Oregon AFL-CIO compiles COPE voting records for 2001

SALEM -The Oregon AFL-CIO has compiled its Committee on Political Education (COPE) voting record for the 2001 legislative session.

The bills described in this article were used to rate all lawmakers in the House and Senate. They were chosen by the Oregon AFL-CIO to represent a wide range of the issues determined to be most important to working people and their families.

"Our analysis is confined to action taken on the floor of one or both chambers on bills for which we provided prior written notification of our position to all members," said AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt. "Overall, based on floor votes this session, the Legislature's voting record included more 'Yes' votes counted as the 'Right' votes for the first time in four sessions."

Three senators and seven representatives scored 100 percent voting records based on the bills selected by the state labor federation. They included Democrats Frank Shields of Portland, Tony Corcoran of Cottage Grove, and Susan Castillo of Eugene. Corcoran is an organizer with Service Employees Local 503, Oregon Public Employees Union.

Representatives with perfect marks were Democrats Phil Barnhart of Eugene, Jackie Dingfelder of Portland, Steve March of Portland, Bill Morrisette of Springfield, Mary Nolan of Portland, Diane Rosenbaum of Portland, and Kelley Wirth of Corvallis.

Of this group, Rosenbaum is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 7901 and an AFL-CIO Executive Board member.

Following are bills the Oregon AFL-CIO used to score lawmakers.

Worker-Friendly Benefits

SB 485 - Better Benefits for Injured Workers. Implements a package of workers' compensation reforms fashioned by the governor's labor-management group, which offers long-overdue improvements for injured workers. With this bill, more injured workers will qualify for benefits, benefit amounts will be increased, and claimants will be treated more fairly. Passed the Senate 23-3. Passed the House 51-2. Right vote: Yes.

HB 3759 - Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Dislocated Workers. Extends maximum unemployment insurance (UI) benefits from 26 to 52 weeks for dislocated workers who enroll in retraining programs. Designed to benefit dislocated workers who don't qualify for federal benefits under NAFTA and Trade Act programs. Passed the House 52-0. (Representative Rob Patridge, R-Medford, voted "No" in committee and spoke against this bill on the floor, but left the floor and did not vote.) Passed the Senate 28-0. Right vote: Yes.

HB 2993 - No UI penalty for use of retirement funds. This bill removes the UI benefits penalty for dislocated workers who cash out accumulated retirement funds to get them through their period of unemployment. Passed the House 46-0. Passed the Senate 23-0. Right vote: Yes.

HB 2891 - Task Force on UI Benefits for Birth or Adoption. This bill creates a task force to study the use of unemployment insurance or other funds for up to 12 weeks of leave from work for birth or adoption of a child. Passed the House 40-5. Passed the Senate 24-0. Right vote: Yes.

HB 3441 - Funding of JOBS Plus. This bill diverted funds from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to the JOBS Plus program to subsidize primarily low-wage employers who participate in a "workfare" program. Passed the House 38-22. Passed the Senate 18-12. Right vote: No.

SB 134 - PERS Pension Rollbacks. This bill reduced the number of member representatives on the PERS Board and changed the formula for funding a contingency account that used interest from members' funds. Passed the Senate 16-13. Right Vote: No.

(Note: A modified version of SB 134, without the objectionable provisions described above, eventually passed both chambers. Only the Senate vote on the original version of SB 134 is counted as part of this vote record.)

Adequate and Affordable Health Care

HB 3040 - Patients' Bill of Rights. With this bill, Oregonians in managed care plans regulated by the state will be able to count on continuing care when their treating physicians leave a plan, better access to specialists and the right to independent, third-party review when care is denied. Passed the House 57-0. Passed the Senate 27-0. Right vote: Yes.

SB 8 - Basic Health Benefits. This bill would have reduced benefits covered by the basic benefit plan that must be offered by all insurers in the small employer market. It would have capped the employer's premium at a level so low that it would have eliminated coverage of services necessary for maintenance of good health. Failed in the Senate 14-15. Right vote: No.

SB 819 - Prescription Drug Formulary. This bill implements Governor Kitzhaber's plan to control expenditures for prescription drugs in the Oregon Health Plan by creating a list of the most cost-effective drugs to be used to treat certain common conditions - unless a physician determines another drug is medically necessary for a particular individual. Passed the Senate 21-7. Passed the House 42-16. Right vote: Yes.

Fair Pay/Labor Standards

HB 2744 - Local Minimum Wage Laws. This bill limits the authority of local governments to enact minimum wage laws for private employers. Passed the House 36-24. Passed the Senate 17-13. Right vote: No.

HB 2867 - Penalty for Failure to Pay Wages. This bill reduces employer penalties for failure to pay wages when employment ends if the employer hasn't repeated the offense in one year. Passed the House 35-25. Passed the Senate 16-10. Right vote: No.

HB 3740 -Training and Standards for Alcohol Sales. This bill would have provided a more effective mechanism for preventing alcohol sales to minors by establishing uniform training standards and disciplinary procedures to be followed by retail establishments that sell alcoholic beverages. It would have protected retail clerks from discharge or demotion for unknowingly selling to a minor if no training had been provided by the employer. Passed the House 45-0. Failed to get a hearing in the Senate Rules and Redistricting Committee. Right vote: Yes.

HB 2624 - Accurate Wage Surveys for Prevailing Wage. This bill promotes accurate prevailing wage determinations by requiring contractors and subcontractors on public works projects to prepare weekly certified payroll statements and submit them monthly. Passed the House 55-1. Passed the Senate 26-0. Right vote: Yes.

