Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

04/20/2005 08:30 AM RULES


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 123 OCCUPATIONS: FEES & EXTENSION OF BOARDS
Moved CSHB 123(RLS) Out of Committee
HB 98 NONUNION PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARY & BENEFIT
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 121 SERVICE AREAS IN SECOND CLASS BOROUGHS
Moved CSHB 121(2d RLS) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                 HOUSE RULES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                               
                         April 20, 2005                                                                                         
                           8:39 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chair                                                                                           
Representative John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                    
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                                  
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 123                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to occupational  licensing fees  and receipts;                                                               
extending  the termination  dates of  the Boards  of Barbers  and                                                               
Hairdressers,  Social  Work   Examiners,  Pharmacy,  Professional                                                               
Counselors, Psychologist  and Psychological  Associate Examiners,                                                               
and Veterinary  Examiners; relating  to an exemption  that allows                                                               
one bill to  continue more than one board,  commission, or agency                                                               
program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 123(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 121                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to consolidating or  abolishing certain service                                                               
areas in second class boroughs."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 121(2d RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 98                                                                                                               
"An  Act   relating  to  the   compensation  of   certain  public                                                               
officials,  officers, and  employees  not  covered by  collective                                                               
bargaining agreements; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 123                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OCCUPATIONS: FEES & EXTENSION OF BOARDS                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/02/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/02/05       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/07/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/07/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 123(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/07/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/09/05       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C)  6DP                                                                                   
02/09/05       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, LYNN, LEDOUX, GUTTENBERG,                                                                
                         ROKEBERG, ANDERSON                                                                                     
04/01/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/01/05       (H)       <Bill   Hearing   Postponed   to   Thurs                                                               
                         4/7/05>                                                                                                
04/07/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/07/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/07/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/11/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/11/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 123(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/11/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 2DP 5NR 1AM                                                                         
04/12/05       (H)       DP: HAWKER, FOSTER;                                                                                    
04/12/05       (H)       NR: HOLM, STOLTZE, MOSES, WEYHRAUCH,                                                                   
                         MEYER;                                                                                                 
04/12/05       (H)       AM: KELLY                                                                                              
04/20/05       (H)       RLS AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 121                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SERVICE AREAS IN SECOND CLASS BOROUGHS                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
02/02/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/02/05       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
02/15/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/15/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/24/05       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) NT 1DP 5NR                                                                             
02/24/05       (H)       DP: THOMAS;                                                                                            
02/24/05       (H)       NR: CISSNA, NEUMAN, SALMON, LEDOUX,                                                                    
                         OLSON                                                                                                  
02/24/05       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/24/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 121(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/24/05       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
03/01/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/01/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/05/05       (H)       STA AT 9:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/05/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 121(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/05/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/07/05       (H)       STA RPT CS(CRA) NT 4DP 1NR                                                                             
03/07/05       (H)       DP: LYNN, RAMRAS, GRUENBERG, SEATON;                                                                   
03/07/05       (H)       NR: GATTO                                                                                              
03/16/05       (H)       RLS AT 9:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/16/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 121(RLS) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/16/05       (H)       MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                            
03/17/05       (H)       RLS RPT CS(RLS) NT 4NR 2AM                                                                             
03/17/05       (H)       NR: HARRIS, KOHRING, COGHILL, ROKEBERG;                                                                
03/17/05       (H)       AM: KERTTULA, BERKOWITZ                                                                                
03/17/05       (H)       RETURNED TO RLS COMMITTEE                                                                              
04/04/05       (H)       RLS AT 9:30 AM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
04/04/05       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/13/05       (H)       RLS AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/13/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/13/05       (H)       MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                            
04/20/05       (H)       RLS AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  98                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NONUNION PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARY & BENEFIT                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/21/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/05       (H)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
02/17/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
02/17/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 98(STA) Out of Committee                                                                    
02/17/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/18/05       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 7NR                                                                                    
02/18/05       (H)       NR: GARDNER, LYNN, RAMRAS, GATTO,                                                                      
                         GRUENBERG, ELKINS, SEATON                                                                              
02/19/05       (H)       STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                            
02/19/05       (H)       ELECTIONS                                                                                              
04/13/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/13/05       (H)       Moved CSHB  98(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/13/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/14/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(STA) 5DP 3NR                                                                                
