Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/02/1993 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                        February 2, 1993                                       
                            1:35 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                  
  Senator Steve Rieger, Vice-Chairman                                          
  Senator Drue Pearce                                                          
  Senator Judy Salo                                                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  CONFIRMATION HEARING: Commissioner Paul Fuhs                                 
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 57                                                           
  "An  Act  relating  to   employment  contributions  and   to                 
  extending  the  pilot  project for  the  state  training and                 
  employment program; and providing for an effective date."                    
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 69                                                           
  "An  Act prohibiting  employers from  discriminating against                 
  individuals who use legal products in a legal manner outside                 
  of work."                                                                    
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
  SB 57 - NONE                                                                 
                                                                               
  SB 69 - NONE                                                                 
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  Commissioner Paul Fuhs                                                       
  Department of Commerce & Economic Development                                
  P.O. Box 110800                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-800                                                     
    POSITION STATEMENT: Confirmation hearing.                                  
                                                                               
  Sally Saddler, Program Manager                                               
  Employment Services                                                          
  Division of Employment Security                                              
  Department of Labor                                                          
  P.O. Box 25509                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802-5509                                                    
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 57.                                       
                                                                               
  Judy Knight, Director                                                        
  Division of Employment Security                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Department of Labor                                                          
  P.O. Box 25509                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802-5509                                                    
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 57.                                       
                                                                               
  Mike McMullen, Manager                                                       
  System Services                                                              
  Division of Personnel/EEO                                                    
  Department of Administration                                                 
  P.O. Box 110201                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0201                                                    
    POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 57.                                         
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-7, SIDE A                                                            
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN TIM KELLY  called the Labor and  Commerce Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:35 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
  The first order of business was the confirmation hearing for                 
  PAUL FUHS, presently acting Commissioner for  the Department                 
  of  Commerce  and  Economic Development,  and  MR.  FUHS was                 
  invited to testify.   He began by presenting his  resume and                 
  expanding  on  his  experience   in  organizing  deals  with                 
  municipalities  and   other  industry  groups   to  identify                 
  opportunities for Alaska.                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. FUHS stressed his ability to  be fair in the development                 
  of  business  regulations,  not   to  play  favorites  among                 
  business  interests, and  to  foster cooperation  within the                 
  departments and  with other  agencies.   He listed  the many                 
  departments in  the  Department  of  Commerce  and  Economic                 
  Development and emphasized the ability of the departments to                 
  work  together on important  projects.  MR.  FUHS offered as                 
  his references businesses, trade associations, labor unions,                 
  oil  and  gas  industries,  fishing  organizations,   native                 
  corporations and municipalities.                                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  touted the publication,  "Sustaining Alaska's                 
  Economy," drafted by the Department of Commerce and Economic                 
  Development and asked MR. FUHS where the premise was headed.                 
  SENATOR KELLY asked how the legislature could help.                          
                                                                               
  Number 062                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. FUHS explained it was  a specific project identification                 
  manual for the department, and he said people were  assigned                 
  to  projects  in  multi-agency work  teams  which  helped to                 
  promote accountability from the bureaucracy.  He praised the                 
  cooperation  among  the  personnel   at  the  Department  of                 
  Commerce  and Economic  Development  and other  agencies  in                 
  working on the projects.                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  thought  the publication  should be  required                 
  reading.                                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO  was impressed with the team approach and asked                 
  for the definition of multi-agency.   MR. FUHS explained how                 
  it would operate with other departments and agencies such as                 
  the   Alaska  Railroad   Corporation,   the  Alaska   Energy                 
  Authority, and some of the independent governmental entities                 
  such as  Alaska Industrial Development and  Export Authority                 
  organizations, which are run by boards.                                      
                                                                               