Affordable Energy Supplies

HB 3009 - Minority Report: Energy Deregulation. A Minority Report to HB 3009 offered on the floor of the Senate was the only opportunity legislators had to vote on repeal of the state's electricity deregulation plan, which was passed in the 1999 legislative session and was scheduled to take effect in October, 2001. Failed in the Senate 8-22. Right vote: Yes.

Workers' Voice at Work

HB 3816 - Voice at Work for Home Care Workers. This bill establishes the Home Care Commission mandated by Measure 99 and provides an employer of record for the state's 14,000 home care workers. This will enable these workers to gain a voice at work and fair pay and benefits for the services they provide to the elderly and disabled. Passed the House 59-0. Passed the Senate 26-4. Right vote: Yes.

Open and Informed Participation in Elections

HB 3323 - Identification of Constitutional Amendments. This bill would have required that constitutional amendments be identified and listed separately on the ballot. Passed the House 57-0. Failed to get out of the Senate Rules and Redistricting Committee. Right vote: Yes.

HB 3595a - Minority Report: Punch Card Ballots. The only vote that legislators cast to eliminate punch card ballots, still used in seven Oregon counties, came on a minority report to HB 3595 on the floor of the House. Failed in the House 27-33. Right vote: Yes.

HB 3595b - Committee Report: Evening Voting on Election Day. After rejecting the minority report to HB 3595, the House voted for the main bill as a committee report. This bill would have cut off voting two hours early (at 6 p.m.) on Election Day and would have effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of working family voters. Passed second reading 33-27, but rereferred to the House Rules, Redistricting and Public Affairs Committee. Right vote: No.

HB 2575 - Initiative Campaign Funding Disclosure. This bill now requires that campaigns submit contribution and expenditure reports during the signature gathering phase of initiative campaigns. Passed the House 57-1. Passed the Senate 25-1. Right vote: Yes.

Fair and Adequate Funding for Public Services

SB 67 - Capital Gains Taxes. This bill cuts capital gains taxes and shifts more of the tax burden to working families. But the cut -totaling $588 million per biennium - was postponed to future years, setting the stage for massive reductions in public services for future legislatures to deal with. Passed the Senate 17-12. Passed the House 40-20. Right vote: No.

HB 2281 - Corporate Income Taxes. This bill changes the formula for business taxation to benefit corporations with high proportions of out-of-state sales and penalize those with predominately in-state sales. It will reduce corporate income taxes - and funding for public services - by $65 million in 2003-2005. Passed the House 49-11. Passed the Senate 16-13. Right vote: No

HJM 28 - Bush Tax Cut. This joint memorial urged Congress to support President Bush's tax cut, which provided a windfall for the wealthy and undermined funding for Medicare and other federal programs. Passed the House 43-14. Passed the Senate 16-13. Right vote: No.


% Right with Oregon AFL-CIO

Oregon Senate

Jason Atkinson: 33

Lee Beyer: 88

Roger Beyer: 44

Kate Brown: 81

Ginny Burdick: 83

Margaret Carter: 71

Susan Castillo: 100

Bev Clarno: 40

Tony Corcoran: 100

Peter Courtney: 94

Ryan Deckert: 71

Gene Derfler: 44

Joan Dukes: 94

Verne Duncan: 67

Ted Ferrioli: 61

Bill Fisher: 44

Gary George: 40

Avel Gordly: 80

Lenn Hannon: 62

Steve Harper: 39

Tom Hartung: 47

Ken Messerle: 50

Rick Metsger: 83

Randy Miller: 47

John Minnis: 56

David Nelson: 44

Frank Shields: 100

Charles Starr: 44

Cliff Trow: 94

Mae Yih: 59

House of Representatives

Robert Ackerman: 94

Vic Backlund: 53

Phil Barnhart: 100

Alan Bates: 84

Chris Beck: 94

Alan Brown: 53

Tom Butler: 50

Janet Carlson: 58

Betsy Close: 27

Richard Devlin: 83

Jackie Dingfelder: 100

Dan Doyle: 42

Dan Gardner: 94

Bill Garrard: 41

Gary Hansen: 95

Mark Hass: 84

Cedric Hayden: 53

Jim Hill: 53

Elaine Hopson: 84

Bob Jenson: 47

Betsy Johnson: 72

Deborah Kafoury: 95

Al King: 83

Tim Knopp: 58

Wayne Krieger: 53

Jeff Kropf: 50

Jerry Krummel: 50

Jeff Kruse: 56

Jan Lee: 50

Randy Leonard: 95

Kathy Lowe: 76

Steve March: 100

Jeff Merkley: 95

Karen Minnis: 53

L. Monnes Anderson: 78

Susan Morgan: 44

Bill Morrisette: 100

Donna Nelson: 58

Mary Nolan: 100

Rob Patridge: 47

Charlie Ringo: 89

Diane Rosenbaum: 100

Kurt Schrader: 75

Lane Shetterly: 56

Mark Simmons: 43

Greg Smith: 53

Patti Smith: 53

Tootie Smith: 47

Bruce Starr: 47

Carolyn Tomei: 95

Joanne Verger: 89

Cherryl Walker: 47

Vicki Walker: 94

Ben Westlund: 43

Max Williams: 50

Carl Wilson: 50

Jackie Winters: 56

Kelley Wirth: 100

Bill Witt: 44

Cliff Zauner: 58

For details on individual voting records on specific bills, go to the Oregon AFL-CIO Website: oraflcio.unions-america.com.

August 24, 2001 issue

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