Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/08/2000 03:21 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                                                                          
                          March 8, 2000                                                                                         
                            3:21 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. 207                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to the registration of persons  who perform home                                                              
inspections; and providing for an effective date."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 207(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 334                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  the establishment of  and accounting  for an                                                              
administrative cost  charge for the state's role  in the community                                                              
development  quota program  and to the  appropriation of  receipts                                                              
from the charge; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 334(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 422                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to workers'  compensation benefits  for injuries                                                              
resulting  from  consumption  of  alcohol  or use  of  drugs;  and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 422 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 419                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the weekly  rate of compensation  and minimum                                                              
and  maximum   compensation  rates   for  workers'   compensation;                                                              
specifying  components  of a  workers'  compensation  reemployment                                                              
plan;  adjusting  workers'  compensation  benefits  for  permanent                                                              
partial  impairment, for  reemployment  plans, for  rehabilitation                                                              
benefits,  for widows,  widowers, and orphans,  and for  funerals;                                                              
relating to  permanent total disability  of an employee  receiving                                                              
rehabilitation benefits;  relating to calculation of  gross weekly                                                              
earnings  for  workers'  compensation benefits  for  seasonal  and                                                              
temporary workers  and for workers  with overtime or  premium pay;                                                              
setting  time  limits  for  requesting  a hearing  on  claims  for                                                              
workers' compensation, for selecting  a rehabilitation specialist,                                                              
and for payment  of medical bills; relating to  termination and to                                                              
waiver  of rehabilitation  benefits,  obtaining medical  releases,                                                              
and   resolving   discovery   disputes    relating   to   workers'                                                              
compensation;  setting  an  interest  rate for  late  payments  of                                                              
workers'  compensation;   providing  for  updating   the  workers'                                                              
compensation medical fee schedule;  and providing for an effective                                                              
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 207                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LICENSE HOME INSPECTORS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/21/99       900     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/21/99       900     (H)  L&C, JUD, FIN                                                                                       
10/21/99               (H)  L&C AT 10:00 AM ANCHORAGE LIO                                                                       
10/21/99               (H)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/18/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 2/18/00               (H)  Heard & Held                                                                                        
 2/18/00               (H)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 3/03/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 3/03/00               (H)  Heard & Held                                                                                        
 3/03/00               (H)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 3/08/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 334                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CHARGE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/02/00      2071     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
 2/02/00      2072     (H)  CRA, L&C, FIN                                                                                       
 2/02/00      2072     (H)  FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                                  
 2/02/00      2072     (H)  GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                       
 2/15/00               (H)  CRA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 2/15/00               (H)  -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                              
 2/22/00               (H)  CRA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 2/22/00               (H)  Moved CSHB 334(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                
 2/22/00               (H)  MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                         
 2/23/00      2271     (H)  CRA RPT CS(CRA) 4DP 2NR                                                                             
 2/23/00      2271     (H)  DP: KOOKESH, MORGAN, HARRIS, DYSON;                                                                 
 2/23/00      2271     (H)  NR: JOULE, MURKOWSKI                                                                                
 2/23/00      2271     (H)  FISCAL NOTE (DCED) 2/2/00                                                                           
 3/08/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 422                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMPENSATION:DRUGS & ALCOHOL                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/25/00      2309     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
 2/25/00      2309     (H)  L&C                                                                                                 
 3/08/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 419                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMPENSATION                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/23/00      2279     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                     
 2/23/00      2279     (H)  L&C, JUD, FIN                                                                                       
 2/23/00      2279     (H)  REFERRED TO LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                        
 3/08/00               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JEFF BUSH, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Community and Economic Development                                                                                
P.O. Box 110800                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0800                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 334.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
LARRY COTTER, Chief Executive Officer                                                                                           
Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association                                                                      
234 Gold Street                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 98901                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 334.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DICK TREMAIN                                                                                                                    
Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association                                                                                      
16251 Chasewood Lane                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 334.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN SAMUELSON, President                                                                                                      
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation                                                                                    
P.O. Box 1464                                                                                                                   
Dillingham, Alaska 99576                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 334.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PAUL GROSSI, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Workers' Compensation                                                                                               
Department of Labor and Workforce Development                                                                                   
P.O. Box 25512                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska 99802-5512                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 422 and HB 419, Version G.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
WILLIE VAN HEMERT, Owner, CRW Engineering Group                                                                                 
     and Co-chair, Workers' Compensation Committee of Alaska                                                                    
1633 West 15th                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 419, Version G.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARY SHIELDS, Member                                                                                                            
Workers' Compensation Committee of Alaska                                                                                       
3330 Arctic Boulevard, Suite 201                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 419, Version G.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GENEVA HULSEY                                                                                                                   
4821 East 104th                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 419, Version                                                                 
G.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JUDY PETERSON, Member                                                                                                           
Workers' Compensation Committee of Alaska                                                                                       
3330 Arctic Boulevard, Suite 201                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 419, Version G.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN DOUGHERTY, Co-chair                                                                                                       
Alaska Labor-Management Ad Hoc Committee on Workers' Compensation                                                               
     and Alaska State District Council of Laborers                                                                              
2501 Commercial Drive                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 419, Version G.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
VALERIE BUFFONE, Member                                                                                                         
Alaska Workers' Compensation Board                                                                                              
10606 Flagship Circle                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 419, Version G.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-28, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  NORMAN  ROKEBERG called  the  House Labor  and  Commerce                                                              
Standing Committee meeting to order  at 3:21 p.m.  Members present                                                              
at  the  call to  order  were  Representatives  Rokeberg,  Halcro,                                                              
Harris and Brice.   Representatives Murkowski, Cissna  and Sanders                                                              
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 207-LICENSE HOME INSPECTORS                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  announced the first order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE  BILL NO.  207,  "An Act  relating  to the  registration  of                                                              
persons  who  perform  home  inspections;  and  providing  for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  made a motion to adopt as  a work draft the                                                              
proposed  committee substitute  (CS)  for HB  207  [Version Y,  1-                                                              
LS0132\Y, Lauterbach,  3/8/00].  There being no  objection, it was                                                              
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0144                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG,  speaking as the  sponsor of HB  207, explained                                                              
that  Version  Y   removes  the  entire  licensure   on  the  home                                                              
inspection  issue.    In Section  1,  it  leaves  in that  a  home                                                              
inspector  cannot exculpate  himself or  herself from  a cause  of                                                              
action.   It also makes the  home inspector report that  is issued                                                              
good for  one year; it includes  the other prohibited acts  in the                                                              
original  bill; and it  contains definitions.   Fundamentally,  it                                                              
strips  all the  licensure out;  takes  the controversy  regarding                                                              
architects and civil engineers out;  and takes licensing fees out.                                                              
It puts  in to  Title 9  - the  civil action  section - the  legal                                                              
actions that cannot  be exculpated; in other words,  the liability                                                              
does exist,  as a matter  of public policy,  "and under  Title 45,                                                              
which is the trade practices title."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO  made a motion to  move Version Y  of HB 207                                                              
[1-LS0132\Y,   Lauterbach,   3/8/00],   out  of   committee   with                                                              
individual recommendations  and the  attached fiscal note.   There                                                              
being  no objection,  CSHB 207(L&C)  was  moved out  of the  House                                                              
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 334-CHARGE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  announced the next  order of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO.  334, "An Act relating to the  establishment of and                                                              
accounting for an administrative  cost charge for the state's role                                                              
in   the  community   development   quota  program   and  to   the                                                              
