Legislature(1997 - 1998)

01/22/1997 03:12 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                          
                        January 22, 1997                                       
                           3:12 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                      
 Representative John Cowdery, Vice Chairman                                    
 Representative Bill Hudson                                                    
 Representative Jerry Sanders                                                  
 Representative Joe Ryan                                                       
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Eric Croft                                                     
 Representative Gene Kubina                                                    
                                                                               
 OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                   
                                                                               
 Representative Tom Brice                                                      
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 OVERVIEW:  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR                                                
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 41                                                            
 "An Act relating to impairment rating guides used in evaluation of            
 certain workers' compensation claims."                                        
                                                                               
      - MOVED HB 41(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                      
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB  41                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG                                        
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE       JRN-PG             ACTION                                      
 01/13/97        38    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97                           
 01/13/97        38    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/13/97        38    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 01/22/97              (H)   L&C AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 TOM CASHEN, Commissioner                                                      
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                          
 Telephone:   (907) 465-2784                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Overview on the Department of Labor                      
                                                                               
 REBECCA NANCE, Director                                                       
 Division of Employment Security                                               
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 25509                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                          
 Telephone:   (907) 465-4537                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained Unemployment Insurance Program                 
                                                                               
 ED FLANAGAN, Deputy Commissioner                                              
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                          
 Telephone:   (907) 465-2784                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on the Department of Labor            
                                                                               
 ARBE WILLIAMS, Director                                                       
 Division of Administrative Services                                           
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska   99802                                                        
 Telephone:   (907) 465-2720                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Centralizing services in the Department of               
                      Labor                                                    
                                                                               
 PAUL GROSSI, Director                                                         
 Division of Workers' Compensation                                             
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 25512                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska   99802                                                        
 Telephone:   (907) 465-2790                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 41                                        
                                                                               
 CRYSTAL SMITH, Legal Administrator                                            
 Office of the Attorney General                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811                                                          
 Telephone:   (907) 465-3600                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 41                                        
                                                                               
 DEBORAH BEHR, Assistant Attorney General                                      
 Legislation and Regulations Section                                           
 Civil Division                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska   99811                                                        
 Telephone:   (907) 465-3600                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 41                                        
 MIKE FORD, Attorney                                                           
 Legislative Legal and Research Services                                       
 Legislative Affairs Agency                                                    
 130 Seward Street, Suite 409                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska   99081                                                        
 Telephone:   (907) 465-2450                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 41                                        
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-1, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 The House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee was called to order           
 by Chairman Rokeberg at 3:12 p.m.  Members present at the call to             
 order were Representatives Rokeberg, Cowdery, Hudson, Ryan and                
 Sanders.  He also noted Representative Brice was in attendance.               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG welcomed everybody to the meeting and                
 indicated a quorum was present.  He introduced Committee                      
 Secretary/Supervisor of House Records Cathy Wood, Chief of                    
 Staff/Committee Aid, Shirley Armstrong, and Staff Member Janet                
 Seitz.                                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that there were two items on the agenda              
 for the Department of Labor; the back issues of Alaska's Economic             
 Trends and Title 23.  He announced there would also be a public               
 hearing on HB 41.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 193                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced a brief at ease at 3:15 p.m., to wait             
 for the arrival of Tom Cashen, Commissioner of the Department of              
 Labor, (DOL).                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called the meeting back to order at 3:19 p.m.  He           
 asked Commissioner Cashen what was on the DOL's agenda this year.             
                                                                               
 Number 280                                                                    
                                                                               
 COMMISSIONER TOM CASHEN, Commissioner, Department of Labor,                   
 referred to a pie chart giving the DOL five-tenths of 1 percent of            
 the state budget.  He stated that the DOL has taken $276,000 in               
 general fund budget cuts and a $1.2 million cut in the federal side           
 of the budget.  The DOL has had to delete 18 full-time positions              
 and laid off nine people.  The Governor has given the DOL a                   
 $100,000 cut for 1997.  The DOL will continue to operate as before,           
 with less funds.  In the case of heavier cuts, in the million                 
 dollar range, the DOL will have to start to cut programs.                     
 Commissioner Cashen stated that the DOL is trying to implement                
 efficiencies in each department due to the budget cuts and                    
 increased work load.  He asked if the committee had any questions             
 regarding the DOL.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 526                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the DOL was doing anything to streamline           
 or consolidate the organization.  For example, Colorado is                    
 consolidating all of its employment security operations into a                
 single location.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 578                                                                    
                                                                               
