Cover Oregon Update, Revenue Forecast, I-5 Work, Scam Alert & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-417, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     May/June 2014

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Dear friends,

    The Legislature met in Salem from May 28–30 in Salem for committee hearings as well as a meeting of the full Senate to consider executive appointments by the Governor. My schedule over those three days included meetings of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Task Force on Public Safety Measuring Outcomes Subcommittee, both of which I chair. I also participated in meetings of the Senate Rural Communities and Economic Development Committee; the Senate General Government, Consumer & Small Business Protection Committee; the Oregon Law Commission, the full Task Force on Public Safety; the Asset Forfeiture Oversight Advisory Committee; and the HB 3194 Grant Review Committee. Needless to say, it was a busy three days, but these interim "Legislative Days" provide us an opportunity to consider issues in advance of the next legislative session. The Legislature will convene for a regular session starting in February 2015.

    We've received two pieces of good news on the economic front. First, Oregon gained 7,500 jobs in March, the largest monthly gain in eight years. This continues our economic expansion, with many of the state's major industries – including construction, leisure and hospitality, and health care – adding more than 1,000 jobs each. Second, Oregon's General Funds for the current biennium are projected to total more than $16 billion, an increase of $52.5 million from the March 2014 forecast. (See below for details on the May revenue forecast.)

    Below you will find information on:

        - The Latest on Cover Oregon
        - May Revenue Forecast
        - New Laws Effective June 6

        - Scam Alert: Phony E-mail from "Ellen F. Rosenblum"

        - Scam Alert: Rural Paving Con – Oregon CCB
        - Oregon Insurance Division's Consumer Advocacy Unit
        - Stroke Awareness Month
        - I-5 Project South of Cottage Grove
        - Roseburg Town Hall on Behavioral Health System Strategic Plan
        - Oakridge 5th-grader Oregon Winner in Missing Children Poster

        - Lane County is a State Leader in Computer Recycling

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

The Latest on Cover Oregon

    Earlier this month, the Joint Committee on Legislative Audits, Information Management & Technology met to review the recent decision made by the Cover Oregon Board to switch to the federal health insurance exchange website for individual and family commercial health insurance enrollments. The committee heard a presentation on how Cover Oregon concluded that switching to the federal exchange provides the most cost-effective, least risky option, and received an update on the details of the transition.

Key details:

  • Technology Transition to Federal Exchange Cover Oregon will maintain the current enrollment system (printed applications, or shopping through a community partner or insurance agent) through 2014 for complex cases and people with a life event allowing them to get coverage between enrollment periods (such as moving between states or getting married). It's not yet clear what the November re-enrollment process will entail for those already enrolled in 2014 coverage, but Cover Oregon is working with the federal government and insurance carriers to clarify this process. Simultaneously, Cover Oregon will begin migrating Medicaid enrollment data and eligibility determination software to the Oregon Health Authority, for final testing starting in August.

  • No Need for Additional Legislative Action While the 2015 Legislature must consider a series of policy questions about the future of Cover Oregon, there is no need for a special session to allow Cover Oregon to transition to using the federal health insurance exchange website for enrollments starting in November.

  • Oregon Role vs. Federal Role Staff from OHA, the Governor’s Office, and Cover Oregon have been working with federal officials to clarify state and federal responsibilities once the transition takes place. According to conceptual federal agreements discussed with the committee:

    • Federal Responsibility (beginning Nov. 15, 2014)
      • Online enrollment of individuals and families in commercial health plans 
      • Call center functions for commercial health plan enrollment

    • Oregon Responsibility 
      • Certification of which plans may participate in the exchange 
      • Rate review process (unaffected by Cover Oregon changes) 
      • Front-end consumer outreach & education about insurance enrollment

    • Still Under Discussion with the Federal Government 
      • Payment, registration, and training of insurance agents and brokers
      • Monitoring and oversight of health plans in the exchange 
      • How to ensure continued role of community partners and navigators

    • Medicaid program: Oregon's role in administering the Medicaid program is unaffected by changes to Cover Oregon. However, the online system for identifying and enrolling eligible Oregonians will be migrated from Cover Oregon to OHA, and will interface with the federal exchange rather than Cover Oregon.
  • Governance and Structure of Cover Oregon Cover Oregon will continue to operate and enroll certain qualifying Oregonians through 2014, then use federal technology for enrollments starting in November. The reduced role of Cover Oregon beyond early 2015 remains subject to policy decisions by the Legislature and Executive Branch.

