Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/11/2002 08:48 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 11, 2002                                                                                           
                          8:48 AM                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 02 - 81, Side A                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 02 - 81, Side B                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 8:48 AM.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Con Bunde, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative John Davies                                                                                                      
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                    
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pete  Kott; Kathy Hansen,  Executive Director,                                                                   
Southeast   Alaska   Fishermen's    Alliance,   Juneau;   Don                                                                   
Etheridge,  AFL-CIO, Juneau;  Darryl  Tseu, Inland  Boatmen's                                                                   
Union  of  the   Pacific,  Juneau;  Barbara   Huff  Tuckness,                                                                   
Teamsters Union, Juneau; Leo S. Brown, Homer.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jim Sampson,  Fairbanks; Leo S.  Brown, Homer;  Sue Aspelund,                                                                   
Executive  Director,   Cordova  District  Fishermen   United,                                                                   
Cordova.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 287    "An  Act relating  to the  exemption of  commercial                                                                   
          fishing entry permits  from claims of creditors, to                                                                   
          loans to  satisfy past due federal  tax obligations                                                                   
          of commercial fishing  entry permit holders, and to                                                                   
          loan  origination  charges for  loans  made by  the                                                                   
          commercial  fishing  loan  program to  refinance  a                                                                   
          debt  obligation; and  providing  for an  effective                                                                   
          date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 504    "An Act relating to  the wages of people working in                                                                   
          the fisheries business."                                                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 504                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the wages of people working in the                                                                     
     fisheries business."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson  MOVED  to  ADOPT  proposed  committee                                                                   
substitute  22-LS1595\S, 4/10/02.  There being NO  OBJECTION,                                                                   
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, SPONSOR,  spoke to the changes made                                                                   
in the committee  substitute. The committee  substitute would                                                                   
require  departmental approval  for charges  [by an  employer                                                                   
engaged  in the  fisheries business  for  board and  lodging]                                                                   
over  $15 dollars  a  day. He  explained  that  the flat  $15                                                                   
dollar  a day rate  is lower  than the  rate currently  being                                                                   
used by a processor in Petersburg.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KATHY  HANSON, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  Alaska Southeast  Alaska                                                                   
Fishermen's   Alliance   testified    in   support   of   the                                                                   
legislation. She  stressed that the legislation  would assist                                                                   
the  commercial fishing  industry. She  maintained that  most                                                                   
workers would  pay more  than what they  are charged  if they                                                                   
had to pay for their own food  and lodging. She asserted that                                                                   
commercial  fishermen  would have  to  pay  the cost  if  the                                                                   
legislation is  denied. She thought  that most  fishermen are                                                                   
currently earning less than the minimum wage.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DON ETHERIDGE,  AFL-CIO, JUNEAU stated that the  union's main                                                                   
concern  is that  lower  level positions  do  not lose  their                                                                   
income. He observed that budget  cuts would affect the lowest                                                                   
paid employees first.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DARRYL TSEU,  INLAND BOATMEN'S  UNION OF THE PACIFIC,  JUNEAU                                                                   
spoke  against the  legislation. He  observed that  Southeast                                                                   
Alaska processors are already  allowed to deduct for housing.                                                                   
He  expressed  concern that  workers  would not  have  enough                                                                   
money to return to their homes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA   HUFF  TUCKNESS,   DIRECTOR,  LEGISLATIVE   AFFAIRS,                                                                   
TEAMSTERS LOCAL  959, JUNEAU testified  in opposition  to the                                                                   
legislation.  She  noted that  she  spoke  on behalf  of  the                                                                   
approximate 7,000  members around  the state. The  Teamster's                                                                   
mission  is to  organize the  unorganized  and represent  all                                                                   
workers  to   assure  fairness   and  dignity  in   the  work                                                                   
environment.  She  quoted  the  union's  Secretary/Treasurer,                                                                   
Jerry Hood: "What is negotiated  today can be legislated away                                                                   
tomorrow with a stroke of a pen."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tuckness maintained  that the legislation is  "one of the                                                                   
most blatant  instruments of oppression  to come  before this                                                                   
legislature  in a  while." She  emphasized  that the  fishing                                                                   
industry  is a  multi  billon dollar  industry.  Many of  the                                                                   
workers  are  from  out  of state  or  out  of  country.  She                                                                   
stressed  that  they should  not  be  treated with  any  less                                                                   
dignity and  respect than Alaskan  [North] Slope  workers who                                                                   
live in Company accommodations.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tuckness referred  to comments that the  bill corrects an                                                                   
inequity  in  current  regulation. She  observed  that  under                                                                   
current regulation  if an employee  is working in an  area in                                                                   
the state, for example Ketchikan,  which would have available                                                                   
housing an  employer could charge  for their room  and board.                                                                   