 REBECCA NANCE, Director, Division Employment Security, Department             
 of Labor, stated she has been working on the inefficiencies in the            
 Unemployment Insurance Program.  Colorado has one unemployment                
 insurance call center which handles all of the unemployment                   
 insurance claims by phone or mail and will be handling claims                 
 strictly telephonically.  The DOL will always offer the option of             
 mail claims due to the rural nature of the state of Alaska.  Ms.              
 Nance indicated the DOL has three toll-free call centers.  The call           
 center has cut overtime by 95 percent; last year the cost of                  
 overtime was $5,000 verses the previous year of $90,000.  In                  
 addition, the service is more convenient for the claimants by                 
 eliminating office visits.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 696                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the federal government has increased the           
 minimum wage law, indicating that Alaska has an automatic step                
 above the federal minimum wage.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 719                                                                    
                                                                               
 COMMISSIONER CASHEN answered that in October of 1996, the federal             
 minimum wage increased 50 cents to $4.75.  In October of 1997, the            
 federal minimum wage will increase 40 cents to $5.15.  Alaska law             
 states that the State's minimum wage will be 50 cents higher than             
 the federal minimum wage.  The State's minimum wage is $5.25 and              
 will increase to $5.65 in October 1997.  Commissioner Cashen stated           
 that he would like to see Alaska's state minimum wage $1.00 higher            
 that the federal minimum wage.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 831                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY referred to the Labor Relations                   
 Agency's classified employees who are partially exempt because they           
 became political appointees.                                                  
                                                                               
 ED FLANAGAN, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner,                 
 Department of Labor, indicated Representative Cowdery might be                
 referring to the Labor Negotiator positions in the Department of              
 Administration, (DOA).  The DOL's Labor Relations Agency is for               
 employees who administer the labor relations functions but do not             
 negotiate contracts.  It is the state equivalent of the National              
 Labors Relations Bureau (NLRB) which is not classified as a union             
 position because it oversees union processes.                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if it was classified as a union                  
 position in the past.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN replied it was not.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 955                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON inquired if the federal government,                
 possibly in connection with the block grants is proposing anything            
 that might diminish or increase the budget, especially since the              
 largest share of the DOL's money, $60 million, is federal monies.             
                                                                               
 Number 979                                                                    
                                                                               
 COMMISSIONER CASHEN replied that it is one of the reasons the DOL             
 has started the Unemployment Insurance (UI) reorganization.  He               
 spoke with Senator Stevens, who advised that the DOL is fine for              
 now but plans should be made in the future because of anticipated             
 reductions.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1017                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN indicated that the various departments have           
 their own data processing sections and inquired if there were any             
 plans for a central data processing system that all departments               
 could access.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1040                                                                   
                                                                               
 ARBE WILLIAMS, Director, Division of Administrative Services,                 
 Department of Labor, stated that a couple of years ago the DOL was            
 installing a new application to run the UI called DB2.  Texas                 
 Instruments had the original contract with the DOL, which has since           
 doubled running into the four million dollar range.  The division,            
 as a result, has been discussing how they would be able to control            
 its costs internally with a good data processing operation.  Ms.              
 Williams noted that this operation would have to support services             
 and not supplant services due to cost.                                        
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS indicated that four years ago the DOL consolidated its           
 main frame applications with the DOA.  For past three years the               
 division's costs of data processing were capped due to the                    
 division's development mode, in effect the division was paying $1.2           
 million when the usage was $4.2 million.  The DOL could not afford            
 to increase its usage at this cost rate.  A systems programmer was            
 able to cut usage to $1.6 million by centralizing services in data            
 processing.  Ms. Williams stated, "But if you get those services              
 too far out beyond the programs, then they become efficient                   
 services that are not necessarily providing good support to the               
 programs."  She does not feel centralizing the DOL's data                     
 processing operation with the DOA would be effective.                         
                                                                               
