Legislature(2019 - 2020)ADAMS ROOM 519

03/26/2019 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 48 TEMP STATE EMPLOYEES IN PART EXEMPT SVCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ HB 77 NUMBER OF SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 26, 2019                                                                                            
                         9:00 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:00:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                      
to order at 9:00 a.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Tammie Wilson, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jennifer Johnston, Vice-Chair                                                                                    
Representative Dan Ortiz, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Bart LeBon                                                                                                       
Representative Kelly Merrick                                                                                                    
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Nancy Meade, General Counsel, Alaska Court System; Lynn                                                                         
Gattis, Staff, Representative Tammie Wilson; Remond                                                                             
Henderson, Staff, Representative Tammie Wilson.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Russel Sampson, Self, Wasilla                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 48     TEMP STATE EMPLOYEES IN PART EXEMPT SVCE                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          HB 48 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 77     NUMBER OF SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HB 77 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson reviewed the meeting agenda.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 77                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the number of superior court                                                                           
     judges in the third judicial district; and providing                                                                       
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:01:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE,  GENERAL COUNSEL, ALASKA COURT  SYSTEM, relayed                                                                    
that  the bill  had been  put  forward by  the Alaska  Court                                                                    
System. She noted  it was not very common for  the courts to                                                                    
put  legislation  forward.  She  explained  that  the  Court                                                                    
System  needed  legislative   authorization  to  change  the                                                                    
number  of  superior  court judges.  The  legislation  would                                                                    
increase the  number of superior  court judges by  two (from                                                                    
43  to 45  statewide) in  the third  judicial district.  The                                                                    
court  hoped   to  convert   two  existing   district  court                                                                    
judgeships  located in  Homer and  Valdez to  superior court                                                                    
judgeships.  She explained  that Homer  and Valdez  were the                                                                    
only  locations in  Alaska with  a  single judge  who was  a                                                                    
district court judge.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead detailed  that superior  court judges  had general                                                                    
jurisdiction and  could handle  anything that came  into the                                                                    
trial  court.  Their  caseload was  primarily  comprised  of                                                                    
felonies, child  in need  of aid  (CINA) cases,  divorce and                                                                    
child   custody  issues,   and  probate   (such  as   mental                                                                    
commitments);  superior court  judges could  handle anything                                                                    
that came in  the door. In contrast, a  district court judge                                                                    
had  limited jurisdiction  and  could  not handle  felonies,                                                                    
CINA,  divorce  and  child custody  issues.  The  reason  to                                                                    
convert the seats was to  provide judges in Homer and Valdez                                                                    
expanded jurisdiction  that would enable them  to handle all                                                                    
cases locally.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead reported  the timing for the change  was ideal. The                                                                    
Valdez seat was  vacant - the previous  district court judge                                                                    
had  been  appointed as  the  new  superior court  judge  in                                                                    
Juneau  (as  a result  of  legislation  passed the  previous                                                                    
session that authorized the change  for a Juneau judge). The                                                                    
district court  judge in Homer had  announced her retirement                                                                    
effective at the end of  the fiscal year. She explained that                                                                    
if  the  bill  passed,  the Alaska  Judicial  Council  would                                                                    
advertise  the  positions  as  superior  court  judge  seats                                                                    
rather than district court judge seats.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead explained  the  current process  in  Homer in  the                                                                    
absence of  a superior  court judge.  She detailed  that the                                                                    
district  court judge  handled all  district court  matters,                                                                    
but  superior  court  cases  (e.g. child  in  need  of  aid,                                                                    
divorce cases, and felonies) were  handled by Kenai superior                                                                    
court judges  traveling to Homer. Kenai  judges had traveled                                                                    
to Homer  35 times  in the  past two  years -  their default                                                                    
schedule  was to  travel to  Homer one  week per  month. She                                                                    
noted that the situation was  not ideal. She elaborated that                                                                    
the situation  could be rectified  and improved by  having a                                                                    
local judge with the ability to handle all filings.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:04:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead addressed  the situation  in Valdez.  The district                                                                    
court judge who had been in  Valdez a lengthy period of time                                                                    
and  had  substantial  experience   and  willingness  had  a                                                                    
