Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/15/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY


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Audio Topic
08:40:35 AM Start
08:42:28 AM Overview Presentation: Department of Law
09:46:31 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview of the Department of Law TELECONFERENCED
(Continued from 1/26/05 Meeting)
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 15, 2005                                                                                        
                           8:40 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Overview Presentation: Department of Law                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Scott Nordstrand, Acting Attorney General                                                                                       
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS called the Senate Judiciary Standing                                                                      
Committee meeting to order at 8:40:35 AM. Present were Senators                                                               
Charlie Huggins, Gene Therriault and Chair Ralph Seekins.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
           ^Overview Presentation: Department of Law                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT NORDSTRAND, acting attorney general for the Department of                                                                 
Law (DOL), gave an overview of the Civil Division.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:42:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. NORDSTRAND presented the recruitment brochure, which is also                                                                
a guide to the organization of the DOL.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:43:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Sections within the Civil Division.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:45:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Regulatory Affairs and Public Advocacy.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:47:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Torts and Worker's Compensation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:48:26 AM                                                                                                                    
The Department of Transportation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:49:03 AM                                                                                                                    
Scope of Civil Division.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:50:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Changes in Fiscal Year 05.                                                                                                      
CINA work.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:52:10 AM                                                                                                                    
Additions of attorneys for CINA, labor relations, ethics act,                                                                   
regulations, and legislation.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:54:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a 5-minute recess.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:02:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS called the committee meeting back to order.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. NORDSTRAND continued the overview. He spoke of new                                                                          
initiatives.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:03:38 AM                                                                                                                    
   · Ability of government to collect money that is owed.                                                                       
   · Medicaid lien to recoup money from negligent people.                                                                       
   · Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) becoming                                                                   
     aggressive in collections.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:06:18 AM                                                                                                                    
   · Investment in management technology and legal research                                                                     
     technology.                                                                                                                
   · West KM (Knowledge Management).                                                                                            
   · Web-based legal research service.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:09:46 AM                                                                                                                    
  · $150K - $200K savings per year by investing in technology.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   · FY06 asking for a case management system for the Civil                                                                     
     Division.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   · Currently limited capabilities for research, and no                                                                        
     calendaring system.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:12:08 AM                                                                                                                    
   · Billing system.                                                                                                            
   · Document management.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:13:50 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Therriault joined the committee.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:14:30 AM                                                                                                                    
   · Most important aspect of DOL: Recruitment and retention of                                                                 
     attorneys.                                                                                                                 
   · Pay is issue: DOL currently at $50,000 starting pay as                                                                     
     compared to private sector, which is $80-90,000 per year.                                                                  
   · Federal and municipal lawyers paid more than state                                                                         
     attorneys.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:18:05 AM                                                                                                                    
Turnover and training affects DOLs casework and productivity.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:20:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Department of Law response to current challenges:                                                                               
   · Recruitment tools                                                                                                          
   · Law clerk program                                                                                                          
   · Recruitment tours                                                                                                          
   · Updated technology                                                                                                         
   · Retain lawyers                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:21:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Nordstrand a question regarding inter-                                                                  
agency charges and fees.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:22:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. NORDSTRAND answered that it was a flat fee and it is                                                                        
budgeted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:23:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Some examples were discussed regarding attorney pay and hours                                                                   
worked.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:31:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS commented regarding ethics and disclosure of pay.                                                                 
He asked Mr. Nordstrand if the Office of Public Advocacy hires                                                                  
attorneys from the private sector.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:31:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. NORDSTRAND answered that they occasionally hire outside                                                                     
counsel.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:32:36 AM                                                                                                                    
Chair Seekins and Mr. Nordstrand discussed the difference in pay                                                                
for private and public sector attorneys.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:41:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Nordstrand why the DOL doesn't use                                                                      
transportation pools, and why the DOL doesn't use case                                                                          
management systems.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. NORDSTRAND replied that it takes capital, and that they do                                                                  
have a system, although calendaring is newer technology.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 9:46:31 AM.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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