appropriation of  receipts from the  charge; and providing  for an                                                              
effective date."  [Before the committee was CSHB 334(CRA).]                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0326                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JEFF BUSH, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community and                                                                     
Economic Development, came forward to testify on HB 334.  He                                                                    
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I  hope   the  committee  is   familiar  with   the  CDQ                                                                   
     [community  development  quota] program.    This is  the                                                                   
     program  in   Western  Alaska  that  allocates   federal                                                                   
     fisheries  in the  Bering  Sea at  a  percentage of  the                                                                   
     federally  regulated  fisheries  in the  Bering  Sea  to                                                                   
     Western Alaskan communities...Overseeing  the program is                                                                   
     done  through  the State  [of  Alaska].   It's  been  in                                                                   
     operation  for  approximately  eight  years now.    It's                                                                   
     extremely  successful.   It  has  about $30  million  in                                                                   
     annual  royalties   right  now,  ...  received   by  the                                                                   
     communities  in Western Alaska  that are organized  into                                                                   
     six CDQ  groups, as  we call  them, which are  nonprofit                                                                   
     corporations.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The communities  all have representatives on  the boards                                                                   
     of these  nonprofit corporations.   The corporations  in                                                                   
     turn  receive allocations  that are  recommended by  the                                                                   
     state oversight  group and then approved by  the federal                                                                   
     government  through  NMFS  [National   Marine  Fisheries                                                                   
     Service].      The   current    estimates   are   [that]                                                                   
     approximately 1,300 jobs annually  are generated through                                                                   
     the  program  and it's  a  growing program  because  the                                                                   
     corporations   are  essentially  growing   exponentially                                                                   
     because of their ongoing profits  and the royalties they                                                                   
     receive.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Beginning  last  summer,  the state  -  recognizing  the                                                                   
     budget   problems   that   the   legislature   and   the                                                                   
     Administration in  this state was having -  met with the                                                                   
     groups  and suggested that  this was  a program that  is                                                                   
     very  important   for  them  to  retain   efficient  and                                                                   
     adequate  state oversight.   One of  the reasons is  ...                                                                   
     that when  they want  to enter  into business deals,  by                                                                   
     federal  law,  they have  to  have their  amendments  to                                                                   
     their plans  approved.  In  other words, these  business                                                                   
     deals have to go through a review  by the State and then                                                                   
     by the federal government.   It's in their best interest                                                                   
     to have these things occur as  quickly and as rapidly as                                                                   
     possible.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     So, as  the numbers  of business deals  and the  size of                                                                   
     the  business deals  grows, it's important  for them  to                                                                   
     retain at least the current state oversight.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0471                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     What we suggested  was, because this was  a program that                                                                   
     receives  a  great  deal  of, sort  of,  subsidies  -  I                                                                   
     hesitate  to  use  that word,  but  it's  essentially  a                                                                   
     federal program  that does subsidize these  corporations                                                                   
     -  that  they  should  in  turn   pay  for  the  program                                                                   
     themselves.   So, what  this bill proposes  to do  is to                                                                   
     take the  money that is  presently paid for  through the                                                                   
     general fund  of $250,000 of GF [general  fund] and have                                                                   
     instead a fee  program set up that the groups  would pay                                                                   
     for, through statutory designated  program receipts, the                                                                   
     same $250,000,  thereby freeing  up $250,000 of  general                                                                   
     fund.  They have come to the table.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This proposal  was, in fact, in terms of  the allocation                                                                   
     formula,  was  proposed  by  the  groups  as  far  as  I                                                                   
     understand...all six groups  have sent in letters to the                                                                   
     Legislature  in  support of  this  proposal.   It  isn't                                                                   
     often  that I get  to say  that it's  such a good  bill,                                                                   
     that I  think everybody, including  those who  are about                                                                   
     to  pay the  fees, fully  supports.   Therefore, it's  a                                                                   
     win-win for all parties involved.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  indicated an amendment  in the bill  packet was                                                              
similar  to an  amendment  that the  Senate  adopted on  companion                                                              
legislation to HB 334.  The written  amendment [Amendment 1, which                                                              
was later amended and then adopted] read as follows:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 5, insert new subsection (f) as follows:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     "(f)    The  department shall  not  assess  nor  collect                                                                   
     administrative  charges  under  this  section  from  CDQ                                                                   
     groups,  representing communities  not eligible for  the                                                                   
     CDQ  program as  of the  effective  date established  in                                                                   
     section 6  of this Act, for  a period of two  years from                                                                   
     the actual award  of fishery quota to that  newly formed                                                                   
     CDQ group."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Re-letter subsequent sections accordingly.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH,  in response  to Chairman  Rokeberg's inquiry,  said the                                                              
department is neutral on the amendment  because it does not affect                                                              
the amount collected  by the state.  The department  is aware that                                                              
the existing groups are opposed to  the amendment.  If a new group                                                              
is formed,  the existing groups would  have to cover  the expenses                                                              
of the new group.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0650                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said that is  the reason the House Community                                                              
and  Regional   Affairs  Standing  Committee  did   not  pass  the                                                              
amendment.  Existing  groups felt it was an unfair  advantage that                                                              
new groups would  have.  The testimony he heard  was in opposition                                                              
to this, but he has no personal opinion regarding this matter.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO asked  who  covers the  costs  for the  six                                                              
CDQs.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH  replied that  the costs  are covered  internally  by the                                                              
groups.  The royalties are worth  about $30 million annually.  The                                                              
groups are  earning profits more  than this amount.   He specified                                                              
that state oversight is paid for by the general fund (GF).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO  asked how  long  the  state has  paid  for                                                              
oversight through the general fund.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH responded that it has been since 1991 or 1992.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO  said, "So, for  eight years these  six have                                                              
been getting  a free ride with  [regard] to being  responsible for                                                              
oversight."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH affirmed that.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG   commented,  "And  that's  the   idea  of  the                                                              
amendment, that if these people came  in, at least they would have                                                              
... some theory of equity."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BUSH stressed  that  he was  not  here to  argue  one way  or                                                              
another.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  asked  whether  Mr.  Bush  could  explain  the                                                              
House's budget position on this bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH responded that it is not  presently included in the House                                                              
budget.  There is a fiscal note associated with the bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  surmised that the department would  not be able                                                              
to fund the program  unless HB 334 passed because  there would not                                                              
be any GF funding available.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH  stated that  funding is  still currently  in the  budget                                                              
bill, and HB 334 is simply an adjustment to the budget bill.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0815                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LARRY COTTER,  Chief Executive  Officer, Aleutian Pribilof  Island                                                              
Community  Development  Association   [APICDA],  came  forward  to                                                              
testify on HB 334.   He confirmed that all six  current CDQ groups                                                              
do support  HB 334.  He is  also aware that the six  groups oppose                                                              
the amendment.   There  is opposition to  the amendment  because a                                                              
new CDQ group will be funded with  allocations which are currently                                                              
shared among the existing groups.   The existing groups would lose                                                              
allocation,  which could  easily be  measured in  the millions  of                                                              
dollars.    The  total cost  to  currently  provide  oversight  is                                                              
$250,000, but  HB 334 would  allow the amount  to rise as  high as                                                              
$400,000.   He  said it  is an  equity issue  and if  considerable                                                              
revenues  are going  to be  lost by  the addition  of new  groups,                                                              
those groups  can pay for  their own share  of oversight.   If the                                                              
committee chooses  to adopt the amendment, he  suggests some "word                                                              
smithing."   The way it  reads now, his  group or any  other group                                                              
picking up  a new community  as part of  their group would  not be                                                              
required to pay its share of the CDQ fees.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0944                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS wondered  if Mr.  Cotter believes  that his                                                              
group and the others  received a free ride from having  to pay the                                                              
administration  costs that the  state pays from  the GF.   He also                                                              
asked if he feels the groups were  given the benefit of developing                                                              
a savings  account and wondered if  the new groups would  not have                                                              
this advantage.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. COTTER  said the issue isn't as  black and white as  that.  He                                                              