 Number 1280                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how the DOA absorbs the DOL's loss.               
                                                                               
 Number 1288                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS replied that the DOL's cap was to end July 1, 1997.              
 The DOA accommodated their overhead to the $1.6 million.  She                 
 stated that the DOL does not plan to go over the $1.6 million                 
 because that would result in program cuts.                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated that the legislature needs to review             
 what's going to happen in 1997.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1306                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS replied the DOA understands that the DOL is not going            
 to pay them more that $1.6 million because the DOL's usage will not           
 surpass that.   She believes the DOA has accommodated the $1.6                
 million internally into its 1998 plans.  She also stated that there           
 is one-half to one million dollars leeway in the anticipated usage            
 of resources.                                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the changes that positively affect             
 the DOL will negatively affect the state through the DOA and                  
 thought this needed to be examined.  He asked if the DOL had their            
 own mainframe.                                                                
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS replied that the DOL does not have their own                     
 mainframe, they are with the DOA.  She indicated the steps the DOL            
 has taken to come within the Department's budgeted allocation will            
 not adversely affect the DOA.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the DOL will continue to use the               
 DOA's mainframe capacity.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS replied yes for now.  She indicated that because the             
 technology is changing they did not want too far ahead.  The DOL              
 and the DOA are meeting every three months, to assess what the                
 usage and program needs are.  They are constantly looking at                  
 options as to whether they will change to a mainframe environment             
 or a distributed network environment or something in between the              
 two.                                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1414                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the DOL finalized its 1998 budget.             
                                                                               
 MS. WILLIAMS replied they had finalized it and expect that through            
 1998 they will not be moving off the mainframe since the DOL has              
 been so successful in coming within the budget.                               
                                                                               
 Number 1432                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked for the location of the 50 cent                   
 increase.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1447                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN stated it was located in AS 23.10.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Commissioner Cashen to introduce his staff.           
                                                                               
 Number 1465                                                                   
                                                                               
 COMMISSIONER CASHEN introduced his staff at the Department of                 
 Labor: Paul Grossi, Director of Worker's Compensation; Al Dwyer,              
 Director of Labor Standards and Safety; Dwight Perkins, Special               
 Assistant; Steve Schlaffman, Deputy Director of Employment                    
 Security; Dan Knouse, Budget Director of Employment Security; and             
 Mike Helms, Budget Analyst.                                                   
                                                                               
 HB 41 - IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP                           
                                                                               
 Number 1568                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced House Bill 41 was next on the agenda,             
 "An Act relating to impairment rating AMA Guides used in evaluation           
 of certain workers' compensation claims."  Chairman Rokeberg                  
 indicated he was the sponsor of the bill and stated, "This                    
 seemingly is a very simple bill.  It was introduced two years ago             
 in the first session of the Nineteenth Legislature by                         
 Representative Bettye Davis and I signed on immediately as a                  
 cosponsor of the bill.  The -- and one reason I was aware of that             
 the people and the underwriters in the workers' comp insurance                
 business were desirous of having legislation to make immediate                
 adoption of the American Medical Association Impairment Guide.  And           
 the bill it did -- it took two years to wind its way through the              
 legislature and during which time, and if I - perhaps Mr. Grossi              
 later can explain the exact time frame -- and one of the most                 
 urgent portions of the former bill was the adoption of the guide,             
 but it did go through the regulatory process that took almost two             
 years to get it adopted.  So the urgency of the bill is not with us           
 now because the latest edition has been adopted by regulation, but            
 the purpose and intention of the bill is to make - which is part of           
 the older bill - is to make this an automatic procedure in the                
 future, thereby, also saving the state the expense of going through           
 the Administrative Procedures Act and adopting the whole enchilada            
 in terms of regulation."                                                      
 Number 1921                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated, "One issue that came up was the original            
 bill had a 60-day window and after testimony in the HESS (Health,             
 Education and Social Services) Committee last year, we did adopt              
 the 90-day time frame.  So at the last hour, it was brought to our            
 attention that there may be some corrective things done to it.                
 Before I go any further, we'll ask for some testimony from the                
 folks that have signed in and I would ask the Mr. Paul Grossi lead            
 off the testimony."                                                           
                                                                               
