Legislature(1999 - 2000)

02/11/1999 08:08 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                 February 11, 1999                                                                                              
                     8:08 a.m.                                                                                                  
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                                                                           
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                                       
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Harold Smalley                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 2                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to issuance of a motor vehicle registration plate                                                              
to or parking permit for a person who is disabled."                                                                             
     - MOVED HB 2 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
*HOUSE BILL NO. 45                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to initiative and referendum petitions; and                                                                    
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
*HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                   
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                               
relating to initiative and referendum petitions.                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
*HOUSE BILL NO. 74                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to salary caps and to the power to transfer                                                                    
certain positions to the classified service and entitlement to                                                                  
longevity increments for certain state officials."                                                                              
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
BILL: HB   2                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: REGISTRATION PLATES FOR DISABLED                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) JAMES                                                                                            
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/19/99        18     (H)  PREFILE RELEASED  1/8/99                                                                            
 1/19/99        18     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/19/99        18     (H)  TRANSPORTATION, STATE AFFAIRS                                                                       
 2/02/99               (H)  TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 2/02/99               (H)  MOVED HB 2 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                         
 2/02/99               (H)  MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                         
 2/03/99       129     (H)  TRA RPT  5DP 2NR                                                                                    
 2/03/99       129     (H)  DP: HUDSON, KOOKESK, SANDERS, HALCRO,                                                               
 2/03/99       129     (H)  MASEK                                                                                               
 2/03/99       129     (H)  NR: KEMPLEN, COWDERY                                                                                
 2/03/99       129     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                                                              
 2/03/99       129     (H)  REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS                                                                           
 2/11/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HB  45                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM PETITIONS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) WILLIAMS                                                                                         
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/19/99        30     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/19/99        30     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                                                                              
 2/11/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HJR  7                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: CONST AM: INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM PETITIONS                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) WILLIAMS                                                                                         
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/19/99        17     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/19/99        17     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                                                   
 2/11/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
BILL: HB  74                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SALARIES FOR CERTAIN STATE OFFICIALS                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) OGAN, Kohring, Cowdery                                                                           
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/03/99       131     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/03/99       131     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                                                                              
 2/11/99               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
BARBARA COTTING, Legislative Aide                                                                                               
  to Representative James                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 102                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4963                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 2.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 502                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3424                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HJR 7 and HB 45.                                                                                
DANNA LATOUR, Administrative Officer                                                                                            
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
P.O. Box 110017                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-5347                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HJR 7 and HB 45.                                                                   
BETTY ROLLINS                                                                                                                   
P.O. Box 55163                                                                                                                  
North Pole Alaska  99705                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 488-6614                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of HJR 7 and HB 45.                                                                
KYLE JOHANSEN, Legislative Aid to                                                                                               
  Representative Williams                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 502                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3424                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HJR 7 and HB 45.                                                                   
TOM BOUTIN                                                                                                                      
P.O. Box 35116                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska  99803                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 789-7936                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 45.                                                                             
ALISON ELEGEE, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110200                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2200                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 45.                                                                          
DON ETHERIDGE                                                                                                                   
Local 71                                                                                                                        
710 West Ninth Street                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 789-0395                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 74.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-1, SIDE A                                                                                                               
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 8:08 a.m.  Members present at the                                                                 
call to order were Representatives James, Coghill, Ogan, Whitaker,                                                              
Hudson, Kerttula and Smalley.                                                                                                   
HB 2 REGISTRATION PLATES FOR DISABLED                                                                                           
CHAIR JAMES announced the first order of business is HB 2," An Act                                                              
relating to issuance of a motor vehicle registration plate to or                                                                
parking permit for a person who is disabled."                                                                                   
Number 0019                                                                                                                     
BARBARA COTTING, Legislative Aide to Representative James, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, read the following sponsor statement:                                                                        
     House Bill 2, which is an Act relating to issuance of a motor                                                              
     vehicle registration plate to, or a parking permit for a                                                                   
     person who is disabled, is very short and very simple.  It                                                                 
     makes one simple change to Title 28, Vehicle Registration and                                                              
     Title, allowing licensed nurse practitioners to provide proof                                                              
     of disability for veterans to receive specially designed                                                                   
     license plates.                                                                                                            
     Currently, only licensed physicians are authorized in our                                                                  
     Alaska Statutes to provide proof of disability.  Alaska has                                                                
     many medical facilities in both rural and urban settings where                                                             
     a nurse practitioner is the only licensed medical person                                                                   
     available, and this bill would allow much-needed flexibility.                                                              
MS. COTTING mentioned HB 2 was previously heard in the House                                                                    
Transportation Standing Committee and then referred to a letter of                                                              
support from Anne Lilley, a nurse practitioner in Fairbanks.  She                                                               
pointed out Ms. Lilley's veterans center requested the introduction                                                             
of HB 2 which details why nurse practitioners in the state of                                                                   
Alaska need this flexibility.                                                                                                   
MS. COTTING read Juanita Hensley's, Chief, Driver Services,                                                                     
Division of Motor Vehicles, message that the Department of                                                                      
Administration has no objection to HB 2 in its current form.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, "What was the purpose of -- I mean I can                                                             
understand the licensed physician and maybe at best nurse                                                                       
practioners in some parts of the state act like a physician in                                                                  
those areas.  But, how would one get one before?"                                                                               
Number 0071                                                                                                                     
MS. COTTING explained that the patients had to go through a series                                                              
of tests with a licensed physician.  At the present time, that's                                                                
the only way they can be certified.  Whereas, these nurse                                                                       
practitioners are usually very familiar with their disabilities                                                                 
because they're the ones that work with them most frequently.  This                                                             
applies to all disabled people, not just veterans - there is a list                                                             
of requirements in federal statute that qualifies a person as                                                                   
disabled.  And we follow those statutes in Alaska that is our                                                                   
criteria.  It has to do with how far the person can walk without                                                                
assistance and other such things that a nurse practitioner can very                                                             
easily verify.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked if this could be broadened to include                                                             
other people that might need this type of certification by a nurse                                                              
MS. COTTING replied, Mike Ford, Legal Services, drafter of HB 2,                                                                
assured her that this applies to all disabilities, to all disabled                                                              
people, not just veterans.                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES further explained that vehicles owned by disabled                                                                   
veterans, including persons disabled in the line of duty, and other                                                             
persons with disabilities is in existing law.  The only change is                                                               
adding the advanced nurse practitioners as authorized to make those                                                             
determinations for any person who is disabled.                                                                                  
     For purposes of this subsection, proof of disability may be                                                                
     provided by a person licensed as a physician under AS 08.64 or                                                             
     as an advanced nurse practitioner under AS 08.68.                                                                          
Number 0118                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY indicated he could support HB 2 and stated,                                                              
"In looking at the criteria, it says a disabled veteran who is not                                                              
- and it is in the regulation - is not otherwise qualified under                                                                
this section, but he presents the department written proof that                                                                 
this person is at least 70 percent disabled.  So they would have to                                                             
bring that criteria to the nurse practitioner, and then the nurse                                                               
practitioner verifies it, is that correct?"                                                                                     
MS. COTTING replied she believes the nurse practitioner is the one                                                              
who verifies it, and then the form is taken to the Division of                                                                  
Motor Vehicles.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR JAMES pointed out the only difference is that they can take                                                               
the form to a nurse practitioner or a doctor.  Currently the                                                                    
disabled can only take the form to a doctor and it's not                                                                        
necessarily presumed that that's going to be the doctor that's                                                                  
going to make the determination.  She reiterated the requirements                                                               
to determine the 70 percent disability doesn't change, it only                                                                  
allows a nurse practitioner to do the same thing a doctor would do                                                              