In this situation the employee  could choose to go elsewhere.                                                                   
If  there  are  not  alternative  living  quarters  then  the                                                                   
employer cannot charge the employee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Tuckness  referred to  a  fish processor's  website  and                                                                   
noted that  most of the work  available is called  sliming or                                                                   
cleaning  fish.  The environment  is  wet, cold  and  drafty.                                                                   
Sliming  and other processing  jobs require  standing  in one                                                                   
spot doing the  same task for 16 or more hours  a day, 7 days                                                                   
a week in  peak season. There  also are periods of  time when                                                                   
no work  is available.  The living  quarters on a  processing                                                                   
plant hold  4 to 12  people per  room. Recreation  is limited                                                                   
and there is usually no shore time.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tuckness  asked  members to  reject the  bill and send  a                                                                   
message  to all  workers in  this state,  including those  on                                                                   
processing  plants, that  all workers  deserve to be  treated                                                                   
with dignity  and respect and  compensated fairly,  no matter                                                                   
how menial the work they perform.  She quoted quote President                                                                   
George W. Bush:  "As we think  what is possible, we must also                                                                   
think  what is  right." She  maintained that  support of  the                                                                   
legislation  only brings  the old company  town mentality  to                                                                   
the state of Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JIM  SAMPSON,  FAIRBANKS  testified   via  teleconference  in                                                                   
opposition to  the legislation.  He noted that  he is  one of                                                                   
the  prime  sponsors   of  the  minimum  wage   petition.  He                                                                   
maintained that  HB 504 would  deny thousands working  in the                                                                   
fishing industry the increase  that many Alaskans support. He                                                                   
maintained that HB 504 is an anti-worker bill.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson  MOVED to ADOPT  Amendment 1 on  line 7                                                                   
of page  1: insert  "paid day worked."  He observed  that the                                                                   
employee could accrue costs on  days when they aren't working                                                                   
due to a downturn. He explained  that, in order to have money                                                                   
deducted from  an employee,  the employee  would have  had to                                                                   
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  questioned  if the  legislation  would                                                                   
apply  to remote  and non-remote  sites. Representative  Kott                                                                   
clarified  that the legislation  would  apply to both  remote                                                                   
and   non-remote   sites.   He   maintained   that   existing                                                                   
contractual relations between  an employer and employee would                                                                   
be impacted.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kott thought that  the employee and  employer                                                                   
would be damaged by the amendment  because of the change in a                                                                   
contractual  agreement. He  pointed out  that if an  employee                                                                   
worked  one-quarter of  an hour  that they  would be  getting                                                                   
paid for that  day. There are no limitations  included in the                                                                   
amendment.  It   would  be   difficult  from  an   accounting                                                                   
standpoint.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson stated that  the intent would  be that                                                                   
the  employee  work an  8  hour  paid  day. If  the  employee                                                                   
received an 8-hour paid day, then  the employer would be able                                                                   
to  take the  $15  dollars or  the  agreed  upon amount.  The                                                                   
provision would be negotiated  up-front with the employee and                                                                   
create a standard to address the  low-end employee during the                                                                   
times that  they are  not making money.  He claimed  that the                                                                   
amendment would find the middle ground.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote  was taken on the motion to  adopt Amendment                                                                   
1.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Hudson, Lancaster, Moses, Bunde, Davies                                                                               
OPPOSED: Harris, Whitaker, Croft, Williams                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder  and Representative  Foster were  absent from                                                                   
the vote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (5-4).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies WITHDREW #1a.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  MOVED to  ADOPT  Amendment  #2.                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Bunde OBJECTED.  Representative Davies  explained                                                                   
that the  amendment would  eliminate the immediate  effective                                                                   
date. No  effective date would  be specified. The  bill would                                                                   
become effective after 90 days.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde   thought  that  it  would   eliminate  the                                                                   
possibility  of the  legislation  being used  in the  current                                                                   
summer season. Representative  Kott agreed that the effective                                                                   
date  change  would take  away  the  opportunity to  use  the                                                                   
provisions of  the bill  in the up  coming salmon  season. He                                                                   
stressed that there  is a problem in the industry  today, and                                                                   
emphasized that  the bill should  not be tied to  the minimum                                                                   
wage. The intent is to help an ailing industry.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  acknowledged  problems  in  the                                                                   
fishing industry but did not want  to see the industry helped                                                                   
by  balancing the  books  on the  backs  of  the workers.  He                                                                   
pointed  out  that the  effected  workers  are being  paid  a                                                                   
minimum wage  and that in remote  areas there is  a tradition                                                                   
of providing  housing.  He maintained  that a worker's  wages                                                                   