  Questions from SENATOR SALO on his approach during his first                 
  six  months  on the  job led  to  a general  discussion with                 
  committee members and  MR. FUHS about his  implementation of                 
  the Northern Sea Route and the spruce beetle kill project on                 
  the Kenai Peninsula.                                                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR  KELLY  asked  a follow-up  question  on  the spruce                 
  beetle problems, and  MR. FUHS  said the permitting  process                 
  was underway and other planning  was being done, along  with                 
  the upgrading of auxiliary facilities in Homer.                              
                                                                               
  SENATOR  SALO  asked   about  cutting  the  losses   on  the                 
  peninsula, and MR.  FUHS predicted a strong  timber industry                 
  would emerge from the beetle kill.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 015                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  KELLY concluded  the confirmation  hearing, thanked                 
  MR. FUHS, and moved on to the next bill.                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY introduced  SB 57 (EXTEND S.T.E.P.  PROGRAM TO                 
  1996) and invited SANDY SADDLER from the Department of Labor                 
  to begin the testimony.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 143                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS SADDLER explained SB 57 was an act  that would extend the                 
  pilot project for the state  training and employment program                 
  known  as  S.T.E.P.   She  reviewed  the bill  packet  which                 
  contained three fiscal notes with the estimated revenues and                 
  expenditures for the training grants.                                        
                                                                               
  MS SADDLER explained  she was testifying  on behalf of  both                 
  the Department of Labor and  the Department of Community and                 
  Regional  Affairs.     She   began   by  giving   background                 
  information on the program, a request for an extension,  and                 
  the  impact  of  the S.T.E.P.  program  on  both departments                 
  during its existence.                                                        
                                                                               
  MS. SADDLER  claimed the  training program  had broad  based                 
  support from both labor and industry but explained more time                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  was  needed  to  evaluate  the  qualitative  impact  of  the                 
  project.   She gave three  reasons for requesting  the three                 
  year extension rather than a permanent program  to allow for                 
  more evaluation of the program.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 196                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER  questioned the  fiscal note  and asked  what                 
  happened if more funds were collected than used.  MS SADDLER                 
  said  she  would need  to check  on  his question.   SENATOR                 
  RIEGER wanted to know what happened if the program collected                 
  less than used.                                                              
                                                                               
  JUDY  KNIGHT,  Director   of  the  Division  of   Employment                 
  Security, explained the money was deposited into the general                 
  fund. It was then  put into their account by the Division of                 
  Finance and the  Department of  Revenue.  She  said if  more                 
  money  was collected, it  remained in the  general fund, and                 
  only the  appropriation could be spent.                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER  moved to  pass SB   57  from committee  with                 
  individual  recommendations  and  the   accompanying  fiscal                 
  notes.  Without objections, so ordered.                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR  KELLY  introduced  SB  69   (RIGHT  TO  USE  LAWFUL                 
  PRODUCTS) and asked  the prime  sponsor, SENATOR TAYLOR,  to                 
  testify on the bill.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 229                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR discussed the provisions of SB 69 which would                 
  prohibit "employers from discriminating  against individuals                 
  who use legal products  in a legal manner outside  of work."                 
  He claimed  it would strengthen the constitutional guarantee                 
  against discrimination  by  employers, and  he reviewed  the                 
  results of  a survey  showing that  Alaskans have  a growing                 
  concern about employer intrusion into their private lives.                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR said it  was wrong for employers to  prohibit                 
  the use  of or  deny employment  to individuals  using legal                 
  products  in their  off work  time.   He reported a  poll in                 
  Alaska  showing  91%   of  those   polled  thought  it   was                 
  inappropriate for employers  to deny  jobs for conduct  away                 
  from the work place.   SENATOR TAYLOR indicated SB  69 would                 
  not  prohibit employers  from  passing  increased costs  for                 
  health benefits  due  to smoking  or  drinking on  to  their                 
  employees.  He concluded by  reading an editorial supporting                 
  the provisions of SB 69.                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR  KELLY  asked  for  a  progress  report  on  similar                 
  legislation  in the  last  session.   Several voices  in the                 
  audience offered information and said it had been stopped in                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  House Rules.  SENATOR KELLY opened the bill to questions.                    
                                                                               
