Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2005 08:30 AM Senate JUDICIARY

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
08:36:59 AM Start
08:41:44 AM Confirmation Hearing – Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
09:11:27 AM SB105
10:29:55 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Select Committee on Legislative Ethics TELECONFERENCED
Confirmation Hearing: Marianne Stillner
Moved CSSB 105(L&C) Out of Committee
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 9, 2005                                                                                          
                           8:36 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SELECT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                                          
Confirmation Hearing: Marianne Stillner                                                                                         
     CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                      
SENATE BILL NO. 105                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the retrospective application and                                                                           
applicability of the overtime compensation exemption for flight                                                                 
crew members; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
     MOVED CSSB 105(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                  
Supporting the federal marriage amendment.                                                                                      
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 105                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OVERTIME WAGES FOR FLIGHT CREW                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
02/14/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/14/05       (S)       L&C, JUD                                                                                               
02/22/05       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/22/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/22/05       (S)       MINUTE (L&C)                                                                                           
03/01/05       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/01/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 105(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/01/05       (S)       MINUTE (L&C)                                                                                           
03/02/05       (S)       L&C RPT CS 3DP 1AM SAME TITLE                                                                          
03/02/05       (S)       DP: BUNDE, SEEKINS, STEVENS B                                                                          
03/02/05       (S)       AM: ELLIS                                                                                              
03/09/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Ms. Marianne Stillner                                                                                                           
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Confirmation candidate to the Select                                                                      
Committee on Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                
Mr. Thomas Daniel, Partner                                                                                                      
Perkins Coie Law Office                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Jerry Rock                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Tom Nicolos                                                                                                                 
Barrow, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Grant Thompson                                                                                                              
Barrow, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Ms. Karen Casanova                                                                                                              
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Michael Charlie                                                                                                             
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Bob Hajdukovich                                                                                                             
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Mike Hageland, Owner                                                                                                        
Hageland Aviation                                                                                                               
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Mike Bergt, General Manager                                                                                                 
Alaska Central Express (ACE)                                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Bruce McGlasen, President and Owner                                                                                         
Grant Aviation                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Richard Clark, Pilot                                                                                                        
Hageland Aviation                                                                                                               
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
Mr. Ignatius Beans, Pilot                                                                                                       
Hageland Aviation                                                                                                               
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 105                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:36:59 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gretchen Guess,  and Chair Ralph                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS brought the Judiciary  Committee up to speed on the                                                               
settlement agreement  between former Attorney General  Renkes and                                                               
the Alaska Personnel  Board. He provided copies  of documents for                                                               
the  committee members.  Chair Seekins  said the  State Personnel                                                               
Board intends to  revise the Ethics Act. The  members are working                                                               
on a  broad review of the  Ethics Act and the  committee is close                                                               
to getting a final draft.                                                                                                       
^Confirmation Hearing - Select Committee on Legislative Ethics                                                              
8:41:44 AM                                                                                                                    
The following  is a  verbatim transcript of  an interview  by the                                                               
Judiciary Committee  of Marianne  Stillner, up  for reappointment                                                               
to the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics:                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Welcome to  the Senate Judiciary  Committee this morning,  if you                                                               
would come  up. Nice  to have  somebody in  person rather  than a                                                               
voice on the  end of a phone. Welcome to  the committee. If you'd                                                               
put yourself on the  record so that we can have  it clear for the                                                               
clerk,  we'd  be  eager  to  hear  why  you  are  reapplying  for                                                               
membership on this committee.                                                                                                   
MARIANNE STILLNER:                                                                                                              
Senator Seekins, I  have been on the committee for  two years, my                                                               
first term. I felt that was  a really steep learning curve for me                                                               
and so I feel like now in the  second term I could make a greater                                                               
contribution to the  committee. I enjoy the committee,  I find it                                                               
an intellectually  challenging and  intriguing working  group. So                                                               
that's why I want to be on it again.                                                                                            
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
For  the record,  we have  a  balance we  have to  meet, are  you                                                               
registered within a particular political party?                                                                                 
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
No sir.                                                                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
So you're non-party?                                                                                                            
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
We  have to  try  to meet  a balance.  It's  required within  the                                                               
statute  as to  political affiliation  of public  members; that's                                                               
why I have to  ask that question. You say that  there was a steep                                                               