04/14/05       (H)       DP:   MOSES,   KELLY,   FOSTER,   MEYER,                                                               
                         CHENAULT;                                                                                              
04/14/05       (H)       NR: HAWKER, HOLM, STOLTZE                                                                              
04/20/05       (H)       RLS AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RICK URION, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 123, answered                                                                      
questions and provided background.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PAT DAVIDSON, Legislative Auditor                                                                                               
Division of Legislative Audit                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 123, answered                                                                      
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JOHN WALSH, Lobbyist                                                                                                            
Alaska Psychological Association                                                                                                
Douglas, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 123, explained the                                                                 
need to reinsert Section 7 of CSHB 123(FIN).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMARA COOK, Director                                                                                                           
Legislative Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 123, answered                                                                      
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LINDA ANDERSON, Lobbyist                                                                                                        
Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 121.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MIKE TIBBLES, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 98.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA VARNI, Executive Director                                                                                                
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 98.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KARLA SCHOEFIELD, Deputy Director                                                                                               
Accounting                                                                                                                      
Legislative Administrative Services                                                                                             
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 98.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Deputy Administrative Director                                                                               
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 98.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR NORMAN  ROKEBERG called the House  Rules Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to  order  at 8:39:28  AM.    Representatives  Rokeberg,                                                             
Coghill, Kohring,  McGuire, Berkowitz, and Kerttula  were present                                                               
at the call to order.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HB 123-OCCUPATIONS: FEES & EXTENSION OF BOARDS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:40:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  123,   "An  Act  relating  to  occupational                                                               
licensing fees  and receipts; extending the  termination dates of                                                               
the Boards  of Barbers and  Hairdressers, Social  Work Examiners,                                                               
Pharmacy,     Professional    Counselors,     Psychologist    and                                                               
Psychological  Associate  Examiners,  and  Veterinary  Examiners;                                                               
relating to  an exemption that  allows one bill to  continue more                                                               
than one board, commission, or  agency program; and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:40:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved to  adopt  CSHB  123, Version  24-                                                               
LS0360\X, Mischel, 4/18/05, as the working document.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:40:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION,   Director,  Division  of   Occupational  Licensing,                                                               
Department  of   Commerce,  Community,  &   Economic  Development                                                               
(DCCED),   reminded   the   committee  that   the   Division   of                                                               
Occupational  Licensing  is  charged with  managing  occupations.                                                               
The division charges the occupation  the cost of regulating them.                                                               
One  of the  largest costs  is disciplinary  actions.   Mr. Urion                                                               
explained  that for  years  the fines  that  were generated  from                                                               
disciplinary  actions "went  into  the mix".    However, the  law                                                               
refers  to "fees"  with no  mention  of fines.   Therefore,  this                                                               
legislation  will correct  the aforementioned.   The  professions                                                               
pay  a lot  of  money  for disciplinary  actions,  and the  fines                                                               
generated  by those  actions  will  help offset  the  costs.   He                                                               
emphasized that  it isn't a money-making  operation; disciplinary                                                               
actions cost more than is ever  generated in fines.  The language                                                               
in Sections 1-4 allows the [division]  to take the fines and "put                                                               
them into the mix".                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:42:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  explained that  the fines  and penalties  went to                                                               
the general  fund (GF) rather  than to the occupation,  which was                                                               
the  direction the  legislature gave  the division  last year  in                                                               
legislation.   He further  explained that  [CSHB 123(FIN)]  had a                                                               
drafting  technicality such  that the  legislation allocated  all                                                               
the funds to  the board rather than to  the specific occupational                                                               
license.    Therefore,  Version  X   directs  the  fines  to  the                                                               
particular  occupational  license.   He  characterized  it as  an                                                               
accounting methodology.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:43:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  commented  that   he  didn't  see  any                                                               
mention of fines or penalties in CSHB 123(FIN).                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  clarified  that   the  House  Finance  Committee                                                               
deleted the  section mentioning fines  and penalties  because the                                                               
committee was concerned that it  didn't allocate the funds to the                                                               
occupations.  He  informed the committee that he  had spoken with                                                               
those  on the  House Finance  Committee, who  are in  concurrence                                                               
with [Version X].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  related  his  understanding  that  the                                                               
House  Finance Committee  stripped  the  provisions because  they                                                               
believe they should  be in another bill.  He  said he is inclined                                                               
to support such reasoning.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:44:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  agreed  that  was  part  of  the  House  Finance                                                               
Committee's stated  rationale.  However,  in terms of  the policy                                                               
and the  balance [of Version  X], the House Finance  Committee is                                                               
in concurrence  with Version X.   He  opined that whether  or not                                                               
it's appropriate to include these  sunsets with policy matters is                                                               
another  issue.   Chair Rokeberg  said that  this provision  is a                                                               
creature of the legislature rather than the administration.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:45:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ said  there is  another problem  from a                                                               
policy perspective.  If the  legislature allows the department to                                                               
collect fines  and penalties in  order to make-up  shortfalls, it                                                               
could be  an incentive for  the department to increase  fines and                                                               
penalties disproportionate  to the  sanctions levied.   He opined                                                               
that  fines  and  penalties  shouldn't   be  made  a  fundraising                                                               
mechanism for  anyone because  the fines  and penalties  become a                                                               
way  of   taxing  wrongdoers  in   order  to   make-up  budgetary                                                               
shortfalls, which is a bad policy call.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:46:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION informed  the committee that in total  fines last year,                                                               
the  division [collected]  $64,000 for  the approximately  50,000                                                               
professionals it licenses.  The  cost of disciplinary actions far                                                               
exceeded the  fines collected.   He emphasized that this  isn't a                                                               
money-making operation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:46:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ agreed that  the current situation [with                                                               
fines] is not a money-making  operation.  "But if you incentivize                                                               
it  for the  department to  make it  a money-making  operation, I                                                               
think it becomes more of a  money-making operation," he said.  He                                                               
further said that  he didn't know how  the aforementioned impacts                                                               
the justice these licensing boards are to be doling out.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:47:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION specified  that the legislature sets  fines in statute.                                                               
In further response,  Mr. Urion confirmed that there  are caps on                                                               
some [of  these fines].   The way  the system is  set up  it will                                                               
never be a money-making situation  because someone [in one of the                                                               
professions] has  to do  something bad for  which a  complaint is                                                               
filed and  then the  judiciary process  follows to  establish the                                                               
fine.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:47:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ highlighted  that the legislation refers                                                               
to  fines and  penalties.   He questioned  [the definition]  of a                                                               
penalty, which he  surmised could be when  someone is overcharged                                                               
for a certain  profession and that profession is  required to pay                                                               
it   back.     Representative  Berkowitz   then  asked   if  this                                                               
legislation runs  afoul of the  dedicated funds provision  of the                                                               
state constitution.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  said that penalties  are late fees and  things of                                                               
that  nature, while  fines are  [established] by  the process  in                                                               
which  there is  a hearing  officer that  acts independently  and                                                               
makes recommendations  to the board  or commission for  the final                                                               
sanctions.    Therefore,  there's  a check  and  balance  on  the                                                               
process.    With regard  to  the  constitutionality issue,  Chair                                                               
Rokeberg  specified  that  [this legislation]  doesn't  create  a                                                               
dedicated  fund but  rather  directs a  fine  to the  appropriate                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  pointed out  that these are  fines that                                                               
would otherwise go to the GF  and be dispersed through the normal                                                               
budgetary process.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:49:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE  said that there's some  precedent for the                                                               
aforementioned.   For  example, some  of the  penalties resulting                                                               
from  criminal  activities are  directed  to  the Violent  Crimes                                                               
Compensation Board.   She highlighted  that the funds  still have                                                               
to be  appropriated.  This  [legislation] relates a  statement of                                                               
intent with regard to where the money should go, she opined.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:50:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT  DAVIDSON, Legislative  Auditor, Legislative  Audit Division,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, explained  that statute  specifies how                                                               
the fees for the occupations are  set.  There is a calculation in                                                               
which the  regulation has to  be offset  by the fees,  fines, and                                                               
penalties.   She specified  that in statute  the [funds  from the                                                               
fees,  fines,   and  penalties]  aren't  being   appropriated  or                                                               
dedicated  rather  the  [statute] specifies  the  calculation  by                                                               
which the fees  for licensure are going to be  set by occupation.                                                               
The funds still must be appropriated, she confirmed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:51:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  pointed out  that the [fees,  fines, and                                                               
penalties] are  program receipts  and thus they're  accounted for                                                               
separately and appropriated.  However,  it's a situation in which                                                               
those receipts are set aside for the programs.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.   DAVIDSON   acknowledged  that   Representative   Kerttula's                                                               
thoughts are the belief of many.   In fact, many of the licensees                                                               
believe  it's  their money.    However,  due to  the  prohibition                                                               
against dedicated funds, it isn't.   She reiterated that there is                                                               
a  mechanism for  calculations which  are tracked  such that  the                                                               
amount can enter into the  budgetary process and be identified as                                                               
the program receipts.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA drew attention to  Section 14, which is a                                                               
repealor.  She inquired as to its purpose.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. URION said he didn't know the answer.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:53 a.m. to 8:57 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:57:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  turned  to  the  matter of  Section  7  of  CSHB                                                               
123(FIN), which was inadvertently left out of Version X.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:57:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN WALSH, Lobbyist,  Alaska Psychological Association, informed                                                               
the  committee  that  the  House  Finance  Committee  accepted  a                                                               