  Number 276                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO referred  to page  2, section (c)  of SB 69  to                 
  question the  inclusion of "educational  institution," which                 
  could allow a school district in the State  of Alaska to ask                 
  teachers whether they smoke or drink off the job.                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR  TAYLOR explained  the provision  was primarily  for                 
  parochial schools.                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO asked how the legislation could be narrowed  to                 
  match the intent of private entities.                                        
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER, in reference to page 1, lines 8 and 9, asked                 
  for clarification of the language.                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR  KELLY  asked  the committee  about  SENATOR  SALO'S                 
  concerns, and SENATOR  TAYLOR said the language  had already                 
  been modified.    He suggested  the  drafter could  give  an                 
  opinion, but  as written  the bill  only included  religious                 
  schools.                                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed the wording could be                 
  resolved, if  necessary, in  the Judiciary  Committee -  the                 
  next referral.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 333                                                                   
                                                                               
  Next  to   testify  was  MIKE  MCMULLEN,   representing  the                 
  Department of Administration, who expressed concern in cases                 
  where there  was a genuine  connection between the  off duty                 
  conduct  and  the ability  to  perform successfully  for the                 
  employer.   He gave examples  of off  duty activities  which                 
  have a connection to job performance,  and he said the state                 
  was  most interested in  alcohol consumption among personnel                 
  who deal with alcohol related crimes.  MR. MCMULLEN said the                 
  Administration was looking for a nexus provision to be added                 
  to the bill.                                                                 
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY asked for suggested language, and MR. MCMULLEN                 
  direct  attention  to page  2, line  2 after  standards, and                 
  before  the  ;  to  add  the  language, "where  there  is  a                 
  demonstrable  nexus  with   the  individual's   employment."                 
  SENATOR KELLY asked why the word connection wasn't used, but                 
  MR. MCMULLEN defended the use of nexus.                                      
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked for  the  opinion of  the sponsor,  and                 
  SENATOR  TAYLOR agreed  there might  be some cases  where it                 
  might be needed in law enforcement.                                          
                                                                               
  SENATOR   KELLY    discussed   with    MR.   MCMULLEN    the                 
  Administration's problem with the legislation.                               
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 388                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER thought off duty use of alcohol might  better                 
  be written into specific job  descriptions, but he expressed                 
  no problem with MR. MCMULLEN'S proposed amendment.                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO expressed a problem with the proposed language,                 
  which she  explained  would substantially  weaken the  bill.                 
  She discussed the subjective nature of "demonstrable nexus."                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RIEGER suggested  the burden should  be put  on the                 
  employer  making  it  "demonstrated  nexus."   There  was  a                 
  discussion  among  the  committee members  and  MR. MCMULLEN                 
  about the difference between demonstrable and demonstrated.                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY asked for ideas, and SENATOR TAYLOR thought it                 
  might be  a large  loophole and  agreed with SENATOR  SALO'S                 
  point.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 422                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO said  the bill's greatest application  would be                 
  in the protection  against discriminatory hiring  practices,                 
  and  she gave  some  examples of  a  preferable approach  to                 
  limiting  off duty behavior.  She didn't think the suggested                 
  language   would   address   the   narrow  intent   of   the                 
  Administration.                                                              
                                                                               
  MR. MCMULLEN defended the  use of nexus as having  a history                 
  in arbitration and gave examples of its use.                                 
                                                                               
  SENATOR RIEGER thought both points of view should be debated                 
  in the Judiciary Committee and suggested a change that would                 
  satisfy him.                                                                 
                                                                               
  SENATOR SALO moved to pass SENATE BILL NO. 69 from committee                 
  with  individual recommendations.    Without objections,  so                 
  ordered.                                                                     
                                                                               
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:07 p.m.                            
                                                                               
                                                                               

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