Legislature(1999 - 2000)

01/31/2000 03:18 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 31, 2000                                                                                        
                            3:18 p.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                                                                        
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chairman                                                                                     
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Tom Brice                                                                                                        
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 305                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the membership of the State Board of                                                                        
Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors; and                                                                  
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 316                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  standard  industrial  classification  for,                                                              
eligibility  for benefits  under, and the  definition of  'benefit                                                              
year' for, the  Alaska Employment Security Act;  and providing for                                                              
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD; ASSIGNED TO SUBCOMMITTEE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 305                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BD OF ARCHITECTS ETC/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/21/00      1970     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
 1/21/00      1970     (H)  L&C, FIN                                                                                            
 1/21/00      1970     (H)  FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                                  
 1/21/00      1970     (H)  GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                       
 1/21/00      1970     (H)  REFERRED TO LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                        
 1/31/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 316                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ACT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/24/00      1990     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
 1/24/00      1990     (H)  L&C                                                                                                 
 1/24/00      1990     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LABOR)                                                                            
 1/24/00      1990     (H)  GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                       
 1/24/00      1990     (H)  REFERRED TO LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                        
 1/31/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LANCE MEARIG, Professional Civil Engineer                                                                                       
P.O. Box 34752                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska  99803                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of HB 305.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SHARON MACKLIN, Lobbyist                                                                                                        
Alaska Professional Design Council                                                                                              
315 Fifth Street, Apt. 8                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 305.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Community and Economic Development                                                                                
P.O. Box 110806                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0806                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 305.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA NANCE GAMEZ, Director                                                                                                   
Division of Employment Security                                                                                                 
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
P.O. Box 255509                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99802-5509                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 316.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES BLANKENSHIP, Assistant Director                                                                                         
Division of Employment Security                                                                                                 
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
P.O. Box 255509                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99802-5509                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 316.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-08, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  NORMAN  ROKEBERG called  the  House Labor  and  Commerce                                                              
Standing Committee meeting to order  at 3:18 p.m.  Members present                                                              
at  the  call to  order  were  Representatives  Rokeberg,  Halcro,                                                              
Harris, Cissna  and Sanders.  Representatives Murkowski  and Brice                                                              
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 305-BD OF ARCHITECTS ETC/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  announced the first order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL  NO. 305,  "An Act  relating to  the membership  of the                                                              
State Board  of Registration  for Architects,  Engineers  and Land                                                              
Surveyors; and  providing for an  effective date."  [The  bill was                                                              
sponsored  by the House  Rules Committee,  at  the request  of the                                                              
governor.]                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LANCE MEARIG came  forward to testify in opposition to  HB 305.  A                                                              
licensed  civil  engineer in  Alaska,  he  clarified that  he  was                                                              
testifying  on behalf  of himself.   He  is also  a member of  the                                                              
State Board  of Registration  for Architects,  Engineers  and Land                                                              
Surveyors (AELS).  He said the board  supports HB 305, but he does                                                              
not.   He  is opposed  to this  bill  mainly because  of the  cost                                                              
involved with  adding another member.   He indicated there  is are                                                              
relatively  few landscape  architects expected  to be licensed  in                                                              
Alaska.    He does  not  feel  the  cost  of adding  a  member  is                                                              
warranted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO  asked how  much Mr. Mearig  anticipated the                                                              
cost would be raised.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG  stated that the fiscal  note associated with  the bill                                                              
is around $3,100.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS wondered what  adding another position would                                                              
do, other than increasing the cost.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said  he feels it is already a fairly  large board, and                                                              
he thinks there are some disadvantages to having a larger board.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS wondered what those disadvantages are.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0281                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MEARIG said  he  believes it  is more  difficult  to reach  a                                                              
consensus.   He  clarified that  he  is not  opposed to  licensing                                                              
landscape architects,  but he does view landscape  architecture as                                                              
a  big  issue around  the  state  with respect  to  violations  of                                                              
practice.  He does not think having  an additional person will add                                                              
much value to the discussions the  board has on other professions.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS asked if  Mr. Mearig has  any idea  why the                                                              
Governor recommended the addition of a member.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG replied that the board  had asked the Administration to                                                              
add the position.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked, "Is this borne by the membership?"                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG replied that it is not  borne by the members but by the                                                              
registrants.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  wondered if it would increase  the fees per                                                              
person by having an extra member.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said  it would either require an increase  in fees or a                                                              
decrease in some other board activity.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if that is why he is in opposition.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said his primary reason is the cost.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA wondered if the cost is per member.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG indicated it is per registrant.   He explained there is                                                              
no cost to the board, only to licensees.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  clarified that  "per  licensee"  would be  the                                                              
correct legislative nomenclature.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0470                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA inquired if  the licensees have been polled.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG  said he does  not believe they  have been polled.   He                                                              
