HB 2788 Shifts Attorney General fees to Dept. of Justice

06/26/2021


This bill prohibits Department of Justice from charging officers and agencies of state government for assistance rendered. Directs department to pay for costs of assistance rendered to officers and agencies of state government out of funds appropriated to department for that purpose.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
This can’t help but increase taxpayer’s obligation to fund increases in the Dept. of Justice. They may be planning to do just that by taking it from the kicker refunds.

Fiscal Responsibility
HB 2788A prohibits the Department of Justice from charging officers and agencies of state government for assistance rendered and directs the department to pay costs for assistance rendered using funds appropriated to the department for that purpose, including for the costs incurred in asbestos property recovery litigation. The measure allows the department to continue to charge local government and special government bodies for assistance rendered. Currently agencies do their own preliminary research and only take contested legal issues to the Dept. of Justice. State agencies have in their budget amounts set aside for legal fees. This isn’t the time to change that. Agencies should be required to reduce their budgets to cover the shift in costs.

Limited Government
Current law establishes requirements for the Department of Justice to charge agencies of state government and public bodies for assistance rendered. ORS 174.109 defines “public body” as state government bodies, local government bodies and special government bodies. ORS 180.160 allows the Department of Justice, in rendering assistance to agencies of state government and public bodies, to charge such agencies and public bodies for the cost of such assistance, including but not limited to salaries of assistants and administrative and clerical salaries, investigative services, and capital outlay. ORS 283.425 directs the Department of Justice to charge the Department of Administrative Services for costs incurred in asbestos property recovery litigation. HB 2788A prohibits Department of Justice from charging officers and agencies for assistance given or entering into or renewing a collective bargaining agreement that permits job classification or performance evaluations of attorneys employed by the department based on hours billed by the attorney. Directs department to pay costs. Becomes operative July 1, 2023.

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