temporary appointment  by the state supreme  court to handle                                                                    
numerous,  but   not  all,   superior  court   matters.  She                                                                    
elaborated that  sometimes Palmer or Anchorage  judges would                                                                    
travel to  Valdez. She  explained that  if a  new [permanent                                                                    
district court]  judge was appointed to  the Valdez position                                                                    
by  the  supreme  court,  it  was  unlikely  they  would  be                                                                    
appointed to  handle any  of the  felony, divorce,  and CINA                                                                    
cases. She  suggested it was  the time to fix  the situation                                                                    
and rectify the inefficiencies.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead  detailed that the  Alaska Supreme Court  had tried                                                                    
numerous ways  to make the situation  better. She elaborated                                                                    
that  the Kenai  and Homer  courts were  connected by  video                                                                    
equipment  and in  the past  couple of  years more  hearings                                                                    
could be held [via video]  by the Kenai superior court judge                                                                    
while the defendant  (e.g. in a felony or CINA  case) was in                                                                    
the Homer  court room. She noted  that videoconferencing was                                                                    
not  satisfactory for  numerous proceedings;  in many  cases                                                                    
the parties needed to see the  judge and the judge needed to                                                                    
see what was  going on in the courtroom.  She explained that                                                                    
videoconferencing was not a permanent or ideal solution.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead  reported that the  courts had tried  having judges                                                                    
(who may  have lighter caseloads) travel  from other courts.                                                                    
The state  supreme court was  always looking at  metrics for                                                                    
case filings and positions and  trying to move things around                                                                    
as necessary,  perhaps with  temporary or  traveling judges.                                                                    
However,  due to  the  retirement in  Homer  and vacancy  in                                                                    
Valdez, the courts  were hoping to fix the  problem to avoid                                                                    
inefficiency going forward.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:06:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  LeBon asked  about  the  differences in  the                                                                    
qualifications,   education,   and  training   between   the                                                                    
district and superior court judges.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead answered  that there  were minimum  qualifications                                                                    
requiring  superior  and  district  court  judges  to  be  a                                                                    
resident and have a law  degree. She believed superior court                                                                    
judges  had to  be actively  practicing law  for five  years                                                                    
prior to  applying. She  thought the length  of time  may be                                                                    
four years for district judges.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative LeBon observed the  stated difference was not                                                                    
major. He  surmised that elevating  oneself from  a district                                                                    
court judgeship  position to a  superior court  position was                                                                    
not a huge leap in terms of qualifications.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead  replied that the statutory  minimum qualifications                                                                    
were not substantially different;  however, the workload was                                                                    
very different. She elaborated  that often the advertisement                                                                    
for the  positions attracted different types  of candidates.                                                                    
There was a different pace in  the two courts - the superior                                                                    
court  required the  writing of  considerably more  opinions                                                                    
and  district court  required  a fast  turnover  of a  large                                                                    
number of cases.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:08:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Knopp  asked if  the appointment  process was                                                                    
the  same  for  the   [superior  court  and  district  court                                                                    
judgeship]  positions.  He  asked if  the  Judicial  Council                                                                    
would nominate three candidates for the positions.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead answered  in the  affirmative.  She detailed  that                                                                    
advertisements for  any judgeship position went  through the                                                                    
Judicial  Council  and the  council  needed  to nominate  at                                                                    
lease two highly qualified people for each judgeship.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Knopp  asked for  verification that  at least                                                                    
four nominees would be forwarded for consideration.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead replied  that the  Judicial Council  conducted the                                                                    
work  by  seat; therefore,  the  council  would nominate  at                                                                    
least two individuals  for Valdez and in  a separate process                                                                    
it would nominate at least two individuals for Homer.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Knopp asked if the  seats would be filled mid                                                                    
to late summer.  Ms. Mead agreed and specified  it took four                                                                    
to six months to fill a seat.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson provided  a hypothetical  scenario                                                                    
where a  person filed an  action in  Homer. He asked  if the                                                                    
person had the  discretion to file action  in Kenai instead.                                                                    
For example,  he wondered if a  person had to file  in Homer                                                                    