indicated the  board recently  went through  a renewal  process in                                                              
which  the fees  were increased  and noted  there was  significant                                                              
opposition to the increase.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred  to correspondence included with                                                              
the bill  packet.  She commented  there is an inference:   instead                                                              
of adding  a member  to include a  landscape architect,  the board                                                              
recommends changing  one of the existing positions  to a landscape                                                              
architect.     She  wondered  if   this  is  the  source   of  the                                                              
controversy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG  explained that  he was made  aware of this  issue just                                                              
prior to the  meeting.  He does  not think it is a  good idea, but                                                              
that is not the reason he opposes it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Mr. Mearig,  ... in our  package there's an  e-mail that                                                                   
     indicates that  because the landscape architects  have a                                                                   
     temporary  representative  on the  board  until June  of                                                                   
     2001, it was  part of the statutory requirement  when it                                                                   
     established  the landscape  architects as  part of  your                                                                   
     board.   The person that  is representing the  landscape                                                                   
     architects  has done  a  very good  job,  and there's  a                                                                   
     feeling that the board didn't  want to vote against that                                                                   
     person because  they'd kind of be embarrassed  by voting                                                                   
     against  that person  ....   Do  you  think there's  any                                                                   
     merit to that question?                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0648                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said he does not think  so.  There have been some frank                                                              
discussions on  the board  regarding adding landscape  architects.                                                              
He believes  the board has been told  there is no guarantee,  if a                                                              
permanent  member is  added to  the board,  that it  would be  the                                                              
temporary member.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  asked  how  the membership  of  the  board  is                                                              
constituted now and wondered where the membership come from.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MEARIG stated  that members  are appointed  by the  Governor.                                                              
There  are two  designated civil  engineer  seats, two  designated                                                              
architect  seats, two  designated  land surveyor  seats, a  public                                                              
member,  a mining  engineer, either  an  electrical or  mechanical                                                              
engineer for  one seat, and another  engineer.  He said  right now                                                              
there is an  electrical engineer, a mechanical  engineer, a mining                                                              
engineer and two civil engineers on the board.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0740                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered, "Just another engineer?"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG  explained that it is  an engineer from another  one of                                                              
the licensed professions.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  asked if there are basically  five engineers on                                                              
the board now.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said that is correct.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI  referred to  two  e-mails from  Patrick                                                              
Kalen,  Chair,  Alaska  Society  of  Professional  Land  Surveyors                                                              
(ASPLS), which  reference two different dates (February  16, 2000,                                                              
and February 23, 2000) for their annual meeting.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said he did not have those e-mails.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI said  she thought  if the committee  was                                                              
considering  delaying the  bill,  it would  be  important to  know                                                              
which is the actual date of the meeting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO asked  what the  vote of  the board  was to                                                              
approve  the  switch from  a  temporary  position to  a  permanent                                                              
position.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said the vote was six to two.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO said:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     So, you  have existing on  the ten permanent  members of                                                                   
     the board ...  a pretty diverse group of  folks that are                                                                   
     put on  the board to  represent the ideas  and positions                                                                   
     of  their  independent  professional   organizations,  I                                                                   
     would   assume   -land  surveyors,   mining   engineers,                                                                   
     mechanical  engineers.     So,  all  these   groups  are                                                                   
     represented.   And so the  board consists of  people who                                                                   
     represent these specific professions.   And if the board                                                                   
     votes  six  to  two,  and one  group  doesn't  like  the                                                                   
     outcome of  the vote, why should  we not honor  what the                                                                   
     board has voted?                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MEARIG explained  that the  board  members are  not there  to                                                              
represent  their  industry  or  profession.   They  are  there  to                                                              
protect the public.   He stated that those people  do provide some                                                              
specific areas of knowledge to help  regulate the professions.  He                                                              
indicated that  not all of the  professions that are  licensed are                                                              
represented  on the  board.   He  clarified  he is  not trying  to                                                              
subvert the action the board took.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0940                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO  said he is simply trying  to understand the                                                              
opposition from Mr. Mearig and that  expressed in the e-mails from                                                              
Mr. Kalen with respect to delaying  the bill until after the ASPLS                                                              
annual meeting.   It is  his impression  a board exists  to create                                                              
some policy for the group.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEARIG said  the professional societies are  separate from the                                                              
board, but  do impact legislation.   He  does not have  an opinion                                                              
about delaying the bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said he likes  that the bill gives the board                                                              
11 members because it helps avoid a tie on a vote.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1030                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHARON  MACKLIN,  Lobbyist,  Alaska  Professional  Design  Council                                                              
(APDC), came  forward to  testify on HB  305.  She  explained that                                                              
APDC is a  trade association of ten different  design professional                                                              
trade associations.  She said APDC  represents professions such as                                                              
architects, land surveyors, landscape  architects and a variety of                                                              
different  engineering   groups  that  have  their   own  separate                                                              
organizations.    The  APDC  has   one  voting  member  for  every                                                              
organization  that belongs to  APDC.   She said their  legislative                                                              
committee took  a look  at this issue  last Thursday  evening, and                                                              
the majority  of the people on  the conference call  supported the                                                              
issue.   Mr. Kalen  was the  only person  who was not  supportive.                                                              
His primary  objection, as  a land  surveyor and  a member  of the                                                              