could  be  cut  in  half  [with   the  provisions  under  the                                                                   
legislation]. He spoke in support  of fixing the fundamentals                                                                   
problems and  basic economics  of the industry,  "not balance                                                                   
the books on the backs of the workers."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams  questioned   what  would  happen  if  the                                                                   
processors  went away.  "Then where will  these minimum  wage                                                                   
people go for work?  Where does a fisherman take  his fish to                                                                   
get processed?  That is a problem  we are having today".   He                                                                   
maintained that the  industry is on its knees  and the intent                                                                   
is to help.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Lancaster  asked  what  would  happen  if  an                                                                   
employee is making more than the minimum wage.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kott  replied   that  the  legislation  would                                                                   
disallow  penetration below  minimum wage.  He observed  that                                                                   
the legislation  would not  apply to  the mining industry  or                                                                   
other industry that pay well above minimum wage.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative John  Davies pointed out that  the legislation                                                                   
impacts people  on the really  low end of the  wage schedule.                                                                   
He noted  that it would help  the industry if  workers worked                                                                   
for nothing,  but emphasized  that there  must be a  balance.                                                                   
There is a minimum wage that is  fair to pay people; the bill                                                                   
allows the  minimum wage to  be penetrated and  the effective                                                                   
compensation dropped.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Lancaster, Moses, Croft, Davies, Harris                                                                               
OPPOSED: Hudson, Whitaker, Bunde, Williams                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder  and Representative  Foster were  absent from                                                                   
the vote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (5-4).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies WITHDREW Amendment #3.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies MOVED  to ADOPT Amendment #4.  Co-                                                                   
Chair Williams OBJECTED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  explained  that  the  amendment                                                                   
would  provide that  charges for  room and  board could  only                                                                   
take  place   when  alternative  public  board   and  lodging                                                                   
facilities  are available  and the employee  has declined  to                                                                   
use those facilities.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kott stated that  the amendment would minimize                                                                   
the bill.  He emphasized that  the legislation  addresses the                                                                   
regulations and  states to the  department that  they wrongly                                                                   
interpreted the statues.  "Now we are trying to  marry up the                                                                   
statue with  the regulation by  correcting a wrong  by making                                                                   
the statutes right."  He thought that the amendment  would go                                                                   
against the  intent of the  legislation. He pointed  out that                                                                   
alternative lodging facilities  do not exist in remote areas.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Davies  agreed   that  his   intent  is   in                                                                   
opposition to the sponsor's. He  maintained that the existing                                                                   
practice,  which several  departments of  labor over  several                                                                   
administrations have upheld, should be put into statute.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Lancaster pointed  out  that the  legislation                                                                   
does not speak to remote work sites.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HB 504 was held till later in the meeting.                                                                                      
HOUSE BILL NO. 287                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the exemption  of commercial fishing                                                                   
     entry  permits from  claims  of creditors,  to loans  to                                                                   
     satisfy past  due federal tax obligations  of commercial                                                                   
     fishing  entry permit holders,  and to loan  origination                                                                   
     charges for  loans made by  the commercial  fishing loan                                                                   
     program  to refinance a  debt obligation; and  providing                                                                   
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DREW SCALZI, SPONSOR,  spoke in support of the                                                                   
legislation.  He  noted  that   recent  developments  in  law                                                                   
require a  clear statement of  the principle embodied  in the                                                                   
original  Limited Entry  Act to  clarify  that limited  entry                                                                   
permits are not property subject  to the claims of creditors.                                                                   
The long-term  crisis facing the  Alaska salmon  industry due                                                                   
to  dramatic increases  in  world salmon  production  coupled                                                                   
with equally dramatic  reductions in salmon  prices make this                                                                   
principle  all the more  important. If  Alaska fishermen  are                                                                   
forced out of the water because  creditors take their limited                                                                   
fishing privileges, everyone in Alaska loses.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Scalzi observed  that the  bill would  extend                                                                   
the  existing  tax obligation  loan  program  portion of  the                                                                   
commercial  fishing loan  program, now  scheduled to  sunset.                                                                   
The bill also continues the Division  of Investments existing                                                                   
loan  program for  satisfying  past due  tax obligations.  It                                                                   
keeps the same limit of $30,000,  but allows an individual to                                                                   
apply for  a secured  loan under the  program more  than once                                                                   
and removes  the one-half percent  refinancing fee.  The bill                                                                   
does  not alter  any  current  claim exemptions,  but  simply                                                                   
strengthens and clarifies the exemptions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Scalzi  referred to page 7, section  5(e): "An                                                                   