learning curve  to being on  the committee. Could you  flush that                                                               
out a little for us? Give us some examples.                                                                                     
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I  came  in,  my  background  was in  nursing  and  currently  in                                                               
education, and  so I felt  like I was  being introduced to  a new                                                               
subculture. A subculture of the  Legislature and I'm an extremely                                                               
apolitical  person so  I really  didn't  have much  understanding                                                               
information about  the process in  the Legislature, so  that part                                                               
of it is the  learning curve for me. Also I  think that there's a                                                               
lot  of legalese  and so  forth that  terminology of  the process                                                               
that I had to learn as well.                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Who were your instructors and how did you learn this?                                                                           
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
My colleagues on the committee.                                                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
When you talk about the legalese  side of things, can you give us                                                               
a little idea of what were your biggest challenges?                                                                             
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
The  legal terminology,  just  understanding,  for example,  just                                                               
even  the term  "due process",  what  that really  means, and  so                                                               
forth. Terms like that.                                                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
The statutes themselves, as other  members have told us that they                                                               
can  be a  little confusing  and a  little overpowering,  did you                                                               
find that to be the case for yourself?                                                                                          
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I think that the statutes, you  need to really really really read                                                               
them.  Study them.  Yes. You  have to  understand them.  It's not                                                               
something you can  just glance at and feel like  you have a grasp                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Other questions?                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Marianne, when  we look at  how you  first got on  the committee,                                                               
can  you describe  for  us?  It appears  you  have  to have  some                                                               
connection before you can make that leap.                                                                                       
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Yes. It  was a  recommendation of a  person that  Judge Carpeneti                                                               
had asked  to be on  the committee and  this person did  not feel                                                               
like  she could  do  that  and so  she  recommended  me to  Judge                                                               
Carpeneti and he recommended me. Obviously...                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
It was a recommendation by someone that had been considered?                                                                    
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
So there was some connection?                                                                                                   
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
In that regard,  do you think it's reasonable that  we have maybe                                                               
a little more public process  scenario where it might be publicly                                                               
advertised so  that somebody that  lived in Willow,  Alaska could                                                               
find out about it that might not know...                                                                                        
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Absolutely.  I  was  a  bit  stunned, I  was  astonished,  I  was                                                               
delighted to  be on it  but I  couldn't quite believe  it myself.                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
In that  regard, most bodies though,  if you listen to  people, I                                                               
don't  know,  education  probably  a good  example  where  you're                                                               
losing all the  seasoned quality teachers sort of  thing but, for                                                               
every person  that departs a  body, in this case  your committee,                                                               
there is  a new, young,  energetic person that replaces  them, or                                                               
at least new to the process.  My question for you is, turnover on                                                               
the  committee, would  you characterize  how that  has been  your                                                               
experience? Is it the same people recurring or...?                                                                              
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I don't really know beyond the  two years but I was very thankful                                                               
that there were  people who had some experience  on the committee                                                               
beforehand because  otherwise it  would just be  rather difficult                                                               
to have new  people every time. You have to  have some people who                                                               
are experienced to lead the way.                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Yes, definitely.                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Listening to  you describe  that, being  a professional  but when                                                               
you talked  about looking at  the legalese  for lack of  a better                                                               
term, that it was  a little hard to come to  grips and people had                                                               
to coach  you, that's  my words  not yours.  I guess  my question                                                               
would be;  for those  people that that's  applied to,  whether or                                                               
not it's too  hard for them to  figure out what it  says and what                                                               
it means.                                                                                                                       
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I'm sorry; I don't understand what you mean.                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Language that  you were describing. Whether  that the application                                                               
of it for people that it  would be applicable to whether it's too                                                               
hard for them  to interpret what they're supposed to  be doing to                                                               
be in compliance with.                                                                                                          
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
No, it's  all part  of the,  like I said,  the subculture  of the                                                               
Legislature  so  legislators,  legislative  aides  and  so  forth                                                               
already  understand  a lot  of  that  language,  I think,  so  it                                                               
wouldn't be  so difficult. Is that  what you mean? I'm  not quite                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Yes, no, exactly.                                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
Ms.  Stillner, thanks  for being  here today  and thanks  for re-                                                               
applying. Maybe you can tell us,  because I know the committee is                                                               
kind of curious  about trying to get more of  the public involved                                                               
in this process,  maybe you can tell folks how  much of your time                                                               
is devoted to  the committee and how you're able  to balance your                                                               
committee duties with your professional duties.                                                                                 
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Yes, it's quite variable. It sort  of depends on how many and the                                                               