provision  for  licensing by  credential.    The provision  would                                                               
modernize the  statute to reflect  what is  occurring nationally.                                                               
Therefore,  Mr.  Walsh said  he  would  appreciate the  committee                                                               
reinserting  Section 7  of  CSHB  123(FIN) into  Version  X.   In                                                               
response to Representative Coghill,  Mr. Walsh confirmed that the                                                               
provision was  officially amended in the  House Finance Committee                                                               
version.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:59:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved that  the committee adopt Conceptual                                                               
Amendment  1, which  would insert  Section 7  from CSHB  123(FIN)                                                               
into CSHB 123, Version X.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ opined  that the  aforementioned motion                                                               
is  out of  order  because there  is a  pending  motion to  adopt                                                               
Version X before the committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG   announced  that  Conceptual  Amendment   1  was                                                               
withdrawn.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  maintained his objection to  adopt CSHB                                                               
123, Version X.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:00:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Coghill, Kohring,                                                               
McGuire,  and  Rokeberg voted  in  favor  of adopting  CSHB  123,                                                               
Version X.  Representatives Kerttula  and Berkowitz voted against                                                               
it.  Therefore, Version X was adopted by a vote of 4-2.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:00:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  then  moved  that  the  committee  adopt                                                               
Conceptual Amendment  1, which would  insert Section 7  from CSHB                                                               
123(FIN) into  CSHB 123,  Version X.   There being  no objection,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:01:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  commented that it seems  unusual to roll                                                               
all the professions into one bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIDSON  agreed that it's  unusual.  However,  she suggested                                                               
that there  will be a couple  of bills doing this  because of the                                                               
unusual  amount  of  sunsets  of   boards  and  commissions  this                                                               
session.   Typically,  the legislature  addresses  three to  four                                                               
board/commission sunsets, but this year  there are twelve current                                                               
board/commission sunsets plus two holdovers from the prior year.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA expressed concern  with going against the                                                               
statutory policy.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ pointed out  that Section [15] specifies                                                               
the exemption from AS 44.66.050.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIDSON  interjected that in  realizing how difficult  it is                                                               
for the  legislature to  address this  many [sunsets],  the years                                                               
until the  next sunset were  set such that the  legislature would                                                               
only  have  to   review  four  to  six  boards   [in  one  year].                                                               
Therefore, the  extension of  the boards range  from four  to six                                                               
years in  order to  accommodate the  aforementioned.   In further                                                               
response to  Chair Rokeberg, Ms.  Davidson said that she  was not                                                               
familiar with  the cost  of getting one  sunset bill  through the                                                               
legislature.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:04:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMARA COOK,  Director, Legislative Legal and  Research Services,                                                               
Legislative Affairs  Agency, said that  she didn't have  any idea                                                               
as  to  the   cost  of  getting  one  sunset   bill  through  the                                                               
legislature,   In  fact, she  said that  she didn't  know how  to                                                               
calculate  that.   However, she  surmised that  one bill  must be                                                               
somewhat less expensive than many smaller bills.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  opined that it costs  a lot [to move  many sunset                                                               
bills through the legislature versus one bill].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:05:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA announced that  she would accept this for                                                               
the purposes of getting through  this session, but she maintained                                                               
that  it's  a  bad  idea  because each  profession  has  its  own                                                               
particular  needs.   By combining  all these  professions in  one                                                               
bill, it sells the professions short.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  recalled  that the  audits  were  reviewed  with                                                               
regard to whether  there was any contention.   With the exception                                                               
of  the  psychologists,  there  wasn't  much  controversy.    The                                                               
[boards  or commissions]  that did  generate  more interest  were                                                               
handled separately.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:06:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL moved  to  report CSHB  123, Version  24-                                                               
LS0360\X,  Mischel, 4/18/05,  as amended,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being no  objection, CSHB 123(RLS) was reported  out of the                                                               
House Rules Standing Committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 121-SERVICE AREAS IN SECOND CLASS BOROUGHS                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:06:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 121,  "An  Act relating  to consolidating  or                                                               
abolishing certain service areas in second class boroughs."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:07:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL withdrew  Conceptual  Amendment 1,  which                                                               
was left pending at the April  13, 2005, hearing.  There being no                                                               
objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was withdrawn.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:07:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved  that the  committee  rescind  its                                                               
action in adopting  CSHB 121, [Version L, Cook,  4/11/05].  There                                                               
being no objection, CSHB 121(CRA) was before the committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:08:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved to  adopt  CSHB  121, Version  24-                                                               
LS0396\S, Cook,  4/18/05, as the  working document.   There being                                                               
no objection, Version S was before the committee.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:09:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA ANDERSON,  Lobbyist, Fairbanks  North Star  Borough, stated                                                               
that  Version  S  is  a compromise  that  tightens  the  sidebars                                                               
related to giving a second  class borough the ability to dissolve                                                               
or combine a road service area  if the criteria specified on page                                                               
2 [of  Version S] are  met.   She related her  understanding that                                                               
Version  S satisfies  all parties  while  remedying the  problems                                                               
facing the Fairbanks North Star Borough.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:10:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL moved  to  report CSHB  121, Version  24-                                                               
LS0396\S,  Cook,  4/18/05,  out   of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:10:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KERTTULA  opined   that  the   problem  is   the                                                               
underlying  statute  and  commented  that until  it's  fixed  the                                                               
problem will remain.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:11:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG,   upon  determining  there  was   no  objection,                                                               
announced that  CSHB 121(2d  RLS) was reported  out of  the House                                                               
Rules Standing Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB  98-NONUNION PUBLIC EMPLOYEE SALARY & BENEFIT                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 98,  "An Act  relating to the  compensation of                                                               
certain public officials, officers,  and employees not covered by                                                               
collective bargaining agreements; and  providing for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:11:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG explained that he calendared this bill to discuss                                                                
potential amendments and to review whether legislators should be                                                                
included in the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:13:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE TIBBLES, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration,                                                                
presented HB 98 to the committee.  He stated:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill  98 matches  the statutory pay  schedule for                                                                    
     partially exempt  and exempt employees  in legislative,                                                                    
     judicial, and  the executive branch of  government, and                                                                    
     provides  the same  wage adjustment  that was  recently                                                                    
     negotiated  by  the  supervisory  unit  in  the  public                                                                    
     employees  association.   We  have  a two-step  process                                                                    
     that's  required to  provide  wage  adjustments to  our                                                                    
     state  employees, and  one  is  through the  collective                                                                    
     bargaining process  where we submit the  monetary terms                                                                    
     to  the  legislature,  and  that   has  been  done  and                                                                    
     included in  the House budget.   We have  a significant                                                                    
     amount of  increase this year in  wage adjustments. ...                                                                    
     We  have submitted  monetary terms  last year  and this                                                                    
     year  to the  legislature  and so  far  in the  process                                                                    
     those haven't been approved in  the budget.  The second                                                                    
     step  to   provide  the  wage  adjustments   for  state                                                                    
     employees is  to introduce legislation similar  to what                                                                    
     you  have  in  front  of  you now.    That  covers  the                                                                    
     partially exempt and exempt employees.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TIBBLES continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     We feel this  bill is really important for  a number of                                                                    
     reasons.  The  first reason is just basic  equity.  Our                                                                    
     statute  requires us  to pay  our state  employees like                                                                    
     pay for  like work.  And  [in the case of]  the failure                                                                    
     of the  passage of this bill,  we will see a  9 percent                                                                    
     difference between the employees  of a particular range                                                                    
     ... under  the collective bargaining agreement  and the                                                                    
     statutory  schedule.    And  that  does  ...  cause  us                                                                    
     problems because  I don't believe  we'd be  meeting our                                                                    
     statutory obligations. ...                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The second  concern that I  have is an  issue regarding                                                                    
     recruiting  qualified  managers.     We're  asking  our                                                                    
     managers to do  more and more, and when we  get to such                                                                    
     a  disparity  between the  contracts,  I  feel that  we                                                                    
     really place  a heightened burden and  challenge on our                                                                    
     ability to hire qualified managers.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     And  the  third  concern  I  have is  that  we  have  a                                                                    
     difficult time getting  people to move up  into some of                                                                    
     the senior management positions.   You have supervisors                                                                    
     or supervisors  that are paid  on a  statutory schedule                                                                    
     and  it doesn't  take long  for the  supervisor of  the                                                                    
     supervisor to  make less than  the people  that they're                                                                    
     supervising.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TIBBLES turned  attention to  some charts  in the  committee                                                               
packets.   He stated that the  last page shows an  example of the                                                               
last scenario mentioned above.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:16:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  remarked that  he hoped this  bill will                                                               
inspire the consistent  application of this line  of reasoning by                                                               
the administration:  the desire  to recruit  and retain,  and the                                                               
desire to  have competitive pay.   He  said, "I hope  that you'll                                                               
keep those  thoughts in your  mind as  you review changes  to the                                                               
[Public Employees' Retirement  System (PERS)/Teachers' Retirement                                                               
System  (TRS)] system,  because  all of  those  issues are  right                                                               
there too."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:17:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG inquired  as  to  how this  would  play out  with                                                               
senior commissioners.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. TIBBLES  replied, "The commissioners are  a unique situation;                                                               
their  statute is  set  at a  particular range  and  step in  the                                                               
statute, ... 28E."   He explained that a 28E  yearly salary would                                                               
be about $91,000.   He noted that many people have  to take a pay                                                               
reduction to take a position as commissioner.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  shared  an  anecdote in  which  an  deputy  city                                                               
attorney [outside of Alaska] was  making more money than Alaska's                                                               
attorney  general.    He  remarked   that  many  who  take  on  a                                                               
commissioner  role  give  up  substantial  compensation  for  the                                                               
leadership  position,  and  many  times  a  commissioner  has  to                                                               
maintain  homes  in  Southcentral  and  in  Juneau,  which  is  a                                                               
financial burden.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:20:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TIBBLES  noted that the salary  of the governor of  Alaska is                                                               
$85,700 and that of the lieutenant governor is $80,000.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG remarked that these  elected officials were making                                                               
less money than the appointed commissioners.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:21:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCGUIRE asked  Chair  Rokeberg if  he planned  to                                                               
take amendments to the bill at a later time.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG explained  that his  intention is  to add  to the                                                               
bill, not  change it.  He  remarked that he thought  there should                                                               
be a public debate regarding  whether commissioners' wages should                                                               
be raised.   He noted that he'd  like to look at  an amendment to                                                               
the schedule  for commissioners  offered a few  years ago  by the                                                               
previous  administration.    He commented  that  the  [committee]                                                               
needs to act relatively quickly,  as there is similar legislation                                                               
in the  Senate Labor and  Commerce Standing Committee.   He said,                                                               
"It  seems  obvious  to  me  that we  are  in  a  very  difficult                                                               
recruitment position here."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:24:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA  VARNI, Executive  Director,  Legislative Affairs  Agency,                                                               
paraphrased  from  the   following  written  testimony  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  the  80's and  again  in  the 90's,  the  Executive                                                                    
     Branch  received a  raise, which  legislative employees                                                                    
     did not receive.   Currently, legislative employees lag                                                                    
     roughly 5%  behind their counterparts in  the Executive                                                                    
     and Judicial  Branches with the exception  of partially                                                                    
     exempt employees.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     This bill should be passed  as a matter of fairness and                                                                    
     to  eliminate  any   suggestion  that  employees  doing                                                                    
     similar  work  are  not  paid  equally.    It  is  long                                                                    
     overdue.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     You  want   to  retain  the  best   and  the  brightest                                                                    
     employees.    We  have  lost   many  employees  to  the                                                                    
     Executive Branch  because they  can take a  position at                                                                    
     the same range  and step and make more money  - or they                                                                    
     accept  positions  at a  higher  range  and receive  an                                                                    
     additional 5% increase  in pay.  We need to  stay on an                                                                    
     even  par to  retain attorneys,  programmers, personnel                                                                    
     assistants  and probably  most  important  to each  and                                                                    
     every one  of you  are the  staff working  directly for                                                                    
     you.    It   is  interesting  to  note   the  drain  of                                                                    
     legislative assistants.  In budgeting  I do not see the                                                                    
     higher  longevity steps  that we  used to  have in  the                                                                    
     legislative branch.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Also, we  have had difficulty  over the years  in rural                                                                    
     areas  hiring  our   teleconference  moderators.    The                                                                    
     private  sector wages  are higher  and we  have trouble                                                                    
     competing to attract people to come and work for us.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     It is  difficult for our  staff at the lower  ranges to                                                                    
     keep up  with the  cost of  living.   To give  you some                                                                    
     idea  of  the difference  between  the  cost of  living                                                                    
     increases and our legislative pay  increases - the CPIU                                                                    
     increased  from 1988  to  2003 (15  years)  a total  of                                                                    
     41.4% -     legislative pay increased  14.72%.   We are                                                                    
     26.68%  lower  than the  CPIU.    It is  a  significant                                                                    
     difference.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     To   give  you   some   comparisons   to  other   State                                                                    
     Legislatures on  how their  salaries have  changed over                                                                    
     the last five years.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     New Mexico     increased 14.5%                                                                                             
     Louisiana      increased 30%                                                                                               
     Indiana        increased 12.7%                                                                                             
     Virginia       increased 11.8%                                                                                             
     Rhode Island   increased 12.3%                                                                                             
     Alaska         increased 5%                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you for  your time and as a  manager and previous                                                                    
     personnel officer I  urge you to pass HB 98  to be fair                                                                    
     and  equitable  to  all employees  in  the  Legislative                                                                    
     Branch  whether  we  are   talking  about  an  analyst,                                                                    
     janitor, programmer,  legislative assistant, secretary,                                                                    
     etc.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:29:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI, in response to Chair Rokeberg, explained that                                                                        
legislators were equivalent to a Range 10A in 1991, but now are                                                                 
down to about a Range 8.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  asked Ms.  Varni to  prepare information  for the                                                               
committee regarding  the possibility of raising  that range level                                                               
up to a 10A or 15A.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI noted that a fiscal note had been prepared.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:30:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KARLA  SCHOEFIELD,   Deputy  Director,   Accounting,  Legislative                                                               
Administrative  Services, Legislative  Affairs Agency,  explained                                                               
that there is a $1.6 million fiscal  note.  She opined that it is                                                               
important  for this  bill to  pass this  year.   She noted,  "The                                                               
legislature has  over the last  few years lapsed over  $3 million                                                               
each year,  and if it  were the will  of the legislature  and the                                                               
...  committees   in  charge  of   the  money  were   willing  to                                                               
redistribute  their   funds  and  salaries  from   all  of  their                                                               
components,  the legislature  as  a whole  could probably  absorb                                                               
this in FY06."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:31:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG pointed  out that  "other  discussions have  been                                                               
going on about other adjustments" in order to retain staff.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:32:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS CHRISTENSEN,  Deputy Administrative Director,  Alaska Court                                                               
System,   paraphrased  from   the  following   written  testimony                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I would like to  thank Governor Murkowski for including                                                                    
     the  employees  of  the Alaska  Court  System  in  this                                                                    
     legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     First,  a   little  background.   We  have   about  733                                                                    
     permanent  employees. 62  are judges  appointed by  the                                                                    
     governor, 39 are magistrates, and  most of the rest are                                                                    
     clerical  employees.   We absorb  less than  2% of  the                                                                    
     operating budget;  that makes us smaller  than a number                                                                    
     of  individual  departments  in the  executive  branch.                                                                    
     While we  are small, more private  citizens come though                                                                    
     our doors every  day than any other  entity, other than                                                                    
     perhaps  the university.  Unfortunately, many  of those                                                                    
     people are angry or scared,  they are going through the                                                                    
     most  traumatic experience  of  their  lives, and  they                                                                    
     don't understand  how the system  works. These  are the                                                                    
     people that  our employees work  with every  day. These                                                                    
     people were  involved in over  150,000 new  cases filed                                                                    
     last  year.  Court  employees   work  hard  under  very                                                                    
     stressful conditions. However, I  have often heard from                                                                    
     employees  that they  are proud  of the  work they  do,                                                                    
     they believe  that what  they do  matters, and  most of                                                                    
     them do it  for a low salary. 70% of  our employees are                                                                    
     compensated at  Range 15 or below.  Low salaries result                                                                    
     in  a high  turnover rate  (approximately 50%  before 5                                                                    
     years, and as  much as 100% in some  rural courts where                                                                    
     we compete with higher  salaries or benefits offered by                                                                    
     the  local  Native  corporations or  boroughs),  and  a                                                                    
     large  percentage of  court  system clerical  employees                                                                    
     have second jobs.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  legislature  has historically  given  non-judicial                                                                    
     court  employees  a  cost-of-living  adjustment  (COLA)                                                                    
     equal to the  COLA it has approved  for union employees                                                                    
     in the executive branch. The  last time it failed to do                                                                    
     so  was in  1993.  Shortly thereafter,  non-supervisory                                                                    
     court employees voted to join the IBEW.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN continued:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In 1996, the legislature  gave both union and non-union                                                                    
     court employees  a COLA that  restored parity  with the                                                                    
     salaries that had been approved  for union employees in                                                                    
     the  executive branch.  The  unionized court  employees                                                                    
     subsequently  voted to  decertify the  IBEW as  soon as                                                                    
     the  first  collective  bargaining  agreement  expired.                                                                    
     Workers  organize  for  different  reasons.  For  court                                                                    
     employees,  the  main driver  seemed  to  be equity  in                                                                    
     compensation   rather    than   changes    in   working                                                                    
     conditions.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     With respect to our  judges, salaries were ranked first                                                                    
     in  the nation  in 1982.  Today, however,  the National                                                                    
     Center for  State Courts  states that  the salary  of a                                                                    
                                             th                                                                                 
     superior court judge in Alaska ranks  49  when adjusted                                                                    
     for cost-of-living. Normally when  we talk about states                                                                    
                   th                                                                                                           
     that  are   49   in   something,  we're   referring  to                                                                    
     Mississippi or Arkansas; not in  this case. The average                                                                    
     annual  increase in  salaries for  general jurisdiction                                                                    
     judges in  other states during  the period from  1992 -                                                                    
     2004 was  3.1%. In  Alaska, it  averaged less  than 1%,                                                                    
     well under half the rate of inflation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Unlike other state employees, judges  do not get annual                                                                    
     longevity  increases;  the salary  of  a  new judge  is                                                                    
     identical to  the salary  of a judge  with 15  years of                                                                    
     experience.  Thus, there  is no  longevity increase  to                                                                    
     help compensate for a failure  to provide adequate cost                                                                    
     of  living  adjustments.  In addition,  the  geographic                                                                    
     differential  received  by  rural judges  is  generally                                                                    
     much less than that  received by other state employees.                                                                    
     In Barrow,  for example, a  union employee gets  43%; a                                                                    
     non-union  employee gets  31.5%;  and  the local  judge                                                                    
     gets  only 17%,  Moreover, the  geographic differential                                                                    
     is  limited  to the  first  $40,000  of salary,  unlike                                                                    
     other state  employees who have it  calculated on their                                                                    