if the act or events occurred in Seldovia.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead believed the person could file in Kenai or Homer.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson asked  how the  bill would  impact                                                                    
the  workloads  of  the  public  defenders,  human  services                                                                    
attorneys, and district attorneys.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead replied  that it would not  change workload because                                                                    
the  bill  had no  impact  on  the  number of  cases  filed.                                                                    
However,  the bill  could change  the  location where  cases                                                                    
were handled.  She believed the  attorneys would  be pleased                                                                    
to  have the  cases covered  in those  locations [Homer  and                                                                    
Valdez] because  perhaps it would  involve less  travel. She                                                                    
noted she would  not speak for the agencies.  She added that                                                                    
currently a  felony filed in  Homer was heard in  Homer, but                                                                    
it  required  a Kenai  judge  to  travel  to Homer  for  the                                                                    
hearing.  She  considered  that  the bill  may  not  have  a                                                                    
significant impact on the agencies.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:10:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Ortiz  asked about the  net fiscal impact  on the                                                                    
Court  System  if the  bill  passed.  He recognized  that  a                                                                    
superior court judge  would be paid more but  there would be                                                                    
less travel.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead  replied  there  was a  fiscal  note  showing  the                                                                    
difference in  salary and benefits  (a superior  court judge                                                                    
was  paid  more  than  a district  court  judge).  The  note                                                                    
included  travel   savings,  which  would   occur  primarily                                                                    
because Kenai  judges would no  longer travel to  Homer. The                                                                    
total net impact was $62,000 per year.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Johnston  noted that  the supreme court  had made                                                                    
the  same  change in  Juneau  [converting  a district  court                                                                    
judgeship seat  to a  superior court  seat]. She  thought it                                                                    
appeared  people believed  the change  had been  successful.                                                                    
She asked whether  data had been collected in  terms of time                                                                    
savings or effectiveness.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead  replied that  the data was  not available;  it was                                                                    
not possible  to track  how much  more effective  the Juneau                                                                    
court was. The  sense was the Juneau court  was working more                                                                    
efficiently  and effectively  because  with  the results  of                                                                    
legislation  the previous  year  there  were three  superior                                                                    
court  judges and  one district  court judge.  The bill  had                                                                    
moved one  district court  judgeship seat  up to  a superior                                                                    
court  seat. She  reported that  the  flow of  cases in  the                                                                    
superior court  had been good.  The court did not  have data                                                                    
showing whether  precise cases  were being  resolved faster,                                                                    
but the sense was it was more efficient.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:13:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Johnston  asked if  there  was  a difference  in                                                                    
backlog.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead thought  there may  not be  a difference  yet. She                                                                    
relayed  that the  new superior  court judge  had started  a                                                                    
couple of months earlier and  the coming Friday would be his                                                                    
formal installation. The sense  was that things were working                                                                    
more efficiently.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Carpenter understood  the superior  court in                                                                    
Kenai was  backlogged and  that it  would be  beneficial for                                                                    
Kenai  if its  judge did  not have  to travel  one week  per                                                                    
month. He asked  if the Homer need for  superior court cases                                                                    
equaled  a full-time  superior court  judge. He  wondered if                                                                    
the judge would  have free time to help with  other cases on                                                                    
the Kenai Peninsula.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead answered  that the  caseload in  Homer was  not so                                                                    
high that it would justify  a full superior court judge, but                                                                    
the  appointee  would  handle  all  of  the  district  court                                                                    
filings as  well. If the judge  had extra time the  plan was                                                                    
to provide increased flexibility to  allow the judge help in                                                                    
other locations (the Valdez superior  court judge could help                                                                    
in Palmer  and the Homer  judge could  help in Kenai  to the                                                                    
extent feasible).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Carpenter  remarked  that  the  fiscal  note                                                                    
included savings  in travel. He  asked if the  savings would                                                                    
not  materialize because  the  new superior  court judge  in                                                                    
Homer  would   travel  to  help  in   other  locations  when                                                                    
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mead  answered there could  be additional  travel having                                                                    
the Homer superior  court judge help in  Kenai. However, she                                                                    