nature  of complaints  that are  presented to  the committee  how                                                               
many meetings  are called. I  guess I  can, people can  assume or                                                               
expect, I  should say, to  have two  meetings a year.  That's the                                                               
very bottom  line, and  then beyond  that, whatever  the business                                                               
is, a meeting  is call. And it  could be a bit of  time. Yes. And                                                               
so it  is a bit of  a balance, it is,  and of course the  task of                                                               
the administrator is to get as  many people there as possible and                                                               
that's sometimes hard to do.                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
You're  currently working  as an  assistant professor  of nursing                                                               
here at UAS.                                                                                                                    
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
Did you  ever find  that the duties  of the  committee conflicted                                                               
with your job duties and that you  had to find someone to fill in                                                               
for you to give a class or something like that?                                                                                 
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Actually not.  My absence  was, I  was absent  a couple  of times                                                               
this  past year,  were due  to  travel schedules,  travel. I  was                                                               
actually  in flight  for those  absences  so I  couldn't call  in                                                               
right away. But no. It hasn't  been... unless it's the very first                                                               
week  of class  or something  then I  wouldn't want  to but,  who                                                               
knows if a meeting would be called then or not. I don't know.                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
And  for getting  yourself  up  to speed,  did  you  rely on  the                                                               
statutes themselves, conversations with  colleagues, and is there                                                               
any book  or any  guidebook or  any primer for  new folks  on the                                                               
committee about how to sort of take their job and run with it?                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
That's an interesting question. I  relied on the handbook that we                                                               
have and then we have the  book, the uniform rules book, and then                                                               
of course  the conversation  of my  colleagues on  the committee.                                                               
And then  I just did a  little general reading on  ethics and the                                                               
concept of ethics and some of that on my own.                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
Last question, you say you're  apolitical, which makes you a fish                                                               
out  of  water here  because  people  here are  total  political.                                                               
Describe  how  that brought  maybe  a  fresh prospective  to  the                                                               
committee and why you think that might be useful.                                                                               
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I  really don't  see  the committee  as an  area  that should  be                                                               
political.  It's a  neutral area.  It's  a working  group of  the                                                               
public and  the Legislature, and  within the  legislative members                                                               
on the committee  there might be democrats or  republicans, but I                                                               
don't  see  that  that's  an issue  because  ethics,  the  actual                                                               
looking at  moral behavior  doesn't really have  much to  do with                                                               
politics in  and of itself. You  get right down to  the inductive                                                               
part  of the  experience, which  is the  concrete question  being                                                               
asked and I don't see that politics has much to do with it.                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
What do you teach?                                                                                                              
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Right now I'm teaching certified  nurse aide training, nutrition.                                                               
I will be teaching introduction to  health sciences and I was the                                                               
clinical instructor  for the nursing  program when  UAS partnered                                                               
with Weber State (University).                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Ok. Good. My wife's a nurse.                                                                                                    
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Is that right?                                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
In fact I took a temporary job 35  years ago as a car salesman to                                                               
get my wife through nursing school.                                                                                             
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Good for you.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
So I think I went to nursing school too.                                                                                        
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I'm sure you did.                                                                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Every year as part of  the recommendations, I was looking through                                                               
some  of the  notes as  I  went by  on  some of  the minutes  and                                                               
meetings, and I  noticed in a report talking  about education and                                                               
getting up to  speed. On our June  3  meeting that  there is this                                                               
under  the chair  staff report  there is  a comment  says, "staff                                                               
conducted ethics training  for 10 new legislators  in Juneau this                                                               
week.  Hopefully  the training  generated  an  awareness of  what                                                               
ethics is all about." Well, you  know, I would hope that would be                                                               
the  case  too, but  most  people  ...  We have  actual  training                                                               
session on our  ethics knowledge. Do you? Did  staff provide that                                                               
kind of training for you?                                                                                                       
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
It may have been  that staff would have but in my  case I came in                                                               
late. I was  a last minute choice because the  original person on                                                               
the committee  was not  reconfirmed because it  was very  late in                                                               
the session and  the committee was already meeting  for that time                                                               
period  and so  I sort  of popped  in there  late and  didn't get                                                               
probably  the  orientation that  somebody  coming  in would  have                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
So the  staff didn't  sit down  with you on  the same  basis that                                                               
they sat  down maybe  with other people  or with  legislators and                                                               
say,  "let's go  through the  same basis  training for  you as  a                                                               
member of  the committee  that we would  put a  legislative staff                                                               
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I don't  know what  staff does  with the  Legislature so  I can't                                                               
answer  that.  I  was given  a  lot  of  material  and a  lot  of                                                               
explanation and so forth. But the process is ...                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
I'm just trying to  ... a couple of questions and  I'll ask you a                                                               
couple more  in a few minutes  just for our own  edification, not                                                               
