Of the many bill that have been introduced into the 2013 Oregon legislature, two bills deserve following, SB 369 and HB 2451. Those bills will show how the legislature intends to deal with PERS in the 2013 session.
SB 369, was introduced by Sen Alan Bates, a PERS member and staunch PERS supporter. This bill would change Oregon law to make the amount of retirement benefits paid to PERS members secret information that cannot be disclosed to the people of Oregon who have been obligated by PERS legislators to pay the retirement benefits. SB 369, if passed, would be a statement by the legislature, most of whom are PERS members, that it wants to return to a time of PERS secrecy, where the people of Oregon not only did not know how much they were being forced to pay to retired PERS members, they were not even allowed to know if their elected representatives were PERS members. For Sen. Bates and his fellow PERS members, that is what they want Oregon to return to.
SB 369 received a first reading on January 14, 2013 and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 22, 2013. The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are: Floyd Prozanski (D), Chair; Betsy Close (R), Vice-Chair; Jackie Dingfelder (D); Jeff Kruse (R); and, Arnie Roblan (D) .
HB 2451, was introduced by Rep. Jason Conger, who is not a PERS members. This bill would protect the right of all Oregonians to have all lawsuit, including PERS lawsuits, decided by judges who are impartial. Today, PERS members have a fundamentally unfair advantage in all PERS lawsuits. Every PERS lawsuit must be decided by a judge who is a PERS member. Such an unfair advantage in legal proceedings would not be tolerated in any other situation in Oregon but since most legislators are PERS members and all elected judges are PERS members, this unfair advantage is not only tolerated in PERS cases, it is vigorously protected. HB 2451 would end this unfair advantage and would treat everyone in Oregon equally.
HB 2451 received its first reading on January 14, 2013 and was referred to the the House Judiciary Committee on January 22, 2013. The members of the House Judiciary Committee are: Jeff Barker (D), Chair; Chris Garrett (D), Vice-Chair; Wayne Krieger (R), Vice-Chair; Brent Barton (D); Kevin Cameron (R); Wally Hicks (R); Andy Olson (R); Carolyn Tomei (D); and, Jennifer Williamson (D).
I will keep you updated on these two bill. If you are interested in them, contact your legislators and let them know how you feel about the bills.