Oregon Legislative Update: Short Session Could Wrap Up This Week

It’s the fifth and probably final week of Oregon’s short 2014 legislative session, with lawmakers on track to conclude their work by the constitutional deadline of March 9.

A few thousand bills are typically introduced in the longer, six-month sessions held in odd-numbered years, but only 263 bills were introduced in the current session. Of those, nearly 90 percent had at least one hearing in front of a committee, and more than two-thirds were approved by committees in either the House or the Senate.

All of those committees — with the exception of Ways and Means and Rules — are shut down now, and most members of the House and Senate are waiting for final floor votes or votes to move bills from one side of the legislature to the other. Among the remaining “hot-button” issues awaiting final review: marijuana dispensaries, cancer research, and health care reform.

One bill of interest to credit unions has already cleared the legislature and will go to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. House Bill 4103, which was sponsored by Rep. Paul Holvey (D-Eugene), makes the failure to provide notice of foreclosure sale an unlawful trade practice. The measure also holds harmless any person who purchases a vehicle at a foreclosure sale when the proper notice was not provided to the lien debtor or to the person with a security interest in the vehicle. The bill passed the Senate by a 30-0 vote on Feb. 27; it passed the House by a 56-3 vote on Feb. 28.

Representatives of OnPoint Community Credit Union (which initially raised concerns about the way possessory liens were being handled) and the Northwest Credit Union Association told lawmakers that mechanic and towing liens are currently being foreclosed without proper notice or, in cases when notice is provided, under circumstances where charges are disputed as being unreasonable or for work performed without authorization. The current process allows the lien to be discharged by paying the lien claimant the amount of the lien claim, but there is not a clear process for disputing the amount of the claim.

The final bill states that a secured party or debtor is entitled to attorney’s fees in a legal action against a lien claimant if the lien claimant fails to give proper notice. It also clarifies that the foreclosure sale extinguishes a security interest in property sold at a foreclosure sale, even if the secured party was not given notice of the sale.

Pam Leavitt will report from Salem each week when the Oregon Legislature is in session; look for her “Oregon Legislative Update” every Tuesday in Anthem. For more information, contact Leavitt at pleavitt@nwcua.org.

Questions? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.