in verifying the documentation.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "The bill suggests that an advanced nurse                                                             
practitioner, under AS 08.68, and then it doesn't define it past                                                                
that.  Alaska Statute 08.68 is the whole title of the Board of                                                                  
Nursing.  Might I suggest we tighten it down - and I'm looking for                                                              
the section under 'advanced nurse practitioner' - I'm not sure                                                                  
exactly where it is."                                                                                                           
CHAIR JAMES noted the legislature has been working on adding                                                                    
language throughout the past few years.  She reiterated that this                                                               
was required to allow nurse practitioners to operate in the rural                                                               
areas where a physician isn't available.  They can contact a                                                                    
physician and are able to pass on that authority given to them by                                                               
phone.  Chair James said, "To me that's a separate issue, if you                                                                
really want to know what the difference is, we need to find that in                                                             
the statute where it is defined, it probably is also in                                                                         
Number 0183                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN expressed his concern that it could be                                                                      
interpreted broadly. He indicated, for example a nurse's aid can                                                                
issue a certificate if it's just under AS 08.68.                                                                                
CHAIR JAMES informed Representative Ogan that is not true and                                                                   
explained "advanced nurse practitioner" is a title, a person has to                                                             
qualify for that certification.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON mentioned HB 2 amends AS 28.10.181, which is                                                              
licensing and making reference to the advanced nurse practitioner                                                               
under AS 08.68.  He said, "Typically speaking, that's what we do.                                                               
We just draw reference to that which is the nurse practitioner.                                                                 
That's the nurse practitioner's section within the statutes."                                                                   
CHAIR JAMES said she agrees, but believes what Representative Ogan                                                              
is asking what you have to do to qualify for certification.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON indicated it doesn't matter for this purpose.                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated, "I think we could clear it up by                                                                    
amending the bill to say [AS] 08.68 -- that 410 - there's a                                                                     
definition of advanced nurse practitioner in the bill and I would                                                               
move that as an amendment, just as a technical amendment."                                                                      
MS. COTTING noted the bill drafter didn't think it was necessary.                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked Ms. Cotting to contact Mr. Ford since she isn't                                                               
aware of another reference to nurse practitioners under AS 08.68                                                                
and in 410.  If that's the only place it is, then that would be                                                                 
perfectly okay there.                                                                                                           
Number 0235                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY asked Representative Ogan, "In the 410                                                                   
section, is it defining only nurse practitioner, or is it specific                                                              
to advanced nurse practitioner?"  He also said he is wondering if                                                               
it's even necessary.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied that he didn't know if it was necessary                                                             
or not.  He indicated, under AS 08.68, a certified nurse's aid                                                                  
could issue one of these.  You may leave a loophole.                                                                            
CHAIR JAMES said she doesn't feel uncomfortable with this and                                                                   
referred to Anne Lilley's title, "Advanced Nurse Practitioner" is                                                               
capitalized in her letter.  Chair James explained that it's a title                                                             
not a definition.                                                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES called an at-ease at 8:20 a.m. and called the meeting                                                               
back to order at approximately 8:21 a.m.                                                                                        
MS. COTTING, after speaking with Mr. Ford, said the bill as written                                                             
would be referring to the whole chapter which regards licensing as                                                              
a whole procedure, not just a definition of a nurse practitioner.                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN removed his motion for the amendment.                                                                       
Number 0284                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to move HB 2 out of the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee with individual recommendations                                                                
and the accompanying zero fiscal note.  There being no objection,                                                               
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
HJR 7 CONST AM: INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM PETITIONS                                                                                 
HB 45 INITIATIVE/REFERENDUM PETITIONS                                                                                           
Number 0300                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES announced she would like to hear both HJR 7, "Proposing                                                             
an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to                                                             
initiative and referendum petitions," and HB 45, "An Act relating                                                               
to initiative and referendum petitions; and providing for an                                                                    
effective date," together.                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES called for a brief at-ease at 8:25 a.m. and called the                                                              
meeting back to order at approximately 8:26 a.m.                                                                                
Number 0328                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS read his sponsor statement:                                                                        
     HB 45 and its companion measure, HJR 7, were introduced to                                                                 
     ensure statewide support of an issue prior to being put before                                                             
     the voters.                                                                                                                
     The legislation would require signatures from 15% of those who                                                             
     voted in the preceding general election in at least 75% of the                                                             
     house districts for a question to reach the ballot.                                                                        
     Currently, because of our population dispersal, initiative                                                                 
     sponsors can easily gather the required signatures from single                                                             
     areas of the state.  The current system does not require a                                                                 
     statewide perspective in determining which topics will appear                                                              
     on the ballot as amendments to state law.                                                                                  
     I am concerned that the whole of Alaska will suffer as                                                                     
     question after question, of limited perspective, is placed on                                                              
     the ballot.                                                                                                                
     I urge you to support this legislation.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS referred to the committee packet which                                                                  
includes the summary of signatures gathered for an initiative vote                                                              
on the 1998 ballot sorted by election districts, including the                                                                  
number of signatures gathered and whether the election district                                                                 
would have qualified under HB 7 or HJR 45, and the section of the                                                               
constitution to be amended by this legislation.  Also included is                                                               
a table showing the percentage of the state population in Anchorage                                                             
since 1990, tables showing the population of Anchorage from 1930                                                                
through 1970, a chart showing the population of the growth rate in                                                              
Alaska's five largest boroughs, and excerpts of the Constitutional                                                              
Conventional minutes regarding those subjects.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Representative Williams what recent                                                                   
petitions or initiative issues, that have been on the ballot, does                                                              
he feel that maybe would not have passed if this were in place?                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied, "I wouldn't say any of the                                                                     
initiatives wouldn't happen.  What I'm saying is that you get a                                                                 
better perspective from the whole state rather than one area.  As                                                               
you can see on the billboard (initiative) for instance, that was on                                                             
this ballot, most of it came from one area and that was Anchorage.                                                              
And, I'm sure that it may have passed, but what I'd like to see is                                                              
these people that are getting the signatures, that they have to get                                                             
an overall state perspective rather than just Anchorage.  Anchorage                                                             
is, as you see is, we have an influx of new people each year based                                                              
on out-of-state (indisc.) gather in the Anchorage area."                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, "In order for this bill to be enacted we                                                             
have to - the constitution would have to be amended."                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS said he believes that's how it reads.                                                                   
Number 0389                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "If I'm interpreting it right, that means                                                             
that in two-thirds of the districts in the state, 15 percent of                                                                 
those people within two-thirds of those districts will have to sign                                                             
the petition."                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS agreed.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN remarked it's currently 10 percent within                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS added, 10 percent of those who voted in the                                                             
last election.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN reiterated, "If they get one person, in                                                                     
two-thirds of the districts, and 10 percent of the aggregate of the                                                             
people that voted in the election, that qualifies (indisc.).  Is                                                                
that correct?"                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied that he believes that's correct.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if 15 percent is an arbitrary number.                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS responded that it is.                                                                                   
Number 0405                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated, "I really like this. ... I have                                                                   
thought all along when we got to for example issues like the wolf                                                               
snaring and the billboard initiatives, and things of this nature,                                                               
they are important public policy.  And expanding those to a broader                                                             
required sector of the state of Alaska and a little higher                                                                      
percentage of them - we're only talking 15 percent of the                                                                       
registered voters as opposed to 10 percent."                                                                                    
CHAIR JAMES pointed that out Anchorage holds approximately one-half                                                             
of the population of the state.  If you don't live in Anchorage,                                                                
you're in a minority population and we need to have our voices                                                                  
heard as well - to spread it around the state is a real benefit to                                                              
that.  She mentioned we've seen the state of California manage                                                                  
their government by their public vote and, in our representative                                                                
form of government, that is not the way it was intended to work.                                                                
CHAIR JAMES noted she is very supportive of this issue so                                                                       
everyone's voice can be heard and referenced legislation that was                                                               
introduced last year regarding petitioners being paid for obtaining                                                             
signatures.  She said it was found, by court cases, that we were                                                                
limited in that area, people can pay people to do things.  Chair                                                                
James said she believes it's distressing when it can affect public                                                              
policy.  However, we want to protect our rights and this extends                                                                
our rights to assure the minority has a place in that.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL indicated he likes the 15 percent.  However,                                                             
in districts that are large but sparsely populated, the ability to                                                              
get 15 percent might be a problem.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS pointed out a good example would be the                                                                 
district that covers Metlakatla to Kodiak.  He said he believes it                                                              
would work with the types of communication and the transportation                                                               
