Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/28/1997 08:10 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
       SB 103 HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FEES & HEARINGS                          
                                                                               
       PAULA HALEY testified on behalf  of the bill.   COCHAIR                 
       SHARP  HELD  the  bill pending  receipt  of  an updated                 
       fiscal note.                                                            
                                                                               
  SB 103 HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION FEES & HEARINGS                               
                                                                               
  PAULA HALEY, Executive Director,  Alaska State Commission on                 
  Human  Rights,  testified   on  behalf   of  the  bill   via                 
  teleconference from Anchorage.  She  explained that the bill                 
  was part of the agency's response to  the public's increased                 
  demand  for  services in  the  wake of  declining resources.                 
  Complaints had tripled over the past fifteen years while the                 
  agency  lost 35 percent  of its staff.   They  had worked to                 
  increase   efficiency,   reviewed,   revised   and   amended                 
  regulations to  streamline and reduce  costs.  SB  103 would                 
  provide cost saving  measures and grant authority  to charge                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  fees for educational  services.  Any fees generated or money                 
  saved  would be used  toward investigation  and enforcement.                 
  She urged support of the bill.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR PARNELL inquired why the fiscal note did not reflect                 
  a change in  revenues.  MS.  HALEY responded that any  money                 
  saved  would vary from  year to year, but  would be used for                 
  temporary staff, overtime and moving 330 cases along  in the                 
  investigative process.  SENATOR PARNELL believed  the fiscal                 
  note should reflect  a change  to the general  fund if  more                 
  fees  were being  collected.   He asked  what revenues  were                 
  expected.   MS. HALEY  replied that they  didn't expect more                 
  than $5,000 by the second year, but it was hard to estimate.                 
  Educational  service  fees would  be  for  sexual harassment                 
  trainings, disability law trainings,  general discrimination                 
  and  prevention education.  There  was no filing fee because                 
  legislators  did  not  want that  authority  granted  to the                 
  commission.  Other problems with filing  fees had to do with                 
  the fact that  many people come  to them after they've  lost                 
  their job.   It  also would  disqualify the  commission from                 
  receiving  a  $120  thousand  federal  contract  to  process                 
  federal EEO complaints,  so the loss  would be greater  than                 
  the gain with a filing fee.                                                  
                                                                               
  COCHAIR  SHARP  indicated  he would  hold  the  bill pending                 
  receipt of an updated fiscal note.   MS. HALEY indicated she                 
  would  do her  best to  provide  an estimate  of anticipated                 
  savings.                                                                     
                                                                               
  In response  to  a comments  from COCHAIR  SHARP, MS.  HALEY                 
  explained  that they  had  removed  redundant language  from                 
  regulations last year.  She commented about teleconferencing                 
  hearings as a cost saving measure.  She responded to a query                 
  by COCHAIR SHARP  by stating  that a  complainant had  never                 
  been   represented   by  the   Office  of   Pubic  Advocacy.                 
  Occasionally  they would hire their own counsel to help them                 
  through the process, but it was rare.                                        
                                                                               
  SB 103 was HELD pending a revised fiscal note.                               

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