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I think  somebody could make  that argument that  we did                                                                   
     not  have to pay  so why  should somebody  else have  to                                                                   
     pay,  but there  are,  in different  cases,  extenuating                                                                   
     circumstances.   In our particular groups'  case, a fair                                                                   
     amount of  our allocation was being harvested  by factor                                                                   
     trawlers.    At  that time,  factor  trawlers  were  not                                                                   
     required to pay raw fish tax.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     What  our group  did, voluntarily,  is we  took the  raw                                                                   
     fish tax  that would have been  paid had that  fish been                                                                   
     landed ashore,  and we wrote a check to the  State every                                                                   
     year to  voluntarily pay that  tax which amounted  to, I                                                                   
     think  we paid upwards  of 70,  80, 90 thousand  dollars                                                                   
     during the first three years.   Other groups did similar                                                                   
     things in their  own way.  I'll just be  candid.  Again,                                                                   
     I  don't think  the  amount  of money  is  the big  deal                                                                   
     because  if there is  a new  group, it  will be able  to                                                                   
     afford to pay that $40,000 to  $70,000.  I do think that                                                                   
     the  equity side  of  it is  important  because all  the                                                                   
     revenue  they're going  to be receiving  will come  from                                                                   
     the existing six groups and that'll be substantial.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1068                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO commented:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Your testimony was that $40,000  to $70,000 a year isn't                                                                   
     a  big nut  to swallow  and if there  is a  new CDQ,  it                                                                   
     could be able to afford it;  but what about the six CDQs                                                                   
     the last  eight years?  I mean  would it be fair  to say                                                                   
     the   State  can   go  back  and   collect  the   yearly                                                                   
     administration  or  oversight  charges?  ...  Here's  my                                                                   
     point:    For  eight  years,  we've  covered  the  costs                                                                   
     through  general fund dollars  of oversight.   If  - and                                                                   
     that's a big if - if there are  new CDQs introduced, two                                                                   
     years  is not a  long time  to allow  them to get  their                                                                   
     feet  on  the ground  and  organize  and get  their  act                                                                   
     together  when, in  fact, the other  six have  obviously                                                                   
     had eight years.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COTTER reiterated  that he  does  not believe  the amount  of                                                              
money is the important  issue.  He pointed out that  his group put                                                              
millions  of dollars  in  matching  funds into  infrastructure  in                                                              
their  communities.   That was  money the  state did  not have  to                                                              
spend.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked Mr. Bush what incremental costs for                                                                  
the department are associated with the addition of new CDQs.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1182                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH stated:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I  believe  that  part of  the  reason  this  allocation                                                                   
     formula  was  come up  with  where the  groups,  despite                                                                   
     whatever their  respective allocations are, half  of the                                                                   
     amount  that's  going to  be  charged  is based  upon  a                                                                   
     straight, across  the board, every group  pays one-sixth                                                                   
     of the  half.  The reason  for that was a  recognization                                                                   
     that size of  the group did not necessarily  reflect the                                                                   
     amount  of work  that was  associated  with the  groups.                                                                   
     Small  groups  sometimes  generate   more  work  at  the                                                                   
     administrative  level.    Large   groups  generate  less                                                                   
     sometimes.   New groups generally  are going  to require                                                                   
     more State administrative oversight than older groups.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked what the additional cost would be to                                                                 
the department right now if a new group were added.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUSH  said he does  not believe the  department would  ask for                                                              
increments if  there were a new  group.  The department  is trying                                                              
to  protect existing  administration  and  not lose  GF  on a  new                                                              
program that does not need it.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1297                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DICK TREMAIN, Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association,                                                                       
testified  via teleconference from Anchorage.  His organization                                                                 
is one of the six CDQ groups.  He explained:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     This is a  user fee program...When you institute  a user                                                                   
     fee, at  least in  Anchorage here,  when we institute  a                                                                   
     user fee, as we did last night  for fire inspections, we                                                                   
     don't  go back six  years and  charge everybody for  the                                                                   
     fire inspections  that they had,  we charge them  in the                                                                   
     future.   In fact, we don't  even go back to  January 1,                                                                   
     we're  going forward  when we  begin the  fee charge  on                                                                   
     April  1.    And that's  what  this  CDQ  program  thing                                                                   
     basically is.  There's mandated  state oversight through                                                                   
     federal  law.   We  know  that  there's a  state  budget                                                                   
     crunch.   The CDQ groups  realize that we  are receiving                                                                   
     (indisc.) and that it is right  and just and moral sense                                                                   
     for us  to pay a  user fee and  that's what this  is all                                                                   
     about.   In that sense, any  new group would also  be in                                                                   
     that same position.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I'd point out  that I don't have the pleasure  of having                                                                   
     the amendment in front of me,  but Mr. Cotter said there                                                                   
     are some  word changes  that need to  be made.   I fully                                                                   
     believe that.   It may be that that amendment  speaks to                                                                   
     new  communities  rather than  new  groups.   There  are                                                                   
     communities  that  become eligible  under  federal  law.                                                                   
     These communities  band together by one or  more to form                                                                   
     groups.  The  60 some communities that are  currently in                                                                   
     the program  have formed six  groups.  So, I  would make                                                                   
     sure  that if you  do add  an amendment,  which I  would                                                                   
     recommend against,  but if you do add it,  it would need                                                                   
     to  discuss  groups  and  not   communities.    I  would                                                                   
     recommend  that you move  this out  of committee with  a                                                                   
     recommendation  that  it be  passed  by the  entire  the                                                                   
     House.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1423                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN SAMUELSON, President, Bristol Bay Economic Development                                                                    
Corporation   [BBEDC],    testified   via   teleconference    from                                                              
Dillingham.  He stated:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     My board  has been  very supportive  of paying our  fair                                                                   
     share  to the  State.   We support  HB  334 without  the                                                                   
     amendment,  Mr. Chairman,  and  feel  that there's  been                                                                   
     compromises  by  the  CDQ  groups   in  presenting  this                                                                   
     (indisc.) structure.   As far  as the amended  language,                                                                   
     Mr. Chairman,  in the Senate  the other day,  they voted                                                                   
     on  the   amended  language  before  they   took  public                                                                   
     testimony  which I thought  was kind  of weird and  then                                                                   
     they   took  public   testimony  and   there  was   some                                                                   
     discussion  about  withdrawing  the amendment  and  they                                                                   
     said, "Oh, we've already passed the amendment."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     In prior House committee meetings,  we were able to give                                                                   
     public  testimony and  then  the committee  voted up  or                                                                   
     down  and  they didn't  include  the  amended  language.                                                                   
     Apparently, there's  a three percent fee  structure that                                                                   
     will be  implemented by the  National Marine   Fisheries                                                                   
     Service,  up to three  percent on the  CDQ groups.   The                                                                   
     State   will   get   their    fair   share...for   State                                                                   
     oversight,...but  because of  the budget  cuts that  you                                                                   
     are all  facing down  there in  Juneau, we entered  into                                                                   
     talks with  the State of Alaska  to pay our  fair share.                                                                   
     So, we are  picking up that burden willingly,  and, as I                                                                   
     said,  it's been negotiated  out and  we'll gladly  help                                                                   
     the State out and their budget  shortfalls by paying our                                                                   
     fair share.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1544                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to adopt Amendment 1 [text                                                                  
provided earlier].                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[There was an objection.]                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO said  if there  are CDQ  programs that  are                                                              
allowed  to  join the  program,  they  have  two years  to  become                                                              
established.  He does not think it  is a big deal.  He pointed out                                                              
that the state  has carried the existing CDQ groups.   He believes                                                              
the new  CDQs will be contributing  partners after two  years, and                                                              
will invest  in infrastructure in  their communities just  as much                                                              
as the existing  groups.  It is his opinion that  a two-year grace                                                              
period is totally equitable.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  commented  that  one-seventh  of  $250,000  is                                                              
$36,000.   There  would be  a fiscal  note if  the amendment  were                                                              
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO  clarified that  Mr.  Bush  had said  there                                                              
would not be any additional charges.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  stressed that  there would  not be any  charges                                                              
