Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/10/2018 01:00 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 278 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 279 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 280 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 302 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 323 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 318 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 255(L&C) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
         HB 255-PLUMBING/ELECTRIC CERTIFICATE OF FITNESS                                                                    
1:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  255,  "An   Act  relating  to  individuals  and                                                               
employees  who  must  have certificates  of  fitness  to  perform                                                               
certain  plumbing  and electrical  work;  and  relating to  civil                                                               
penalties and violations for not  having required certificates of                                                               
1:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS  TUCK, Alaska State  Legislature, introduced                                                               
HB  255 as  prime sponsor.    He gave  an overview  of the  bill,                                                               
explaining that  HB 255  would change  the violation  for working                                                               
without  a  certificate  of  fitness  from  a  misdemeanor  to  a                                                               
citation and  a fine.   He stated  the proposed bill  would bring                                                               
the  department practices  in line  with  other business  license                                                               
1:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO moved Amendment 1.                                                                                                   
     Page 2, lines 14 - 15:                                                                                                     
          Delete "[, EITHER AN EMPLOYER OR EMPLOYEE,]"                                                                          
          Insert ", other than [EITHER] an [EMPLOYER OR]                                                                    
     Page 2, lines 17 - 18:                                                                                                     
          Delete "BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $500]"                                                                             
          Insert "] by a fine of not more than $500"                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK explained  Amendment  1 reserves  violations                                                               
for employers.   He pointed  to page 2,  line 14, of  the statute                                                               
and  explained that  independent contractors  would be  under the                                                               
same sanctions as an employer.                                                                                                  
1:35:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked about violations,  citations, and                                                               
administrative penalties.                                                                                                       
1:36:33 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH  KELLY, Director,  Labor Standards  and Safety  Division,                                                               
answered  questions in  the hearing  on  HB 255.   She  explained                                                               
there was a multitiered process  involving options for a citation                                                               
or an administrative fine.                                                                                                      
CHAIR   KITO  asked   whether  the   two   penalties  worked   in                                                               
MS.  KELLY  answered in  the  affirmative.    She added  the  way                                                               
penalties   work  for   other  licensure,   such  as   contractor                                                               
licensing,  generally  an administrative  fine  is  issued.   She                                                               
added that  with severe  violations or for  those who  refused to                                                               
pay, the citation process is used.                                                                                              
1:37:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  shared her  concern that the  change would                                                               
put  the  employee  "between  a  rock and  a  hard  spot."    She                                                               
suggested exempting the employee.                                                                                               
1:38:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK   mentioned   the   committee   had   heard                                                               
Representative Knopp  state he  did not  like the  certificate of                                                               
fitness.   He explained that  general contractors  cannot perform                                                               
or expect their  employees to do electrical work.   He added that                                                               
in  the   electrical  industry  there   was  a   requirement  for                                                               
additional licensing for administrators.   He said the aim was to                                                               
maintain the integrity of the system.    He said there should not                                                               
be any "gray areas."                                                                                                            
1:39:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON spoke  to  misdemeanors  and said  that                                                               
taking  a case  to  a jury  can  be hard  to do.    He asked  for                                                               
confirmation that  the fine would be  up to $500 and  not imposed                                                               
on the employee.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  clarified the  fine would  be not  more than                                                               
$500 for  the employer, and $125  for the first offence  and $250                                                               
for each subsequent offence for the employee.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON   surmised  "there   is  jurisdictional                                                               
workplace confusion about  who has the authority  and training to                                                               
do certain  work in  the field," and  asked whether  the proposed                                                               
bill simply made it easier to cite someone.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK answered  that it  is the  responsibility on                                                               
the employee to maintain the certificate of fitness.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  asked whether  there  is  a gray  area                                                               
regarding who does what work on a worksite.                                                                                     
1:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK answered  there were  different requirements                                                               
according to  the scope of  work, and some licenses  only require                                                               
1,000 hours of  training.  He added that HB  255 does not address                                                               
