances would go to Dr. Shelton. 

099

Czerniak

Begins reading testimony (EXHIBIT B).  Asks for amendments to the bill limiting the scope of SB 182.

118

Mary Botkin

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, representing the officers and staff within the Department of Corrections.  Testifies in support of SB 182.  Cites examples of complaints being filed against dentists with the dental board.

163

Botkin

Declares the DOC’s desire to not eliminate the grievance process, but to make it safer for the staff and other individuals.

216

Andrea Meyer

American Civil Liberties Union.  Reads testimony in opposition to SB 182 (EXHIBIT C). 

305

Chair Burdick

Inquires about other states drafting similar bills.

309

Meyer

Responds that there are other states, but doesn’t have the information on hand.

345

Sen. Walker

Asks about the DOC getting out from under the legislature by shortening the grievance timeline.

350

Meyer

Explains the methods that could be used by the DOC to circumvent the legislature.

370

Sen. Walker

Asks if there is a different grievance process under the administrative method than in the statutes.

375

Meyer

Responds in the affirmative.

385

Geoff Sugerman

Western Prison Project.  Testifies in opposition to SB 182.  Describes the administrative process available, and the timeline, before the court process should take over.  States that they have not seen any real problems with frivolous lawsuits.

460

Joe O’Leary

Clarifies the reading of the bill.

TAPE 17, B

042

Steve Shelton

Medical Director, Oregon Department of Corrections.  Discusses acute medical care being taken care of immediately.  Says there is no cause for court cases in those cases.

059

Chair Burdick

Wonders about cases such as Hepatitis C.

065

Dr. Shelton

Describes the disease process of Hepatitis C and its non-status as a progressive disease.  Mentions the class action lawsuit relating to the standard of treatment and the grievance timelines.

085

Dr. Shelton

States that the DOC has no desire to delay medical care in anyway.  Talks about the grievances usually filed; breast reduction services, wanting two mattresses, etc.  Maintains that these types of grievances have been filed.

108

Sen. Whitsett

Inquires about West-Nile virus.

130

Dr. Shelton

Walks through the grievance process, as it should be, using an unknown disease as the catalyst.

150

Chair Burdick

Asks about the timeline for the process for a resolution.

180

Dr. Shelton

Gives a timeline for grievance resolution.

192

Jef Van Valkenburgh

Chief Counsel, Attorney General’s Office.   Discusses the habeas corpus process.

205

Sen. Prozanski

Wonders if habeas corpus process on medical claims would not be affected by the passage of SB 182.

209

Van Valkenburgh

Responds that it would not.

236

Sen. Prozanski

Asks if Dr. Shelton, who might have refused an earlier grievance, would sit on the panel to address a subsequent grievance.

253

Dr. Shelton

States that the grievance panels are regional consensus committees where many individuals provide input towards a decision.  Conveys the process of such a committee.

300

Sen. Prozanski

Inquires if attending physicians are also on the panels addressing grievances.

305

Dr. Shelton

Responds yes they are; it is a peer review process.

315

Chair Burdick

Closes public hearing on SB 182 and opens a public hearing on SB 115.

SB 115 - Public Hearing

325

Joe O’Leary

Counsel.  Presents SB 115, which relates to radiation health care provided to certain individuals.

330

Stan Czerniak

Assistant Director for Operations, Department of Corrections.  Reads testimony for SB 115 (EXHIBIT D).

390

Chair Burdick

Asks the number of individuals in the class action lawsuit.

392

Czerniak

Responds that there were 67 individuals.

395

Chair Burdick

Asks if that included all the individuals affected at the time.

403

Jef Van Valkenburgh

Chief Counsel, Attorney General’s Office.  Replies in the affirmative, describes the complete settlement of those individuals in court.

409

Sen. Prozanski

Wonders about the claims brought through the settlement process.   

420

Van Valkenburgh

Expresses that this was a settlement, and all individuals waived their subsequent rights for care.

437

Sen. Prozanski

Inquires if any other issues raised from the settlements from this dispute would be contractual actions.

442

Van Valkenburgh

Responds in the affirmative, as the state has lived up to its part of the deal.

450

Chair Burdick

Asks about other liability from the state towards these people.

455

Van Valkenburgh

Highlights that SB 115 would be repealing a law that has no longer purpose.

474

Sen. Prozanski

Wonders if new cases from inmates would be dismissed due to lack of merit.

490

Van Valkenburgh

States that there is even less incentive if there is no law in the books for him to cite.

TAPE 18, B

031

Sen. Beyer

Inquires about inmates released prior to this lawsuit and if they were included in the class action.

037

Van Valkenburgh

Responds in the affirmative.

042

Geoff Sugerman

Western Prison Project.  Asks for time to investigate SB 115.

054

Chair Burdick

Closes public hearing on SB 115 and adjourns the meeting at 2:58 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Introduction, LC 1653, staff, 6pp
  2. SB 182, written testimony, Stan Czerniak, 2pp
  3. SB 182, written testimony, Andrea Meyer, 5pp
  4. SB 115, written testimony, Stan Czerniak, 2pp