entry permit is  not property; an entry permit  constitutes a                                                                   
use  privilege  that  may  be  modified  or  revoked  by  the                                                                   
legislature   without    compensation."   He    noted   that,                                                                   
"commercial  fishing privileges  granted under this  chapter,                                                                   
including   entry  permits,   are  exempt   from  claims   of                                                                   
creditors,  including  claims   under  AS  09.38.065  and  AS                                                                   
45.29.408." The provision  in section 7 pertains  only to the                                                                   
Commercial  Fisheries  and  Agricultural  Bank,  Division  of                                                                   
Commercial Fishing Loans and the Child Support Division.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a question  by  Representative John  Davies,                                                                   
Representative  Scalzi clarified  that  the legislation  does                                                                   
not  change the  status  of  limited entry  permits.  Permits                                                                   
would   still  be   purchased   or  sold.   The   legislation                                                                   
strengthens  the state's  position that  the permits  are not                                                                   
property. Federal  legislation by Senator Stevens  would have                                                                   
the same affect on the federal level if adopted.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John   Davies  questioned  if   the  Internal                                                                   
Revenue Service  would be impressed  by the argument  that it                                                                   
is  not property  if permits  are still  being purchased  and                                                                   
sold.  Representative   Scalzi  noted  that   the  Commercial                                                                   
Fisheries Entry  Commission suggested the language.  He noted                                                                   
that  the  federal  government  has tried  to  seize  Alaskan                                                                   
permits without  success. While the federal  government could                                                                   
seize a  permit they could  not obtain  any value out  of the                                                                   
seizure  since  the  state of  Alaska  retains  the  transfer                                                                   
rights.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde  maintained  that  the  permits  amount  to                                                                   
property and  maintained that the  state of Alaska  would not                                                                   
take permits without compensation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Scalzi emphasized  that fishing privileges are                                                                   
harvest rights. It's in the state's  best interest to control                                                                   
the harvest capabilities of the  resource. The state wants to                                                                   
retain  control for  biological management.  If anyone  could                                                                   
seize the permits  it would take away the state's  ability to                                                                   
manage the fisheries.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LEO S. BROWN, HOMER, testified  via teleconference in support                                                                   
of the  legislation. He spoke  in support of  the refinancing                                                                   
language, which  would allow fisherman  to take  advantage of                                                                   
low   interest   rates   without   refinancing   costs.   The                                                                   
legislation would  be a proactive step to help  people in the                                                                   
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SUE ASPELUND,  CORDOVA FISHERMEN  UNITED, CORDOVA,  testified                                                                   
via  teleconference  in  support   of  the  legislation.  She                                                                   
maintained that  the fishing  industry needs the  protections                                                                   
contained in HB 287 in order to  survive in the unprecedented                                                                   
market and resource challenges.  Loss of a commercial fishing                                                                   
permit  strips  away the  permit  holder's primary  means  of                                                                   
making  a  living.  In  some areas  access  to  a  commercial                                                                   
fishery  may  be  the  only access  to  a  livelihood  for  a                                                                   
resident. She  spoke in support  of provisions  regarding the                                                                   
refinancing  fee.  The legislation  is  another  tool in  the                                                                   
fishermen's box to maximize flexibility  in their response to                                                                   
the economic crisis  that faces the industry.  The Commercial                                                                   
Fishing Revolving Loan program is critical to fishermen.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KATHY HANSEN,  SOUTHEAST ALASKA FISHERMEN'S  ALLIANCE, JUNEAU                                                                   
noted that the Alliance supports the legislation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Mulder  provided members  with  proposed  committee                                                                   
substitute, work draft 22-LS1106\O,  Utermohle, 4/10/02 (copy                                                                   
on   file).  He   explained  that   the  proposed   committee                                                                   
substitute  would retain  the exemption  of commercial  entry                                                                   
permits  from claims  and creditors.  The proposed  committee                                                                   
substitute   would  remove  provisions   pertaining   to  the                                                                   
refinance charges  and focus on the Division  of Investments.                                                                   
It would  require the  Division of  Investments to  adopt the                                                                   
same standards  offered  by SEAFAB. There  are currently  two                                                                   
state loan programs: SEAFAB and  the Division of Investments.                                                                   
He maintained  that there should be consistency  within state                                                                   
policy.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB  287  was   heard  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 504                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the wages of people working in the                                                                     
     fisheries business."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John Davies  reiterated his  motion to  ADOPT                                                                   
Amendment 4.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  explained  that  the  amendment  would                                                                   
place into  statute the longstanding  practice of  the state,                                                                   
under 8 administrations,  and the regulatory  scheme that has                                                                   
been followed for  at least 15 years. He maintained  that the                                                                   