system that currently exist.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she doesn't believe the Division of                                                                
Elections can accept fax or E-mail votes for petition signatures.                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if a study has been done in Alaska's four                                                             
largest communities [Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Ketchikan].                                                               
He said, "Obviously you're trying to raise the bar to what gets on                                                              
the ballot. ... I guess what I'm getting at is I'd like to see                                                                  
rural Alaska be less disenfranchised in the initiative process                                                                  
because a lot of these things are wildlife initiatives that affect                                                              
them very directly.  And, I think it would be wonderful if they had                                                             
to fly around in a super cub, land in a village and start going                                                                 
door to door, they'd probably get run out at that point - 'Do you                                                               
want us to stop snaring wolves,' you know.  But rural Alaska is                                                                 
disenfranchised in the process because in urban Alaska, they can                                                                
sit out there in front of the population centers - the way it's                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS deferred to the Division of Elections.                                                                  
Number 0503                                                                                                                     
DANNA LATOUR, Administrative Officer, Division of Elections, Office                                                             
of the Lieutenant Governor, explained the division's responsibility                                                             
in this piece of legislation is essentially the same as they                                                                    
currently operate under.  This bill would require, when they do                                                                 
their checking and verify signatures, that they would have to                                                                   
assure through their computer programming change that signatures                                                                
have been verified, equal in the number of 15 percent of the people                                                             
who voted in the last general election in 30, or three-quarters of                                                              
the state's 40 election districts.                                                                                              
MS. LATOUR explained there are 25 election districts, counting the                                                              
Kenai Peninsula and the Mat-Susitna [Matanuska-Susitna] Borough,                                                                
those would be our urban districts.  She noted the Division of                                                                  
Elections feels this makes a change in their policy or the way they                                                             
do their work.  The $3,000 fiscal note represents the minor changes                                                             
to their mainframe program that verifies those signatures.                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES remarked at least five of the rural districts will have                                                             
to participate in order to get the initiative on the ballot and                                                                 
mentioned there are 25 in the urban areas.                                                                                      
MS. LATOUR replied that's correct.                                                                                              
CHAIR JAMES mentioned there are 15 and at least five would have to                                                              
participate in it.  She said she believes that's better than it                                                                 
currently is.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN agreed with the correction [three-quarter not                                                               
two-thirds].  Currently it takes one signature from a district, you                                                             
have to have 10 percent of the aggregate of everybody that voted,                                                               
and at least one signature from two-thirds of the House district.                                                               
CHAIR JAMES agreed that one signature from two-thirds of the House                                                              
district isn't very many.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN added that it's not like a consensus in that                                                                
particular House district.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if it would be more difficult to get                                                               
petitions in the more sparse areas than it would be in the more                                                                 
densely populated districts.  He remarked he didn't believe doing                                                               
it electronically would work, that means we're going to have to go                                                              
from village to village in some of the rather large districts,                                                                  
maybe the 15 percent becomes a hindrance for them.                                                                              
Number 0546                                                                                                                     
MS. LATOUR explained how an initiative petition is circulated and                                                               
how they receive them.  Typically the three prime sponsors on an                                                                
initiative petition, and the initial 100 sponsors recruit                                                                       
additional sponsors for an initiative petition.  She further                                                                    
stated, "This bill, I guess would place more onus on those sponsors                                                             
to make sure that they have representation throughout the state so                                                              
they may go search out someone who looks at their issue favorably,                                                              
in a town like McGrath, and find a person in that community who                                                                 
would serve as a signature gatherer.  So, it's going to take more                                                               
work on the side of the prime sponsors and those people backing the                                                             
MS. LATOUR continued, "As far as getting the petition booklets                                                                  
back, our requirement is that those booklets be submitted to our                                                                
office as one unit.  So, it would take more time to gather those                                                                
booklets from across the state as the one-year calendar, the                                                                    
clocks, you know continues to wind-down.  Other than that, I don't                                                              
know any other impact it would have other than the sponsors being                                                               
responsible for finding people to circulate the petitions out                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL remarked that does answer his question,                                                                  
getting sponsors in each locality obviously is going to be very                                                                 
important.  And, of course the empty petitions can be transmitted                                                               
electronically and then the sponsor would have to be designated by                                                              
whoever is driving that petition through.                                                                                       
Number 0565                                                                                                                     
MS. LATOUR informed the committee members that each initiative                                                                  
petition booklet has to be sequentially numbered.  She indicated                                                                
that she didn't recall talking about the prospect of faxing an                                                                  
entire booklet.  Ms. LaTour said, "We staple those booklets as                                                                  
we're going through the verification process, we don't really                                                                   
require that they come back to us stapled.  But knowing that the                                                                
booklet ... comes back to us in the same condition that it went out                                                             
tells us that someone didn't take that book apart and spread those                                                              
pages out through a number of locations.  It's the responsibility                                                               
of the petition gatherer to make sure that they're with that                                                                    
booklet to gather those signatures.  And so for that reason, we've                                                              
never considered electronically transmitting the booklets or having                                                             
prime sponsors transmit those booklets in that fashion."                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON reiterated that he likes the idea of moving                                                               
up to 15 percent in districts, and 30 as opposed the 27 for the                                                                 
very reasons that were spoken here.  Now they can't just be done in                                                             
the urban parts of the state.  They'd have to go out to rural areas                                                             
as well.  He concluded that he believes that's really good when                                                                 
you're amending the constitution.  Representative Hudson asked how                                                              
difficult it would be to get 15 percent of the voters at any given                                                              
CHAIR JAMES said 15 percent of those who voted in the preceding                                                                 
election - that's probably not very many even if there was a poor                                                               
voter turnout.  She said she believes 15 percent would be a                                                                     
reasonable number.                                                                                                              
CHAIR JAMES remarked, "To follow up on Representative Hudson's, I                                                               
like the three-fourths only because of the numbers we've already                                                                
calculated, that there are 25 urban areas, and so, if you want to                                                               
get just to rural areas, that really isn't representative of the                                                                
rural areas.  At least you got five out of fifteen, that's a third                                                              
of them, and so that's more fair I think to get - assuming that we                                                              
have a piece of legislation that's proposed that might be                                                                       
detrimental to the people in the rural areas and that they would                                                                
want to have a strong voice against it.  It may well be that that's                                                             
where the issue comes from - is that we are trying to do something                                                              
for them and not against them but to have a standard                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked Ms. LaTour to provide the committee an                                                              
accounting of how many voted in each of the districts so that the                                                               
committee could determine what 15 percent would be [provided in the                                                             
packet].  He reiterated that currently some districts only have to                                                              
have one.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA implied the petition process in Alaska was                                                              
written to be an easy way for people to get things onto the ballot.                                                             
She asked Ms. LaTour if she knew of the constitutional history                                                                  
behind that and why the drafters would have drafted it (indisc.)                                                                
MS. LATOUR replied no.                                                                                                          
Number 0627                                                                                                                     
BETTY ROLLINS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in                                                                    
opposition to HB 45.  She said, "It's obvious that none of the                                                                  
people that are speaking there today have ever stood on a street                                                                
corner or attempted to get an initiative on the books.  If you're                                                               
Mr. George Soros, with a billion bucks in your pocket, you probably                                                             
can do it.  Other than to thwart and deny the Alaskan's the right                                                               
to the initiative process, I can see absolutely no reason for the                                                               
change in this legislation."                                                                                                    
MS. ROLLINS referred to the Constitutional Convention, pages 1028,                                                              
1136 to 1142, and pages 1180 to 1183.  She stated, "You'll find                                                                 
that they ... tried to make it 15 percent, some tried to make it 8                                                              
percent - the ones that did not want the citizens to have an                                                                    
initiative process tried to make it 15 percent.  And, it was very                                                               
evident ... that was the object.  So, they finally did decide on 10                                                             
percent and the three-fourths.  And, at the present time, I really                                                              
believe if state employees, Division of Elections, and other people                                                             
would seriously look at some of these petitions -- number one, the                                                              
question was also asked how many of these petitions would have                                                                  
passed this past election if the 15 percent were in effect, none,                                                               
absolutely none.  And if you look back at what happened ... most,                                                               
I think all but one had to go back the second time.  They turn them                                                             
in, and then if they don't have enough, they come back and get more                                                             
signatures within a specific time period.  And, there's only one                                                                
that had an adequate number of signatures during this last                                                                      
go-around.  So absolutely none of them would have made it, even                                                                 
under Sharp's bill of last year.  And under this, 15 percent is a                                                               
lot, a lot, a lot of people, let me tell you, I've stood on a                                                                   
street corner."                                                                                                                 
MS. ROLLINS continued, "Now I find that the problem, and there's                                                                