board, is the cost.   Since there was not a  unanimous decision at                                                              
the conference  call, she noted that  the full APDC Board  will be                                                              
meeting next week and taking this issue up.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MACKLIN  further  explained the  fiscal note  for the bill  is                                                              
$3,100 and  there are 5,000 licensees;  thus the cost is  62 cents                                                              
per person per year.  She stated:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     When   the  legislation   passed   a   few  years   ago,                                                                   
     registering  landscape architects,  we  felt that  there                                                                   
     would  be   probably  fewer  than  50  that   would  get                                                                   
     licensed.  And at that time,  our statute said that each                                                                   
     category under the AELS Board  had to pay their own way.                                                                   
     ... So, there  were 3,000 engineers, so their  fees were                                                                   
     less  than, say,  the   200 hundred  architects, and  it                                                                   
     would have  cost 50 landscape architects  a considerable                                                                   
     amount  to be  licensed.   So,  the  APDC  board took  a                                                                   
     position   to  change  the   statute  just  for   design                                                                   
     professionals  and share  the fees  equally, and it  was                                                                   
     very  well   discussed.    And  the  full   APDC  board,                                                                   
     representing  all of these  different licensees,  agreed                                                                   
     to it ....                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     In  that vein,  this ...  additional  cost is  something                                                                   
     that the  APDC board will be  discussing ....   My guess                                                                   
     is  they will support  it, but  they haven't  officially                                                                   
     taken a position  yet .... I hope you'll  look favorably                                                                   
     on this  issue.  We  feel that it  is beneficial  to the                                                                   
     deliberation of  the board, and  we know the cost  is an                                                                   
     issue.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO  suggested  - since  Mr.  Kalen  is a  land                                                              
surveyor and is concerned about the  cost - reducing the number of                                                              
land surveyors  on the board from  two to one and then  making the                                                              
landscape architect a permanent position.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MACKLIN  said a  few years ago  the make-up  of the  board was                                                              
looked at.   It seemed,  at the time,  there were very  few mining                                                              
engineers  getting licensed,  perhaps  30 or  35.   She  indicated                                                              
there was  a discussion  about whether or  not the seat  should be                                                              
replaced with  a landscape architect.   She said some  very strong                                                              
supporters of  mining in Fairbanks did  not think that was  a good                                                              
idea.    She   stated,  "They  were  very  supportive   of  mining                                                              
engineers, and  so, we just  took that issue  off of the  table at                                                              
that time."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1321                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI asked  if there  is any  reason, in  Ms.                                                              
Macklin's opinion, that action should  be withheld on HB 305 until                                                              
after the ASPLS meeting.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MACKLIN  said no.    The  opposition  stems from  the  fiscal                                                              
impact.   She clarified  that the bill  goes to the  House Finance                                                              
Committee after this committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested that  the APDC take up a resolution on                                                              
designated program  receipts or contact both the  House and Senate                                                              
Finance  Committees.   He stated  that he has  been discussing  in                                                              
caucus  how  the  Division of  Occupational  Licensing  should  be                                                              
handled differently and not as part of the general fund budget.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MACKLIN said  she  appreciates Chairman  Rokeberg's  bringing                                                              
that issue up.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG urged  Ms. Macklin  to consider  Representative                                                              
Halcro's  potential  amendment  to   the  bill,  as  well  as  the                                                              
reduction of  the board  to nine members.   He suggested  deleting                                                              
two members but adding the landscape architect member.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BRICE asked,  "Why don't  we just  move the  board                                                              
outside of  the purview of state  government and privatize  it and                                                              
let them run their own ...?"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said it is a great  idea, but there is a problem                                                              
because of the Alaska State Constitution.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE disagreed.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG maintained that it is in the constitution.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BRICE   asked,  "There's  a  Board   of  Landscape                                                              
Architects in the constitution?"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  said  no,  but  there  is  a  proviso  in  the                                                              
constitution stating  that the legislature provides  the framework                                                              
for boards and commissions.  He commented  that he has been trying                                                              
for years  to do the  same thing  Representative Brice  is talking                                                              
about.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied, "Then you should do it."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1499                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE REARDON,  Director, Division of Occupational  Licensing,                                                              
Department  of Community  and  Economic Development  (DCED),  came                                                              
forward to  testify in  favor of  HB 305.   She said the  Governor                                                              
introduced  the  bill  because  it was  part  of  the  legislative                                                              
recommendations in the  annual report of the AELS  board.  This is                                                              
a subject  the board  has shown significant  interest in  over the                                                              
last two years.   In February of 1998, the board  voted six to two                                                              
to ask for legislation  to make the seat permanent.   The board as                                                              
a whole felt  pretty committed and  interested in the issue.   She                                                              
noted that  the cost is $3100  per year, which includes  travel to                                                              
board meetings and the annual meeting.   If she had not included a                                                              
fiscal note on  the bill, then the expenditures would  have had to                                                              
come  out  of   what  was  already  being  done,   and  the  other                                                              
professions  might  have  lost their  ability  to  participate  in                                                              
meetings.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  further  commented that  the board  has made it  very                                                              
clear they  would like  to participate  more actively in  national                                                              
meetings of  their respective  professions so  that they  can help                                                              
influence  national  policy.   She  indicated  there is  a  policy                                                              
reflected in the budget that says  a single member from each board                                                              
can have  one state  paid trip to  a national  meeting.   This has                                                              
been something  that has  caused the board  a lot of  frustration;                                                              
they feel it limits their ability  to represent Alaska in national                                                              
situations.  She thinks perhaps there  is a concern on Mr. Kalen's                                                              
part that there  are already strict limitations on  the ability to                                                              