amendment recognizes that there  is something different about                                                                   
remote sites.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 02 - 81, Side B                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  stressed that  there  is a  difference                                                                   
between having  alternatives and not having  alternatives. He                                                                   
pointed out  that legislators  are paid a  per diem  rate and                                                                   
maintained  that there  is  a tremendous  difference  between                                                                   
working in Petersburg and Chignik.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John Davies noted  that Amendment 4  would be                                                                   
conceptual.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
In  response  to  a  question  by  Representative  Lancaster,                                                                   
Representative Davies  explained that if an employee  is in a                                                                   
place where  there are alternatives  and they decline  to use                                                                   
the alternative, but live in employer  provided housing, then                                                                   
the employer can charge a fee.  If the employee is in a place                                                                   
where  there  are  no alternatives  the  employer  could  not                                                                   
charge a fee.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde  concluded   that  no  remote  or  floating                                                                   
processor would be  able to take advantage of  the provisions                                                                   
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson noted that  he opposed the  amendment,                                                                   
as it would  "neutralize" the proposed draft.  His support of                                                                   
the legislation was intended to  aid marginal fish processors                                                                   
in remote areas  with the on-set of the coming  minimum wage.                                                                   
He pointed out  that provisions already exist  in regulation.                                                                   
Representative  John Davies  responded that  the adoption  of                                                                   
the legislation would remove the regulatory provisions.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Kott  spoke   against   the  amendment.   He                                                                   
maintained  that the  regulation  was inconsistent  with  the                                                                   
statute and  emphasized that there  is a separation  of power                                                                   
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies disagreed  that there is something                                                                   
wrong [between the  regulation and statute] or  that there is                                                                   
a  separation  of  powers.  He   felt  that  the  regulations                                                                   
correctly interpret the statute.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Croft, Davies, Moses                                                                                                  
OPPOSED:  Bunde,   Harris,   Hudson,   Lancaster,   Whitaker,                                                                   
          Williams, Mulder                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster was absent from the vote.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (3-7).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson  MOVED to report CSHB 504  (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee with the accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker OBJECTED.  He noted  that a  minimum                                                                   
wage bill  was passed to confirm  to the will of  the people.                                                                   
House Bill 504 would mitigate  the action of the minimum wage                                                                   
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson amended his  motion to include  a zero                                                                   
fiscal  note.   Representative   John  Davies  OBJECTED.   He                                                                   
maintained that there would be  a need for auditing. Co-Chair                                                                   
Mulder argued in support of a zero fiscal note.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies acknowledged that  there would  not be                                                                   
as   many  complaints   or   audits  [under   the   committee                                                                   
substitute], but  emphasized that  there would still  be some                                                                   
increase in required work as the result of the bill.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft argued in  support of the  department's                                                                   
fiscal note. He  did not think that the changes  would reduce                                                                   
the need for the fiscal note.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson  observed that the department  issued a                                                                   
justification for  a $70 thousand  dollar fiscal note  and at                                                                   
least one  new wage and  hour investigator position  would be                                                                   
necessary to  conduct audits. He  observed that the  bill was                                                                   
amended to a set  fee and concluded that audits  would not be                                                                   
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lancaster  expressed concern that  the bill is                                                                   
too broad.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde  stressed  that  people  "vote  with  their                                                                   
feet". He did  not think the legislation would  be onerous on                                                                   
workers and pointed  out that the workers would  not have the                                                                   
option of a job if the industry were gone.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative John  Davies maintained that the  problem with                                                                   
the  legislation is  that it  gets  ride of,  or reduces  the                                                                   
minimum wage for this class of  workers. He observed that the                                                                   
majority  of  Alaskans  support   a  minimum  wage  and  have                                                                   
indicated that it should be increased.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Williams  acknowledged   the   comments  made   by                                                                   
Representative John Davies, but  emphasized that the proposed                                                                   
bill attempts  to "fix"  the fishing  industry.  He  observed                                                                   
that there  are people  in the  industry that  cannot find  a                                                                   
market for their fish.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on  the motion to MOVE HB 504 from                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Bunde, Hudson, Lancaster, Mulder, Williams                                                                            
OPPOSED: Moses, Whitaker, Croft, Davies, Harris                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster was absent from the vote.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (5-5).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 504 remained in Committee.                                                                                                   
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 9:56 A.M.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects