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                          The PERS Status Of Oregon's Legislators

 Generally, once a public employee works six months for a participating public employer, that employee automatically becomes a PERS member.  The primary exception to this general rule applies to elected official and persons appointed to an office that has a fixed term, except for most judges (see 3rd paragraph down regarding judges).   Those non-judge elected officials, have the option to join PERS, but they do not have to.   As a result, the public does not know whether the elected official, such as a legislator, is a PERS member unless that elected offical discloses that information.  

    Until October, 2009, PERS took the position that a public employee's status as a PERS members was confidential information that was exempt from disclosure under Oregon's public records laws.  In RE The People requested PERS to disclose the Governor Kulongoski's PERS membership status but it refused to do so, claiming that information was exempt from disclosure.  We then filed a petition with the Attorney General's office asking it to order PERS to disclose that information.  The Attorney General determined that PERS membership status was not exempt from disclosure and ordered PERS to disclose that information.  PERS then disclosed that Governor Kulongoski is a member of PERS.

     If a person is younger that 72 when first becoming a Judge, that person automatically becomes a PERS member on the day he or she takes office.  For more on Judge PERS members, see the Judges and PERS page.

    In order to determine how many members of the current Oregon Legislative Assembly are PERS members, we requested each member to voluntarily provide that information.  Only 10 initially did so.  We then filed a lawsuit against one legislator to obtain that information.  That legislator then provided the information and by Agust, 2010 all 90 of them had done so.  Of the 90 members of the 2009 - 2010 legislature, 59 of them had joined PERS as legislative members, once they were elected to the legislature.  

    In November, 2010, 12 new members were elected to the Oregon Legislature and 6 have disclosed their PERS memebrshiop status to me.  If the remaining 6 new members do not provide it by March 1, 2011, I will initate formal action to obtain it.  The following is the PERS status of each member of the 2011 - 2013 Legislative Assembly.


As Of February 19, 2011


The following 21 Senators are legislative PERS members:

Alan Bates(D), Ginny Burdick(D), Peter Courtney(D), Richard Devlin(D), Jackie Dingfelder(D), Chris Edwards(D), Mark Hass(D), Betsy Johnson(D), Laurie Monnes Anderson(D), Rod Monroe(D), Floyd Prozanski(D), Diane Rosenbaum(D), Chip Shields(D) and Joanne Verger(D), Jason Atkinson(R), Ted Ferrioli(R), Larry George(R), Jeff Kruse(R), Bruce Starr(R), Doug Whitsett(R) and Jackie Winters(R).

The following 6 Senators are not legislative PERS members:

Suzanne Bonamici(D), Brian Boquist(R), Fred Girod(R), Frank Morse(R), David Nelson(R), Chris Telfer(R).

               The legislative PERS membership of the following 3 Senators is unknown:

               Lee Beyer(D), Alan Olsen(R) and Chuck Thomsen(R).


The following 29 Representatives are legislative PERS members:

Jules Bailey(D), Jeff Barker(D), Phil Barnhart(D), E. Terry Beyer(D), Peter Buckley(D), Ben Cannon(D), Jean Cowan(D), Michael Dembrow(D), Chris Garrett(D), Dave Hunt(D), Betty Komp(D), Tina Kotek(D), Greg Matthews(D), Nancy Nathanson(D), Mary Nolan(D), Tobias Read(D), Mike Schaufler(D), Carolyn Tomei(D), Brad Witt(D), Cliff Bentz(R), Tim Freeman(R), Bill Garrard(R), Vic Gilliam(R), Bill Kennemer(R), Wayne Krieger(R), Greg Smith(R), Jim Thompson(R), Jim Weidner(R) and Matt Wingard(R).

The following 27 Representatives are not legislative PERS members:

Deborah Boone(D)*, Katie Eyre Brewer(R), Brian Clem(D)*, Margaret Doherty(D), Lew Frederick(D), Sara Gelser(D)*, Mitch Greenlick(D), Chris Harker(D), Paul Holvey(D), Val Hoyle(D)*, Arnie Roblan(D)*, Jefferson Smith(D), Vickie Berger(R), Kevin Cameron(R), Jason Conger(R), Sal Esquivel(R), Bruce Hanna(R), John Huffman(R), Bob Jenson(R), Shawn Lindsay(R), Mike McLane(R), Andy Olson(R), Julie Parrish(R)*, Dennis Richardson(R)*, Sherrie Sprenger(R), Kim Thatcher(R), Matthew Wand(R)  and Gene Whisnant(R).

               The PERS membership of the following 3 Representatives is unknown:

               Wally Hicks(R), Patrick Sheehan(R), Mark Johnson(R) 

*PERS member due to public employment prior to becoming legislator, but not a legislative PERS member

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