Commission to Review Oregons Laws

Oregon's Legislative Assembly has created a public-private partnership with Willamette University to improve the quality of Oregon's current and future laws and legal institutions. The partnership makes possible operation of the Oregon Law Commission.

The Oregon Law Commission serves as a legal "maintenance and design department" to help keep Oregon's laws and legal institutions functioning efficiently for the benefit of all Oregonians. State funding will run from July 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001, and is matched with Willamette University resources, effectively doubling the value of the state's participation.

The commission is structured to propose legislative recommendations not likely to be advanced by interest groups and is authorized to initiate, recommend and support law reform measures before the Legislative Assembly.

"The commission's immediate goal is to prepare and recommend a number of concrete legislative proposals for the legislature to consider during the next legislative session," said David Kenagy, executive director of the Oregon Law Commission and associate dean for Willamette's College of Law.

Some of the topics the Oregon Law Commission will review include: juvenile code revisions, spousal elective shares, judgments and garnishments, civil rights statutes, conflict of laws, judicial review of government actions, statutes of limitations and ultimate repose and attorney fees for "prevailing parties."

The 13-person commission is made up of four legislators or their designees, the chief justice, the attorney general, a governor's appointee, the deans or representatives from each law school in Oregon and three representatives from the Oregon State Bar. Willamette University will provide student participation with externs, law clerks and academic research assistants.

"This is exciting for Willamette law students because they will develop expertise in lawmaking generally and in particular areas of Oregon law," Kenagy said.

Although bar leaders and law professors sit on the commission, the driving forces have been lawyer-legislators including chair, Rep. Lane Shetterly, vice chair, Sen. Kate Brown and commission member, Rep. Max Williams.

For more information, check out the Oregon Law Commission website.