 PAUL GROSSI, Director, Division of Workers' Compensation,                     
 Department of Labor, explained  permanent partial impairment and              
 how it fits into HB 41.  He gave the example of a injured worker,             
 deemed disabled/medically unstable, and receiving temporary total             
 disability benefits.  The employee will receive those benefits                
 until he or she becomes medically stable, at which time the                   
 employee has a permanent physical impairment.  The employee is then           
 rated and either released to go back to work receiving a lump sum             
 based on the permanent partial impairment rating or they may have             
 to go back to training.  The DOL is required by Section 1, AS                 
 23.30.190 as it currently exists to use the AMA Guides.  The                  
 problem the DOL encounters is the AMA Guides are published as                 
 changes occur in the science.  The way HB 41 exists now requires              
 the DOL to pass a regulation before they can use the next edition.            
 The intent of this amendment is to allow the DOL to use the newly             
 published AMA Guides without promulgation of a regulation.  The               
 Department of Law has informed the DOL that there are problems with           
 the way the amendment is written.  Mr. Grossi stated that the DOL,            
 and the Workers' Compensation Board, support the amendment to HB 41           
 because promulgation of a regulation can prevent the most current             
 science from being implemented in the rating of the impairments,              
 negatively affecting both the employee and the involved insurance             
 companies.  Mr. Grossi added this amendment would eliminate the               
 expense of having to issue a regulation every time the new AMA                
 Guide is issued.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1921                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked what was the time frame for adoption the              
 regulation.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI stated a year and a half.                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the latest AMA Guide was published                
 January of 1995 and the regulation was adopted in April of 1996.              
 The time delay of the regulatory process caused many physicians and           
 other users of the AMA Guides to not have access to the AMA Guides.           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI stated that when the AMA issues a new edition they stop            
 publishing the previous edition.  There was a period of time                  
 because of the delay in regulation when users did not have access             
 to the AMA Guides.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1993                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if there had been any objections to HB
 41.                                                                           
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI replied that there was testimony by Alaska Public                  
 Interest Group (AKPIRG) but it was not against the automatic                  
 adoption, it was over the use of the permanent partial impairment             
 as a system.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 2046                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE asked if there were any changes to the AMA           
 Guide by the State in regards to permanent partial impairment.                
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI replied that there are no additional changes, besides              
 the change to use the most recent edition of the AMA Guide.                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if within the contents of the most                 
 recent edition  has there ever been a need to issue changes.                  
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI  replied no and added that it is the opinion of everyone           
 he has talked to doctors, insurance agencies, workers' compensation           
 attorneys and the Workers' Compensation Board that the sooner the             
 use of the most recent AMA Guide can be implemented the better off            
 everyone will be.  The DOL supports the legislation that will bring           
 about that change.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 2107                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the Department of Law had a problem            
 with the regulation.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI answered the Department of Law has a technical problem             
 with determining the exact date the publication would be in effect.           
                                                                               