really nothing you can do about it as you say there's court cases                                                               
that say you have to be able to pay sponsors.  But in this last                                                                 
election, I was very interested because of the marijuana                                                                        
initiative.  There were two people ... who gave an address of ...                                                               
Lyman Lane in North Pole.  I tried to get in touch with these                                                                   
people because I wanted to talk to them.  These people don't exist                                                              
in the state of Alaska.  I have reported this to the Division of                                                                
Elections.  I reported to the Ombudsman.  They have no driver's                                                                 
license, they've never applied for a permanent fund - any record                                                                
that I could have checked, I have checked.  And there's another                                                                 
individual, who in an eight-week period got almost 8,000                                                                        
signatures.  I've stood on a street corner, I asked if they could                                                               
possibly check and find out if these signatures were valid, some                                                                
way to check."                                                                                                                  
MS. ROLLINS concluded, "I think, if we should sort of put our                                                                   
finger in the dyke and try to get rid of some of these leaks of our                                                             
initiative process, maybe we wouldn't have the problems.  People                                                                
with money can get anything on an initiative - the marijuana                                                                    
initiative, the wolf snare, that was money from out-of-state.                                                                   
Matter in fact, the marijuana initiative was never written by an                                                                
Alaskan.  It was written by 'Americans' for Medical Rights' in                                                                  
California, ... it was funded by George Soros.  These are the                                                                   
problems that we have in Alaska.  And, because of their rights and                                                              
the court cases, there's very little that can be done about some of                                                             
these things.  But at least we could check when we find problems                                                                
with an initiative.  People that don't exist, we could check and                                                                
find out about them."                                                                                                           
Number 0685                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES referred to Ms. Rollins comment that "None would have                                                               
passed under this new rule."  Chair James said she suspects they                                                                
may have passed anyway, however, they would have a different                                                                    
configuration of signatures and that might have made it more                                                                    
difficult.  As more and more people are moving into the Anchorage                                                               
area, and many of the rural people are moving into the urban areas,                                                             
we get a more disproportionate representation of the people in the                                                              
sparsely populated areas.  Anything we can do to be sure that their                                                             
voice is heard is a positive step.                                                                                              
CHAIR JAMES explained "mob rule" is when we make decisions by                                                                   
poles, petitions, or anywhere where the influence over the                                                                      
decision-making process is done without taking a vote, and without                                                              
being sure that you have proper representation from all the                                                                     
districts.  We have a district plan in our government to protect                                                                
the people in every district to give them a voice.  Alaska is                                                                   
probably more out of balance on those issues than any other state.                                                              
She said, "As long as we have no surface transportation to many of                                                              
the areas in our state, it's going to continue this way because as                                                              
rural people get employment, they're going to have to come to town                                                              
to be able to get their employment.  So we want to be sure that we                                                              
protect the entire state."                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES further stated, "We keep saying, 'Well all these other                                                              
states do it this way,' I have that favorite saying, 'We don't care                                                             
how they do it out there.  We have to do it our way and we have to                                                              
deal with our conditions and our 365 million acres of land in                                                                   
Alaska, with shortly over 600 thousand population.  That's a                                                                    
different kind of configuration than any other state has to deal                                                                
with.  There's no one who has those kinds of proportions."  Chair                                                               
James asked what are the other committee assignments for HJR 7 and                                                              
HB 45.                                                                                                                          
Number 0721                                                                                                                     
KYLE JOHANSEN, Legislative Aid to Representative Williams, replied                                                              
the next referrals are Judiciary and Finance Committees for HJR 7,                                                              
and Finance for HB 45.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN mentioned he would provide minutes from the                                                                 
Constitutional Convention on referendums.                                                                                       
CHAIR JAMES suggested, "It might be, Representative Ogan..." [End                                                               
of tape].                                                                                                                       
TAPE 99-1, SIDE B                                                                                                               
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES stated she is very supportive of the constitutional                                                                 
form of government because it sets the parameters.  And, before the                                                             
parameters are changed, you have to have good reasons.  It's not                                                                
necessarily easy to do that.  She pointed out, "When we do things                                                               
by popular demand, it does not necessarily always fall under the                                                                
purview of our constitution.  So, I think that's really an                                                                      
important thing to see what they were thinking at the time.                                                                     
However, I'm past understanding that they couldn't possibly have                                                                
thought of everything.  Most of the time, when your setting up                                                                  
parameters, there are some people who can figure out how to make it                                                             
to their advantage.  And what happens when too much - of people                                                                 
taking advantage of something - that they couldn't have seen when                                                               
they wrote the constitution, or couldn't have thought of - then                                                                 
that's when we need to make an amendment."                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES summarized that we need to be sure that we follow the                                                               
proper steps in making an amendment.  To get an amendment out to                                                                
the people to vote, 67 percent of the districts have to say yes we                                                              
want that on the ballot.  So, that's a real control for our                                                                     
constitutional amendment and we should not change our constitution                                                              
Number 0037                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL called attention to the statistics included                                                              
in the committee packet.  He reported 38 percent of the districts                                                               
passed the last five referendums.  This is an average of 15                                                                     
districts.  This also indicates that the urban districts can have                                                               
a tremendous amount of clout.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL reiterated that he supports this initiative                                                              
because they're going to have to go through the standing rules to                                                               
get this.  He also mentioned he is concerned about the logistics of                                                             
getting petitions out through rural areas and that it hasn't been                                                               
answered to his satisfaction.  He concluded that he supports this                                                               
initiative simply because it makes the vast majority of our                                                                     
districts accountable to have changed our constitution.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated we are trying to strike a balance to                                                               
make sure everybody is equally represented.  He declared his                                                                    
concern is in the 15 percent of each of the districts and would                                                                 
feel somewhat more comfortable if that were 10 percent because it                                                               
would still require some effort and initiative.  And, of course, it                                                             
would require that they go out to at least three more districts -                                                               
which isn't currently required.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he believes the one vote in any one                                                                  
district is wrong.  He mentioned he would like to have more time to                                                             
consider this legislation.                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES explained she understands the current reading is you                                                                
have to have an accumulation of 10 percent of the voters that voted                                                             
in the last election, and they have to be from at least two-thirds                                                              
of the House districts, one in a House district is enough.  Isn't                                                               
that correct?                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON replied it's currently 15 percent in each one                                                             
of the 30.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES further remarked, "You're talking about - under this -                                                              
but under the old way, they could get one and that's not enough.                                                                
That's not enough particularly when almost every decision that we                                                               
have made ... in the legislature, and every initiative that is                                                                  
passed, has a different effect on the urban areas than it does on                                                               
the rural areas."  Chair James said she doesn't know if 15 percent                                                              
or 10 percent is too many, but one is not enough.  She said she                                                                 
believes they need to have some kind of a challenge to be sure that                                                             
-- even 10 percent isn't a popular vote in that district.  A small                                                              
number of people could put an initiative on the ballot that was                                                                 
totally averse to the area.                                                                                                     
Number 0149                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY explained his understanding of an initiative                                                             
and a referendum petition is to make readily available the public's                                                             
ability to bring about change in government.  And, we're talking                                                                
about representative government in the House and the Senate by                                                                  
representation by the majority.  He said these changes actually                                                                 
redefine majority.  It's not necessarily the majority of the                                                                    
population, it's the majority of the districts represented within                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY noted his concern is that we're changing the                                                             
definition of representative government.  He said, "Is it up to                                                                 
change - to strike the balance as you suggested because we're                                                                   
changing the stripe."                                                                                                           
CHAIR JAMES said that she understood Representative Smalley's                                                                   
concern.  She further stated, "It's true that we are changing the                                                               
stripes of this and that 51 percent then, instead of the two-thirds                                                             
in the existing bill if (indisc.) now - then 51 percent of the                                                                  
districts could make the decision to put this on the ballot.                                                                    
However, that was only one vote out of many of districts.  So, I                                                                
think that, if we're going to stand by your definition of the                                                                   
majority which is in cases of legislation, 51 percent - then that                                                               
would mean that in order to get it on the ballot we'd need 51                                                                   
percent of the people in at least 51 percent of the districts - and                                                             
if we were going to get a true majority view.  And so, I don't                                                                  
think that in the initiative process that it's intended to be                                                                   
strictly with the representative form of government, but certainly                                                              
we have to protect the minority.  That's the whole issue of                                                                     