because  the money  will not be obtained.  He  added, "As a matter                                                              
of fact, excuse me very much, if  they were exempt, then the state                                                              
would lose ... designated program receipts of $36,000."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1636                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS said  he had  objections  along those  same                                                              
lines.  He does not favor giving new groups an advantage.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE  offered a friendly  amendment to  the second                                                              
line  of the  amendment,  adding  "new"  between "from"  and  "CDQ                                                              
groups".                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG asked  if  there were  any  objections.   There                                                              
being none, the amendment to Amendment 1 was adopted                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE explained that  there had been testimony from                                                              
the  department  that   there  is  no  incremental   cost  for  an                                                              
additional person  and, therefore,  there is no  fiscal note.   He                                                              
believes it  is a good  thing if the intent  is to expand  the CDQ                                                              
groups.  But if  the intent is to put exclusivity  into statute to                                                              
forbid  the development  of new groups,  then  he thinks the  bill                                                              
should  be passed  without  the  amendment because  the  amendment                                                              
allows for new groups to participate.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  said he does not think rejecting  the amendment                                                              
creates a  barrier.  The  new group would  simply have to  pay the                                                              
existing fee,  and that would be  ongoing cash flow  straight into                                                              
the department.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BRICE stated  that the  department just  testified                                                              
that that is not the case.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  referred to  the amendment and  stated that                                                              
one of  the previous  testifiers had a  concern with  the language                                                              
"representing  communities not  eligible for  the CDQ program"  in                                                              
reference  to the  CDQ groups.    He believed,  based on  previous                                                              
testimony,  that  communities  were  different than  groups.    He                                                              
wondered if this issue has been addressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO interjected:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Mr. Chair, if  you look at it, it says  ... not eligible                                                                   
     for  CDQ programs,  so that means  everybody outside  of                                                                   
     the  program as  of the  effective  date established  in                                                                   
     Section 6  of this Act,  which is 6/30/2000,  so anybody                                                                   
     who's not  in 6/30/2000,  and is awarded  a CDQ,  or can                                                                   
     form a CDQ group, and join the  program, they would get,                                                                   
     basically,  what I  consider a two-year  incentive.   If                                                                   
     you're  in  already, if  there's  an existing  CDQ  that                                                                   
     wants  to   branch  out,   they're  already  in   before                                                                   
     6/30/2000, so  they wouldn't be eligible.  ... Everybody                                                                   
     in before  6/30/2000 doesn't get the  incentive, doesn't                                                                   
     get the two-year waiver.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Cissna,  Brice,                                                              
Sanders  and Halcro  voted in favor  of Amendment  1, as  amended.                                                              
Representatives Harris and Rokeberg  voted against it.  Therefore,                                                              
Amendment 1 was adopted by a vote of 4-2.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO made  a motion  to move  CSHB 334(CRA),  as                                                              
amended, out of committee with individual  recommendations and the                                                              
attached fiscal  note.   There being  no objection, CSHB  334(L&C)                                                              
moved from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 422-WORKERS' COMPENSATION:DRUGS & ALCOHOL                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  announced the next  order of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE  BILL NO.  422, "An  Act relating  to workers'  compensation                                                              
benefits  for injuries  resulting from consumption  of alcohol  or                                                              
use of drugs; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1924                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  explained that  HB 422  is a housekeeping  bill                                                              
that tightens up definitions in an  existing statute pertaining to                                                              
the effects  of the  consumption of  alcohol or  the use  of drugs                                                              
with  respect  to  making  a  claim  under  workers'  compensation                                                              
benefits.      Under   AS   23.30.080(a),    the   definition   of                                                              
"intoxication"   has  been  replaced   with  "consumption   of  an                                                              
alcoholic beverage".   He referred to  Section 2 of HB  422, which                                                              
relates  to  an  injury  not  being   proximately  caused  by  the                                                              
consumption of  an alcoholic  beverage.  He  commented that  it is                                                              
difficult  to  prove intoxication  and,  therefore,  the  language                                                              
needed  to be changed.   In  addition,  in Sections  2 and 3,  the                                                              
language  "employee's  use"  replaces "employee  being  under  the                                                              
influence" of  drugs.   He said this  bill ratifies the  zero-drug                                                              
policy that has been discussed.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I can see a situation where  you're going to be required                                                                   
     to show  up on  the job, maybe  not a construction  job,                                                                   
     any type of job, under, say,  the influence of Percodan,                                                                   
     and  you've   had  your  wisdom  teeth,   or  something,                                                                   
     pulled...                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said  that type of situation is  not included in                                                              
the bill.   The  bill pertains  to controlled  substances and  not                                                              
those that are prescribed by a physician.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO pointed out  that page  2, line  23, states                                                              
"unless  the drugs  were  taken as  prescribed  by the  employee's                                                              
physician".                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2123                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  GROSSI,   Director,  Division   of  Workers'   Compensation,                                                              
Department  of Labor and  Workforce Development,  came forward  to                                                              
testify on  HB 422.   He said the  department does not  oppose the                                                              
bill because it cleans up the current language.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said the issue  should not be whether or not the                                                              
person is  intoxicated.   The issue should  be whether or  not the                                                              
person  is drinking  or  using  drugs at  the  time  an injury  is                                                              
claimed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO  made  a  motion  to move  HB  422  out  of                                                              
committee with  individual recommendation and the  attached fiscal                                                              
note.   There  being no  objection, HB  422 moved  from the  House                                                              
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 419-WORKERS' COMPENSATION                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  announced the next  order of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE  BILL NO.  419,  "An  Act relating  to  the weekly  rate  of                                                              
compensation  and  minimum  and  maximum  compensation  rates  for                                                              
workers'  compensation;   specifying  components  of   a  workers'                                                              
compensation  reemployment plan;  adjusting workers'  compensation                                                              
benefits  for  permanent  partial   impairment,  for  reemployment                                                              
plans,  for rehabilitation  benefits,  for  widows, widowers,  and                                                              
orphans, and for funerals; relating  to permanent total disability                                                              
of  an employee  receiving  rehabilitation  benefits; relating  to                                                              
calculation  of gross  weekly earnings  for workers'  compensation                                                              
benefits for seasonal  and temporary workers and  for workers with                                                              
overtime  or premium  pay; setting  time limits  for requesting  a                                                              
hearing  on claims  for  workers'  compensation,  for selecting  a                                                              
rehabilitation  specialist,  and  for payment  of  medical  bills;                                                              
relating to termination and to waiver  of rehabilitation benefits,                                                              
obtaining  medical  releases,  and  resolving  discovery  disputes                                                              
relating to  workers' compensation;  setting an interest  rate for                                                              
late  payments of  workers' compensation;  providing for  updating                                                              
the workers' compensation medical  fee schedule; and providing for                                                              
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HALCRO   made  of  motion  to  adopt   a  proposed                                                              
committee  substitute  (CS) for  HB  419, Version  G  [1-LS1418\G,                                                              
Ford, 3/7/00]  as a working draft.   There being no  objection, it                                                              
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[Chairman  Rokeberg  handed  the   gavel  over  to  Vice  Chairman                                                              
Halcro.]                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2275                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  GROSSI,   Director,  Division   of  Workers'   Compensation,                                                              
Department of  Labor, came forward  to testify on HB  419, Version                                                              
G.  He commented  that the department supports the  bill.  He said                                                              
it is a  compromise bill that was  agreed upon by the  AFL-CIO and                                                              
members  of   the  WCAA  [Workers'  Compensation   Association  of                                                              
Alaska].  He explained that the bill  provides needed increases in                                                              
benefits  for injured  employees.   It has  been approximately  12                                                              
years since there have been any increases  in benefits.  Version G                                                              
provides for an increase in permanent-partial  impairment benefits                                                              
from $135,000  to $177,000.   There would  also be an  increase in                                                              
both  the minimum  and  maximum compensation  rates.   The  amount                                                              
available  for  retraining  would  be increased  from  $10,000  to                                                              
$13,300.  Widows'  and orphans' benefits are also  increased.  The                                                              
calculation   for   overtime   payment   is   included   for   the                                                              
determination of a compensation rate.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI  continued.    Version G  provides  for  seasonal  and                                                              
temporary workers'  compensation to be calculated on  wages at the                                                              
time of injury.   Compensation to be repaid  during rehabilitation                                                              
would be  at 70 percent  of the expendable  wage as opposed  to 60                                                              
percent.   There are also a  few provisions for employers.   These                                                              
provisions  help expedite  the  reemployment  benefits process  as                                                              
well  as  clarifying some  of  the  benefits  and issues  in  that                                                              
process.   Included  is a  simple  method for  employees to  waive                                                              