those issues.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON spoke  to Amendment  1.   He offered  a                                                               
hypothetical situation  involving the  action of an  employee and                                                               
asked  whether the  proposed bill  would offer  leniency in  that                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK answered  HB  255 was  modelled after  other                                                               
licensing legislation.  He said  the original draft contained the                                                               
same  fines for  both employee  and employer,  and the  amendment                                                               
made  the  proposed  bill  "very soft"  in  comparison  to  other                                                               
license violations with more severe fines.                                                                                      
1:44:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  spoke  to  Amendment  1.    He  cited  the                                                               
language regarding a  person other than an employee.   He said he                                                               
was still uncertain of how the amendment would help that person.                                                                
1:45:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  answered that the amendment  further softens                                                               
the penalty  on the employee.    He  added it maintains  a person                                                               
carrying  out the  work who  is not  an employee  or an  employer                                                               
would get the same sanctions for  a violation as an employer.  He                                                               
further  added  the  amendment  would ensure  there  was  not  an                                                               
increase on  the fine and contains  a cap of $25  thousand for an                                                               
1:46:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  KITO  asked for  clarification  of  whether it  should  be                                                               
$2,500 or $25 thousand for the employer.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  clarified  it  was  $25  thousand  for  the                                                               
employer and $2,500 for the employee.                                                                                           
SPEAKER  EDGMON removed  his  objection.   There  being no  other                                                               
further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                     
1:47:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked whether  a certification  of fitness                                                               
was required to drive a truck to backfill a ditch.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK answered  in the  affirmative.   He added  a                                                               
certification of  fitness was  required to  install the  pipe, to                                                               
install wire,  to dig the  ditch, to  backfill the ditch,  to set                                                               
the poles, and to set the gear.   He explained that with too many                                                               
contractors working on  a system, it is hard to  determine who is                                                               
responsible when  something goes wrong.   He reiterated  that the                                                               
certificate of fitness maintains the integrity of the system.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES said  she thought it seems  "we are putting                                                               
our general labors out of work."                                                                                                
1:49:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO asked whether the  bill would change how the penalties                                                               
are assessed or change the responsibilities.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  mentioned  Representative  Knopp's  remarks                                                               
that  he  did not  want  the  penalties  and  that "if  it's  not                                                               
enforceable, then it's allowed."                                                                                                
1:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  restated her question of  whether a worker                                                               
was  required  to have  a  certificate  of  fitness in  order  to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK answered in the  affirmative.  He deferred to                                                               
the department.                                                                                                                 
1:50:26 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  HARLAN,  Mechanical  Inspection Manager,  Department  of                                                               
Labor  and Workforce  Development (DLWD),  answered questions  in                                                               
the hearing on HB 255.   He confirmed that under current policy a                                                               
certificate  of fitness  would be  required.   He added  that the                                                               
proposed bill would not affect the requirement.                                                                                 
1:51:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON asked whether  there is something called                                                               
a "utility  card" that  allows someone  without a  certificate of                                                               
fitness to do that work.                                                                                                        
MR. HARLAN asked for the question to be restated.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  asked  whether a  utility  card  would                                                               
enable someone  who does not  have the certificate of  fitness to                                                               
do "in-between work."                                                                                                           
MR.  HARLAN   explained  that   public  utilities   are  exempted                                                               
elsewhere in statute so that they  can carry out work in a public                                                               
easement.   He added that  subcontractors doing work on  a public                                                               
utility property would need a certificate of fitness.                                                                           
1:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KELLY  added  that  there are  some  other  certificates  of                                                               
fitness, such as a  plumber-restricted public utility certificate                                                               
of fitness,  which allows  certain types of  plumbing work  to be                                                               
carried out  with fewer  hours required than  for a  full plumber                                                               
1:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON moved to report  HB 255 out of committee                                                               
as amended  with individual recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB255 Support Letters 2.6.18.pdf HL&C 2/10/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB279 Opposition Letter 1.30.18.pdf HL&C 2/10/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 279
HB299 Support Letters 2.1.18.pdf HL&C 2/10/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB302 Legislative Audit 1.30.18.pdf HL&C 2/10/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 302