 Number 2176                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated it was the intention of the chair to              
 move HB 41 today and asked Crystal Smith, Legal Administrator, to             
 talk about the Department of Law's technical problem with the                 
 amendment.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CRYSTAL SMITH, Legal Administrator, Office of the Attorney General,           
 Department of Law, stated the Department did not notice the problem           
 when HB 41  was reviewed last session.  She feels there needs to be           
 a process to establish the date that the new AMA Guides would be              
 adopted.  House Bill 41 currently states that they need to be in              
 effect within 90 days.  This gives the interpretation that the DOL            
 still needs to go through the regulation process to establish the             
 effective date.  The Department of Law is suggesting a process of             
 setting a date, that would eliminate the regulatory process.  Such            
 as, issuing a specific time for a board meeting after the new AMA             
 Guides were published to determine when they would adopt the new              
 rating standards.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2272                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEBRA BEHR, Assistant Attorney General, Legislation and Regulation            
 Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, stated HB 41 does not             
 accomplish the full goal of the committee to have the AMA Guides              
 come in effect without having to go through the regulation process.           
 House Bill 41 currently states that the board is to begin using the           
 new AMA Guides within a 90-day period, which could be any day                 
 within those 90 days.  Ms. Behr believes the public has a right to            
 know what the date is and should be involved in the process of when           
 to start applying the new AMA Guide.  She stated the AMA Guide                
 effects the public's rights and responsibilities, for example an              
 employee may receive a better outcome under the old or new AMA                
 Guide.  The amendment would require the board to hold a meeting               
 declaring the new AMA Guide's effective date.  The Department would           
 issue a press release to notify the public and also include the               
 date in the Department's bulletin to notify the employees involved            
 in the Workers' Compensation System that the new AMA Guide is in              
 effect.   The last sentence of the amendment states that there does           
 not have to have a regulation to issue and effective date.  Ms.               
 Behr anticipated the board could issue the date at a regularly                
 scheduled meeting, a telephonic meeting, or hold a special meeting.           
 She addressed the option of issuing a firm date, for example 90               
 days from X, except that the AMA does not have a firm date from               
 which to count those 90 days.  This can cause debate on when those            
 90 days start.  The amendment the Department of Law is suggesting             
 will accomplish the goal with minimum cost.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 2378                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE stated that he thought the AMA would have a              
 specific publishing date.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. BEHR responded that most publications give a month and a year             
 but not a specific date with the month.                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the publishing company would a have             
 a more specific date.                                                         
                                                                               
 MS. BEHR said then there is ambiguity as to whether published means           
 published in the state of Alaska, or when the printer received the            
 document, creating further problems.  The most direct way would be            
 to allow the board to meet, taking in the concerns of the public              
 and setting a date that takes in the concerns of the State of                 
 Alaska.                                                                       
 Number 2441                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that there was some concern that the board           
 could set a date that was after the 90-day period.  He questioned             
 if the language in AS 23.10.190 (b) was strong enough to prevent              
 that situation.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 2454                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BEHR felt that in the circumstance of litigation, a court would           
 have to conclude that the board would have to set the date within             
 90 days.  However, she does not have an objection if the committee            
 would like to do a technical amendment to include the 90 days in              
 both places of the amendment.                                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-1, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested language stating the new AMA Guide is             
 to be adopted precisely 90 days after publication. He asked Mike              
 Ford, Attorney for Legislative Legal Affairs and drafter of HB 41,            
 to give his opinion on the statutory draftsmanship of the amendment           
 to this issue.                                                                
                                                                               
 MIKE FORD, Attorney, Legislative and Research Services, Legislative           
 Affairs Agency, believes there are two options: either craft a                
 mechanism in statute to fix a set day as to when the new edition              
 would take effect or allow the board to set a day by giving the               
 board parameters.  He stated the problem with fixing a date is, as            
 the legal department discussed, identifying the date of                       
 publication. However, the option of giving the board parameters               
 would still require a guideline to set those parameters.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG believed AS 23.30.190 (d) set the parameters for            
 the board.  He asked Mr. Ford if he had any suggestions that would            
 further clarify (d) but leaving the language alone in AS 23.30.190            
 (b).  Chairman Rokeberg felt that the language in AS 23.30.190 (b)            
 gives the board the flexibility to meet within the 90 days and                
 presumably the board would meet and set the date inside those 90              
 days.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 100                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FORD felt in order to be absolutely certain, the 90-day                   
 requirement should be crafted on to AS 23.30.190 (d) making it                
 clear that the board has to act within a certain period.  However,            
 in doing this, the problem still exists in how that period would be           
 measured.  He feels the board needs a more precise parameter of               
 when to act.                                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Ford to suggest parameters for the                
 setting of a date.                                                            
 MR. FORD asked if there was a month of publication.                           
                                                                               