travel  and  participate  in  national  events.    Increasing  the                                                              
membership might make this worse.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  explained that  the second  land surveyor  member was                                                              
added  two  or three  years  ago  to the  board.   She  feels  the                                                              
temporary board  seat is  not an ideal  situation because  the way                                                              
the current law  reads, the member cannot have  travel to meetings                                                              
paid by the state or any money spent  by the state.  It is awkward                                                              
to have someone on a board have to  pay for his or her own travel.                                                              
This has  brought up  questions as to  whether the association  or                                                              
the other  landscape architects  can sponsor  this person  and pay                                                              
for travel.   She said this is  a good thought, but it  sets up an                                                              
awkward position in  which someone outside of the  state is paying                                                              
to send a board  member to meetings.  She commented  that it would                                                              
be nice to not have a temporary member.   At the time the Governor                                                              
introduced the bill, she thinks it  was done with the anticipation                                                              
that there  was not much  opposition to the  concept.  If  that is                                                              
not  the  case, then  she  does  not believe  she  had  accurately                                                              
informed him.  She commented that  the AELS board is unique in the                                                              
division because  all of  the professions  within the board  share                                                              
their costs equally and have identical fees.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1765                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI asked why  just a temporary,  non-voting                                                              
member was added in 1998.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON  replied that  when  the  bill to  license  landscape                                                              
architects was introduced, the landscape  architects were going to                                                              
have  to cover their  own costs.   The  bill did  not include  the                                                              
language for collective  finances.  It was going  to cost $600 per                                                              
license,  and that was  too much.   The  temporary member  stemmed                                                              
from  the desire  to  cut costs.   She  explained,  "Then, as  the                                                              
legislation went through, the board  and APDC came to feel that it                                                              
would be all right  to share costs, but we didn't  go back to that                                                              
starting point  and say, 'Well, can  we add back on  some things.'                                                              
... That's one perspective on what happened."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON further  explained that the fee would  be 50 cents per                                                              
licensee if the member is permanent.   She said, "You could either                                                              
view it as  people coming back to  the table and wanting  more, or                                                              
you could  view it as  ... the environment  changing in  which the                                                              
decision's been made."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1865                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     On that  point - regarding  the institutional  history -                                                                   
     as  I recall,  the  engineers,  the land  surveyors  and                                                                   
     architects  were all  drug screaming  to  the table  ...                                                                   
     basically  against  that  idea,  or, I'd  say,  a  large                                                                   
     number of them  were against the idea of  adding ... the                                                                   
     landscape  architects.   However,  they  were  convinced                                                                   
     that it  was the  right thing to  do, and the  rationale                                                                   
     behind the adoption of the landscape  architects as part                                                                   
     of the  board was  to get board  certification so  those                                                                   
     landscape  architects   could  get  federal   government                                                                   
     contracts.   And that  was the reason.   So, it  was not                                                                   
     like they  were going  to be highly  regulated.   It was                                                                   
     because  they were, in  essence, board certified  enough                                                                   
     ....   That was all  they needed.   They needed  a state                                                                   
     license to be  able to qualify for those  contracts, and                                                                   
     that was the  entire rationale that they  sold the board                                                                   
     on their membership on.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON said  she believes the ability for Alaskans  to bid on                                                              
federal  contracts was  a significant  part; there  was also  some                                                              
discussion of public health and safety  with respect to playground                                                              
design.  She  indicated she did not see the  kicking and screaming                                                              
element that Chairman Rokeberg had  described.  She said the board                                                              
voted to  support the licensure.   The bill was introduced  in two                                                              
different legislatures to license  landscape architects.  It there                                                              
had been significant  opposition, she does not feel  it would have                                                              
been successful through the process.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG acknowledged  that  he was  over-characterizing                                                              
the kicking and screaming part.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked whether  it is true that $3,100 spread                                                              
out equates to 50 cents per licensee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  clarified that  60 cents is  the actual amount.   She                                                              
said there  were 4,971 licensees  in the program at  the beginning                                                              
of the fiscal  year.  They are  licensed for two years,  so $6,200                                                              
would  need  to  be  paid  by  the   licensees.    This  would  be                                                              
approximately $1.20 paid by each licensee for two years.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2014                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO  asked,  "You  said  two  years  ago,  when                                                              
legislation was passed, it increased  the number of land surveyors                                                              
and it also added this temporary member; is that correct?"                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON  clarified  that  it  was  two  different  pieces  of                                                              
legislation.   She believes  it was  the board's sunset  extension                                                              
that made the  increase in number of land surveyors.   She thought                                                              
maybe it was three years ago on the additional land surveyor.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO wondered if,  at that time, Mr. Kalen raised                                                              
a concern about increased costs when a land surveyor was added.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON indicated  Mr. Kalen strongly supported that.   He was                                                              
the sole  land surveyor  on the board,  and thought their  numbers                                                              
merited a second  land surveyor.   She said there are quite  a few                                                              
more land surveyors than there will  ever be landscape architects,                                                              
which was part  of the argument for the additional  land surveyor.                                                              
Having   an  additional   land  surveyor   also  helps  with   the                                                              
administration and development of examinations.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether  a board with 11 members is                                                              
reasonably constituted or becomes unwieldy.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2083                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  explained that the AELS  board is the  largest board.                                                              
She does  not think there is  a significant difference in  the way                                                              
the board  would function with 11  members versus 10.   She thinks                                                              
there  is a  difference  between  how five-person  boards  operate                                                              
versus nine-person  boards, however.  With five  people, she feels                                                              
that a  board is  less formal, which  could be  good or bad.   She                                                              
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I think  that the advantage  of having fewer  boards and                                                                   
     having   professions   willing    to   oversee   several                                                                   
     professions  outweigh  the advantages  of  having  small                                                                   
     boards, personally.  It's my  impression that in quite a                                                                   
     few   other  states   you  have   separate  boards   for                                                                   
     architects  and engineers, although  engineers and  land                                                                   
     surveyors are  usually together - and then  you get more                                                                   
     turf battles.   My opinion is  that when you  get people                                                                   
     at the  same table, they have  to work it out.   There's                                                                   
     still  probably those  same  concerns  about where  does                                                                   
     engineering  stop   and  architecture  start,   but  the                                                                   
     professions sit  and work it  out, whereas, if  you have                                                                   
     separate  boards, you might  instead just be  developing                                                                   
     regulations  in isolation  for  each  other and  lobbing                                                                   
     bombs  at each  other that  way.   So, I  would like  to                                                                   
     encourage rather than discourage  boards from being more                                                                   
     inclusive.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG said,  "Ms. Reardon,  you  mentioned there's  a                                                              
policy of  no travel  to national  meetings and  no more  than one                                                              
member once a year.  Where is that policy coming from?"                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON said the Administration  was looking to cut the budget                                                              
in either  1995 or  1996.  One  way was  to be conservative  about                                                              
out-of-state  travel.    She  stated  that  there  was  a  $15,000                                                              
decrement to  the budget in  the first year.   The text  placed in                                                              
the budget  stated that  the amount of  travel being  funded would                                                              
allow one  trip by  one member  from each  board that was  already                                                              
traveling that  year.   No new boards  could travel  out-of-state,                                                              
but already  existing boards  could have one  trip by  one member.                                                              
It was an  attempt to be fiscally  conservative.  She  noted there                                                              
was a $50,000  increment in the  Governor's budget this  year that                                                              
was specifically  for the participation by boards  in out-of-state                                                              
conferences.  This figure came from  adding up all the boards that                                                              
had  serious desires  and legitimate  purposes  to participate  in                                                              
out-of-state  events.   She hopes  the  legislature will  consider                                                              
that increment in the budget this year.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2268                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  asked whether it  would make any  difference if                                                              
it were a designated program receipt.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  replied that it  might because the  legislature might                                                              
be less  concerned about  how a $50,000  increase would  play into                                                              
the overall budget figures.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that  it is because her department and                                                              
division are in the general fund.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  said, "But  if you moved  us off [the  general fund],                                                              
perhaps, then you could evaluate on the merits of the travel."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  wondered, "Or if  a board or  commission wanted                                                              
to  authorize that  travel  and pay  for it,  why  should they  be                                                              
restricted  by an artificial  ceiling  if they  wanted to pay  for                                                              
it?"                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REARDON  indicated  that  is  her perspective  on  it.    She                                                              
commented that it  is difficult to manage the whole  budget of the                                                              
division.   If there  is an across-the-board  budget cut,  out-of-                                                              
state travel  is the  first place  she would  look for  reduction.                                                              
She said that  is not a threat,  and she realizes it  makes people                                                              
angry.   She sees  out-of-state travel  as a long-term  investment                                                              
that does  not pay off  right away, which  is probably one  of the                                                              
reasons it gets short-funded.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  indicated HB  305 would be  held over  until he                                                              
had received more feedback.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 316-EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ACT                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that  the next order of business would                                                              
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 316,  "An Act  relating to standard  industrial                                                              
classification  for,  eligibility  for  benefits  under,  and  the                                                              
definition of 'benefit  year' for, the Alaska  Employment Security                                                              
Act; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2392                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA NANCE  GAMEZ, Director,  Division of Employment  Security,                                                              
Department  of  Labor  and  Workforce   Development  (DLWD),  came                                                              
forward  to testify  on  HB 316.   She  explained  that Section  1                                                              
amends  AS 23.20.110  (n)  and addresses  the  change in  industry                                                              
codes.  The United  States Department of Labor is  moving from the                                                              
Standard  Industrial  Classification  System  (SIC) to  the  North                                                              
American  Industry  Classification  System  (NAICS).   This  would                                                              
bring the (DLWD) into conformity  when the new reporting system is                                                              
ready.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if these are the SIC codes.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ clarified  that the SIC codes are going  to NAICS codes,                                                              
in order to conform with the U.S.  Department of Labor's reporting                                                              
requirements for industry.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered if it is being mandated.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ replied yes.  Under the  Workforce Investment Act (WIA),                                                              
many things  are changing.  There  are things occurring  that have                                                              
already  been reflected  in the actions  of the  State of  Alaska.                                                              
For example,  the passage  of HB  40 last  year created  DLWD, the                                                              
Department of Community  and Economic Development  (DCED), and the                                                              
Department of  Education and Early  Development (DEED).   She said                                                              
the DLWD has been posturing itself  for the workforce changes that                                                              
are coming down from the national level.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-08, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0006                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GAMEZ further  stated that  Section 1  basically pertains  to                                                              
statistical information  that the  federal government  requires be                                                              
reported in its form.  The new system  will be in place in January                                                              
2001.  Section 2 amends AS 23.20.179  (b) and pertains to Employer                                                              
Rate Contributions,  which are  related to  the type of  industry.                                                              
For example, the  rate for the fishing industry  is different than                                                              
that of the  tourism industry.   Analysis done does not  show that                                                              
there would be any  significant - if any - effect  on the employer                                                              
rate.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ  indicated Section  3 amends AS  23.20.379 (a)(2).   She                                                              
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Apparently,  in  the  late 70's,  when  an  unemployment                                                                   
     insurance piece  of legislation went to  committee, some                                                                   
     language was  accidentally dropped  off.  And  so, we're                                                                   
     just trying to tidy that up.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ noted  that a person who quits a job  voluntarily has an                                                              
automatic  six-week  disqualification  of  unemployment  insurance                                                              
benefits because it  was completely in that person's  control.  If                                                              
a person is discharged for reasons  that were within that person's                                                              
control,   then  that   person  will  also   receive  a   six-week                                                              
disqualification.    She  indicated it  parallels  the  "voluntary                                                              
leaving" provision with the misconduct provision that is in law.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0136                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ said Section  4 amends AS 23.20.382 (d).   It allows for                                                              
benefits  to  continue  while a  person  is  attending  vocational                                                              
training approved  under the  WIA.   The Workforce Investment  Act                                                              
repeals the Job Training Partnership  Act (JTPA) effective July 1,                                                              
2000.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if this is a change in nomenclature.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GAMEZ said  JTPA  is being  phased out,  while  WIA is  being                                                              
phased in.   The  job training  dollars that  come into  the state                                                              
from the  federal government will now  be WIA dollars.   Section 5                                                              
amends AS 23.20.520 (5).  It repeals  the current definition of an                                                              
unemployment benefit  year and replaces it with  a new definition.                                                              
The benefit  year will begin on the  Sunday of the week  filed and                                                              
continue for  52 weeks, which allows  for a 53-week  benefit year.                                                              
She indicated  it is a  technical change,  and 45 other  states do                                                              
this  now.  She  said problems  occur  during a leap  year.   This                                                              
cleans  up  the  language  so that  a  person's  base  period  and                                                              
eligibility do not get messed up.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered what is done now.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0217                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ  responded, "We spend a  lot of money, with  human hands                                                              
touching these claims, as opposed  to letting our automated system                                                              
take care of the problem."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if that is  because of the definition of a                                                              
benefit year.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ replied yes.  She commented  that 53 weeks are needed to                                                              
eliminate the possibility of an eligible  person's claiming in the                                                              
prior year or the  next year.  Benefit weeks currently  begin on a                                                              
Sunday and are mutually exclusive.   The change in Section 5 makes                                                              
the benefit year mutually exclusive and eliminates confusion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ noted that Section (6)  adds a transitional provision in                                                              
uncodified law to  address the benefit years that  began under the                                                              
current definition.   These will expire under  the new definition.                                                              
Section 7 states  that Sections 1 through 4 will  take effect July                                                              
1, 2000.  Section 8 states that Sections  5 and 6 will take effect                                                              
on October 7, 2001.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  asked what the  significance of the  October 7,                                                              
2001, date is.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ  said it deals  with the new  definition of  the 53-week                                                              
benefit period.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG wondered  if  that is  because  of the  federal                                                              
fiscal year.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ commented, "We're funded on a federal fiscal year."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered why it is October 7.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ deferred to Charles Blankenship.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0299                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES BLANKENSHIP,  Assistant Director,  Division of  Employment                                                              
Security, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, stated:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The October 7 date is almost  a little embarrassing, Mr.                                                                   
     Chair.    When  we  started  looking  at  calendars  and                                                                   
     deciding that  claims would begin  on a Sunday  from the                                                                   
     enactment  of this legislation  forward, the first  time                                                                   
     that we would mess it up would  be October 1 of the year                                                                   
     2001. ...  To avoid that, we  just went to  the seventh.                                                                   
     The  53rd-week provision  in  here would  eliminate  any                                                                   
     problems (indisc.-coughing).   The secondary  reason was                                                                   
     workload.  For unemployment  insurance, at the beginning                                                                   
     of  a  new quarter  we  get  a significant  increase  in                                                                   
     workload because it changes  the base period of earnings                                                                   
     on which the  claim would be established,  and we wanted                                                                   
     to get any  change we made to our definition  outside of                                                                   
     that period of increased workload.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he needs a better explanation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ replied that Dwight Perkins,  Deputy Commissioner, DLWD,                                                              
would  be happy  to  provide  any  "bullet points"  that  Chairman                                                              
Rokeberg would need.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLANKENSHIP said a situation  occurs with the workload for the                                                              
claims-processing units.   Whenever there is a new  quarter, a new                                                              
base  period of  earnings can  be used  to establish  claims.   An                                                              
unemployed worker can  take advantage of some of  the wages earned                                                              
during the  summer when  moving into  the October  1 quarter.   He                                                              
stated, "With  our seasonal employment  situation in  Alaska, this                                                              
affects  a lot  of people,  and  we do  get  a significant  influx                                                              
during  the  first  week."    He   explained  that  introducing  a                                                              
significant  change  to  statute  during  the first  week  of  any                                                              
quarter runs the risk of decreasing  the level of service that can                                                              
be delivered.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0416                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MURKOWSKI  referred   to  Section  3,   regarding                                                              
discharge for misconduct.   She indicated there  was a constituent                                                              
running  a  business  with  a  zero-tolerance  drug  policy.    An                                                              
employee  working  there was  subjected  to  a random  drug  test,                                                              
failed  the   drug  test,   applied  for  unemployment   insurance                                                              
benefits,  and received  the benefits  right away.   She said  the                                                              
conclusion  from  Unemployment  Insurance  was that  "because  the                                                              
circumstances involved  in your discharge  did not show  a willful                                                              
disregard of your employer's interest,  it has been determined you                                                              
were discharged  for reasons other  than misconduct  in connection                                                              
with  your work,  and, therefore,  benefits are  allowed to  begin                                                              
right away."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI said  when this  came to her  attention,                                                              
she  was  dumbfounded  that  someone   could  immediately  receive                                                              
benefits  after being  terminated  for obvious  misconduct in  the                                                              
workplace.   She  noted  it had  been explained  to  her that  the                                                              
employer in this  particular situation had failed to  appeal.  She                                                              
had  asked  Ms.  Gamez  previously  if  this  was  something  that                                                              
required some  kind of a legislative  fix.  She indicated  she ran                                                              
this by  Legislative Legal  and Research  Services, who  explained                                                              
"you don't necessarily want to run  a laundry list of those things                                                              
that constitute misconduct."   She feels it is  a troubling enough                                                              
issue, however,  that she wanted to  bring it to the  attention of                                                              
the  committee.    She  wondered  if Ms.  Gamez  has  any  further                                                              
comments regarding this issue.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0543                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ  explained there  are a couple  of types of  misconduct.                                                              
She said:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     There's property  damages, reckless disregard,  and that                                                                   
     follows  under  one thing.    I hate  to  do this  under                                                                   
     Employment Insurance,  and I don't want to  step too far                                                                   
     out  on  the limb.  We  try not to do what-if's  because                                                                   
     we have  a case-by-case determination  of benefits.   We                                                                   
     have a  lower appeals system  and then the  commissioner                                                                   
     level  appeals.   And  I  would  have thought  that  the                                                                   
     employer  would've probably  been in  pretty good  shape                                                                   
     had the employer [chosen] to appeal.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GAMEZ stated  that the  appeals process  in the  Unemployment                                                              
Insurance system is very easy.  A  person can make a phone call or                                                              
send  an  e-mail,  fax  or  letter.     There  is  also  a  little                                                              
flexibility  with   the  30-day  time   limit.    She   asked  Mr.                                                              
Blankenship  to   explain  the  different  levels   of  misconduct                                                              
connected   with  Unemployment   Insurance.      She  also   asked                                                              
Representative  Murkowski to clarify  whether or  not there  was a                                                              
six-week waiting period in the situation she had described.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said there was a three-day delay.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ said she wished the employer had appealed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MURKOWSKI  said  she hoped  that  Mr.  Blankenship                                                              
could help clarify the situation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0648                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.   BLANKENSHIP  provided   some  background   on  the   general                                                              
disqualification  for a  discharge  for misconduct.   The  federal                                                              
guidelines  indicate that  if a worker  loses his  or her  job for                                                              
work-related  misconduct  there   will  be  some  disqualification                                                              
imposed.    In  Alaska  there  are   two  levels  of  work-related                                                              
misconduct.  He stated:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In Alaska, we had had just the  one misconduct provision                                                                   
     for  anything  that  constituted  a  deliberate  act  or                                                                   
     omission  that  was  contrary to  your  employer's  best                                                                   
     interest and in connection with  the work.  A few year's                                                                   
     ago, there was  a second piece of legislation  added - I                                                                   
     believe it's  [HB]379 D [version]  - which allows  for a                                                                   
     much more  significant disqualification for  someone who                                                                   
     commits a felony  or a theft while on the  job, and that                                                                   
     imposes  a  52-week  disqual[ification].     That's,  in                                                                   
     general, the misconduct provision.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     You're  referring  specifically  to  why  would  we  pay                                                                   
     somebody  unemployment insurance if  they failed  a drug                                                                   
     test.   We  do have  a fairly  large body  of policy  on                                                                   
     this.   It's been developed  from court cases,  previous                                                                   
     commissioner  decisions on the  issue.   As I said,  the                                                                   
     basic requirement in a discharge  for misconduct case is                                                                   
     that there  be a connection  to the  work.  And  in drug                                                                   
     testing  we went  into a  kind  of a  muddy area  there.                                                                   
     It's  possible   that  30  days   ago  they   used  some                                                                   
     marijuana.   It'll show up in  a drug test,  and they'll                                                                   
     fail the test.   Is there, in fact, a connection  to the                                                                   
     work  there? ... Much  of our  precedent indicates  that                                                                   
     unless there's a showing of  impairment on the job, that                                                                   
     ... would  not be disqualifying.   It's very  clear that                                                                   
     if  someone's  under the  influence  or using  drugs  or                                                                   
     alcohol on the job, that is work-related misconduct.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The evolution of our policy,  as far as drug testing and                                                                   
     the use of  intoxicants or drugs on the job,  has become                                                                   
     much  less   liberal  and,  in  the  case   that  you're                                                                   
     referring  to, ...  we look  at each case  by the  facts                                                                   
     presented.   I cannot  say from  the information  you've                                                                   
     given whether  this decision  was correct or  incorrect.                                                                   
     My assumption would be that  based on the information we                                                                   
     received  from  both  parties,   ...  the  decision  was                                                                   
     correct  in that,  for some  reason, we did  not have  a                                                                   
     clear  connection between  that drug  test and the  job,                                                                   
     even though the employer may have required it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLANKENSHIP continued:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     There  was  a great  increase  in the  requirements  for                                                                   
     random drug  testing on the  job in the last  ten years.                                                                   
     We  found that  7-11 franchises  began  to require  drug                                                                   
     testing.    I  don't  want  my  air  traffic  controller                                                                   
     testing positive  for drugs, but  the guy that  makes my                                                                   
     Slurpy,  I'm   not  sure  that's  really  a   reason  to                                                                   
     discharge him  if he fails his  drug test.   In general,                                                                   
     our  policy  now  says  that  if  you're  operating  any                                                                   
     equipment  that could be  life-threatening or  property-                                                                   
     threatening,  in a position  where there's a  federal or                                                                   
     state requirement,  that you ... not have  drugs in your                                                                   
     system; those are generally disqualifying provisions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Now, beyond the  fact that we don't know all  of the ...                                                                   
     facts to this instant case,  there is the appeal period.                                                                   
     But I'm not  going to say that the employer  is under an                                                                   
     obligation  to appeal  just to get  a correct  decision.                                                                   
     We  do try  to make  a correct  decision,  based on  the                                                                   
     initial facts.  There is not  an assumption that the ...                                                                   
     unemployed   worker   is  eligible   automatically   for                                                                   
     benefits.    However,  since   the  moving  party  in  a                                                                   
     discharge is the employer, much  of the burden does rest                                                                   
     on him  in that case  to show that  it was, in  fact, an                                                                   
     action that  constituted misconduct, just as  if, in the                                                                   
     case  of somebody  quitting  a job,  the burden  largely                                                                   
     rests  on the  employee [who]  quit to  show that  those                                                                   
     reasons were with good cause.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0850                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI agreed it  would be a much better case to                                                              
pursue if, in fact, the employer  had appealed and that appeal had                                                              
been denied.   She wondered if  there are regulations  that define                                                              
what the misconduct is and if there is a so-called laundry list.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLANKENSHIP  replied  there  is  a  regulation  that  defines                                                              
misconduct; the  regulation does not  have a laundry list.   There                                                              
is a significant body of written  policy pertaining to the laundry                                                              
list of things that a person could be discharged for.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  reason I ask  is because  Ms. Gamez,  when she  was                                                                   
     discussing Section 3, indicated  that it was essentially                                                                   
     anything  that  was  within  the  individual's  control.                                                                   
     Well, I certainly  look at taking drugs as  being within                                                                   
     my control, ...  and if you happen to test  positive for                                                                   
     marijuana 30 days later and  you're out, I say you're on                                                                   
     your own, but  that's my own personal opinion.  ... It's                                                                   
     an interesting  discussion, and I guess I'm  looking for                                                                   
     a little guidance as to whether  or not we should pursue                                                                   
     to define this somewhere.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0920                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GAMEZ indicated  she cannot  say  this case  would have  been                                                              
overturned  or  that  there would  have  been  a  disqualification                                                              
period.   It seems to  her that would  have been reasonable.   She                                                              
reiterated that the appeal process  is very simple.  She commented                                                              
that a lot of  their policy is based on the appeals  that come up;                                                              
there is ever-changing  policy based on precedents.   She said she                                                              
would be  happy to  meet with Representative  Murkowski  to ensure                                                              
that  she   has  a  clear   understanding  of  the   policies  and                                                              
regulations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO  said that he  would like to be  included in                                                              
that meeting.  He commented:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     One of the things that's frustrating  from an employer's                                                                   
     standpoint  is,  even  when you  spend  time  developing                                                                   
     company policies, rules and  regulations, even go so far                                                                   
     as to have  an employee, at the point of  hire, read the                                                                   
     document  and  sign  it,  acknowledging  the  fact  that                                                                   
     they've ...  received a copy  and they understand  it --                                                                   
     so, the employee knows doggone  well that there's random                                                                   
     drug testing  and that they're  in a sensitive  area and                                                                   
     they need to be drug-free.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     And, whether  he's getting high  at home or at  lunch, I                                                                   
     mean,  that's really  not the  issue.  The  issue is  he                                                                   
     showed up  for work, he was  random drug tested,  he had                                                                   
     drugs  in his system,  and the  employer should, in  all                                                                   
     fairness,  have a  right to discharge  him without  this                                                                   
     person being  able to come  back and claim  unemployment                                                                   
     insurance.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     And my frustration with this  is, like I said, even when                                                                   
     you go to the extent of spending  dollars having private                                                                   
     legal   counsel   development   company   policies   and                                                                   
     adequately and  clearly presenting them to  the employee                                                                   
     at the time  of hire, there's always that  loophole. ...                                                                   
     I think there has to be a way  to protect all employers.                                                                   
     ... I certainly  have had a number of  experiences where                                                                   
     you just  say, ..."What  is the  use of even  developing                                                                   
     company policy?" if ... somebody's  going to say, "Well,                                                                   
     that really  doesn't count in  this case," when  clearly                                                                   
     it does.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAMEZ said  she welcomes the opportunity to  have a discussion                                                              
with Representative  Halcro.   She explained  that she  dealt with                                                              
many of those  same frustrations as an employer.   She feels great                                                              
strides have been made in the last  five years.  She wishes people                                                              
would take advantage of the appeals  process because it is so easy                                                              
and has  minimal impact.   She noted  they are always  looking for                                                              
ways to  increase the customer service  to employers.   There used                                                              
to be a 15-day appeal period, but  that was increased because they                                                              
wanted people  to have the opportunity  to appeal in  a reasonable                                                              
amount  of  time.    She stated  that  an  employee  who  receives                                                              
unemployment  insurance benefits  but is  then disqualified  would                                                              
have to repay those  benefits.  She said $126 million  is paid out                                                              
every  year  in benefits.    She  empathizes  with the  desire  to                                                              
protect the employer.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  appointed a subcommittee on HB  316, consisting                                                              
of  Representative Murkowski,  Chair;  Representative Halcro;  and                                                              
Representative Cissna.  [HB 316 was held over.]                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1246                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Labor and  Commerce Standing  Committee  meeting was adjourned  at                                                              
4:40 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

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