SALEM - Oregon House Speaker-elect Rep. Karen Minnis, R-Wood Village, announced that Rep. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, will chair the House Public Employee Retirement System Committee next legislative session, which convenes Jan. 13, 2003.

"As chair of the House PERS Task Force, Tim knows the issues surrounding this complex issue and knows that fixing PERS is a priority next session," Speaker-elect Minnis said. "With an unfunded liability of $15.7 billion, PERS threatens to bankrupt not just the state, but counties, cities, school - and other public service districts across Oregon. I have every confidence that under Tim's leadership, the PERS Committee will be able to draft a bi-partisan solution that is fair to retirees and taxpayers."

"I'm looking forward to tackling this tremendous challenge next session," Rep. Knopp said. "We need to bring much-needed certainty to PERS for employees, employers, and ultimately, the taxpayers.

"In addition, I'm encouraged by Governor-elect Kulongoski's commitment to solve the PERS crisis before concluding the 2003 legislative session," Rep. Knopp said. "We're looking forward to helping him achieve that goal."

Rep. Knopp, who will also serve as House Majority Leader next legislative session, was recently elected to his third term in the House, representing Bend. A longtime resident of Central Oregon, Rep. Knopp served as chair of the Business, Labor and Consumer Affairs Committee during the 2001 legislative session and has also served on the Smart Growth and Commerce and Stream Restoration and Species Recovery committees and the Ways and Means subcommittee on Public Safety.

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