believed the Homer judge would be  busy in Homer most of the                                                                    
time  with the  combination of  superior and  district court                                                                    
work.  There were  always some  travel costs  because judges                                                                    
were fluid and filled in where needed throughout districts.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:16:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson  asked  how many  itinerant  judge                                                                    
calendars  would remain  in Alaska  if the  bill passed.  He                                                                    
cited  Unalaska as  an example  and recalled  cases where  a                                                                    
judge flew from Dillingham to Anchorage to Unalaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mead  answered  there  were a  number  of  small  court                                                                    
locations without  a resident  judge. Those  locations, such                                                                    
as Unalaska, had a magistrate  judge who handled lower level                                                                    
proceedings - there were 40  court locations and sometimes a                                                                    
court only  had a deputy  magistrate. She explained  that in                                                                    
those situations  a judge in  Anchorage was assigned  to any                                                                    
felonies  that arose.  For example,  a judge  from Anchorage                                                                    
was traveling to Saint Paul for  a felony case in the coming                                                                    
month; the  caseload in Saint  Paul was not large  enough to                                                                    
warrant a  superior or district court  judge. She elaborated                                                                    
that certain  judges, typically in Anchorage,  were assigned                                                                    
to  carry  the  caseload  in  places  like  Sand  Point  and                                                                    
Unalaska.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson OPENED and CLOSED public testimony.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB  77  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 48                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act removing  from the exempt service  of the state                                                                    
     persons who are employed  in a professional capacity to                                                                    
     make  a   temporary  or  special  inquiry,   study,  or                                                                    
     examination   as  authorized   by   the  governor   and                                                                    
     including  those   persons  in  the   partially  exempt                                                                    
     service of the state."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:17:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LYNN   GATTIS,   STAFF,    REPRESENTATIVE   TAMMIE   WILSON,                                                                    
introduced the bill by reading the bill title:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     An Act  removing from the  exempt service of  the state                                                                    
     persons who are employed  in a professional capacity to                                                                    
     make  a   temporary  or  special  inquiry,   study,  or                                                                    
     examination   as  authorized   by   the  governor   and                                                                    
     including  those   persons  in  the   partially  exempt                                                                    
     service of the state.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gattis reviewed the sponsor statement (copy on file):                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     AS 39.25.110(9)  was supposed to allow  the governor to                                                                    
     appoint  someone   for  some  "temporary   and  special                                                                    
     inquiry". Because  they are  temporary, exempts  do not                                                                    
     get PERS  or regular  State leave, health  insurance or                                                                    
     other  State benefits.  However,  the  statute has  not                                                                    
     been used in  that manner. It has instead  been used to                                                                    
     establish   positions  without   the   intent  of   the                                                                    
     positions  being temporary,  which  would then  entitle                                                                    
     employees to PERS and all other benefits.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The purpose of  HB 48 is to  discontinue the historical                                                                    
     practice   by  the   Executive  Branch   of  using   AS                                                                    
     39.25.110(9)  to  unilaterally  establish  highly  paid                                                                    
     executive  level temporary  exempt positions  that have                                                                    
     no salary limits. There  are positions established many                                                                    
     years ago  using this statute  that still  exist today.                                                                    
     Some  are  unbudgeted  and  do  not  appear  in  agency                                                                    
     position  counts. Several  attempts have  been made  to                                                                    
     obtain a  complete list of these  positions and current                                                                    
     salary   levels,   but   these   attempts   have   been                                                                    
     unsuccessful.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     HB  48 is  intended to  eliminate the  establishment of                                                                    
     "temporary  exempt" positions  and instead  place these                                                                    
     positions in the partially  exempt service. Persons may                                                                    
     be "appointed" to  partially exempt positions, however,                                                                    
     they will  be subject to  salary limits like  all other                                                                    
     state employees.  HB 48  will force  the administration                                                                    
     to be  more transparent and  allow all employees  to be                                                                    
     treated fairly.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:20:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Johnston asked  if the  statute associated  with                                                                    
the  bill [AS  39.25.110(9)]  was limited  to the  executive                                                                    
branch  or could  be  used in  state  enterprise units  like                                                                    
