Bill Text: OR HB2898 | 2011 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to Oregon Business Development Department Ombudsman Act.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Failed) 2011-06-30 - In committee upon adjournment. [HB2898 Detail]

Download: Oregon-2011-HB2898-Introduced.html


     76th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2011 Regular Session

NOTE:  Matter within  { +  braces and plus signs + } in an
amended section is new. Matter within  { -  braces and minus
signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within
 { +  braces and plus signs + } .

LC 2463

                         House Bill 2898

Sponsored by Representative KENNEMER (Presession filed.)

                             SUMMARY

The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the
measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to
consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's
brief statement of the essential features of the measure as
introduced.

  Creates the Oregon Business Development Department Ombudsman
Act. Establishes office of Oregon Business Development Department
Ombudsman, appointed by Governor for six-year term. Requires
ombudsman to work with governmental agencies with respect to
comments or complaints made or concerns expressed by businesses
regulated or controlled by governmental agencies. Prohibits
retaliatory action by governmental agency against business,
employee, representative or agent. Requires ombudsman to report
annually to Governor and Legislative Assembly.

                        A BILL FOR AN ACT
Relating to Oregon Business Development Department Ombudsman Act.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
  SECTION 1.  { + Sections 3 to 5 of this 2011 Act shall be known
and may be cited as the Oregon Business Development Department
Ombudsman Act. + }
  SECTION 2.  { + Sections 3 to 5 of this 2011 Act are added to
and made a part of ORS chapter 285A. + }
  SECTION 3.  { + As used in sections 3 to 5 of this 2011 Act:
  (1) 'Business' means a business concern or entity conducting
business in this state that is subject to regulatory authority,
oversight, management, audit, inspection or other types of
enforcement and control by one or more governmental agencies.
  (2) 'Governmental agency' means an executive, legislative or
judicial agency, department, board, commission, authority,
institution or instrumentality of the federal government, a state
or a county, municipality or other political subdivision of a
state. + }
  SECTION 4.  { + (1) The Governor shall appoint the Oregon
Business Development Department Ombudsman, who shall hold office
at the pleasure of the Governor. The appointment of the ombudsman
is subject to confirmation by the Senate in the manner provided
in ORS 171.562 and 171.565.
  (2) The ombudsman shall serve for a term of six years at the
pleasure of the Governor. Before expiration of the term of the
ombudsman, the Governor shall appoint a successor. The ombudsman
is eligible for reappointment by the Governor. In the case of a
vacancy for any cause, the Governor shall appoint an ombudsman to
serve the unexpired term of the ombudsman to be replaced. The
Legislative Assembly, by a two-thirds majority vote of all

members elected to each house, may request that the Governor
remove the ombudsman.
  (3) The Oregon Business Development Department shall provide
staff for the ombudsman as appropriate and necessary.
  (4) The ombudsman shall receive an annual salary equal to or
greater than the average salary per calendar year paid to a
regularly elected and qualified circuit court judge, to be paid
from funds available to the department for that purpose. The
salary of the ombudsman may not be discontinued or diminished
during the term of the ombudsman unless the ombudsman ceases to
serve as ombudsman for any reason. + }
  SECTION 5.  { + (1) The Oregon Business Development Department
Ombudsman shall work with governmental agencies to:
  (a) Establish a process to receive, investigate, substantiate
and convey to governmental agencies any comment, concern or
complaint from a business regarding a communication made or
action taken by a governmental agency with respect to the
business. The ombudsman shall maintain confidentiality to the
extent possible under law.
  (b) Provide governmental agencies with an effective and
inexpensive means to notify businesses, over which the
governmental agency exercises regulatory authority, oversight,
management, audit, inspection or other types of enforcement and
control, of the existence and role of the ombudsman.
  (c) Develop a nonretaliatory policy for governmental agencies
to follow when a business, or an employee, representative or
agent of a business, makes a comment or complaint or expresses a
concern regarding the governmental agency to the ombudsman.
  (2) Any employee, representative or agent of a business that
makes a comment or complaint or expresses a concern about a
governmental agency to the ombudsman in good faith pursuant to
this section is immune from any liability, civil or criminal,
that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with respect to the
making of the comment or complaint or the expressing of the
concern, and shall have the same immunity with respect to
participating in any administrative or judicial proceeding that
involves the making of the comment or complaint or the expressing
of the concern to the ombudsman.
  (3)(a) No governmental agency shall retaliate against a
business, or any employee, representative or agent of a business,
that makes a comment or complaint or expresses a concern to the
ombudsman that involves the governmental agency.
  (b) Any governmental agency that retaliates against a business,
or an employee, representative or agent of a business, because of
a comment or complaint made or concern expressed to the ombudsman
shall be liable in a private action to the business, or to the
employee, representative or agent of the business, for actual
damages and, in addition, a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per
retaliatory act, notwithstanding any other remedy provided by
law.
  (c) Any adverse action taken against a business, or an
employee, representative or agent of the business, is evidence of
retaliation if taken within 90 days of the making of a comment or
complaint or the expressing of a concern to the ombudsman.
  (4)(a) The ombudsman shall report annually to the Governor and
to an appropriate committee or interim committee of the
Legislative Assembly regarding:
  (A) Comments, concerns and complaints received from businesses;
  (B) Responses received from governmental agencies;
  (C) Resolutions or unresolved outcomes of interventions by the
ombudsman with governmental agencies and businesses; and
  (D) Retaliatory actions, if any, of governmental agencies
against businesses, or employees, representative or agents of
businesses.
  (b) Governmental agencies shall be provided an opportunity to
review and comment on the report required under this subsection,
and a section of the report shall be reserved for written comment
or input provided by any governmental agency referenced in the
report.
  (5) A report, finding, conclusion or recommendation of the
ombudsman is not subject to administrative or judicial review,
and the ombudsman cannot be compelled to testify or produce
evidence in any administrative or judicial proceeding with
respect to any matter involving the exercise of the ombudsman's
duties except as may be necessary to enforce this section.
  (6) The ombudsman has immunity from any liability, civil or
criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed with
respect to the making or content of any report, finding,
conclusion or recommendation of, or of any action taken by, the
ombudsman. The ombudsman has the same immunity with respect to
participation in any administrative or judicial proceeding that
involves the making or content of a report, finding, conclusion
or recommendation of, or action taken by, the ombudsman.
  (7) All agencies of state government, as defined in ORS
174.111, are directed to assist the ombudsman in the performance
of the ombudsman's duties and, to the extent permitted by laws
relating to confidentiality, to furnish such information and
advice as the ombudsman considers necessary to perform the
ombudsman's duties. + }
  SECTION 6.  { + The Governor shall appoint the Oregon Business
Development Department Ombudsman no later than 180 days after the
effective date of this 2011 Act. + }
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