 Number 157                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI passed around the AMA Guide which contained a month but            
 not an exact date of publication.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the DOL acknowledges a specific date            
 when they receive the AMA Guide, as most official agencies stamp              
 the date of receipt on all in-coming mail.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI stated that the DOL receives advance notice from the AMA           
 of the new edition for ordering purposes.                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN stated that publishers may vary in their                  
 particular time of publication and they do not usually do not                 
 usually distribute the publications.  A distribution company will             
 list a date that the publication will be available for distribution           
 or sale.  Representative Ryan felt the distribution date could be             
 used as a benchmark.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 240                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS asked if the 90 days could be started            
 from the last day of the month of publication.                                
                                                                               
 MR. FORD suggested that the board could set the day that the new              
 AMA Guide becomes effective, and require the board to act within a            
 certain period.  If the month is ascertainable it could read "not             
 later than 90 days after the last day of the month of publication."           
 That would allow the board to take public testimony in case they              
 had a conflict with a particular day.  Mr. Ford stated he could               
 prepare the wording.                                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated he would like to adopt it as a conceptual            
 amendment and then provide for a committee substitute.                        
                                                                               
 Number 295                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion adopt the amendment.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG upon hearing no objection, it was so ordered.  He           
 stated it would be called Amendment 1.                                        
                                                                               
 MR. FORD suggested that Section 1, AS 23.30.190, be dropped and the           
 amended version of Section 2, AS 23.30.190, including Amendment 1,            
 be used as the only section of HB 41.  Mr. Ford stated that without           
 doing this, HB 41 would require all determinations to be made under           
 the most recent published edition, creating a period the most                 
 recently published edition would not be in effect because the board           
 still has to act.  The replacement HB 41 with the amended language            
 from the Department of Law, with Amendment 1 would accomplish the             
 committee's goal.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 363                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMEN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Ford to draft an amendment to the                 
 amendment with the 90-day language in front of the committee in               
 order to move HB 41.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. FORD stated on page 1, lines 4 through 13 be deleted and insert           
 the amendment, to now be Section 1, AS 23.30.190 with the new (d),            
 after edition in the first sentence, "the meeting required under              
 the subsection shall be held not later than 90 days after the last            
 day of the month of publication.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 455                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. SMITH stated that it was not that the board meeting had to be             
 within 90 days, but the effective date was to be within 90 days.              
 The board meeting could actually be held prior to the last day of             
 the month of publication.                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. GROSSI stated that it depended on when the DOL received notice            
 from the AMA, it may be that a meeting could be held prior to the             
 effective date.                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. FORD stated that there are two time frames: when the board                
 meets and the period within which the board has to select an                  
 effective date.                                                               
                                                                               
 MS. SMITH suggested to tighten up the 90-day language for the time            
 frame of the board meeting.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 510                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated it to be the intention of the Chair that             
 both the meeting and the selection of the date occur within 90                
 days.  He said, "With the indulgence of the committee and with the            
 great faith in our legal counsel's ability to wordsmith it and if             
 the Department of Law and the DOL agree to this conceptual                    
 amendment (shaking heads yes) with these additions we move the                
 amendment to the amendment."                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 572                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY made a motion to adopt the amendment to                
 Amendment 1.                                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG there being no objection, it was so ordered.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated the committee has HB 41, as amended,             
 before them with some conceptual words missing as authorized by Mr.           
 Ford and the Department of Law.  He made a motion to move HB 41, as           
 amended, out of committee with individual recommendations.                    
                                                                               
 Number 593                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG there being no objection, CSHB 41(L&C) moved out            
 of the House Labor and Commerce Committee.                                    
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 642                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMEN ROKEBERG adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Committee            
 meeting at 4:20 p.m.                                                          
                                                                               

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