  • Implications for Cover Oregon Budget Transitioning to the federal insurance exchange is expected to be possible within existing Cover Oregon funds. Cover Oregon is funded by federal grants until 2015, when it was expected to rely on a charge per enrollment to insurance carriers. However, with the change to the federal exchange, an administrative fee is collected by the federal government instead. Details of the Cover Oregon budget are evolving along with the transition to federal technology, and Cover Oregon staff told the committee they may discuss fee sharing options with the federal government.

  • Current Enrollment Numbers   To date, 383,000 Oregonians have been enrolled in health insurance coverage since January 2014 (75,000 enrolled in commercial insurance; 308,000 in the Oregon Health Plan).

    More recently, Governor Kitzhaber asked Oregon's Attorney General to initiate legal action to recover payments and other damages from Oracle, citing Oracle's failure to deliver a functional website.

My perspective

   Access to health insurance is critical and Cover Oregon has allowed hundreds of thousands of Oregonians to sign up for high-quality, affordable health care. But like many Oregonians, I've been incredibly frustrated with the disappointing and costly failure of Cover Oregon's website, which has forced applicants to go through a long paper process to sign up and get the coverage they need.

    This is why I've repeatedly called on Governor Kitzhaber and Cover Oregon to find the most reliable and cost-effective way to ensure that Oregonians can access a working health insurance website by the next open enrollment period in November.

    I'm pleased that we are making progress toward a solution by using federal technology to have a working insurance exchange. As this transition happens, I will continue to demand timely information and clear explanations so Oregonians know how to get the coverage they need. Also, during the February session, I supported legislation to increase oversight of Cover Oregon, ensure coverage for Oregonians with high-risk medical conditions, and hold state contractors accountable for their work when they don't meet promises of quality or cost (SB 1582, HB 4154, and HB 4122).

    In summary, I'm happy that 383,000 more Oregonians have health insurance coverage, but I'm very frustrated that Oracle was not able to deliver a finished product on time and that the executive branch, the Oregon Health Authority, did not provide adequate oversight of the project. I am also hopeful that using the federal technology will help even more Oregonians get access to the health care they need.

May Revenue Forecast

During legislative days, we learned from the State Economist that
General Fund revenue continues to grow according to expectations, with a modest increase of $54.5 million since the March 2014 forecast. However, nearly half of this projected increase is not from income tax revenue growth but instead $24.8 million returned from the Judicial Department's budget. As a result, this amount is not new revenue and it does not count toward the kicker threshold.

    Personal income tax collections fell significantly during the first quarter of the year, mostly due to some Oregonians moving their capital gains and other income into the 2012 tax year to avoid increased tax rates contained in 2013. Despite this weak filing season, personal income tax collections continue to match forecast expectations. In the second half of the biennium, job growth should drive personal income tax collections at an above-average rate. As this growth continues, General Fund revenue for the 2015-17 biennium is projected $134.3 million higher than in the last forecast. Projected Lottery Fund revenues increased by $1.9 million from the March 2014 forecast primarily due to increased sales in traditional lottery games.

Although the revenue outlook remains on track, there is a possibility that both the personal and corporate income tax kickers could "kick." This would result in less reserves being carried forward into the 2015-17 biennium.

The Office of Economic Analysis reports that overall revenue growth over the next 10 years will not match rates seen in the recent past, as personal income taxes and sales-related taxes become less dependable because of a wave of baby-boomer retirements.

New Laws Effective June 6:

SB 1541 – Crop Donation Tax Credit: To encourage food producers to donate fresh food to charities that serve individuals and families experiencing hunger and homelessness, this bill provides a tax credit to partially offset the cost of harvesting, processing, storing and transporting the donated food. The bill reinstates the crop donation tax credit program and increases the income tax credit to 15 percent of the wholesale price of the donated food.