parliamentary law is that the majority rules, but the minority's                                                                
heard.  In this particular case the minority is not heard, so I                                                                 
think we need to make some changes.  I don't know what the changes                                                              
need to be but I think we need to expand that."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY explained it wasn't his point to change the                                                              
51 percent.  Changing it to three-quarters is the problem that he                                                               
is having.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES agreed.  She said the only time she was convinced that                                                              
the three-quarters was necessary was when she received the numbers                                                              
that 25 percent of the districts could qualify as urban and only 15                                                             
percent in the rural area.  She further stated, "If you even stay                                                               
with two-thirds, it's only a couple of them.  And that's too small                                                              
a percentage of the rural area to satisfy me.  We have to have a                                                                
bigger representation I think, otherwise, they're run over with a                                                               
Number 0221                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she would like to know why the                                                                     
drafters actually made it so broad because this does change the                                                                 
constitution.  Secondly, no matter what happens, everyone has the                                                               
right to vote and has less of a concern because this is a route by                                                              
which individuals can get things on the ballot where the whole                                                                  
state gets to vote.  She stated, "If we are concerned about                                                                     
impacting rural Alaska, I too am concerned about the 15 percent                                                                 
because I think that in some of the rural districts that's going to                                                             
be extremely hard to get.  And that in a weird way it kind of turns                                                             
around the problem and may make it more difficult for those people                                                              
to have a voice."                                                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced she is willing to hold the bill for further                                                               
Number 0275                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON offered Amendment 1, page 1, line 11 of HJR
7, remove 15 and replace it with 10 percent.  That there be at                                                                  
least 10 percent in each House district.                                                                                        
     to at least ten percent of those who voted in the preceding                                                                
     general election in the house district.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN objected.  He said, "If we lower it to 10                                                                   
percent, then I would like to see it all the House districts in the                                                             
state.  And there's precedence for that, and I have, in a committee                                                             
packet on another bill, a breakdown of different states and what                                                                
they have done. ... I guess I might move that as a friendly                                                                     
amendment to the amendment if the mover of the first amendment                                                                  
doesn't object and I'd certainly like to have the bill sponsor                                                                  
weigh in on that.  I could tell you that would get my vote on this                                                              
CHAIR JAMES stated that amendment is too complicated, that they                                                                 
should handle that in a separate amendment.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN maintained his objection.  He suggested the                                                                 
bill should not be amended at this meeting, possibly at the next                                                                
Number 0362                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked for a roll call vote on Amendment 1.                                                                          
Representative Hudson, Smalley, Coghill, Kerttula and James voted                                                               
in favor of the amendment.  Representative Ogan and Whitaker voted                                                              
against the amendment.  Amendment 1 of HJR 7 passed by a vote of 5                                                              
to 2.                                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked for a point of clarification.  He asked,                                                              
"Did we amend the House Joint Resolution."                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES confirmed that the amendment was made to HJR 7.  She                                                                
pointed out the committee also addressed HB 45.                                                                                 
CHAIR JAMES suggested assigning HJR 7 and HB 45 to a work session;                                                              
creating a CS and then bring that to the committee.                                                                             
HB 74 SALARIES FOR CERTAIN STATE OFFICIALS                                                                                      
Number 0433                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES announced HB 74, "An Act relating to salary caps and to                                                             
the power to transfer certain positions to the classified service                                                               
and entitlement to longevity increments for certain state                                                                       
officials," is before the committee and that she didn't plan on                                                                 
moving it out of committee today.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated that she had a conflict with this                                                                
piece of legislation, because her husband, her sister, and her                                                                  
cousin all work for the State of Alaska and could be affected.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY objected.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "Please consider this bill, not as an                                                                 
end, but as a beginning in making the necessary reductions to our                                                               
new fiscal reality.  You have in your packets a comparison of the                                                               
governor's budget and the legislature's from 1996 through 1999.                                                                 
Also provided is a summary by Pam Varni from Legislative Affairs                                                                
outlining the very responsible consistent reforms the legislative                                                               
branch of the government has taken to respond to public demands for                                                             
a leaner more efficient government.  Please take time to review it.                                                             
It is an excellent model for the Administration to use as an                                                                    
example of how to do more with less."                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN continued, "Also in your packet is a fiscal                                                                 
note that shows a savings of at least $3 million in salaries in                                                                 
certain partially-exempt, and exempt persons within the                                                                         
Administration were capped at a range 21, step F.  I fully expect                                                               
the Administration to raise arguments of the people who supervise,                                                              
now being paid less than those they direct.  This bill is not                                                                   
unique in that regard.  In fact there are many employees who not                                                                
only make more than directors, or commissioners; they make more                                                                 
than the Governor does.  Perhaps someone in the Administration                                                                  
could tell the committee how many employees in our state have a                                                                 
high salary higher than the Governor's.  I expect the                                                                           
Administration to show us the list of some 32 legislative employees                                                             
who are not capped at 21-F."                                                                                                    
Number 0468                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "I recognize that these employees, with                                                               
a high degree of education credentials or responsibility, should be                                                             
offered more in wages.  In HB 74 I have intentionally provided a                                                                
section for similar exemptions for the Administration.  And we're                                                               
open to expanding that list and I think a good example of that is                                                               
something I read in the newspaper about a gentleman who has to be                                                               
a doctor, whose a director of a division, and certainly that would                                                              
be a rational exemption.  I also expect to hear the argument that                                                               
qualified people will not work for salaries that are too low."                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN continued, "The expertise argument fails on at                                                              
least two counts.  First, many of these political positions are                                                                 
political.  If expertise and institutional knowledge were important                                                             
there would not be a huge turnover in these positions. ... With                                                                 
each administration that comes in a lot of people that had these                                                                
positions were removed, not because they were doing a poor job, but                                                             
simply they were in the wrong party.  And that is, of course, the                                                               
prerogative of the Governor, because they serve in his pleasure.                                                                
If these positions were advertised at a 21-F, as the legislature                                                                
currently offers, the Administration would undoubtedly find many                                                                
applicants, especially during this downturn period.  I think there                                                              
are at least 600 people that were laid off a week or two ago from                                                               
one of the major oil companies and I imagine a lot of those guys                                                                
would be good managers.  They might have the wrong letter behind                                                                
their name, but they would be good managers."                                                                                   
Number 0493                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN continued, "For example, our new Commissioner,                                                              
Ed Flanagan, has taken, as have other administrator's in the past,                                                              
pay cuts when he was promoted.  In Mr. Flanagan's case it has been                                                              
reported the cut would be about $3,000 a year as he goes from                                                                   
deputy commissioner to commissioner.  Perhaps the Administration                                                                
could give other examples of cuts for promotions."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "I have also heard comments about the                                                                 
recent wage and benefit study showing top-level ranges being within                                                             
the standards of the private sector.  Madam Chair, could this be                                                                
the same study, which was criticized just few short weeks ago by                                                                
the same Administration as being politically motivated and not                                                                  
accurate?  Let's take a look at the executive summary of the study.                                                             
On page 2, if you have it in your packet, the executive summary                                                                 
     The costs of benefits for state employees are substantially                                                                
     higher than the survey participants.  Now I think the study                                                                
     shows that the high level of exempt employees, their salary                                                                
     compensation is fairly consistent.  But it also says the state                                                             
     contributions toward medical is 31 percent higher than the                                                                 
     private sector.  The state contributions toward SBS                                                                        
     (Supplemental Benefits System) and PERS (Public Employees'                                                                 
     Retirement System) is 25 percent higher and paid time off                                                                  
     benefits for state employees is 48 percent higher than the                                                                 
     average surveyed participant.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN further stated, "The question of whether or not                                                             
a person takes a professional position needs to be asked, not on                                                                
salary alone, but on the entire package available.  And we haven't                                                              
even addressed in those figures the travel, and we've got some                                                                  
information in there on what the travel of a lot these people are                                                               
and the airline miles.  Now I know, I'm consistently taken to task,                                                             
as a legislator, for my high salary, and my opponents always point                                                              
out what the total package for the cost of me being a legislator,                                                               
which includes my office account, any travel that I do, my moving                                                               
expenses, and those.  And they all say well you max x-amount of                                                                 
dollars per year.  And if we look at it critically with that point                                                              
of view, some of these folks are pushing $200 thousand."                                                                        
Number 0528                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "The committee needs to know what the                                                                 
total typical benefit package is worth for a range 28, step F                                                                   
position.  I respectfully ask the chair to request that                                                                         
information.  This is a political business, not a corporate                                                                     
performance driven entity.  Many of the positions in this bill are                                                              
political appointees, first and foremost.  I do not mean to suggest                                                             
that credentials are not necessary, but experts of the wrong                                                                    
political persuasion are simply not hired for these positions.  In                                                              
other words, expertise is not always the primary hiring criteria."                                                              
Number 0535                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN continued, "This Administration contains at                                                                 
least 30 persons who once worked for the legislature.  Just like                                                                
our staff, they once traveled to Juneau twice yearly without                                                                    
reimbursement, they managed two residences, worked long hours and                                                               
received no travel budget or area pay differential.  And I would                                                                
suggest Madam Chair that we have some pretty fine employees around                                                              
here who are pretty highly qualified.  And actually I know some                                                                 
employees who are pretty highly educated. .... With a few                                                                       
exceptions these employees are all capped at range 21-F.  Why were                                                              
these professionals originally attracted to the legislative jobs?                                                               
Were they any less talented or ambitious when they held positions                                                               
here?  The point is, we have similarly qualified professionals                                                                  
working with vastly different compensation packages."                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN added, "As members look at these financial                                                                  
notes, please also consider all the benefits and additional perks.                                                              
The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee examined the travel of                                                               
deputy commissioners and directors and we have that handout.                                                                    
Please note the costs to the state with airline miles being                                                                     
accumulated as additional personal benefits to all who travel.  We                                                              
don't address that in the bill, but I would just like to state for                                                              
the record that if everyone in the state was willing to give up                                                                 
their airline miles as a perk, I would certainly be willing to go                                                               
along with that and as we build up our accounts - be able to credit                                                             
those for our state travel.  What's good for the goose is good for                                                              
the gander."                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, "Can we afford to make further                                                                       
legislative cuts and leave the Administration whole?  Should we                                                                 
eliminate positions rather than reduce salaries?  Should we reduce                                                              
benefits and leave salaries and positions alone?"                                                                               
Number 0564                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN followed, "I do not have the final answer.  I                                                               
do know the governor has asked the private sector; our constituents                                                             
to sacrifice and cut their budget.  As the Governor himself has                                                                 
emphasized we are all going to have to make some adjustments.  I                                                                
have asked the persons affected by this bill, many I know very                                                                  
well, to please suggest their ideas for responding to our revenue                                                               
shortfalls.  I am asking them to step up, as they support their                                                                 
governor who is asking the public to pay taxes."                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN closed, urging the committee to use this bill                                                               
as a place to find facts, to ask hard questions, to encourage                                                                   
solutions and not controversy.  Let it be a beginning point for                                                                 
those, who the public looks to for leadership, to do so by example.                                                             
He said, "As we discover positions, which should be exempt, we may                                                              
add them into the section in the bill established for that purpose.                                                             
After all that has been examined, and if we find adjustments to the                                                             
caps in this bill are fair and necessary, I am prepared to discuss                                                              
those changes."                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked Representative Ogan if his concept                                                                  
takes into consideration the level of responsibility in the pay                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied, "Yes sir, I think (indisc.--a                                                                      
teleconference network glitch) as far as the responsibility with                                                                
the governor, and many directors, and many deputy commissioners,                                                                
and even commissioners are paid more than the governor.  And many                                                               
directors are paid more than commissioners."                                                                                    
Number 0579                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he believes that is a wrong comparison.                                                              
For example, director of the Alaska Marine Highway, is responsible                                                              
for one of the largest passenger liners in America, which entails                                                               
managing 700 personnel, a fleet of ships, and all of the politics                                                               
and rigors of the schedule.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN mentioned that he has taken into consideration,                                                             
there being certain exemptions, as stated in a section of the bill                                                              
on page 2, line 4.  Some people have a certain level of                                                                         
responsibility that the committee may wish to give deference to.                                                                
There is something wrong with the system when people that have the                                                              
ultimate responsibility are paid less than the people under them.                                                               
Number 0627                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked whether or not there was going to be                                                              
a geographic differential, for example are people in Nome going to                                                              
get paid the same as people in Juneau.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that's correct and urged the                                                                           
Administration to use the legislature as an example.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA mentioned some of the legislative staff                                                                 
don't work year-round.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the legislative staff does work                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES clarified that some employees work year-round and some                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA referred to Section 4.  She said it                                                                     
wouldn't allow for any pay increments for the deputies.  They could                                                             
never get a pay increase once they came in that would be as it is                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied that's correct.  If they're at their                                                                
maximum pay range, that's the maximum they could get.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked, "Was it your intention to never                                                                  
allow a pay raise, though, because that appears to be how it's                                                                  
written right now?"                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied that would be correct.                                                                              
Number 0647                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES asked, "We're talking about political appointees, not                                                               
people that are hired for long periods of time.  We're talking                                                                  
about political appointees in this case aren't we? ... Political                                                                
appointees not people that are hired through the hiring process ...                                                             
in collective bargaining and those kinds of things?"                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied, "That's correct Madam Chair.  It's                                                                 
simply political appointees and it's pretty well defined I believe                                                              
and they'd be held at the same standard as our legislative                                                                      
employees because they are essentially political employees.  I mean                                                             
we hire them at our will and they serve at our pleasure."                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "We are talking about deputy                                                                        
commissioners, assistant commissioners, and directors.  I guess the                                                             
problem that I have is that we have many people down beneath the                                                                
directors and the commissioners who are already up in range 22 to                                                               
24 -- and the high salary grades because they've been around for                                                                
many years.  My concern is that, and while I accept the prime                                                                   
sponsor of the bill as a point to start from and to really start                                                                
thinking seriously about how we can reduce are cost of government,                                                              
we have collective bargaining, we have responsibilities and they're                                                             
almost contractual responsibilities.  I think we'd have to really                                                               
look seriously at whether or not we don't have to go back; if we're                                                             
going to take care of the division director are we going to then be                                                             
forced to go back in and take care of everybody else that would                                                                 
earn a higher salary, because they've been there longer or because                                                              
they have earned it and they're collectively bargained for a                                                                    
particular position."                                                                                                           
CHAIR JAMES stated, "This is my seventh year here.  And I've been                                                               
concerned about the parameters in which we hire legislative staff.                                                              
...  They are more restrictive I believe than the Administration.                                                               
But for legislative staff there is the number movement.  If you                                                                 
started at a 21 and ... the next year you get a merit increase.                                                                 
But if you get to 21-F you're at the top and you can't go any                                                                   
further.  Some of these folks that have been hired at 21 already                                                                
are at 21-F because they have been working elsewhere in the State                                                               
... and are qualified for a higher appointed amount.  It's very                                                                 
difficult to compare ... with other employees, where legislative                                                                
employees are hired for seven days a week, 24-hours a day ... with                                                              
no overtime."  People that are not from Juneau have to pay their                                                                
own way and we're not having a shortage of finding people who want                                                              
to work.  It is like comparing "apples and oranges" when people are                                                             
hired to work for the Administration, and when people are hired to                                                              
work for the legislature."                                                                                                      
TAPE 99-2, SIDE A                                                                                                               
[Approximately three minutes of testimony was lost due to recorder                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that what spurred this legislation was a                                                               
discussion with some high-level executives of the oil companies                                                                 
attending the Alliance Conference.  One of the oil companies said                                                               
that their executive budget has been cut by 50 percent.  They have                                                              
profit-driven programs as opposed to constitutionally mandated                                                                  
programs, which is different, but the reality is that they are on                                                               
the same fiscal stream.  He said that he has yet to see any cuts on                                                             
the upper echelon of the bureaucracy.  The legislature has made a                                                               
lot of cut backs, but the upper levels need to be made to                                                                       
Number 0056                                                                                                                     
TOM BOUTIN mentioned he has lived in Alaska since 1973 and has                                                                  
lived in Juneau since 1983.  He said supports HB 74 and that he                                                                 
believes the government needs to move toward solving its fiscal                                                                 
problems, before asking the private sector to help.  He said,                                                                   
"State government took its oil money and bulked up and now it has                                                               
to adjust to reduce circumstances, that happens in the private                                                                  
sector very often.  Alaskans have a government that was built by                                                                
oil.  Now a process needs to take place to determine how much                                                                   
government we can have without oil.  This bill brings an important                                                              
stakeholder, the executive branch management and professionals into                                                             
that process and certainly gets everyone's attention.  I think the                                                              
legislature needs to do that and it needs to be done very soon.                                                                 
Before coming here today I talked with people who currently have                                                                
state government positions that could be directly impacted if HB 74                                                             
became law.  I think if you polled state employees the majority                                                                 
might favor this bill over alternatives.  I would not be surprised                                                              
if those who would have their salaries reduced by this bill would                                                               
favor this level of pay roll reduction over a state income tax."                                                                
MR. BOUTIN continued, "One person pointed out that salary cuts that                                                             
might result from HB 74 would be before tax and therefore the real                                                              
impact on take home pay would be better.  I hope everyone could                                                                 
agree that state payroll reductions would certainly would be more                                                               
efficient than new taxes and have a much smaller impact on the                                                                  
Alaska economy.  It will be interesting to what the fiscal notes                                                                
say; none were available when I checked yesterday."                                                                             
MR. BOUTIN said, "Like many people in Alaska that I know - I've                                                                 
worked for both the private sector and government.  In working for                                                              
the government, I worked first for the Alaska Department of Revenue                                                             
and then for the Department of Natural Resources.  The positions                                                                
were in the professional service and therefore exempt or partially                                                              
exempt.  The Department of Revenue job was paying about $73                                                                     
thousand a year; when I took the job at the Department of Natural                                                               
Resources that job paid $83 thousand a year.  Public service should                                                             
not pay as much as the private sector.  I have never worked for a                                                               
private sector firm which gave any where near as much paid                                                                      
vacation, any where near the 13 paid holidays, nor the other                                                                    
benefits, such as not having to pay social security and having the                                                              
Supplemental Benefits System, the additional Public Employee                                                                    
Retirement System and a Deferred Compensation Plan."                                                                            
MR. BOUTIN continued, "I have to tell you it was an eye-opener for                                                              
me to see people not only take sick leave when they were ill -                                                                  
something I never encountered in the private sector, and also take                                                              
sick leave when family members were ill.  Most importantly of all,                                                              
all of my private sector jobs had a normal work week of six,                                                                    
ten-hour days including my first job in Alaska, which was a logging                                                             
engineer position at 'Ketchikan Pulp'.  So, as far as I know,                                                                   
professional positions, and that is what HB 74 impacts, continue to                                                             
be six tens in the private sector.  The private sector manager has                                                              
to turn a dollar into jobs, costumer satisfaction, and at least a                                                               
dollar ten or a dollar and a quarter.  Productivity is measured and                                                             
managers either earn their keep or they show them the door."                                                                    
Number 0127                                                                                                                     
MR. BOUTIN said, "The type of budget cut proposed by HB 74 is not                                                               
unreasonable given the budget cuts that need to come.  Hardly a                                                                 
week goes by that some large lower 48 private sector firm doesn't                                                               
announce major payroll cut backs.  Now Alaska government has to cut                                                             
back; it's unfortunate, but it's not unhealthy.  It would be                                                                    
unhealthy to not first reduce the costs of government.  I think                                                                 
that cutting the Alaska government payroll must take place, and                                                                 
beginning at the higher echelons is good process and good                                                                       
MR. BOUTIN continued, "The rank and file should be much more                                                                    
willing to understand the other changes that need to come if a                                                                  
professional staff has first had to tighten its belt.  If General                                                               
Motors had just lost all sales of the Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Buick                                                               
and Pontiac divisions, cutting the pay of top executives and                                                                    
grounding the corporate jet fleet would be a meaningful symbol and                                                              
an important preliminary step to solving the problem.  I think                                                                  
symbolism is important in managing; I think that bringing every                                                                 
part of an organization into the solution is good process.                                                                      
Sometimes government people like to talk about the public as their                                                              
customers; I think that before you go to your customers to try to                                                               
raise prices, you need to reduce your own costs.  HB 74 is a small,                                                             
but an important step."                                                                                                         
MR. BOUTIN further stated, "State government is spending at least                                                               
$3 million more than it is taking in each day, about $7 thousand                                                                
per minute based on a 7.5-hour day, therefore, I'm expecting many                                                               
measures like HB 74 to be enacted.  I think that the private sector                                                             
is expecting measures like this to be implemented before any                                                                    
discussion of new taxes, I know I am.  I keep reading in the                                                                    
newspapers that this budget situation needs to be explained to the                                                              
public; the thinking seems to be that a person who works 30-hours                                                               
a week at K-Mart and 30-hours a week at Costco, with no benefits,                                                               
would say fine to an income tax if only she understood how much                                                                 
state revenues have diminished.  I think it's curious that no one                                                               
is first trying to bring the 21 thousand state employees into the                                                               
MR. BOUTIN said, "HB 74 goes a long way toward doing that, a good                                                               
beginning.  I also think the public would take notice if it were                                                                
quickly enacted.  For several years now the Alaska legislature has                                                              
shown leadership, taken the heat.  HB 74 demonstrates the sort-of                                                               
leadership that is needed right now."                                                                                           
Number 0174                                                                                                                     
MR. BOUTIN concluded, "The final point I want to make is that in my                                                             
experience, legislative staffers work very hard compared to                                                                     
Administration personnel.  Of course there are hard working people                                                              
in every administration, but I'd be quite surprised if anyone does                                                              
not believe that legislative staffers work harder.  The key point                                                               
is that every legislative staffer works hard, by hard worker I'm                                                                
talking about people who come in early and work late, always                                                                    
working against deadlines, always producing.  The Administration's                                                              
managers can spend a lot of time traveling, going to meetings,                                                                  
churning, going to the Anchorage Board Room any Friday night, yet                                                               
you call their offices on Saturdays and most of those people aren't                                                             
at work; they don't work Sundays either.  After a while you come to                                                             
realize they do not intend to make up the work they missed when                                                                 
they were traveling and sitting in meetings.  If the top pay of a                                                               
legislative staffer is going to be used as a benchmark for                                                                      
government workers, then I don't think that any government pay                                                                  
level should exceed what the legislature pays even if oil goes back                                                             
to $25.  Please move this bill on behalf of the legislative staff                                                               
that will be on this floor working this Saturday, and for the woman                                                             
who works 30-hours a week at Costco and 30-hours a week at K-Mart                                                               
just to make ends meet."                                                                                                        
Number 0203                                                                                                                     
ALISON ELGEE, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration,                                                                
said that she is here on behalf of the Administration to oppose HB
74.  The concern is one that Representative Hudson has already                                                                  
expressed.  That is qualifications are very important for these                                                                 
positions, but the underlying responsibility is really the                                                                      
benchmark against which we determine our compensation policy.  When                                                             
you look at the responsibilities of the director level people, and                                                              
the Alaska Marine Highway example is a good one, where the                                                                      
management responsibility includes management of several millions                                                               
of dollars and several hundred employees on a year-round basis.  It                                                             
is difficult to compare that job with that of a staff assistant to                                                              
the legislature.  We need to be competitive not only internally to                                                              
state government, but also externally to attract good qualified                                                                 
people to take these positions.  She mentioned the Department of                                                                
Administration prepared the attached fiscal note.                                                                               
MS. ELGEE explained, "There are a couple of points that I would                                                                 
like to make on the benefit analysis that was raised by                                                                         
Representative Ogan.  He picked three specific areas of benefits                                                                
that the study showed were higher than their comparables that they                                                              
used in conducting that study.  The overall benefit package, they                                                               
said, was only 7 percent higher than the comparables.  When you                                                                 
take apart the pieces, the retirement and benefits are identical to                                                             
every public sector employee in the state of Alaska - be it a state                                                             
employee or a municipal employee.  And, that is also recorded by                                                                
their 'KPMG' study, the retirement and benefits are identical.  The                                                             
health benefits are I think overstated in their comparisons,                                                                    
because they have compared a number of employees from outside of                                                                
the state of Alaska that participate in managed care plan                                                                       
environments which we do not have available to use in this state."                                                              
MS. ELGEE further stated, "When you look at a comparison that is a                                                              
direct conventional plan comparison to the state of Alaska's costs,                                                             
on the employer side our costs are running from zero to 8 percent                                                               
higher.  On the employee contribution side, our employees                                                                       
contribute as much as 50 percent higher than the comparables that                                                               
are used in that study.  And when you look at the paid time off                                                                 
benefits, you end up with a distorted comparison because what                                                                   
'KPMG' did was take the number of days off, convert it to dollars,                                                              
and then run it against a base level comparison where the dollars                                                               
that you're starting with are substantially different.  If it is                                                                
look at it on a day-by-day basis, the people that we have working                                                               
for state government in an annual and sick leave environment do                                                                 
have more paid days off than their comparables in the study.  But                                                               
the majority of our employees are in a personal leave environment                                                               
and those employees actually receive less paid time off than the                                                                
comparables that were cited."                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if Ms. Elgee would be affected by the                                                                 
passage of HB 74.                                                                                                               
MS. ELGEE replied yes.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked why didn't the Administration send a                                                                  
commissioner that does not have a conflict to testify on this.                                                                  
MS. ELGEE replied that the time demands on the staff varied and she                                                             
agreed to do it.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, "Is it the position of the                                                                           
Administration that they take no cuts in salary or benefits?"                                                                   
MS. ELGEE said she felt it's inappropriate to say that the                                                                      
Administration is unwilling to consider any kind of reduction, but                                                              
they feel this approach is a wrong approach in terms of just taking                                                             
across the board action that ignores the level of responsibility of                                                             
the people that we're asking to perform these duties.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Ms. Elgee if the Administration is                                                                    
willing to come up with some alternatives, with some changes.                                                                   
MS. ELGEE replied that she was not in a position to make that                                                                   
commitment, but would discuss that with the Administration.                                                                     
Number 0287                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Ms. Elgee is she was the person who                                                               
normally would come before a committee to discuss salaries and                                                                  
MS. ELGEE responded yes, as Deputy Commissioner of Administration,                                                              
this is one of her responsibilities.                                                                                            
Number 0293                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated for the records, "For exempt                                                                     
employees, such as this bill would affect, they don't receive any                                                               
overtime pay for any of the extra hours that they work.  Is that                                                                
MS. ELGEE replied, "The employees that would be impacted by this                                                                
bill, that is correct.  There is no overtime compensation."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked what percentage of our reduction would                                                              
this represent - approximately.                                                                                                 
MS. ELGEE replied there is no one percentage reduction, because                                                                 
you're impacting people in the commissioner's offices that are                                                                  
anywhere from a range 23 to a 28.  You're impacting directors that                                                              
are at a range 26 but in a variety of incremental steps.  So, the                                                               
percentage reduction would be different for each employee.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if it would be 15 percent, 20 percent,                                                              
25 percent.                                                                                                                     
MS. ELGEE said she would provide that information.                                                                              
Number 0310                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON referred to the fiscal note saying that it                                                                
provides for a cost savings of about $3.1 million.  He said he                                                                  
presumed that was made according to the specific position and step                                                              
that these affected members have at the present time.  He said that                                                             
he believes the actual fiscal note would be many, many, many,                                                                   
millions of dollars for this reason that you do not reduce the                                                                  
salary of the boss without going down through the scales and                                                                    
reducing the salaries of everybody that works for the boss.                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES stated legislative staff is paid more than the                                                                      
legislator at a range 10.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN gave the governor's and his chief of staff's                                                                
CHAIR JAMES explained there's a lot of unfairness out there.  She                                                               
said in her first job that she took was with the Department of                                                                  
Motor Vehicles and she made $166 a month, which included vacation                                                               
time and holidays.  By the time she paid the babysitter, she                                                                    
couldn't work for $166 a month so she went to work in the private                                                               
sector and made $1.26 per hour or approximately $2600 a year.  The                                                              
private sector provided her with all the same benefits as the state                                                             
and more pay.  She said the reason she says this is, at that time,                                                              
in 1950s, is people said that - especially women going back to work                                                             
after their families are gone, they could go to work for the state,                                                             
because you didn't have to have any special skills.  So people                                                                  
would go to work for the state for the benefits and assumed that                                                                
they would be making less money in their paycheck than what they                                                                
earned in the private section, that's the choice they made.  Over                                                               
the years that has turned around, where working for the state, or                                                               
any kind of government, provides more pay plus great benefits.                                                                  
Now, state jobs are much more sought after than private sector                                                                  
Number 0392                                                                                                                     
DON ETHERIDGE District, Local 71, appeared before the committee.                                                                
He stated, "None of our folks are effected by this bill directly,                                                               
but indirectly they all will be.  And, I too, when I started with                                                               
state government was making a whole lot less than the private                                                                   
sector, but we've worked to get it up, comparable.  During pipeline                                                             
days, the state jobs weren't that well paid and the industry went                                                               
skyrocketing and ours held pretty much level.  Now it's going the                                                               
other way, they took a big cut, our private sector folks, but our                                                               
state folks have been able to hold the line.  One of our major                                                                  
concerns if we start cutting state salaries then everybody else is                                                              
going to start losing also.  And that's a major concern out there                                                               
because we don't need another 86 (1986) here, because there's too                                                               
many houses that were walked away from - and giving the keys back                                                               
to the banks and so forth."                                                                                                     
MR. ETHERIDGE further stated, "First of all, I believe that all of                                                              
you deserve higher pay, I would do what you guys go through for the                                                             
pay you get and I don't know why you do. ... In response also to                                                                
the comment made that every time the Administration changes,                                                                    
directors change, I know that's not true, I worked under a director                                                             
of the 'Highways Department' [Department of Highways] that was                                                                  
there for over 20 years.  He stayed on and on, through not only                                                                 
different administrations but a different party - taking over the                                                               
Administration and he just kept right on going.  And, if you get                                                                
some of these directors that get entrenched in there and they can't                                                             
afford to get rid of them because they know too much to do that.                                                                
I think that we need to protect these folks that are making the                                                                 
decisions.  When we're talking to people that are out spending our                                                              
state dollars, I want somebody that's qualified out there to spend                                                              
our state dollars. ... I want somebody that's got the                                                                           
responsibility and will stay there and has an incentive to stay                                                                 
there and do the job."                                                                                                          
MR. ETHERIDGE continued, "When I worked for 'Marine Highways', I                                                                
made more money than the director.  I made more money than the                                                                  
governor did at certain times, but I also worked an excess of 1,000                                                             
hours a year of overtime in those years in order to do it because                                                               
we were so shorthanded we couldn't afford to hire help to give me                                                               
the break - which I would loved to have had.  When you look out                                                                 
there, there's many instances where the people are going to make                                                                
more money because of the hours they have to put in."                                                                           
MR. ETHERIDGE further stated, "The comment of one of the gentlemen                                                              
testifying earlier, that you don't find directors and commissioners                                                             
in the offices on weekends, I've got news for him.  I find lots of                                                              
them in here.  I spend a lot of time in my office over the                                                                      
weekends, especially when you guys are in session, and I have no                                                                
problem getting a hold of those people.  I know that when you dial                                                              
the phone numbers for their switchboards, there is nobody at the                                                                
switchboards to answer them, but if you have the direct number to                                                               
their offices, you can get those folks, because they are there.  I                                                              
spend a lot of time on the phone with them over the weekends.  I                                                                
even call them at home at night, or whatever I have to do, if I've                                                              
got an issue that I need to work on - they are available.  I've                                                                 
never had one yet tell me, no matter what time of day or night I                                                                
call him, that he isn't going to talk to me."                                                                                   
Number 0456                                                                                                                     
MR. ETHERIDGE said, "I believe that you're going backwards in the                                                               
idea of equality here.  Instead of trying downgrade the folks that                                                              
are doing these jobs, I believe the staff for the legislators -                                                                 
they're underpaid, they're overworked, they put in so many more                                                                 
hours than should be called for, but they deserve more and I'll be                                                              
the first one to stand here and argue it.  If we could organize                                                                 
them and bring them up - I'd love for the chance to do that.  But                                                               
you guys don't let us do that for some reason.  I also see a lot of                                                             
staffers here that are using this as a stepping-stone. ... And, I                                                               
would hate to see anything taken away from them - just to bring                                                                 
them down to somebody else's level.  I don't believe that's the                                                                 
fair way to do this."                                                                                                           
Number 0476                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Mr. Etheridge, "Is it your position that                                                              
there shouldn't be any salary reductions at all -- of the pain of                                                               
this budget shortfall should be more on the backs of the                                                                        
MR. ETHERIDGE replied, "Yes, I believe that everybody in the state                                                              
should have to foot the bill of running the government.  I see that                                                             
right now were talking of cutting public employees, commissioners,                                                              
and all these folks, wages on the facts that - well, we got less                                                                
oil dollars.  People are getting laid off in the industry.  The pay                                                             
cuts in the industry, and so forth.  The state does not go up when                                                              
the product price goes up.  State salaries don't do that.   We have                                                             
to negotiate the prices to get them up and we have to work at them                                                              
to get them up.  The oil industry, when the prices go up, their                                                                 
executive get raises. ... But, our public employees - they've got                                                               
the same job every day and they're doing more with less out there                                                               
every day."                                                                                                                     
[HJR 7 and HB 74 were heard and held].                                                                                          
Number 0499                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee at                                                             
10:12 a.m.                                                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects