Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124
03/05/2018 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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HB 309-REJECT OFFICERS COMP. COMMISSION REPORT 4:44:32 PM VICE-CHAIR WOOL announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 309, "An Act disapproving all recommendations of the State Officers Compensation Commission relating to the compensation, benefits, and allowances of state officers; and providing for an effective date." 4:45:03 PM ALLIANA SALANGUIT, Staff, Representative David Guttenberg, Alaska State Legislature, introduced HB 309 on behalf of Representative Guttenberg, prime sponsor. She stated Representative Guttenberg had introduced the proposed bill as he was concerned with the process leading up to the final recommendations made by the state's officers compensation commission. She said he believes the commission was enacted to depoliticize legislators' salaries and that he believes the recommendations failed to meet the obligation to recommend an equitable rate for legislators. 4:46:03 PM REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked whether the only issue is the per diem for Juneau legislators. MS. SALANGUIT said Representative Guttenberg's concern is the process leading up to that recommendation but that the proposed bill would affect legislators working within 50 miles of their residence. REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH restated his question that the only issue at play is that anyone within 50 miles would not receive per diem. MS. SALANGUIT said that was a result of the findings but that Representative Guttenberg was primarily concerned that "there wasn't enough data, facts, and figures" and that it was political. 4:47:27 PM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP commented that he also felt the first ruling was completely arbitrary. He added that he thought the second go-around was not arbitrary and asked why that was also considered arbitrary. MS. SALANGUIT referenced the January 17  meeting and urged Representative Knopp to listen to the proceedings. 4:48:45 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON moved to adopt CS for HB 309 as the working document. VICE-CHAIR WOOL objected for the purpose of discussion. 4:49:10 PM CHAIR KITO stated he would give a brief PowerPoint presentation [included in committee packet]. He underlined it was entirely his work and not the work of the committee or of the bill sponsor. CHAIR KITO presented a series of slides on "ASOCC History" on slides 1-6. He began by addressing slide 1, "Compensation Methods." The slide shows a map of the United States with each state's compensation method indicated with a color key. 4:50:53 PM CHAIR KITO moved to slide 2, "ASOCC History": Alaska Officers Compensation Commission Authorized under AS 39. Passed as House Bill 417 during the 25th Alaska Legislature (2008). 2009 was the first issued report. 4:51:19 PM CHAIR KITO addressed slide 3: 2009 Report Recommended: Legislator Salary of $50,400 An additional $500 for President of the Senate and Speaker of the House Per Diem, Office Expenses and Moving Expenses to be set by Legislative Council 4:51:31 PM CHAIR KITO continued to slide 4: 2011 Recommended an increase to salaries of Governor ($125k to $145k)and Lt. Governor ($100k to $115k). Recommendation was not rejected. 2014 Recommended an increase to salaries for Governor, Lt. Governor and Department Heads. Recommendation was rejected by Legislature and Governor. CHAIR KITO spoke to slide 5: ASOCC recommended salary increases for the Governor and Lt. Governor on two occasions and for department heads on one occasion, 2017 was the first recommended change to legislative compensation since 2009, and that recommendation was to decrease Juneau legislators compensation. 4:53:09 PM VICE-CHAIR WOOL commented that legislative council recommends per diem, but the commission chose to reduce the Juneau, Alaska, legislators' compensation. CHAIR KITO added that in 2009 the compensation commission said that it would not address per diem and that it should be in the remit of Legislative Council. 4:54:00 PM REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH remarked that Chair Kito had used the term "compensation" as it relates to per diem. He asked whether he considered per diem as part of the compensation. CHAIR KITO said he would address the issue further along. 4:54:44 PM CHAIR KITO moved on to slide 6: In 10 years of existence, the ASOCC has failed to engage in a periodic review of legislative compensation, however, has on two occasions recommended increases to executive compensation. CHAIR KITO spoke to the slides on equitable compensation. He began with slide 8, "Current Compensation": Base Salary $50,400 Per diem based on federal short-term rate Relocation expenses provided Travel per diem provided Non-Juneau Base = $75,150 Juneau Base = $68,692.5 Total All Legislators Base = $4.49 Million 4:56:30 PM REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD shared her understanding that per diem is calculated by the [U.S.} Department of Defense. She asked about the process. CHAIR KITO answered that per diem is adopted by Legislative Council, but since the original determination, there is nothing in the record that explains why the type of per diem or the adjustment for Juneau legislators was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD asked whether the Legislative Council had looked at per diem on a yearly basis. CHAIR KITO answered that the discussion had come up during his time on Legislative Council in April . 4:59:12 PM VICE-CHAIR WOOL asked for confirmation that the Juneau-based legislators are getting 75 percent of the federal short-term rate, but Juneau legislators pay tax on it as income. CHAIR KITO answered that it is correct that per diem is counted as taxable income for Juneau legislators. 4:59:56 PM REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH offered the observation that Anchorage, Alaska, or over half of legislators would receive no per diem for a local special session so it would be considerable savings. CHAIR KITO answered that it had been calculated out for a special session, and the Anchorage peridium rate is significantly higher than the rate for Juneau, Alaska, meaning a special session in Anchorage, Alaska, would cost much more. 5:01:20 PM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP answered Representative Sullivan-Leonard's question saying that the Department of Defense does calculate per diem. 5:02:11 PM VICE-CHAIR WOOL held over HB 309.