HB 4005 – Creating New E-Commerce Zones: Raises the cap on the number of E-commerce zones available in the state from 10 to 15. Established in 2002, E-commerce zones provide a tax benefit for companies that do business over the internet, including taking orders, making purchases, or providing customer service. The designation of an E-commerce zone allows qualifying businesses to receive a credit against their state taxes for investing in their E-commerce operations, which provides an incentive for businesses to locate and provide jobs in these areas.

HB 4055
– Reliable Funding for 9-1-1 Answering Centers: Wireless cell phone customers currently pay a monthly 75 cent tax to pay for 9-1-1 answering services. However, pre-paid cell phone users do not pay this tax. This bill requires retailers that sell pre-paid cell phones to collect 75 cents per transaction and send it to the Department of Revenue. Once fully in effect, this change will generate about $650,000 per year for essential 9-1-1 services.

HB 4148 – Senior Property Tax Deferral Interest Rate Change: Changes the interest rate paid by seniors on deferred taxes in the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral Program back to simple interest. The program, which allows qualifying seniors to defer their property taxes for a specific period, currently charges compound interest on deferred taxes to keep the program solvent. With the program's balance sheet in better shape, House Bill 4148 saves seniors money by changing back to simple interest instead of the more costly compound interest calculation.

Scam Alert: Phony E-mail from "Ellen F. Rosenblum"

Have you received an e-mail with the subject line "Administrative Office" that looks like it came from the Oregon Attorney General? The email claims you are delinquent on a payday loan and must make payment to avoid legal consequences. Finally, it asks you to click on a link or an attachment for more information or to reply to the email.

    These e-mails pull out all the stops to look official: They refer to the attorney general by name (Ellen F. Rosenblum), have an Oregon Department of Justice seal, references to state and federal consumer protection laws, and what look like real Oregon Department of Justice links. The truth is that they're fakes.

Neither the Attorney General, nor the Oregon Department of Justice, would ever send you an e-mail like this.

If you get an e-mail like this, don't open it. Don't reply and don't click on the links. If you click on a link, it may install malware on your computer. Malware can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

    If you think you have fallen victim to this scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at or call 1-877-877-9392.

Scam Alert: Rural Paving Con – Oregon CCB

    Paving scammers are at work in the rural Lane County. Property owners should be wary of people who show up on their doorstep with "extra asphalt" they offer up in a deal.

    The state Construction Contractors Board (CCB) recently learned of a property owner in Marcola who was approached earlier this year with an offer to pave his driveway. An investigation is under way.

    Call the CCB at 503-378-4621 if anyone contacts you for paving you didn't solicit. Legitimate contractors typically do not solicit work door-to-door. Meanwhile, here are some ways to spot scammers:

  • They just show up at your doorstep
  • Their vehicles often show out-of-state license plates
  • They say they have leftover materials so they can give you a great price
  • They quote an initial low price, then demand more to finish the project
  • Generally, they are not licensed with the CCB

Oregon Insurance Division's Consumer Advocacy Unit

    This month, the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services began a statewide campaign to raise awareness of its Insurance Division's Consumer Advocacy Unit.
The Consumer Advocacy Unit provides unbiased, free advice and complaint resolution to all Oregonians about auto, health, homeowner, life, or other types of insurance policies. Since 2009, the Consumer Advocacy Unit has helped recover more than $5 million for consumers. The unit receives more than 15,000 calls and emails a year, and 2014 is on track to be the highest call volume year in the division’s history.

Oregon has the opportunity to fund this campaign through a series of multi-state settlements with life insurance companies. You may see print ads, billboards, television and radio commercials, and community-based outreach events, to get out the word that the Consumer Advocacy Unit is there when Oregonians need it.

    Consumers can reach advocates toll free at 1-888-877-4894 or they can visit its website at

I-5 Project South of Cottage Grove

    You may have noticed the intermittent lane and shoulder closures on I-5 between the south Cottage Grove exit and Exit 160 north of Scott Valley. It's part of the
$18.5 million I-5 Martin Creek to Anlauf Paving project to repair or replace much of the damaged concrete over the next six months. The project will require lane and ramp closures on the interstate.

    The southbound Exit 170 (south Cottage Grove) on-ramp is scheduled to be closed for about 10 weeks starting May 15. From the middle of May to November, I-5 traffic will usually be limited to one lane in each direction through the project area. (ODOT hopes to have all lanes and ramps open during the month of August.)

    Expect other ramp closures at Exit 170, Exit 162 (Drain/Anlauf) and Exit 163 (Curtin). Currently, ODOT does not have a closure schedule at this time. They will provide more information as it becomes available, and I will pass that along to you in future e-bulletins.

    The best source for road and travel information in Oregon is, which includes travel cameras in the Martin Creek-Anlauf project area. Motorists can also dial 511. Additional information will be provided at the project website:

    ODOT will try to minimize the impact that these construction projects have on local businesses, freight, commuters, emergency services and tourists.

Roseburg Town Hall on Behavioral Health System Strategic Plan

    The Oregon Health Authority Addictions & Mental Health Division
is holding a series of town hall meetings to discuss the state's behavioral health system, hosted by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Its goal is to create a shared vision for building and expanding an integrated, coordinated and culturally competent behavioral health system that provides better health, better care and lower cost for all Oregonians.

    OHA is holding one of the town hall meetings in Roseburg tomorrow, June 11 from 9 a.m. - noon at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, Cascade Hall Conference Room (2110 SW Frear). Please RSVP to

    Through the town hall meetings, stakeholders from across the state will discuss the current state of the behavioral health system, develop a shared vision of where we want to go and establish guiding principles for how we get there. OHA will take the feedback garnered through the town hall meetings to develop a two – five-year strategic plan and present it back to stakeholders.

Oakridge 5th-grader is Oregon Winner in Missing Children Poster

    A 5th grader at Oakridge Elementary School received a surprise when the Oregon State Police Missing Children's Clearinghouse announced her poster was selected to represent Oregon in the national Missing Children's Day Poster Contest. In addition to an assembly and a pizza party held for her and about 30 classmates, Governor Kitzhaber sent a letter congratulating her on the winning poster and for helping to raise awareness about child safety.

    Sierra Cargil's poster was selected to represent Oregon and sent to the Department of Justice for national judging with posters submitted from around the country. The Missing Children's Day Poster Contest is an annual event for fifth-grade students providing an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and other community organizations to engage children and their parents in discussions about child safety. Have a look at Sierra's winning poster, here: 

    In the letter presented to Sierra, Governor Kitzhaber stressed that raising awareness of missing and at-risk youth in Oregon is an important first step to keeping kids safe. The Governor also joined child safety advocates around the country by signing a proclamation announcing May 25, 2014, as "Missing Children's Awareness Day" in Oregon.

    May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children's Day since it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. In 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school; a story that captivated the nation. Etan's photo, taken by his father, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. This powerful image has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families.

    As of April 2014, Oregon's Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) records contained information regarding 467 kids under the age of 18 listed as missing in LEDS. More than 87 percent of the listed missing children are runaways. The remaining listed children are missing under circumstances indicating his/her physical safety may be in danger or their disappearance was not voluntary.

    According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing; that is more than 2,000 children per day! Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, for which the primary motive is sexual. Each year, 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions. To view this year's winning entries submitted from 48 states, 4 territories, one military base and the District of Columbia, visit:

Lane County is a State Leader in Computer Recycling

    As reported by the Oregonian, Lane County is a front-runner in recycling old computers and other electronic devices. Despite housing less than 10 percent of Oregon's population, Lane County accounted for nearly 4 million of the 27.7 million pounds collected statewide last year in the Oregon Electronics Recycling Program. The county total was up 27 percent from 2012, compared with a 4 percent increase statewide, according to state Department of Environmental Quality figures.

    You can read more at:



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