Alaska Industrial Development  and Export Authority (AIDEA),                                                                    
Alaska  Housing   Finance  Corporation  (AHFC),   or  Alaska                                                                    
Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC).                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REMOND  HENDERSON,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  TAMMIE  WILSON,                                                                    
answered the  statute allowed and defined  those individuals                                                                    
covered   by  partially   exempt,  exempt,   and  classified                                                                    
service. Partially exempt  service positions included deputy                                                                    
and assistant  commissioners, directors of  major divisions,                                                                    
attorneys in  the Department of  Law, the  Public Defender's                                                                    
Office,  one   executive  secretary  for   each  department,                                                                    
principal  executive officers  of  councils and  commissions                                                                    
(e.g.  the Alaska  Public  Broadcasting  Commission and  the                                                                    
Parole  Board).   The  positions  Vice-Chair   Johnston  was                                                                    
referencing were covered under exempt service (e.g. AIDEA).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Johnston asked for  verification that some of the                                                                    
state's enterprise units would not  be using the loophole in                                                                    
statute.  She  surmised it  was  more  of an  administration                                                                    
function.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henderson believed anyone could  use the statute because                                                                    
it  allowed  something  to be  approved  by  the  governor's                                                                    
office.  There  was also  recent  policy  instituted by  the                                                                    
governor's office requiring the  governor's approval for not                                                                    
only those positions established  under the statute, but for                                                                    
positions above  a [pay] Range  18 or salary of  $150,000 or                                                                    
more.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:23:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked  for the  number  of                                                                    
positions identified under  the previous administration that                                                                    
fell under the  purview of the bill. She asked  if they were                                                                    
looking at salary ranges of $300,000 or more.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Henderson  replied  they had  not  been  successful  in                                                                    
identifying  the  number  of  positions  that  existed.  The                                                                    
positions  were  buried  in  a large  list  of  hundreds  of                                                                    
positions.  He  explained  the process  involved  trying  to                                                                    
identify a position control number  (PCN) by looking for the                                                                    
word  "temporary." It  was very  difficult to  ascertain the                                                                    
number of  positions created in  that manner.  He elaborated                                                                    
that  the  best source  of  information  was the  individual                                                                    
departments.  He reported  that when  they attempted  to get                                                                    
the  information  from  the departments,  the  response  had                                                                    
varied.  At one  point they  had been  told the  information                                                                    
would be  complied by the  Department of Law, then  they had                                                                    
been  told  it  would  be  compiled  by  the  Department  of                                                                    
Administration, and  it had ultimately come  from the Office                                                                    
of Management and  Budget. He noted they  had never received                                                                    
a complete list of the positions.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  surmised  the  legislation                                                                    
would  bring the  issue  to the  forefront  to identify  the                                                                    
number  of positions  and the  salary ranges.  She construed                                                                    
the bill would fix an existing problem.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henderson replied in the affirmative.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  asked  if  the  bill  also                                                                    
pertained  to   positions  identified  in   the  legislative                                                                    
branch.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henderson replied in the  negative. The sponsor's office                                                                    
had not  identified any positions in  the legislative branch                                                                    
that had been created under the statute.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:25:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson  added that  her office  had also  found the                                                                    
issue was not limited to  listed PCNs. She explained that if                                                                    
a department had money from  other resources, it was able to                                                                    
use those funds to pay  for the individuals. She agreed that                                                                    
as the budget  was developed, the legislature  would see the                                                                    
positions,  job descriptions,  and how  the salary  had been                                                                    
handled.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Ortiz appreciated the intent  of the bill and was                                                                    
supportive. He asked  for further detail on  the language in                                                                    
the sponsor statement stating that  the bill would force the                                                                    
administration  to   be  more  transparent  and   allow  all                                                                    
employees to be  treated fairly. He asked for  detail on how                                                                    
employees had not been treated  fairly. He wondered if there                                                                    
was any downside to adopting the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson  answered that  temporary positions  did not                                                                    