     entire  salaries.  Because  of the  lack  of  longevity                                                                    
     increases  and  the  limited  geographic  differential,                                                                    
     there  are  actually  long-time  prosecutors  in  rural                                                                    
     Alaska  who  make  substantially more  than  the  local                                                                    
     superior court judge.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CHRISTENSEN continued:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     HB  98 would  give  the non-judicial  employees of  the                                                                    
     Alaska Court System  a salary adjustment in  FY 06 that                                                                    
     would place their salary  schedule approximately on par                                                                    
     with the  salary schedule  approved by  the legislature                                                                    
     last session for members of  the APEA. Even if they get                                                                    
     this, court employees will  still have lost substantial                                                                    
     ground to  inflation over the last  decade. Judges will                                                                    
     get a  salary increase  equal to the  percentage salary                                                                    
     increase that  HB 98  proposes for a  Range 28E  in the                                                                    
     executive branch.  With this increase,  Alaska's judges                                                                    
                      thth                                                                                                      
     will leap from 49 place to 47 place.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill sends  a message  that the  legislature does                                                                    
     value  court  employees  as much  as  it  values  union                                                                    
     employees  in the  executive branch,  and that  it does                                                                    
     not take  their hard  work for  granted. Thank  you for                                                                    
     your consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:38:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG asked if pages are Range 10A.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI  replied that  this was  correct.   She noted  that the                                                               
janitors  are  Range 8,  but  they  may move  to  Range  9.   She                                                               
commented  that Range  9  is really  the lowest  pay,  so if  the                                                               
legislators do  not get  a raise,  they will  be the  lowest paid                                                               
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  explained that  the  bill  has a  schedule  that                                                               
reflects a 5 percent increase, and  on July 1, 2005, the salaries                                                               
raise automatically [an additional] 2 percent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI commented that if  this bill was passed the legislators                                                               
would probably be down to a Range 6 or 7.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:40:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG asked if legislators were Range 10A before 1991.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI  replied yes, although  back in the  1980s, legislators                                                               
[received an  annual salary  of around $46,800  and there  was no                                                               
per diem].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG remarked  that there  is  public outcry  whenever                                                               
there is mention of a raise for the legislators.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:42:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCGUIRE stated  that the  people in  her district                                                               
recognize  that  [legislators  are  low paid].    She  commented,                                                               
"There's always  a risk that  when you  take on issues  like this                                                               
that there  will be  some type  of backlash  from someone,  but I                                                               
think  it's an  education process  and I  think it's  something I                                                               
personally am willing to take on."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:43:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI stated,  "Alaska is so unique from  other states; there                                                               
are not  other legislatures that  move their  legislators because                                                               
... the  states are so small  that they can drive  home at night.                                                               
... The salary  that is set right now for  legislators is so low,                                                               
considering the unique circumstances that you have...."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:45:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  inquired as to why  changes were made in  1991 so                                                               
that legislators were no longer Range 10A.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. VARNI  related her understanding  that the changes  were made                                                               
because  the  legislature  wanted  to  cut  the  budgets  of  the                                                               
executive  branch and  the judicial  branch, and  the legislature                                                               
wanted to show that it was cutting its own budget as well.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG calculated that a  readoption of the Range 10A for                                                               
legislators  would result  in a  $4,500 [or  more] annual  salary                                                               
increase.   He  remarked  that the  issue then  would  be if  the                                                               
legislators could  handle "the heat"  from the public  for giving                                                               
themselves a raise, and whether it would be worth pursuing.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:46:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCGUIRE  asked  if  Chair Rokeberg  was  open  to                                                               
discussion with regard  to other ranges.  She  stated, "If you're                                                               
going to take the heat, you might  as well take it once and do it                                                               
the  right way.   And  I think  there ought  to be  some analysis                                                               
about what range we think the  work that we do here is associated                                                               
with."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG replied that he was open to this discussion.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:47:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL stated:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  issue to  me in  this  bill is  the equity  within                                                                    
     state workers and  the marketability of our  jobs.  But                                                                    
     that's not the issue with  the legislature; ... I think                                                                    
     that's  a little  different discussion,  so  the way  I                                                                    
     would look  at it is:   "What's reasonable compensation                                                                    
     for living expenses for me?"  because I still see us as                                                                    
     a citizen legislature.  ... I wouldn't want  to look at                                                                    
     it  as   a  career  step   so  much  as   a  reasonable                                                                    
     compensation.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG reiterated that there  have been no adjustments to                                                               
[legislators' salaries] for 14 years,  and therefore he thinks it                                                               
warrants examination.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[HB 98 was held over.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Rules Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:49:05 AM.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

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