Oregon State Seal


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Contact: Kevin Curry, 503-986-1351



Republicans Called for Consideration of Five Bills


SALEM, OR – On a party-line vote today, House Democrats voted against consideration of five bills addressing issues within Oregon’s public assistance programs. A recent audit from Secretary of State Kate Brown identified serious fraud issues and called on the Legislature and Governor Kitzhaber to take action.


“Leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for action on this issue and it is time the Legislature addressed it,” said Rep. Bruce Hanna, who has introduced a series of bills related to the topic. “With an increase in demand for these services and increased budget pressure to pay for them, we cannot afford to ignore fraud and abuse. We must ensure money is going to help those in need and not being stolen via fraud.”


The legislation would have improved oversight and created new mechanisms for identifying and preventing fraud and abuse. The bills were referred to the House Human Services and Housing Committee but not scheduled for public hearings.


“The Secretary of State’s audit identified millions in waste and fraud from just a sampling of cases,” said Rep. Gail Whitsett (R – Klamath Falls). “These bills are a good first step toward creating systems to identify and correct fraud and abuse within the system.”


The rejected bills were:


·         HB 2717: Permits the Dept. of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority to suspend public assistance to a recipient who fails – without good cause – to provide requested documentation in connection with a possible overpayment of public assistance.


·         HB 2718: Requires the Dept. of Human Services to establish a registry of individuals and families receiving social services from state and county agencies to enable these agencies to coordinate and not duplicate the provision of services.


·         HB 2721: Requires public employees involved in administration of public assistance to report suspected fraud using procedures adopted by the Dept. of Human Services or Oregon Health Authority.


·         HB 3252: Requires electronic benefits transfer cards to display the photograph of all adults authorized to use it.


·         HB 3322: Requires the Department of Human Services to ensure that electronic benefits transfer cards cannot be used to purchase prepaid credit cards.