Oregon Legislative Update: Short Session Ends with a Flurry

The 2014 Oregon Legislative Session is over!

After 33 days, the second short legislative session in Oregon’s history concluded at 4:55 p.m. on Friday, March 7, with a flurry of mostly small, technical bills and minor budget adjustments. There were efforts by some lawmakers to pass major bills during the session (gun control, marijuana legalization, liquor in grocery stores, funding the Columbia River Crossing). But in the end, those efforts simply ran out of time.

(From Oregon’s entry into the Union in 1859 until 2010, the Legislature met once every two years. That changed when Oregon voters approved a measure that directs lawmakers to meet annually. Now, the Legislature meets for no more than 35 days in even-numbered years, and for no more than 165 days in odd-numbered years.)

Several issues attracted a lot of attention during the session. The controversial Columbia River Crossing passed out of a committee, but did not advance any further. Measures redirecting unclaimed funds from class-actions lawsuits to Legal Aid and rewriting a state ballot title passed in the House, but did not pass in the Senate. The Legislature did approve $200 million in bonds for OHSU to build new facilities to support research into treatments for cancer.

Bills of interest to credit unions that passed the Oregon House and Senate include:

House Bill 4103: HB 4103 makes failure to provide notice of foreclosure sale an unlawful trade practice. The measure also holds harmless the person who purchases a vehicle at a foreclosure sale when the proper notice was not provided to the lien debtor or person with a security interest in the vehicle.

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 the House Interim Committee on Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency 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.

House Bill 4065: The bill requires that a notice of trustee’s sale in connection with the foreclosure of residential property to include language that warns prospective purchasers that the home may have been used in manufacturing methamphetamines.

Senate Bill 1540: The bill prohibits bad-faith claims of patent infringement and allows the recipient of a bad-faith claim to bring action under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. It also gives the Attorney General authority to investigate bad-faith claims, specifies which acts or omissions courts may consider in finding bad-faith claims, and lists the acts that show infringement claims were made in good faith.

House Bill 4151: The bill requires the Department of Human Services to complete investigations of abuse of persons 65 years of age or older within 120 days. (The time limit does not apply to ongoing concurrent criminal investigations.) The bill also requires DHS to study the creation of a regularly updated database of reports and investigations of elder abuse, and directs DHS to augment the department’s existing criminal background check system with a regularly updated registry of all persons working or seeking to work in adult foster homes, nursing facilities, residential facilities, and assisted living facilities.

Bills that did not pass include:

House Bill 4079: Based on the credit union prize-linked savings model, this bill would have directed the Oregon State Lottery to establish a pilot program to operate a lottery savings game in which players may win randomly awarded prizes of interest or earnings. 

House Bill 4083: This bill would have required a person, before sending an unsolicited check, draft or other payment instrument or offer to extend credit or lend money to a consumer, either to send a notice to the consumer at least seven days in advance or to establish and use a system by which the consumer must affirmatively consent to receive the check, draft or other payment instrument or offer to extend credit or lend money.

House Bill 4132: HB4132 would have prohibited a person from sending an advertisement for mortgage loan services or other extensions of credit secured by real property if the advertisement had certain characteristics, unless the person had a previous business relationship with the recipient or unless the advertisement met certain criteria.

Senate Bill 1552: This bill, which dealt with UCC article 9, would have required that a record of financing statement sufficiently provide the name of a debtor who is an individual when the record provides the individual name, or surname and first personal name, of the debtor.

Pam Leavitt reported from Salem throughout the Oregon Legislative session. For more information, contact Leavitt at pleavitt@nwcua.org.

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

Posted in Advocacy News.