Mar 14, 2016
By: Cindy Robert, Rainmaker Government Strategies
All the legislation of interest to NACM failed. One we were opposed to and worked against, and on the other two we were neutral.
HB 4065 OPPOSED
In response to the recent Secretary of State audit relating to collection of funds owed to the state and consistently poor reports by the Legislative Revenue Office on the state’s progress toward improvements, House Bill 4065 created new provisions in ORS chapter 279A, which governs public contracting in Oregon.
The measure required state agencies wishing to enter into a public contract to first consult with the Legislative Fiscal Office in order to determine whether potential contractors appear on a list of delinquent or liquidated accounts that a state agency has assigned for collection or are 90 days delinquent. Upon determining that a contractor appears on the list, the state contracting agency would be required to provide notice of the listing and require the contractor to bring the account current or offer the option of having payments from the contract being negotiated used to bring the account current. The state contracting agency has to notify the state agency holding the delinquent account of these actions. If the account has been assigned for collection, the state agency receiving such notice was required to contact the Department of Revenue or the private collection agency in order to stop collection efforts.
We argued that awarding new contracts to delinquent debtors, allowing payment arrangements to reduce debt within a new contract, and pulling collections work from a PCF without payment for work done was irresponsible from numerous stand points. A meeting with the sponsor revealed that he felt the instances of the state contracting with a debtor that has gone as far as PCF assignment would be very rare. However, he agreed to come back in 2017 and establish a way for the PCFs to be compensated if we could show the new law was causing us harm.
The bill did pass the House Consumer Protections and Government Effectiveness committee. However, the bill stalled in Ways & Means with at least two of us arguing fiercely against it. The Department of Revenue (Deanna Mack) continued to share concerns about the inability of the agency to do what was being asked – they insisted they did not have such a “list” that would make this entire process simple.
HB 4111 NEUTRAL
Once Rod Wheeland, Chief Executive Officer, NACM Northwest, established neutrality on the original content of the bill, the only concern for NACM was the relating to clause – “relating to defects in residences” – which broad enough that we had to be alert throughout session. Previous efforts we have fought dealing with subcontractor payments, supplier reimbursement and notifications, lien laws, etc. could be manipulated to fit within the clause. No need to worry, the bill did not even have a public hearing.
House Bill 4111 established presumptions regarding receipt of notice of defect in residence as well as presumptions regarding sending and receipt of secondary notice. Provided that notice of defect is deemed given by all owners of residence. Made notice of defect invalid regarding matter within scope of earlier notice of defect sent to same recipient. Extended time for owner to commence action against contractor, subcontractor or material supplier that does not respond to notice of defect in residence. Extended time for commencing action following termination of mediation or nonbinding arbitration proceeding and time for sender of secondary notice to commence action against recipient.
HB 4131 NEUTRAL
This bill was actually one of a handful that the Republicans insisted be tabled in order for them to return to Senate floor sessions and vote to suspend the rules to finish legislative session on time. Interestingly, the Northwest Credit Union Association supported the bill after working toward agreeable amendments, whereas the Oregon Bankers Association opposed.
House Bill 4131 required financial institutions to participate in a data match system established by Department of Revenue to identify assets held by delinquent debtors. The bill also allowed the department to enter into agreements with the Department of Justice’s Division of Child Support to access employer data on newly hired workers. The measure clarified current law that a writ of garnishment issued to a financial institution operating in Oregon is effective to garnish property held in another state. The bill also created civil and criminal provisions related to the misuse of matched data. Also in response to the Secretary of State’s audit on the state’s management of its delinquent debt collections. Among the recommendations in the report was the development of data matching agreements with banks and other financial institutions. According to the Legislative Fiscal Office’s annual delinquent and liquidated accounts report, the state has 95,337 debtor accounts subject to bank garnishments.
Measure information derived from legislative fiscal office and committee staff measure summaries.
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