go through  the same process  as all other  state employees.                                                                    
The deletion of  the statute would mean  all employees would                                                                    
go  through the  same  process  - the  state  would have  to                                                                    
consider the job description and  how much an individual was                                                                    
paid  and  would  not  be able  to  randomly  determine  the                                                                    
person's salary.  She stated the  issue was  about employees                                                                    
who  went  through  the   [general  hiring]  process  versus                                                                    
employees who were currently hired via the loophole.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Ortiz   asked   for   verification   that   the                                                                    
individuals would be treated more  fairly because they would                                                                    
go through the same hiring process.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson replied in the affirmative.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Ortiz  asked if there were  any opportunity costs                                                                    
associated with  the bill. Mr. Henderson  replied there were                                                                    
no  additional  costs to  the  bill.  He reported  that  the                                                                    
department had prepared a zero fiscal note for the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Ortiz   clarified  he  was  not   talking  about                                                                    
financial cost  but opportunity costs. For  example, perhaps                                                                    
past administrations  had used  the statute to  attract more                                                                    
highly qualified people for a position.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Henderson answered  that  he  saw the  bill  as a  cost                                                                    
savings measure.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Ortiz  understood. He clarified he  was wondering                                                                    
if the statute  had been used in the past  to attract highly                                                                    
qualified  people or  talented individuals,  which would  no                                                                    
longer be possible if the bill was adopted.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henderson  replied that the  bill would not  prevent the                                                                    
administration  from maintaining  that  practice. The  state                                                                    
would still  be allowed to  seek those individuals  for hire                                                                    
but  would  have to  provide  written  justification to  pay                                                                    
individuals  above  a  certain   range.  He  explained  that                                                                    
written justification was not currently required.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:29:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Josephson  asked how  the positions  would be                                                                    
more transparent to the  finance committee, legislature, and                                                                    
public.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Henderson answered  that as  the statute  was currently                                                                    
used,  individuals  could  be  appointed  to  the  positions                                                                    
without salary limitations. He  explained that the positions                                                                    
were  not subject  to a  classification pay  plan. The  bill                                                                    
would  require the  individuals  to be  placed in  partially                                                                    
exempt service  where there was  a statutory  provision that                                                                    
identified  the  positions  covered under  partially  exempt                                                                    
service and the associated salary scales.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson asked  if the  positions moved  to                                                                    
partially  exempt service  that it  meant the  employees may                                                                    
not    receive    healthcare   or    retirement    benefits.                                                                    
Alternatively, he  wondered if  the individuals  would still                                                                    
be eligible for the benefits.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Henderson   replied  that  the  individuals   would  be                                                                    
entitled  to  healthcare  and  benefits  provided  to  other                                                                    
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Carpenter   understood   the   concept   of                                                                    
increased transparency. He asked  what would happen if there                                                                    
was a need  for a temporary employee in a  timely manner. He                                                                    
noted  the  bill's provision  that  would  require hiring  a                                                                    
person  through the  normal process.  He asked  if the  bill                                                                    
eliminated  the executive  branch's  ability to  bring in  a                                                                    
person with subject matter expertise.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henderson  replied in the  negative. The bill  would not                                                                    
prohibit the administration  from hiring someone immediately                                                                    
that they found qualified for a temporary position.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:32:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUSSEL   SAMPSON,   SELF,  WASILLA   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported  the   bill.  She  thanked  Co-Chair   Wilson  for                                                                    
sponsoring the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson  reported amendments were due  the following                                                                    
day by 5:00 p.m.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 48 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilson discussed the schedule for a meeting the                                                                        
following day. She reported the next meeting was that                                                                           
afternoon.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:34:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 9:34 a.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB077 Sectional Analysis ver A 3-19-19.pdf HFIN 3/26/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 77
HB077 - sponsor statement 3-19-19.pdf HFIN 3/26/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 77
HB048 ver M Sponsor Statement 3.21.19.pdf HFIN 3/26/2019 9:00:00 AM
HB 48