necessarily for any other reason,  but the... We talked yesterday                                                               
a little bit  with Skip Cook and we've talked  among ourselves as                                                               
to the make up of the  committee. Senator Huggins mentioned a few                                                               
times how  would his friend  the potato  farmer out there  in the                                                               
Matanuska Valley, and how would  his potato farmer out there find                                                               
out that  he could  possibly serve  on this  committee or  how he                                                               
would apply.  But when we look  at the make up  of the committee,                                                               
we  find you  who  is a  nurse  but  a teacher  and  we find  Ms.                                                               
Rabinowitz,  who is  a teacher  by  background and  then we  find                                                               
three attorneys. The  question that we're asking is  do you think                                                               
that there would  be a benefit to this committee  if it reflected                                                               
a broader  cross section of  the people  of the state  of Alaska,                                                               
rather than primarily two professions?                                                                                          
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Actually the  committee reflects a  nice cross section  of Alaska                                                               
because everybody comes  from a different part of  Alaska. And we                                                               
wear our geographic location when we  come to any meeting so that                                                               
the people, the attorney from  Nome, the attorney from Fairbanks,                                                               
the   one  from   Anchorage  all   bring   a  totally   different                                                               
perspective.  So it's  not  so much  the attorney  as  it is  the                                                               
location, I think,  the geographic regional location.  I think it                                                               
probably brings more to it. You  kind of get underneath or beyond                                                               
the  level of  your training  when  you get  into ethical  issues                                                               
anyway. Ethical  issues are more basic  than that and so  I'm not                                                               
sure that the make up, in terms of profession, is so important.                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
You don't have a vote for potato farmers? I'm just kidding.                                                                     
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Let me ask  you just a couple questions, and  we talked about the                                                               
basic training  that the  members of the  committee get.  You say                                                               
one of the  things that you mentioned was Uniform  Rules. Is this                                                               
what you're looking at when you talk about the Uniform Rules?                                                                   
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I have a book back there, yes. It doesn't look quite like that.                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Do they provide you with this  manual as well? The Mason's Manual                                                               
of Legislative Procedure?                                                                                                       
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
You've never seen that manual?                                                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I've never  used it, but I've  only been there two  years. It may                                                               
have been there before, I don't know.                                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
So  you're  basically  understanding  of  the  uniform  rules  is                                                               
whatever...do you have  it? Can I just see  for my clarification?                                                               
Ok. I  recognize it. It's  the smaller  version of this.  We have                                                               
those as  well. So as far  as uniform rules are  concerned, these                                                               
are the  only uniform  rules that you've  been asked  or provided                                                               
with to be able to determine rules of legislative procedure?                                                                    
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
That and our own ethics handbook.                                                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
But this one you haven't seen?                                                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Not that I know of.                                                                                                             
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
What do  you think about  two or three  year terms? I  know right                                                               
now everybody  is on a two-year  cycle. Do you think  there would                                                               
be a benefit to three-year terms, rather than a two-year term?                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Well if you're  thinking of members rotating off  after one term,                                                               
then  three years  would be  better  because it  just gives  that                                                               
little extra  year of experience.  But if you stay  with two-year                                                               
terms, then  I think  the terms should  be... they  shouldn't all                                                               
come at the same time so that there is some rotating terms.                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
I can agree with that. My  personal preference is that they would                                                               
be three-year terms and have  a regular rotation. Not necessarily                                                               
because  we wanted  to turn  over every  time, but  I think  that                                                               
that, I  think there  is a spin  up time for  new members  on any                                                               
committee and you have to rely  on the experience of other people                                                               
who are  a little more seasoned  and a two year  rotation doesn't                                                               
really give  you, within  the body itself,  a kind  of background                                                               
that is particularly beneficial to  the task at hand. That's just                                                               
my personal  opinion, I just  wondered if  you agreed with  me or                                                               
not.  You do,  so you're  pretty bright  on that  subject anyhow.                                                               
Other questions? Senator Huggins?                                                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Yes  ma'am,  Senator Huggins  again.  In  reference to  cases  or                                                               
situations that you as a  committee member have dealt with, could                                                               
you  share with  us  if there  were any  that,  when you  started                                                               
looking  at, the  committee was  wrestling  with the  proposition                                                               
before them, where there might have been a division of opinion?                                                                 
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I can't  share specifics  obviously, there's  an ethical  code of                                                               
confidentiality.  However, I  think most  opinions it's  not just                                                               
everyone agrees,  I mean there is  a lot of discussion.  A lot of                                                               
back and forth, wrestling, as you say.                                                                                          
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
The difference in opinion, was  it based on interpretation of the                                                               
language you were looking at or what?                                                                                           
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
No. Difference of  opinion is, maybe I didn't  hear your question                                                               
right.  Difference  of  opinion  as   much  as  a  discussion  of                                                               
different angles of whatever issue was  before us is a better way                                                               