retraining  benefits any time  during the  process.  It  increases                                                              
the  time  for  employees  to give  notice  to  employers  of  the                                                              
election of a benefit from 10 days to 15 days.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  continued.   Version G also  provides for  benefits to                                                              
cease  if  there  is  a failure  to  provide  that  notice.    The                                                              
provisions clarify  that permanent total disabilities  are not due                                                              
while a person  is in the  retraining process.  They  also require                                                              
that if a permanent partial impairment  is paid in a lump sum then                                                              
the employer will obtain a credit  for those benefits paid.  A two                                                              
year statute  of limitations  is established  on the  reemployment                                                              
claims.   There  is a  two-year time  line  for the  request of  a                                                              
hearing on  a claim.   The time  line for  the payment  of medical                                                              
bills  is increased  from 14  days  to 30  days.   It changes  the                                                              
interest  rate to the  court rate,  which is  2 percent  above the                                                              
prime, and establishes  a simple summary process  for employees to                                                              
obtain reasonable medical releases.  He further stated:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I don't know whether this is  an employer or an employee                                                                   
     issue,  but it  provides  for an  annual  update of  the                                                                   
     usual   customary  reasonable   fee   schedule.     This                                                                   
     determines the  amount that's paid for  medical benefits                                                                   
     on each type of treatment and,  right now, there's not a                                                                   
     specific requirement  for that to be updated  yearly, it                                                                   
     will be under this amendment.  ... In this bill, there's                                                                   
     something for  both sides.   There's also something  for                                                                   
     both sides to be against ...  [ends midspeech because of                                                                   
     tape change].                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-28, SIDE B                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     ...diverging  interests and  it was  an agreement  among                                                                   
     other  employers and the  employees...I did  include...a                                                                   
     side-by-side sectional  [analysis] and it says  what the                                                                   
     bill  does and  what  the current  law  does.   I  would                                                                   
     suggest  that you look  at that because  it is a  pretty                                                                   
     good analysis of what this bill does.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0035                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS referred to  page 3, line 30, of Version G,                                                              
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     (7)    the  estimated  time   of  medical  stability  as                                                                   
     predicted by a treating physician  or by a physician who                                                               
     has  examined  the  employee   at  the  request  of  the                                                               
     employer or  the board, or  by referral of  the treating                                                           
     physician;                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He said it seems convoluted and asked who makes the decision.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI answered  that  it could  be any  of  those which  are                                                              
listed that make the prediction.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS  wondered what happens if all  of them make                                                              
a different prediction.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  said if that occurred,  the division would  handle it.                                                              
He explained:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  reason  for  this  is, if  a  physician  makes  the                                                                   
     prediction,  currently only  the treating physician  can                                                                   
     make  that  prediction.    And so  if  there  are  other                                                                   
     physicians  that examine,...  you'd have  to go back  to                                                                   
     the treating  [physician].... If  any doctor makes  that                                                                   
     prediction, then you can start  into the process.  There                                                                   
     has  to  be  a  prediction   that  there's  a  permanent                                                                   
     impairment  that precludes you  from going back  to your                                                                   
     job  (indisc.).                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS  asked if Mr.  Grossi would have  a problem                                                              
with an amendment  that said "at  the request of the  employer and                                                              
the  board".     He  is   concerned  with  an   employer  becoming                                                              
inappropriately involved.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  replied that he would  like a little time  to consider                                                              
that amendment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0124                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIRMAN HALCRO asked Mr. Grossi  whether, in his capacity as                                                              
an administrator,  he feels  this is  the fairest compromise  that                                                              
could have been reached.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI said  he believes it is the best that  could be reached                                                              
under the  current climate.  He  pointed out that  arguments could                                                              
be made  both ways  depending on  the perspective.   He  suggested                                                              
that those  types of  questions be deferred  to the Alaska  Labor-                                                              
Management Ad Hoc Committee on Workers' Compensation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIRMAN HALCRO stated:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Last week I  think we had a ... workers'  comp[ensation]                                                                   
     bill,    and   the   testimony    was   that    workers'                                                                   
     comp[ensation] rates  have actually gone down  or stayed                                                                   
     pretty level,  so you're talking about  employers taking                                                                   
     a  7  or 8  percent  hit,  but, as  competitive  as  the                                                                   
     workers' comp[ensation] insurance  market is, it's still                                                                   
     going to be  okay.  You're not going to  have people out                                                                   
     there falling off the wagon.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI  said  that  is correct.    Since  1989  the  workers'                                                              
compensation  premium  rate  has  decreased  by  approximately  40                                                              
percent.   This would probably  add an  additional 7 to  9 percent                                                              
premium  cost.     He  said   he  thinks  workers'   compensation,                                                              
considered in its  entirety, is still a pretty  good deal compared                                                              
to the way it was in 1988.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0217                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WILLIE VAN  HEMERT, Owner,  CRW Engineering  Group, and  Co-chair,                                                              
Alaska   Labor-Management    Ad   Hoc   Committee    on   Workers'                                                              
Compensation,  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage.   He                                                              
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  not an  expert on  workers' comp[ensation].   As  a                                                                   
     matter  of fact,  I probably  know  more about  workers'                                                                   
     comp[ensation] now than I ever  wanted to know.  But I'd                                                                   
     like to tell you a couple of  things about the, first of                                                                   
     all,  about  the  WCCA  as   a  management  group...WCCA                                                                   
     supports this  bill.  I think  Mr. Grossi said it  was a                                                                   
     compromise  bill.    It resolves,  from  the  management                                                                   
     point of view, or the employers'  side, it resolves some                                                                   
     potential litigation  issues.   I think it also  brought                                                                   
     some  reasonable  time frames  to keep  lingering  cases                                                                   
     from extending on.  We thought that was important.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     From  the   benefits  side   for  the  injured   worker,                                                                   
     ironically,  we  made increases  in  almost  all of  the                                                                   
     areas that  were identified  by the audit.   We  did not                                                                   
     have  that  audit  [Department of  Labor  and  Workforce                                                                   
     Development,  Division of  Workers' Compensation,  Audit                                                                   
     Report  by the  Division of  Legislative Audit,  October                                                                   
     31,  1999] information  until actually,  I think it  was                                                                   
     released  just a couple  of days  ago, but it  addressed                                                                   
     increases  in PPI  [Permanent  Parted  Impairment].   It                                                                   
     identified  increases in the  death benefit and  also it                                                                   
     increased the maximum wage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0279                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I'd  also like  to talk  to you  just a  little bit  ...                                                                   
     about  the process as  to how  we got  to some of  these                                                                   
     increases.   A couple things  that we looked at  was the                                                                   
     Consumer  Price  Index  [CPI],  which I  know  has  been                                                                   
     referred  to  in the  audit.    We  also looked  at  the                                                                   
     average  weekly wage  of employees  in  Alaska.   That's                                                                   
     gone up  about 20  percent during that  time frame.   We                                                                   
     also looked at what other states  have and what we ended                                                                   
     up  using as  our  guideline,  is we  added  up all  the                                                                   
     increases, the percentage increases,  that was available                                                                   
     in the  way of data between  1988 and 1998 which  was 31                                                                   
     percent  approximately.   That  was  the guide  that  we                                                                   
     used.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Now, the benefits  that you see in the revised  bill, to                                                                   
     give you an example or put that  in perspective of other                                                                   
     states, the maximum weekly wage,  I think there are only                                                                   
     four  states that  have a  higher  maximum weekly  wage,                                                                   
     once this  bill is put into  place.  The PPI I  think is                                                                   
     in the  top 25 percent.   I think it's even  higher than                                                                   
     that,  but PPI  is  calculated in  different  ways in  a                                                                   
     number of  states.  The  death benefits is  probably the                                                                   
     highest of any state just because  we've gone back up to                                                                   
     the full  benefit for the death  benefit.  Most  of them                                                                   
     are in  the 66 to  80 percent range.   So, we  feel good                                                                   
     about  the numbers that  we utilized.   That just  gives                                                                   
     you a little basis for where they came from.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0350                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We're very much in support of  the committee substitute.                                                                   
     We only have one comment and  that is, I think it may be                                                                   
     an oversight, but  this is on page 9, section  16 at the                                                                   
     bottom of  the page,  line 29, we  need a definition  of                                                                   
     "average  weekly wage"  and what we  had recommended  be                                                                   
     included  there, which is  also on  the Senate bill,  it                                                                   
     would...[mean] that the average  annual wage is computed                                                                   
     by    the   Department    of    Labor   and    Workforce                                                                   
     Development.... This also puts  the maximum wage with an                                                                   
     index of the average weekly  wage that's computed by the                                                                   
     Department  of Labor,  that  number will  adjust  itself                                                                   
     annually.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     I  want  to  talk real  briefly  about  the  comment  by                                                                   
     Representative  Sanders that  was made from  page 3.   I                                                                   
     think that was  very worthwhile noting that  and I would                                                                   
     be  concerned, too,  even as  an employer.   The  thing,                                                                   
     however, that  this only refers to is the  completion of                                                                   
     the reemployment plan a rehabilitation  specialist.  And                                                                   
     the  reason that  was  added is  because  often times  a                                                                   
     treating physician  is not willing for  whatever reason,                                                                   
     just by the way he operates,...[to  give] information on                                                                   
     medical stability until maybe  a year later or two years                                                                   
     later.    That prevents  the  vocational  rehabilitation                                                                   
     specialist from  completing the plan for  the voc-rehab.                                                                   
     And  it's kind  of one  of these  real vicious  circles.                                                                   
     This has  nothing to  do with  any other benefits,  it's                                                                   
     just  for the   completion of  the plan.   If you  can't                                                                   
     complete  the  plan, then  there's  a fine  because  the                                                                   
     plan's not completed in time  and it kind of keeps going                                                                   
     around and around, but it only  refers to the vocational                                                                   
     rehabilitation plan itself.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0443                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIRMAN  HALCRO pointed out  that the reason  the definition                                                              
for an  average annual  wage calculation  is not included  because                                                              
the bill drafter felt it would be  redundant.  He referred to page                                                              
9,  lines 25  through 27,  of Version  G.   He  explained that  it                                                              
specifies  how  the commissioner  determines  the  average  weekly                                                              
wage.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN HEMERT said:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I see what  you're saying, too.  It's just  that there's                                                                   
     an annual  wage that's calculated.   I don't know.   Not                                                                   
     everyone  views that  as being done  by the  department,                                                                   
     but we'll leave that to your discretion at this time.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0483                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARY SHIELDS,  Member, Workers' Compensation Committee  of Alaska,                                                              
testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage.   She said,  as the                                                              
manager for  Northwest Technical  Services, that  she has  had the                                                              
opportunity to  watch claims come  and go.   She also sits  on the                                                              
Denali Safety  Council, as well,  and has had several  discussions                                                              
on  how claims  are  handled.   One  concern revolves  around  the                                                              
lengthy  amount of  time  spent trying  to  resolve  issues.   She                                                              
explained:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     One   of  the   reasons   that  management,   in   their                                                                   
     negotiations  with   Labor  [Department  of   Labor  and                                                                   
     Workforce   Development],  accented  those   resolutions                                                                   
     including   the  changes  in   getting  the   vocational                                                                   
     rehabilitation  program moving  forward  and getting  it                                                                   
     completed  and  getting  it  done, is  because  we  were                                                                   
     ending  up  with   claims  going  on  and   on  with  no                                                                   
     resolution.   That's  detrimental to  both the  employer                                                                   
     and  the  employee,  and  by  tightening  that  down  by                                                                   
     setting  absolutes,  and  this   is  why  we  were  very                                                                   
     concerned  about the  intent language  and very  pleased                                                                   
     with it.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     By setting absolutes  and making it very,  very clear to                                                                   
     the courts  and to  the board that  this it really  what                                                                   
     you all  need, we feel that  we can change some  of that                                                                   
     and get  some of that  locked back  into place.   As you                                                                   
     know,  anytime  you  work  a  compromised  bill  you  go                                                                   
     through, you have  a whole bunch of things  come in, you                                                                   
     throw a  whole  bunch  of things  out before you  get to                                                                   
     the final  resolve.  I  believe we're both  pleased with                                                                   
     this.   Labor did recognize  the fact that they  are not                                                                   
     just   representing   AFL-CIO,   but  they   were   also                                                                   
     representing  the balance  of the  employees in  Alaska,                                                                   
     and  they  took  that  as their  charge.    So,  yes,  I                                                                   
     strongly  support  the  bill   as  presented  with  this                                                                   
     amendment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0573                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GENEVA HULSEY testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  She                                                                 
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I am  an injured worker.   I urge you, in  the strongest                                                                   
     terms,  to reject  HB 419 because  it appears  to be  to                                                                   
     favor  insurance  companies   and  discriminate  against                                                                   
     workers  at  the same  time.    I endorse  the  findings                                                                   
     recently released by the Division  of Legislative Audit,                                                                   
     which highlights  the many shortcomings of  the workers'                                                                   
     compensation  process.   These  are the  kind of  things                                                                   
     that  need to be  implemented  in HB 419,  not the  ones                                                                   
     that are currently  in the bill.  The system  is already                                                                   
     extremely  difficult to  deal with  and injured  workers                                                                   
     don't  need   additional  restrictions   or     cuts  in                                                                   
     benefits.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     For example, there has been  no cost of living allowance                                                                   
     for  many years.   Please  read the  full audit  report.                                                                   
     One in  eight [who] work in  Alaska will be  affected by                                                                   
     the legislation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I am forwarding  to you a summary of high  points in the                                                                   
     audit report, as well as a letter  from attorney Michael                                                                   
     Jensen [letter dated February  18, 2000, included in the                                                                   
     bill packet],  who points out some of  the legislation's                                                                   
     shortcomings.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     A  copy  of  the  report is  available  on  the  web  at                                                                   
     http//www.legislative.state.alaska.us/legaud/web/pages/                                                                    
     digests/2000/4601dig.htm  or  from [Legislative]  Budget                                                                   
     and Audit.  Thank you for the  opportunity for having me                                                                   
     testify  today,  and  I  hope  you  will  implement  the                                                                   
     recommendations of  Budget and Audit Report  by amending                                                                   
     the legislation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0676                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[Representative Rokeberg resumed chairing the committee.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JUDY PETERSON, Northwest Technical Services, and, Member,                                                                       
Workers' Compensation Committee of Alaska, testified via                                                                        
teleconference from Anchorage.  She commented:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     I  have  overseen  workers'  compensation  at  Northwest                                                                   
     Technical for the  last 15 years, but I have  never been                                                                   
     actively  involved in  a process  like the  one we  went                                                                   
     through  on the committee  [Ad Hoc  Committee].  We  met                                                                   
     for several  months, at least  once a week,  and towards                                                                   
     the end, more  than that.  I think that we  came up with                                                                   
     a proposal, with the agreement  of management and Labor,                                                                   
     that increases  the benefits  for the employees  because                                                                   
     they  certainly haven't  had  very many  of those  since                                                                   
     '88, but it  also contains the cost for us  as employers                                                                   
     because our costs have been  reduced which was the whole                                                                   
     point  of the '88  bill.   I personally  support it  [HB
     419] and it's supported by the WCCA.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Ms. Peterson is the proprietor of a                                                                  
business.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. PETERSON indicated she is the personal administrator for                                                                    
Northwest Technical Services.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0759                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  DOUGHERTY,   Co-Chair,  Alaska   Labor-Management   Ad  Hoc                                                              
Committee on Workers' Compensation,  came forward to testify on HB
419,  Version G.   He  also works  for the  Alaska State  District                                                              
Council  of Laborers.   He  explained  that the  committee met  in                                                              
order to resolve a number of workers'  compensation issues.  After                                                              
working on  HB 419 for several  months, the committee  unanimously                                                              
agrees with  the content  of the bill  as well  as Version G.   He                                                              
said it does represent  a balanced bill, but does  not have all of                                                              
the issues for everyone.  He thinks  it represents a positive move                                                              
forward for both the management and the employees.  He said:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     From  the  employees'  side,  we had  benefits  that  we                                                                   
     wanted to increase for widows  and dependent children in                                                                   
     the  event of a  death.   For injured  workers, we  were                                                                   
     able to get  the combined agreement from  the management                                                                   
     reps  for  the employers  in  this  state to  make  some                                                                   
     appreciable benefit  increases that would  benefit those                                                                   
     injured  workers, but  yet, within  the confines of  the                                                                   
     affordability,  that the employers  at the table  voiced                                                                   
     quite well for us. ...                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We worked hard on the bill.   We appreciate your support                                                                   
     for  the bill.   We  would like  to get  this done  with                                                                   
     respect  to something  positive  to get  done this  year                                                                   
     that   will  address   both   management  concerns   and                                                                   
     litigation ... but also try  to get some of the benefits                                                                   
     improved since we haven't addressed those since 1988.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0900                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS  asked if Mr.  Dougherty has an  opinion on                                                              
his suggested amendment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY agreed with the testimony  by Mr. Van Hemert for two                                                              
reasons.  He commented:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I honor  the employer's  issues and  have to stick  with                                                                   
     that  and they  likewise  do the  same  thing for  them.                                                                   
     This issue  was one that the  employers came to  us with                                                                   
     in  the current  language, Representative  Sanders,  and                                                                   
     that   current  language   was   to   assure  that   the                                                                   
     voc[ational]  rehab[ilitation]  plans  didn't  just  get                                                                   
     hung up  because sometimes the  doctors don't  get their                                                                   
     paperwork done.  .. and they can't get  the voc[ational]                                                                   
     rehab[ilitation] plan to go  forward until they get that                                                                   
     medical stability paperwork.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     So, if  that doctor's  not available  or doesn't do  the                                                                   
     paperwork or  they're out of  town, we have a  fall back                                                                   
     to  go  to  number  2, which  would  be  the  employer's                                                                   
     physician ...  or, third, the board's physician.  ... We                                                                   
     wouldn't  want to  drop the  ability to  have a  back-up                                                                   
     with  the employer  and the  board.  I  don't think  the                                                                   
     employers would agree, and I would stand with them.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS  said, "So, there's a sequence  to it, it's                                                              
not an arbitrary, we're going to pick one of them?"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY said he believes there  is a sequence.  He suggested                                                              
that it may  be worthwhile to confer  with Mr. Van Hemert  on that                                                              
subject.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1010                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VALERIE BUFFONE, Member, Alaska Workers'  Compensation Board, came                                                              
forward to testify in favor of HB  419, Version G.  She thinks the                                                              
bill  represents the  areas of  concern from  both management  and                                                              
injured workers  that she  has heard  through the public  hearings                                                              
the Board has  held.  It is her  opinion the bill goes  a long way                                                              
towards  addressing some  of the  areas with  shortcomings in  the                                                              
current workers' compensation statute.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. HULSEY wondered  if the committee took into  consideration the                                                              
audit report before drafting HB 419.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered, "We're  just about to put the Director                                                              
of Workers' Compensation on the audit hot seat here?"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HULSEY asked,  "Did you  say you're  just about  to, but  you                                                              
haven't looked into?"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  responded  that  is  not entirely  true.    He                                                              
explained the bill was drafted with  the audit report in mind.  He                                                              
said the  committee will be  taking those issues  up specifically.                                                              
He added:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The bill came  from the ad hoc committee,  but the final                                                                   
     report  on the audit  was not  received until after  the                                                                   
     bill was drafted.  That's why  we're not moving the bill                                                                   
     today...                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He  asked  Mr.  Grossi  to  explain  Recommendation  1  [page  41,                                                              
Legislative Budget and Audit Report].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1163                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI explained that Recommendation 1 pertains to the                                                                      
development of a strategic plan and the elimination of a manual                                                                 
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN   ROKEBERG   wondered    if   the   issues   are   mostly                                                              
administrative.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI affirmed this.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested moving on to Recommendation 2.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI commented that fixed benefit amounts have not kept                                                                   
pace with inflation and cost of living.  He said:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     That is one of the areas that  is being addressed...with                                                                   
     raising the  permanent partial impairment  benefits, the                                                                   
     reemployment benefits  level, the widows'  benefits, the                                                                   
     maximum  compensation rate,  minimum compensation  rate.                                                                   
     It  even has  an  indexing element  to  the maximum  and                                                                   
     minimum compensation rates in  that it's adjusted to the                                                                   
     Alaska average  weekly wage.   I will say this,  in here                                                                   
     they  have   $135,000 would  equal  $189[,662] and  this                                                                   
     bill, for  permanent partial impairment,  it's $177,000,                                                                   
     but  I  believe...they  use  the Anchorage  CPI  as  the                                                                   
     number  to  adjust  the  permanent  partial  impairment.                                                                   
     There's  probably other economic  indicators that  [are]                                                                   
     calculated  differently...Second  section, overtime  and                                                                   
     premium  pay   is  excluded  in  the   determination  of                                                                   
     spendable  weekly wage.   Well,  this  is including  the                                                                   
     overtime and premium pay.  It's in there.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if this issue is controversial in Alaska.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI affirmed that.  He explained:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I think  it was controversial  both ways.  I  don't know                                                                   
     that employers  necessarily wanted  to back in  because,                                                                   
     of  course,  that  could  increase  the  benefit  level.                                                                   
     Employees felt  that it was unfair because  their pay is                                                                   
     based on; a lot of them work  regular overtime and their                                                                   
     pays are based on that.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered, "But this puts that back in?"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI replied that it does.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the rationale  is, because Alaska has a                                                              
large number of  seasonal workers that rely on overtime  to make a                                                              
yearly living wage.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI answered  yes.   He  pointed  out  there are  seasonal                                                              
workers, construction  workers and workers on the  North Slope who                                                              
regularly work overtime.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG wondered  if Mr.  Grossi is  familiar with  the                                                              
Anchorage Police  Department who get  paid for "overtime  and then                                                              
they  get paid  for more  overtime".   He  said, "Apparently  they                                                              
didn't  catch  the change  in  the Wage  and  Hour  Act that  this                                                              
committee  sponsored and  passed last  year."   He indicated  some                                                              
concerns  have  been expressed  that  by including  overtime  this                                                              
would   not  necessarily   be  fair.     He   asked,  "From   your                                                              
understanding, is there any balance  made here on this issue about                                                              
inclusion of this [overtime] or not?"                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI asked, "Balance in the sense of ...?"                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG said he  means a  balance in  the sense  of the                                                              
"whole package".  He stated, "I mean  we have the delicate balance                                                              
here of the  ad hoc committee.   So, is there any  trade-offs made                                                              
because of that?"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  explained that one trade-off  is that the  employee is                                                              
not  entitled to  collect permanent  total  disability during  the                                                              
reemployment process.   There is also a section  which states that                                                              
if an employee is paid a lump sum  of permanent partial impairment                                                              
benefits  prior to becoming  eligible for  reemployment,  then the                                                              
employer is entitled to a credit for that period of time.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY  referred to  a letter date  February 1,  2000, from                                                              
the  Alaska   Labor-Management  Ad   Hoc  Committee   on  Workers'                                                              
Compensation [included  in the bill packet].   The letter provides                                                              
a comparison of management versus labor issues in HB 419.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG said  Mr. Grossi  has  provided a  side-by-side                                                              
analysis of the old bill versus the  new bill.  He indicated it is                                                              
important  to understand  the  perspective on  both  sides of  the                                                              
bargaining unit.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY agreed.  He explained  that management had some good                                                              
points for  streamlining and  addressing litigation  problems that                                                              
were costing  them money.   The  ad hoc  committee agreed  to work                                                              
with management  because  it would  keep attorney  fees down.   He                                                              
referred to the  comparison of issues in the letter  and said that                                                              
medical bill  payments will be made  within 30 days as  opposed to                                                              
14  days.   This allows  more deliberation  on whether  or not  an                                                              
employer  will  controvert  a  medical  bill.   There  is  also  a                                                              
clarification  of  time  limits  for bringing  a  claim  under  AS                                                              
23.30.110(c).    He noted  there  were some  unanswered  questions                                                              
under the current  law in this section.  HB 419,  Version G, gives                                                              
some definition to  this so that both management  and labor have a                                                              
time limitation.  He stated:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The interest  rate will  be the same  one which  is used                                                                   
     for other  administrative bodies in the state  which is,                                                                   
     I  guess, two percent  above  the prime.   So, that's  a                                                                   
     concession  that the  employers requested  so that  they                                                                   
     weren't  paying higher  than  other parties  in a  case.                                                                   
     There  was a  need  by employers  to  have  a system  of                                                                   
     assuring they got the medical  releases so that they can                                                                   
     defend their cases.  So, for  example, an employer needs                                                                   
     to  know the  medical status  in relation  to work  comp                                                                   
     claim to  find out whether  or not it's work-related  or                                                                   
     not.    There's always  been  a  system in  place  under                                                                   
     section 107 of the act [AS 23.30.107].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     There's  always been  a system where  employees have  to                                                                   
     provide that  document to release  to the employer,  but                                                                   
     yet there  were "teeth"  in that  requirement.  So,  the                                                                   
     law  said you  had to  require  it, provide  it, but  it                                                                   
     didn't say what  would happen if you didn't.   We have a                                                                   
     system with  full notice to  the employees and  a system                                                                   
     to  oppose, if  the release  is too broad  and it's  not                                                                   
     fair,  there's a  system to  go to the  board and  argue                                                                   
     about  that,  but  if it's  reasonable  to  suspend  the                                                                   
     benefits until  somebody finally signs that  release, if                                                                   
     they  need  that  information.     In  the  voc[ational]                                                                   
     rehab[ilitation]  process,  most  of  what  we  did  was                                                                   
     update  some of the  benefits and  increase the  stipend                                                                   
     that  was paid.   But there  are a  couple items,  again                                                                   
     employers came to us with that  were reasonable and fair                                                                   
     and that we agreed with.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG said,  "You  kind  of looked  at  this kind  of                                                              
holistically when I asked about what  was the benefit of the trade                                                              
off  between this  one provision.   So,  you looked  at the  whole                                                              
bargain as a whole."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY said that is fair to say.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked who the other  co-chair was for the ad hoc                                                              
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOUGHERTY replied that it was Mr. Van Hemert.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1844                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  asked Mr.  Van Hemert  to address the  overtime                                                              
premium pay exclusion provisions.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN HEMERT  agreed with Mr. Dougherty's analysis  of the issue                                                              
as  being  holistic.    He  said  the  overtime  issue  is  indeed                                                              
controversial on both sides.  He stated:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I think  where the  discrepancies came  in is for  slope                                                                   
     [North Slope]  workers who regularly were  paid overtime                                                                   
     and yet that  time was only calculated as  regular time,                                                                   
     and, yet, their whole basis  of whether they were a week                                                                   
     on, week off, or two on, two  off, was really predicated                                                                   
     on them getting  overtime pay.  So, for them,  this is a                                                                   
     much more fair proposition.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Some of  the employers are  opposed to this,  obviously,                                                                   
     because  maybe   they  have   someone  who  is   in  the                                                                   
     relatively short  time frame, has a peak  experience, we                                                                   
     look back at the last 13 weeks  of earnings to determine                                                                   
     the average weekly wage for  that individual.  So, there                                                                   
     can  be some  discrepancies.   As  far  as seasonal  and                                                                   
     temporary  workers, by definition,  overtime is  already                                                                   
     included in  their determination because we  have a one-                                                                   
     year look back  period for seasonal and temporary  so it                                                                   
     has no impact on them.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1942                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The formula  is for a 13-week "lookback"  now, including                                                                   
     the overtime,  and that's the  issue, unless they  are a                                                                   
     seasonal worker,  then you look  at the whole year.   Is                                                                   
     that kind of the simplistic break down of it?                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  answered  that it is  a little  more complicated,  but                                                              
that is basically it.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG referred  back to Recommendation  1 because  he                                                              
does not entirely understand the  formulation.  He asked, "We made                                                              
a percentage  differential  here, would  be to  increase it  from,                                                              
what, 60 percent to 70 percent?"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI said yes.  This refers to the weekly payments that are                                                               
made to an employee during a reemployment benefits plan.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered, "Which is the typical claimant, isn't                                                               
it?"                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI said he was unsure about delving into that.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that he would like Mr. Grossi to.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI explained:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     You're injured,  and you have medical benefits  and also                                                                   
     if  you're disabled,  you're entitled  to what's  called                                                                   
     temporary  total  disability benefits,  it's  sort of  a                                                                   
     wage  loss  benefit,  and  that's   80  percent  of  the                                                                   
     spendable  weekly wage.   It's  calculated on  basically                                                                   
     what Norm  [Chairman Rokeberg] was talking  about on the                                                                   
     13  weeks.   You  receive that  up  until  the time  you                                                                   
     become medically stable.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Once  you become  medically  stable, one  of two  things                                                                   
     happen, you can receive a permanent  partial impairment;                                                                   
     well,  if you're medical  stable and  you're able  to go                                                                   
     back  to work  and you  don't have  a permanent  partial                                                                   
     impairment,  you're basically just  released to  go back                                                                   
     to work and  compensation stops.  But if  you're injured                                                                   
     and you  are permanently impaired,  you're unable  to go                                                                   
     back  to work --  let's start  with permanent  impaired.                                                                   
     You're permanently impaired,  you might be entitled to a                                                                   
     permanent   partial   impairment...say    you   have   a                                                                   
     disability  and  it  causes   10  percent  whole  person                                                                   
     disability, then that 10 percent  becomes the multiplier                                                                   
     on, right  now it's  $135,000, as  proposed it would  be                                                                   
     $177,000, so, you'd be entitled  to $17,000 in permanent                                                                   
     partial impairment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     If  you're  unable  to  return  to  work  and  you  need                                                                   
     retraining,  you may  be entitled  to this  reemployment                                                                   
     benefit program  which gives you the $10,000  right now,                                                                   
     but  $13,300,  in  the  proposed   bill,  of  retraining                                                                   
     benefits.    If  you  need  that,  then  your  permanent                                                                   
     partial  impairment  benefits  are paid  out  in  weekly                                                                   
     increments  at your temporary  total disability  rate or                                                                   
     80 percent  of the  spendable.  If  that runs out,  then                                                                   
     you're  entitled  to,  right  now, 60  percent  of  your                                                                   
     spendable weekly wage,...                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG interjected and  asked if there is a cap for the                                                              
payout.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI replied, "It's for two years."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG  commented, "We're making ten grand  a week, but                                                              
you're limited  to how much  you can get.   Is there a  ceiling on                                                              
the thing?"                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  responded  that there  is not, with  respect to  total                                                              
benefits.  A  person can only receive the benefits  for two years.                                                              
He stated, "The  60 percent of the spendable or the  70 percent as                                                              
proposed."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2266                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
An unidentified speaker interjected and explained:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     There is  a cap on that  weekly wage, however,  that you                                                                   
     get   reimbursed,...  approximately   $700,  and   we're                                                                   
     proposing that  that would be  based on an index  of 120                                                                   
     percent of the average weekly wage.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  apologized and  said he  did not initially  understand                                                              
the question.  He said:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     You're asking  if there's a cap on your  temporary total                                                                   
     disability  or  your various  compensation  rates,  and,                                                                   
     yes, there  is.  Currently it's  $700.  It will  move to                                                                   
     122 percent  of the average  weekly wage ...  every year                                                                   
     that'll be recalculated.  ... I think you  were going to                                                                   
     ask this  question:  how much  does that mean?  ... It's                                                                   
     approximately $780.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested that  Mr. Grossi provide the committee                                                              
with the dollar formula at the next meeting.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSSI said  he believes  the  average weekly  wage is  $644.                                                              
This number is multiplied by 120.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  ROKEBERG  wondered,  "You   have  a  1.2  integer  on  a                                                              
multiplier,  so  you're  paying   20  percent  over  what  they're                                                              
making?"                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSSI  replied no and  stated that  it is simply  an average.                                                              
He said the  average weekly wage  is every wage and salary  in the                                                              
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[HB 419 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2436                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, Chairman                                                                  
Rokeberg adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                        
Committee meeting at 5:02 p.m.                                                                                                  

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