Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/16/1993 03:00 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE February 16, 1993 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Bill Hudson, Chairman Rep. Joe Green, Vice Chairman Rep. Brian Porter Rep. Eldon Mulder Rep. Bill Williams Rep. Joe Sitton MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Jerry Mackie COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 62: "An Act prohibiting employers from discriminating against individuals who use legal products in a legal manner outside of work." MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 39: "An Act relating to prevention, abatement, and control of air pollution; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD * First public hearing. WITNESS REGISTER MIKE McMULLEN, Manager System Services Department of Administration P.O. Box 110201 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0201 465-4430 Position Statement: Testified against HB 62 DAN AUSTIN, Aide Rep. Kay Brown Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Rm. 517 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-3768 Position Statement: Presented sponsor statement on HB 39 JANICE ADAIR, Assistant Commissioner Department of Environmental Conservation 410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 105 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1795 465-5010 Position Statement: Supported HB 39 TOM CHAPPLE, Environmental Engineer Division of Environmental Quality Department of Environmental Conservation 410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 105 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1795 465-5102 Position Statement: Supported HB 39 STEVEN TAYLOR, Manager Environmental & Regulatory Affairs British Petroleum Exploration Alaska Oil and Gas Association 10970 Lake Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99516 564-4037 Position Statement: Opposed HB 39 CARL HARMON, Manager Environmental Engineering Chugach Electric Association 11811 Hilltop Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99515 762-4739 Position Statement: Supported HB 39 RUSSELL HEATH Alaska Environmental Lobby 419 6th St. Juneau, Alaska 99801 463-3366 Position Statement: Supported HB 39 (did not get a chance to testify because of time constraints) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 62 SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO USE LAWFUL PRODUCTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GRUSSENDORF TITLE: "An Act prohibiting employers from discriminating against individuals who use legal products in a legal manner outside of work." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/15/93 74 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/15/93 74 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE,JUDICIARY 02/16/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 39 SHORT TITLE: CLEAN AIR ACT AMENDMENTS BILL VERSION: SSHB 39 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BROWN,B.Davis,Finkelstein TITLE: "An Act relating to prevention, abatement, and control of air pollution and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/11/93 34 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 34 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE, RESOURCES, FINANCE 01/13/93 54 (H) COSPONSOR(S): FINKELSTEIN 01/20/93 (H) MINUTE(RES) 02/03/93 213 (H) SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-NEW TITLE 02/03/93 213 (H) REFERRED TO L&C, RESOURCES, FINANCE 02/16/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-12, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN HUDSON called the House Labor and Commerce committee to order at 3:07 p.m. on February 16, 1993. Members present were Reps. Hudson, Green, Porter, Williams, Mulder and Sitton. Rep. Mackie was absent. HB 62: EMPLOYEES RIGHT TO USE LAWFUL PRODUCTS REP. BEN GRUSSENDORF, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 62, stated that the legislation basically dealt with employees' rights outside the workplace. Rep. Grussendorf believed that under the present scenario individuals have had restrictions placed on them that extend beyond the workplace. REP. GRUSSENDORF further explained that individuals should be able to use lawful products, such as tobacco or alcohol, on their own time while not associated with the company they work for without being threatened. REP. GRUSSENDORF noted that there was a provision in the bill that allowed a company to recoup the extra health insurance costs associated with hiring an individual because of the use of a lawful product was placed in a higher insurance category. REP. GRUSSENDORF pointed out that the bill would also exempt religious organizations. Number 103 RREP. JOE GREEN asked if HB 62 would cover the situation of a person taking prescribed drugs which affects their job performance. REP. GRUSSENDORF responded that the bill would not cover this situation as the drugs affect the job performance of the individual. Number 141 REP. BRIAN PORTER clarified the portion of the bill dealing with the employer's rights to pass on the increased health costs associated with a person using lawful products. REP. HUDSON pointed out page 1, line 13, to the committee in answer to the issue of increased health care costs for persons using legal substances that are determined to be harmful. Number 222 MIKE McMULLEN, MANAGER, SYSTEM SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, testified in opposition to HB 62. Mr. McMullen noted that there are some jobs where a person is so identified with their job that they really don't have a private life. Mr. McMullen observed, for example, that there are some jobs that place a person's off-duty behavior in direct odds with their stated job goals. For example, the lone police officer in a small village who gets publicly drunk. MR. McMULLEN offered the following amendment: Add a new paragraph after line 11 on page 2 to read: (3) discharge an individual or otherwise disadvantage an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment if the individual fails to comply with an employer's reasonable standards of conduct, even during nonworking hours, where the employer can demonstrate a close relationship between the standards and the employer's business. Number 294 REP. GRUSSENDORF replied that the amendment offered by the Department of Administration was exactly the type of thing the bill hoped to eliminate. CHAIRMAN HUDSON expressed concern that the amendment offered was too nebulous. Number 356 Discussion ensued regarding the standards of conduct an employer can reasonable expect from an employee during nonworking hours. Number 452 CHAIRMAN HUDSON summarized HB 65 by saying that what a employee does on the job was completely separate from his nonworking behavior. Chairman Hudson noted that the bill seemed to be protecting the employee as well as the employer's rights. Number 452 REP. ELDON MULDER moved HB 62 with individual recommendations and two fiscal notes. There were no objections and it was so moved. HB 39: CLEAN AIR ACT AMENDMENTS Number 466 DAN AUSTIN, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO REP. KAY BROWN, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 39, read the sponsor summary. Number 500 JANICE ADAIR, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (DEC), testified that the Federal Clean Air Act passed in 1990 required changes in law and regulations in all 50 states. These changes have to be accomplished in order for Alaska to continue to issue permits to industry and to protect the federal highway funds. She noted that a similar bill was introduced last session, but because of some confusion with what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations were and were going to be, the bill did not pass. MS. ADAIR stated that the DEC essentially asked for representatives from those involved in the issue to form the working group who eventually drafted HB 39. Number 572 TOM CHAPPLE, ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, gave a broad overview of the Clean Air Act (the Act), with emphasis on the permit program. MR. CHAPPLE noted that the overhaul of the Clean Air Act was the first major one since 1970. The major goal of the overhaul was to reach and maintain a certain level of air quality. Mr. Chapple explained that this goal was accomplished by two means: 1) a permit program that issues licenses to installations that generate air pollution; and 2) controlling mobile sources of air pollution; i.e., automobiles. MR. CHAPPLE noted that HB 39 would not deal with mobile sources of air pollution, which was a large part of the agency's work. MR. CHAPPLE explained that the state of Alaska has had a permit program since 1971, but to come in compliance with the Act, the program required substantial updating. MR. CHAPPLE informed the committee that Congress saw that this permit structure was complex and has mandated that every state create a small business assistance program to help guide businesses through the permit maze. Another major initiative of the Act is the reduction of acid rain, according to Mr. Chapple. He noted that Alaska was exempt from this portion. The Act requires enforcement of the Act. Congress also added 180 new pollutants to the list of items that lower air quality. MR. CHAPPLE explained some of the differences between the permit process as it is now and how it will be if the bill is passed. TAPE 93-12, SIDE B Number 234 REP. BILL WILLIAMS asked about the EPA and public review process mentioned in the handout (on file in the committee packet). MR. CHAPPLE explained that the Act calls for a mandatory public and EPA review of the draft permits. REP. WILLIAMS expressed concern that it would be hard to find persons with enough scientific knowledge to review the permits. REP. MULDER asked, If it were not for the fact that the federal government were going to withhold funds from the state, would we even be considering this Act? In other words, do we have a problem? MR. CHAPPLE stated that the permit process the state presently has needs some improvement, but he did not think the state has a major public health problem from the sources it currently regulates. Mr. Chapple noted that Congress did add some chemical compounds to the list of hazardous air pollutants that are used in Alaska. REP. MULDER expounded on his previously stated concern that $4,000,000 would be spent on something that the federal government has mandated the state to fix that does not sound like a problem. CHAIRMAN HUDSON clarified that the $4,000,000 comes from the permitees. REP. MULDER added that those costs would most certainly be passed on to the consumer. REP. GREEN asked if the state of Alaska shouldn't be exempt from some of the Act given the state's unique situation. Rep. Green also wondered if the state was giving too much control to the federal government to micro-manage it's permit process. MR. CHAPPLE stated that the working group focused on making the permit process as streamlined as possible so that businesses would not find it unduly restraining. REP. WILLIAMS asked for clarification on the fact that Alaska seems to be exempt from the portion of the Act dealing with the acid rain problem. MR. CHAPPLE explained that it was known-science that acid rain is an East Coast problem and that Alaska does not contribute to this particular air quality problem. REP. WILLIAMS cited that answer as an example of the attitude the state should take back to the federal government and explain that Alaska is not part of the problem and therefore should not be required to regulate as strictly as some of the other states. Number 380 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if the $10,000 a day penalty was established by the federal government or the state. MR. CHAPPLE answered that it was the federal government's minimum penalty. MR. CHAPPLE outlined the sectional analysis of HB 39. TAPE 93-13, SIDE A REP. JOE SITTON inquired what a "direct" cost was under Section 5. MR. CHAPPLE answered that direct costs would be the time the inspector spent doing the inspection, writing the inspection up, and reporting back to the Department of Environmental Conservation, but would not include travel costs. REP. SITTON expressed concern regarding the image that will be put forth if the costs referenced are charged directly back to the permittee. MR. CHAPPLE responded that the act requires that the state recoup the costs of the permit programs. CHAIRMAN HUDSON inquired if the penalty money would go into the general fund. MR. CHAPPLE answered that the money would go into a special account called the Clean Air Protection Account and hopefully will be used solely for clean air projects. Number 144 REP. PORTER asked for an example of a ton of air contamination. MR. CHAPPLE gave an example of a diesel generator small enough to fit on the committee table, 550 kw, running 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, which would produce 100 tons of nitrogen dioxide. CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Mr. Chapple for the sections of the bill that exceeded the act. MR. CHAPPLE listed Sections 161, 185, 152 and 154. Number 250 STEVEN TAYLOR, MANAGER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS, BRITISH PETROLEUM COMPANY, ALSO REPRESENTING THE ALASKA OIL AND GAS ASSOCIATION, testified that the Clean Air Act of 1990 was a horrible piece of legislation, imposing numerous requirements on the state of Alaska that were neither warranted or justified. MR. TAYLOR suggested there were only to choices for the state; (1) craft a bill taking advantage of the flexibility that exists in the act, or (2) wait and let the EPA impose it's will on the state's permit process. MR. TAYLOR informed the committee that he represented the oil and gas industry on the working committee and that the bill was as sound as possible given the limits. Mr. Taylor further contended that it wouldn't be good business to have business deals with the EPA directly. Number 321 CARL HARMON, MANAGER, ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, CHUGACH ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION, and also representing rural electrical utilities, concurred with the previous speaker. Mr. Harmon asked that the working group be given a chance to review any changes the legislators make to HB 39. CHAIRMAN HUDSON gave his thanks to the working group with special thanks to Tom Chapple for his work in bringing such diverse groups together to work on a project of such magnitude. CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced that he would hold HB 65 for future hearings. He ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:55 p.m.