of saying it.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
I  find  as  a  new  person in  the  legislature  in  this  case,                                                               
judiciary, and  looking at the proposition  of legislating ethics                                                               
that  that's  easy   to  say  and  a  little   bit  difficult  to                                                               
accomplish. So  when you look at  what you read as  far as what's                                                               
applicable, ethically  as your committee  duties, does  that come                                                               
to bear at all that when you  start looking at the words and what                                                               
they mean and the interpretation of  them that five or six people                                                               
sitting around the table might come to different conclusions?                                                                   
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Sometimes.   Maybe  not   definite   conclusions  but   different                                                               
questions. It's a  very gray area. Ethics is not  black and white                                                               
and so whenever you're working in a  gray area, you have a lot of                                                               
room for  movement back and  forth and there's a  coming together                                                               
of final decision. It's not black and white.                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Has there been any occasions where,  based on the rules that were                                                               
applicable,  that  you  made recommendations  or  that  you  have                                                               
recommendations about changes that need to be made in ethics?                                                                   
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
I don't understand.                                                                                                             
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
In  our  ethics rules  in  the  standing  rules,  in any  of  the                                                               
publications that you've  used in your committee  works, have you                                                               
seen any changes that need to be made?                                                                                          
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Oh,  that need  to be  made. I  don't know,  I can't  answer that                                                               
right now. I don't know how to answer that.                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
I guess maybe this is just maybe  a little off track of my taking                                                               
a  look at  whether  or not  we  want to  advance  your name  for                                                               
confirmation,  but  I'm just  a  little  concerned on  one  thing                                                               
because, and  I, this is  just for  open discussion. Let  me just                                                               
bring you an example of,  because I'm curious now. You've ignited                                                               
my  curiosity. In  January, over  a  period of  time, the  ethics                                                               
committee was  called on to consider  a ruling having to  do with                                                               
rules of  legislative procedure.  And you  were given  this book,                                                               
the blue book  there, our yellow book, and I  wonder if you could                                                               
just help  me out and  look at rule 55  in that book.  Toward the                                                               
back. It's  the last rule  that we have  in this book.  Could you                                                               
just read that for me?                                                                                                          
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Out loud?                                                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
The rules  of parliamentary practice comprised  in Mason's Manual                                                               
of Legislative Procedure, 1979 edition,  implement and govern the                                                               
uniform  rules of  the Legislature  in all  cases not  covered by                                                               
these uniform rules.                                                                                                            
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
But no one  ever referenced the committee, no  attorney; no staff                                                               
person ever  referenced the  committee to  the Mason's  Manual of                                                               
Uniform Rules?                                                                                                                  
MS. STILLNER:                                                                                                                   
Not that I remember. I don't know. Maybe when I wasn't there.                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Do you  think it would  be fair to  consider an issue  on uniform                                                               
rules without having all of the  uniform rules present for you as                                                               
a reference? I'm just wondering  if procedure within... I'm sure,                                                               
Senator French,  since you're going to  be a party to  that, that                                                               
you have been  appointed to that committee, that  you would never                                                               
forget Mason's Manual.                                                                                                          
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
If and  only if  the situation  were not  covered by  the uniform                                                               
rules, Mr. Chairman.                                                                                                            
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Right. Exactly.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH:                                                                                                                 
If and only.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
According to  the rules. So I'm  just curious. I'm not  trying to                                                               
set  any  traps.  But  it  just   appears  to  me  that  in  this                                                               
consideration  of the  uniform rules  that  you weren't  provided                                                               
with all  of the uniform  rules and that  would be very  hard for                                                               
me, as a committee member, to  make a decision without having all                                                               
of the rules.  I'm not even going to ask  you that question. Just                                                               
saying it would be hard for me. Other questions?                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS:                                                                                                                
Yes,  Mr. Chair.  I move  that  Ms. Marianne  Stillner's name  be                                                               
forwarded from committee for consideration  by the full Senate on                                                               
the floor during session. And this  does not reflect an intent by                                                               
members of  the committee to  vote for or against  the individual                                                               
during any further session.                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
Is  there  objection?  Hearing   none,  you've  survived  a  nice                                                               
interview. Thank  you very much  for your participation  in being                                                               
here. It was nice to make your acquaintance.                                                                                    
9:06:24 AM                                                                                                                    
             SB 105-OVERTIME WAGES FOR FLIGHT CREW                                                                          
9:11:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced his  intention  to  skip the  customary                                                               
introduction of SB 105 and go straight to testimony.                                                                            
MR. TOM  DANIEL, Partner, Perkins  Coie Law Office,  testified in                                                               
favor  of  SB  105.  SB 105  clarifies  that  overtime  exemption                                                               
applies to pending lawsuits. Mr.  Daniel gave an in depth account                                                               
of the history of pilot pay, both state and federal.                                                                            
9:15:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. DANIEL gave  a history of lawsuits filed from  the late 1990s                                                               
to present date. He said the purpose  of SB 105 is to ensure that                                                               
lawsuits  cease.   Class  action  lawsuits  can   bankrupt  small                                                               
carriers,  which impacts  pilots, customers,  and the  economy of                                                               
9:21:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  DANIEL gave  an account  of the  history of  Mike Hageland's                                                               
company, Hageland Aviation Services.                                                                                            
9:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr.  Daniel if the  pilots who  are bringing                                                               
lawsuits against air  carriers are seeking to  reap extra rewards                                                               
over  and   above  the  earlier   agreed  upon  pay,   which  was                                                               
represented by a signed contract.                                                                                               
MR.  DANIEL answered  yes. He  stated  it only  takes one  former                                                               
employee to start a class action lawsuit.                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if the plaintiff's  attorneys are recruiting                                                               
additional members into the class action.                                                                                       
MR. DANIEL replied yes. A notice  was sent out to all the present                                                               
and former pilots  notifying them of the case. The  pilots had 60                                                               
days to affirmatively  opt out and 60 of them  have done so. It's                                                               
hard  to  tell   how  many  of  the  remaining   pilots  want  to                                                               
participate.  If they  do not  respond,  they are  in the  class.                                                               
There is one pilot and a potential of 20 plus.                                                                                  
9:27:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  Mr. Daniel if he was  permitted to contact                                                               
the pilots to see if they are opting out.                                                                                       
MR. DANIEL replied  no due to the ethics  rules governing lawyers                                                               
they are considered clients of the plaintiff's counsel.                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr.  Daniel if he  has contacted  the pilots                                                               
who have affirmatively opted out.                                                                                               
MR. DANIEL answered yes.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  HUGGINS   asked  Mr.  Daniel  to   clarify  his  earlier                                                               
MR. DANIEL said one active pilot  out of approximately 60 is part                                                               
of the class action lawsuit.                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS commented small  commuter airlines operate on the                                                               
economic edge.                                                                                                                  
MR. DANIEL advised  he is not sure about  the financial condition                                                               
of  the airline  companies.  He said  any significant  unexpected                                                               
cost threatens the viability of the small airlines.                                                                             
SENATOR HUGGINS  commented the essence  of the class  action that                                                               
Mr. Daniel  is involved  in potentially  jeopardizes one  or more                                                               
MR.  DANIEL  agreed.  The three  pending  lawsuits  threaten  the                                                               
economic viability of three airline companies.                                                                                  
9:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   FRENCH  asked   Mr.   Daniel  about   the  statute   of                                                               
MR. DANIEL answered it was two  years. The time period covered by                                                               
the lawsuit extends back to mid 2000.                                                                                           
SENATOR FRENCH  asked if the  pilots were still being  paid wages                                                               
during that time period.                                                                                                        
MR.  DANIEL  answered  yes;  they  were all  paid  on  time.  The                                                               
individual who filed the lawsuit did  not know he had an overtime                                                               
claim.  His initial  reason for  seeing an  attorney was  another                                                               
issue. The attorney is the one who saw the overtime claim.                                                                      
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Daniel  to comment  on the  worse case                                                               
MR. DANIEL  explained there are  currently 23 class  members. The                                                               
plaintiffs  have  told some  pilots  they  could recover  $70,000                                                               
each, which  is doubled  due to  the liquidated  damages penalty.                                                               
This  takes  the damage  into  the  millions and  would  bankrupt                                                               
Hageland Aviation.                                                                                                              
9:32:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked Mr.  Daniel if the  judge issued  a written                                                               
opinion on his ruling.                                                                                                          
MR.  DANIEL  answered  yes.  The   case  name  was  Harms  versus                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH commented  that Mr. Daniel testified  it was clear                                                               
the Legislature  intended to apply  the previous bill  to pending                                                               
lawsuits. He asked Mr. Daniel if he could support his statement.                                                                
MR. DANIEL said he would refer  to the legislative history of the                                                               
lawsuit. The purpose  of passing the legislation was  to clear up                                                               
the  uncertainty  of  exemption   to  pilots.  He  suggested  the                                                               
Legislature did not expect the lawsuits to continue.                                                                            
9:34:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH commented the Legislature  knows how to make a law                                                               
retroactive. If  you look  back to  the law  passed in  2003, the                                                               
intent of the final product would be hard to find.                                                                              
MR. DANIEL agreed.                                                                                                              
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Senator Olson to join the committee.                                                                        
SENATOR FRENCH  commented regarding notification of  class action                                                               
lawsuits  and said  the plaintiff's  attorneys followed  the law.                                                               
They were required  by law to send out notice  to other potential                                                               
claimants and the judge approved the notice they sent out.                                                                      
MR. DANIEL agreed.                                                                                                              
9:36:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS commented that one  pilot who was in direct contact                                                               
with  the  plaintiff's  attorney   testified  in  the  Labor  and                                                               
Commerce  Committee meeting.  In addition  to the  mail-out, that                                                               
indicates some conversation between  the plaintiff's attorney and                                                               
the class members occurred.                                                                                                     
MR. DANIEL  agreed communication occurred after  the mailing went                                                               
out. He  has no way  of knowing if communication  occurred before                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr.  Daniel if there  is jeopardy  for other                                                               
MR. DANIEL answered yes. Two  other carriers are facing lawsuits.                                                               
Until July  of 2005, there  is potential that other  carriers can                                                               
be sued due to the statute of limitations.                                                                                      
CHAIR  SEEKINS  commented  it   could  be  a  multimillion-dollar                                                               
windfall  for  people  who  otherwise had  a  contract  that  the                                                               
employer lived up to.                                                                                                           
9:38:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. DANIEL agreed.                                                                                                              
9:38:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MIKE   HAGELAND,  owner   of  Hageland   Aviation  Services,                                                               
testified in  support of SB  105. He spoke of  previous practices                                                               
for pilot  pay. He gave an  historic account of starting  his own                                                               
business and of paying pilots  fairly. He explained the situation                                                               
of the pilot who sued Hageland Aviation for overtime pay.                                                                       
9:44:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Mr. Hageland if he ever  had problems paying                                                               
his pilots.                                                                                                                     
MR. HAGELAND  answered no.  He said  if there  was a  dispute, he                                                               
would always find in their favor.                                                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Hageland if  his company had a history of                                                               
wage and hour complaints.                                                                                                       
MR. HAGELAND answered no.                                                                                                       
9:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS   asked  Mr.  Hageland  when   the  lawsuit  was                                                               
MR. HAGELAND replied 2002.                                                                                                      
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked Mr. Hageland  for an estimate of  how much                                                               
the lawsuit has cost Hageland Aviation.                                                                                         
MR. HAGELAND said the cost to date was approximately $450,000.                                                                  
SENATOR HUGGINS asked if there was any way to recoup that money.                                                                
MR. HAGELAND answered no.                                                                                                       
9:46:23 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DONNY OLSON  asked Mr. Hageland how he  balances having a                                                               
pilot fly in extreme conditions and keeping him happy.                                                                          
MR. HAGELAND  answered he  pays pilots on  a daily  basis whether                                                               
they fly  or not.  Pilots make  the decision  on the  weather but                                                               
they are  not penalized. They  are also  paid if the  aircraft is                                                               
down for maintenance.                                                                                                           
SENATOR OLSON commented that he has had to fire unsafe pilots.                                                                  
MR. HAGELAND  replied it  was a hard  call to  terminate someone.                                                               
One must be sure there is good reason.                                                                                          
9:49:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr. Hageland  if the person who  created the                                                               
class action was terminated from Hageland Aviation.                                                                             
MR. HAGELAND replied  he asked him to retire because  he had been                                                               
exhibiting problems.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked,  "Was  he   asked  to  retire  for  safety                                                               
MR. HAGELAND  answered yes.  Hageland offered  to give  the pilot                                                               
another job within the company but he rejected the offer.                                                                       
CHAIR  SEEKINS   commented  that  the  Human   Rights  Commission                                                               
determined there was no violation of rights.                                                                                    
MR. HAGELAND  responded the pilot  worked for Hageland one  and a                                                               
half years.                                                                                                                     
9:49:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked Mr.  Hageland how  realistic the  threat is                                                               
that the class action lawsuit  would put Hageland Aviation out of                                                               
MR. HAGELAND  answered the pending  lawsuit would  definitely put                                                               
his  company out  of business.  The point  is only  the attorneys                                                               
will  benefit and  it will  negatively impact  his employees  and                                                               
9:52:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  interjected his opinion  that the only  reason the                                                               
court  ruled  the   legal  and  lawful  claim   was  because  the                                                               
Legislature did  not foresee the  jeopardy of the  airlines. This                                                               
is  a  second opportunity  for  the  Legislature to  address  the                                                               
original intent of the previous bill.                                                                                           
9:54:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS added  the issue is between right  and wrong, not                                                               
about whether this would put an airline out of business.                                                                        
9:54:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MIKE BERGT, general manager  of Alaska Central Express (ACE),                                                               
testified his  company provides a  critical service for  the U.S.                                                               
Postal Service.  They employ over  70 people. A former  pilot who                                                               
left the company  on good terms later sued ACE  for overtime pay.                                                               
ACE  pilot  pay is  standard  throughout  the industry.  He  said                                                               
attorneys bypass  ethics to seek  a windfall. The lawsuit  is now                                                               
in Alaska Superior  Court. Attorneys are taking  advantage of the                                                               
window created by previous legislation.                                                                                         
9:59:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BRUCE   McGLASEN,  president  and  owner,   Grant  Aviation,                                                               
testified in  support of SB  105 and  in support of  Mr. Hageland                                                               
who  is  one  of  his major  competitors.  Grant  Aviation  would                                                               
benefit if  Hageland Aviation  were put  out of  business through                                                               
the current lawsuit but it would not be fair.                                                                                   
10:01:26 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Mr. McGlasen if Grant Aviation  ever had any                                                               
pilots file a wage and hour dispute.                                                                                            
MR. McGLASEN  replied no but Grant  Aviation is open to  the same                                                               
kind of lawsuit and the damages would be insurmountable.                                                                        
