[Comm-Council] FW: NEWS RELEASE: Governor Kulongoski Signs Ethics, Liability Caps Legislation
HOKLIN Lonn * DO PA
lonn.hoklin at state.or.us
Wed Apr 15 15:26:47 PDT 2009
Public Affairs Manager
Oregon Department of Administrative Services
From: GOVERNORS Press [mailto:governors.press at state.or.us]
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:23 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Governor Kulongoski Signs Ethics, Liability Caps
Theodore R. Kulongoski
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2009
Anna Richter Taylor, 503-378-6169
Jillian Schoene, 503-378-5040
Rem Nivens, 503-378-6496
Governor Kulongoski Signs Ethics, Liability Caps Legislation
Governor also signs bills relating to tobacco regulation and forestland
(Salem) - Today Governor Ted Kulongoski signed four bills into law,
including increased liability limits for public entities, amendments to
the state ethics laws, tobacco regulation and clarifications to state
forestland classifications and associated committees.
The summary of the bills signed by the Governor are below.
Liability Caps (SB 311): Increases the per claim damage limits
recoverable under the Oregon Tort Claims Act (OTCA) from the current
$200,000 to $1.5 million for the state of Oregon, Oregon Health Science
University (OHSU), the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) and the
Oregon Utility Notification Center. Increases the per claim damage limit
to $500,000 for all other public entities. Increases the per occurrence
damage limits under the Oregon Tort Claims Act from the current $500,000
to $3 million for the State of Oregon, OHSU, SAIF and the Oregon Utility
Notification Center and to $1 million for all other public entities.
Increases the State of Oregon, OHSU, SAIF and Oregon Utility
Notification Center per claim limits by $100,000 per year until 2015.
Increases the State of Oregon, OHSU, SAIF, and Oregon Utility
Notification Center per occurrence limits by $200,000 per year until
2015. Increases the per claim limits for all other government entities
by $33,333 per year until 2015. Increases the per occurrence limits for
all other government entities by $66,666 per year until 2015. Increases
all property damage limits from the current $50,000 per claim to
$100,000 per claim and $500,000 per occurrence. Applies (after 2015) an
escalator based on the Portland-Salem OR-WA Consumer Price Index for All
Urban Consumers up to three percent each year. Begins escalator for
property damage in 2010. Removes the distinction between economic and
non-economic damages. Creates a Tort Claims Task Force to revisit the
issue of tort liability of public bodies to convene in the year 2014.
Allows direct appeal to the Supreme Court for challenges to the
constitutionality of the damage limits. Applies to causes of action
against the State of Oregon, OHSU, SAIF and the Oregon Utility
Notification Center from December 28, 2007. Declares emergency.
Effective July 1, 2009.
Ethics Laws Clarifications (SB 30): Makes changes and clarifications to
ethics laws governing public officials. Defines "candidate" for purposes
relating to government ethics. Changes definition of "public official"
and conforms the application of ethics laws to both "public officials"
and "candidates," throughout the chapter. Clarifies that certain gift
limits apply when the source has a legislative or administrative
interest in the public official, and not in the public official's
agency. Clarifies that "legislative or administrative interest" lies in
a "decision or vote" of the public official. Clarifies that gift limits
do not apply to gifts from private employment or volunteer work of the
public official or relative when given as part of the usual and
customary practice, and bearing no relationship to the official's
holding of public office. Clarifies that officials may attend receptions
or meetings when they are representing a governmental entity. Removes
ban on entertainment gifts passed in 2007, making entertainment subject
to gift limits. Eliminates quarterly reporting for public officials,
increases the number of public officials that must file annual Statement
of Economic Interest (SEI), changes income reporting requirements, and
removes requirement to list names of relatives and household members on
SEI. Prohibits Government Ethics Commission from disclosing names of any
relatives or members of household provided from January 1, 2008 until
January 1, 2010. Prohibits the Ethics Commission from imposing a penalty
on an official who relies in good faith on the Ethics Commission manual
or a staff advisory opinion. Delays requirement that commission develop
an electronic filing system and post filings online in a format
searchable by the public. Recognizes the work that public officials
provide, and recognizes certain expected ethical standards of conduct.
Declares emergency, takes effect on passage.
Tobacco Regulation (SB 211): Clarifies that out-of-state and internet
sellers of tobacco products to Oregon consumers are subject to same
regulation as are sellers located in Oregon. Clarifies the applicability
of Attorney General's injunction to all persons. Provides for a civil
penalty for violation of tobacco regulations of up to $5,000 per
Forestland Classification (SB 189): Modernizes the process by which
citizen committees work with state and local government to determine
which lands in various counties should be considered as forestlands, for
purposes of receiving wildfire protection from the Oregon Department of
Forestry. The owners of lands protected by the department pay yearly
assessments for this protection. The land classification process,
unchanged for decades, required adjustments, such as acknowledging that
many lands protected by the department now also include homes or other
To access the full text of the legislation signed into law today, click
here <http://www.leg.state.or.us/bills_laws/home.htm> .
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