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Mr. McGlasen if he would attempt  to pay his                                                               
pilots any justifiable outstanding wages.                                                                                       
MR. MCGLASEN said his pilots are paid fairly.                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  clarified that Grant  Aviation has not  been sued                                                               
to date.                                                                                                                        
10:03:26 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGGINS commented  that television  advertisements could                                                               
entice pilots to join the class action lawsuit.                                                                                 
MR. McGLASEN replied he has  watched the Hageland case with great                                                               
interest.  His calculations  show  that  Hageland Aviation  would                                                               
enter into bankruptcy if the pilot wins the lawsuit.                                                                            
10:04:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS  commented he  does  not  believe the  legislative                                                               
intent was  to create  a window for  lawsuits. He  maintained the                                                               
previous Legislature  did not realize  there was jeopardy  to the                                                               
airline industry.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  HUGGINS aired  his impression  that the  pilots are  not                                                               
feeling  mistreated, it  is  the attorneys  who  are looking  for                                                               
MR. MCGLASEN agreed.                                                                                                            
10:06:20 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  RICHARD  CLARK,  pilot,   Hageland  Aviation,  testified  in                                                               
support of SB 105.                                                                                                              
10:09:01 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Mr. Clark  if he  knows of  any pilots  who                                                               
think the lawsuit is fair.                                                                                                      
MR. CLARK answered the pilots view the lawsuit as unfair.                                                                       
10:09:32 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  IGNATIOUS  BEANS,  pilot, Hageland  Aviation,  testified  in                                                               
support of SB 105.                                                                                                              
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Beans  if he thought the loophole created                                                               
by previous legislation was fair.                                                                                               
MR. BEANS answered  it is unfair. He does not  know of any pilots                                                               
who want to take advantage of the current loophole.                                                                             
10:11:57 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BOB  HAJDUKOVICH,  Frontier  Flying  Service,  testified  in                                                               
support of SB 105.                                                                                                              
10:14:57 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked Mr.  Hajdukovich if  he views  the current                                                               
law as a loophole.                                                                                                              
MR. HAJDUKOVICH agreed.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  OLSON  asked  Mr. Hajdukovich  how  many  employees  and                                                               
pilots he employs.                                                                                                              
MR. HAJDUKOVICH replied  he has 195 employees and 45  of them are                                                               
SENATOR OLSON  asked if there  is any indication that  his pilots                                                               
will be filing lawsuits.                                                                                                        
MR. HAJDUKOVICH replied no.                                                                                                     
10:18:05 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  JERRY  ROCK,  president,  Alaska  Air  Carriers  Association                                                               
(AACA) and  president of Evergreen Aviation  in Alaska, testified                                                               
in support  of SB  105. An attorney  approached Evergreen  in the                                                               
past 90  days with a  letter stating he represented  an Evergreen                                                               
pilot. Evergreen  advised the attorney they  were protected under                                                               
federal law as  an interstate carrier. Overtime  pay goes against                                                               
safe measures  as it gives  pilots incentive to fly  under unsafe                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr.  Rock if most  carriers in  Alaska carry                                                               
MR. ROCK replied most of them do.                                                                                               
SENATOR  OLSON asked  Mr. Rock  if the  121 portion  of Evergreen                                                               
airlines has been involved in wage and hour litigation.                                                                         
MR ROCK  answered they  had never  heard anything  regarding wage                                                               
and hour until they were approached  by the attorney 90 days ago.                                                               
After  advising him  of their  federal  protection, they  haven't                                                               
heard from him since.                                                                                                           
10:22:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. TOM NICOLOS,  general manager, Cape Smythe  Air, testified in                                                               
support of SB  105. A pilot who was discharged  for an unsafe act                                                               
sued Cape  Smythe Air  in May  2004. He then  filed a  lawsuit to                                                               
receive  overtime  pay.  Cape  Smythe  Air  has  spent  close  to                                                               
$100,000  to  date  in  defense.   Pilots  agree  on  pay  before                                                               
beginning employment. Cape Smythe has  a history of paying pilots                                                               
fairly. Current lawsuits can potentially cause bankruptcy.                                                                      
10:26:05 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. GRANT THOMPSON,  Cape Smythe Air, testified in  support of SB
10:26:34 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KAREN CASANOVA, Alaska Air  Carriers Association testified in                                                               
support  of SB  105.  She stated  failure to  pass  SB 105  would                                                               
negatively affect the entire airline  industry in Alaska. None of                                                               
the  costs  are  covered  by  insurance.  Many  carriers  provide                                                               
critical service to Alaskans.                                                                                                   
10:28:16 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MICHAEL CHARLIE testified in support of SB 105.                                                                             
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Mr. Daniel if Mr. Peter  Norsak provided him                                                               
with his previous briefing.                                                                                                     
MR. DANIEL answered no.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Daniel  if he  has seen  any briefings                                                               
from Mr. Norsak.                                                                                                                
MR. DANIEL answered no.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  HUGGINS made  a  motion  to pass  CSSB  105(L&C) out  of                                                               
committee with  attached fiscal notes. There  being no objection,                                                               
the motion carried.                                                                                                             
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 10:29:55 AM.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects