Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/15/1997 01:38 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                              
                         April 15, 1997                                        
                           1:38 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Jerry Mackie, Vice Chairman                                           
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 162                                                           
 "An Act relating to payment of minimum wages to tipped employees;             
 and providing for an effective date."                                         
                                                                               
  - MOVED SB 162 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 138                                                            
 "An Act relating to the Board of Storage Tank Assistance; and                 
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
  - MOVED HB 138 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 110                                                           
 "An Act relating to licensure of landscape architects."                       
                                                                               
  - MOVED CSSB 110(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 152                                                           
 "An Act relating to certified nurse aides; and providing for an               
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
  - MOVED CSSB 152(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 169                                                           
 "An Act relating to an exemption from the requirement for payment             
 for overtime under a voluntary work hour plan for work performed by           
 employees at certain mines; and providing for an effective date."             
                                                                               
  - HEARD AND HELD                                                             
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 162 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/10/97.                        
                                                                               
 HB 138 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/10/97.                        
                                                                               
 SB 110 - No previous action to consider.                                      
                                                                               
 SB 152 - No previous action to consider.                                      
                                                                               
 SB 169 - No previous action to consider.                                      
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Mr. John Barnett                                                              
 Board of Storage Tank Assistance                                              
 Department of Environmental Conservation                                      
 410 Willoughby Ave., Ate. 105                                                 
 Juneau AK 99801-1795                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 138.                                      
                                                                               
 Mr. Ed Flanagan, Deputy Commissioner                                          
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau AK 99802-1149                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 162 and SB 169.                             
                                                                               
 Mr. John Brown                                                                
 814 Austin                                                                    
 Fairbanks AK 99701                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 162.                                        
                                                                               
 Ms. Kathy Gardner, President                                                  
 Alaska Professional Design Council                                            
 3705 Arctic, #223                                                             
 Anchorage AK 99503                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 110.                                      
                                                                               
 Mr. Duayne Adams, Landscape Architect                                         
 Land Design North                                                             
 510 L St., Ste 101                                                            
 Anchorage AK 99503                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 110.                                      
                                                                               
 Mr. Christopher Mertl, President Elect                                        
 Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects                       
 P.O. Box 20171                                                                
 Juneau AK 99802                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 110.                                      
                                                                               
 Ms. Jean Smith, Staff                                                         
 Senator Jerry Mackie                                                          
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau AK 99801                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of SB 110.                            
                                                                               
 Ms. Catherine Reardon, Director                                               
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development                               
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau AK 99811-0806                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 110 and SB 152.                        
                                                                               
 Ms. Annette Kreitzer, Staff                                                   
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of SB 152 and SB 169.                 
                                                                               
 Mr. Ron Cowan                                                                 
 4730 Business Park Blvd., #18                                                 
 Anchorage AK 99503                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 152.                                   
                                                                               
 Mr. Tom Irwin, Operations Manager                                             
 Fort Knox                                                                     
 436 Forest Hills                                                              
 Fairbanks AK 99709                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 169.                                      
                                                                               
 Ms. Michelle Steel, Human Resource Technician                                 
 Fort Knox Mine                                                                
 221 Dunbar Ave.                                                               
 Fairbanks AK 99701                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 169.                                      
                                                                               
 Ms. Carol Desnoyers                                                           
 Alaskan Workers                                                               
 P.O. Box 33                                                                   
 Healy AK 99743                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 169.                                        
                                                                               
 Mr. Dan Seaton                                                                
 Teamsters (Local 959)                                                         
 1315 Ismailov St.                                                             
 Kodiak AK 99615                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 169.                                        
                                                                               
 Mr. Jerry Marshall                                                            
 Fort Knox Gold                                                                
 724 Love Rd.                                                                  
 Fairbanks AK 99712                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 169.                                      
                                                                               
 Mr. Darrell McSpadden                                                         
 Teamsters 959                                                                 
 2597 Lana Turnabout Ct.                                                       
 North Pole AK 99705                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 169.                                        
                                                                               
 Mr. Jim Clark, Attorney                                                       
 Fort Knox                                                                     
 P.O. Box 1210                                                                 
 Juneau AK 99801                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 169.                                   
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-19, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
            SB 162 MINIMUM WAGE FOR TIPPED EMPLOYEES                          
                                                                              
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee               
 meeting to order at 1:38 p.m. and announced  SB 162  to be up for             
 consideration.                                                                
                                                                               
  MR. FLANAGAN,  Deputy Commissioner, Department of Labor, opposed SB
 162 because it basically reduces wages effective October 1 and                
 every time thereafter that the federal minimum wage, and then                 
 resultantly, the State minimum wage which is 50 cents higher, is              
 increased.  He said he had met with the proponents of the bill and            
 done research based on information provided to them by employers in           
 the form of their U.I. tax reports.  He said there is much talk               
 about servers making $40,000 per year he didn't doubt that in                 
 certain high end restaurants in Anchorage, but he is concerned                
 about servers at the lower end like the fast food types of                    
 restaurants.  Their research indicates that for every server making           
 $40,000 per year there are several making a whole lot less.  In               
 1995, 5,900 persons in Alaska earned the majority of their wages              
 that year in Alaska, including reported tips, as waiters and                  
 waitresses.  They found that 1,500 of these were employed as                  
 servers in all four quarters of the year and made an average of               
 $12,213.  Seventy five percent of the 1,500 earned less than                  
 $16,139.  They found that many, if not most, Alaskan waiters and              
 waitresses would not meet anyone's definition of highly paid                  
 employees.  They don't question what was some testimony from the              
 higher end restaurants, but those people are a very small minority            
 of the people employed out there as waiters and waitresses.                   
                                                                               
 Number 66                                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. JOHN BROWN,  Fairbanks, said he is shocked by this bill and it           
 is so anti-worker that it takes the cake.  To try and say that the            
 people in the service industry are overpaid boggles his mind.  He             
 said there is no protection for the kind of abuse that will likely            
 go on if this bill passes.  He could see employers coercing their             
 employees into working for tips, even if they don't make the $5.75.           
 He said there was a whole room full of people with him who would              
 like to testify against this and other anti-worker bills.                     
                                                                               
 Number 161                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  noted that this committee had never stated that the          
 workers in Alaska are overpaid and it's not his intent that this              
 would result in the abuse of workers.                                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR JERRY MACKIE  noted that he had mixed feelings about this            
 bill, but would make a motion to move it from committee with                  
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 ordered.                                                                      
                                                                               
            HB 138 BOARD OF STORAGE TANK ASSISTANCE                           
                                                                               
   CHAIRMAN LEMAN  announced  HB 138  to be up for consideration.             
                                                                               
  MR. JOHN BARNETT,  Executive Director, Board of Storage Tank                 
 Assistance, said that they have three roles assigned to them by the           
 legislature.  They are basically an appeal board to mediate                   
 disputes, review regulations presented to the department, and set             
 the ranking criteria for financial assistance applications.                   
                                                                               
   CHAIRMAN LEMAN said the bill did two things: extends the sunset             
 date and takes the DOT/PF member off and replaces him with a member           
 of the public.  MR. BARNETT responded that he agreed with that and            
 he said the public member would be the Commissioner's designee.               
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  said that in general adding a public member who knows         
 nothing about the industry they are about to regulate is an 80s fad           
 that he has backed off on.  However, that being said, he moved to             
 pass HB 138 from committee with individual recommendations.                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  objected to agree with Senator Kelly and asked Mr.           
 Barnett to take back the message that if this passes they would               
 like to see someone appointed who may not have a financial                    
 interest, but who may know something about the topic and could                
 provide good service to the board.  MR. BARNETT responded that                
 their intention was to get someone who was involved with  municipal           
 water systems who doesn't have an involvement directly with tanks,            
 but might be impacted by leaking tanks.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN removed his           
 objection and HB 138 was reported out of committee.                           
                                                                               
            SB 110 LICENSING OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS                          
                                                                              
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced  SB 110  to be up for consideration.                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR MACKIE, sponsor, said he would prefer to hear testimony at            
 this time.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. KATHY GARDNER,  President, Alaska Professional Design Council,           
 said that landscape architects are an integral part of the design             
 process and it's important that they be on a parallel professional            
 level with other design professionals.  Architects and engineers              
 are currently responsible for certifying life and safety in areas             
 in which they are not educated specifically, such areas as                    
 playgrounds, plantings in rights-of-way, and planting in view                 
 triangles at intersections.  Licensure will ensure that landscape             
 architects are professionally responsible for those portions of               
 work that they design removing the liability incurred by other                
 design professions.                                                           
                                                                               
 She added that most states in the lower 48 recognize landscape                
 architects as a professional group.  Federal contracting requires             
 licensed landscape architects and that has impacted Alaskan                   
 landscape architects preventing them from pursuing some federal               
 work in Alaska or maintaining licenses from outside.                          
                                                                               
  MR. DUAYNE ADAMS,  landscape architect, said they work parallel to           
 engineers, architects, and land surveyors.  It is listed by request           
 for proposal, they fill out the standard form for qualification for           
 professional services, and they enter into professional services              
 agreements.  He noted that 45 other states require licensure                  
 especially on federal projects.  He said there are also certified             
 safety issues as well, like view triangles in highway rights-of-way           
 and playgrounds.  MR. ADAMS said that wetland design, treatment of            
 storm water, knowledge of the survival of plant materials, and the            
 requirements of manufactured materials is very important for                  
 ensuring that water quality and public infrastructure are                     
 protected.                                                                    
 As an owner of a landscape architecture firm, he is very concerned            
 about the business aspects of licensure.  They are at a                       
 disadvantage competing on several works.  In the neighborhood of $1           
 - $2 million worth of work over the last four years has gone to               
 out-of-state firms, like the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center,               
 Mendenhall Glacier Campground, Glacier Bay Employee Housing, and              
 the Denali Hotel, to name a few.                                              
                                                                               
 The Board said in a letter that they do generally support landscape           
 architecture for licensure, but that this bill needed more work and           
 appointed an individual to work with.  They have worked with that             
 individual and he has stated that everything appears to be in                 
 order.                                                                        
                                                                               
  MR. CHRISTOPHER MERTL,  President-elect, Alaska Chapter, American            
 Society of Landscape Architects, said he lived in a lot of places             
 and everywhere he's been there's been licensing of landscape                  
 architects.  One of the main issues is that they design public                
 spaces.  They are not gardeners and tree planters; they design                
 outdoor spaces for people. Everything seen from a building out is             
 often designed by a landscape architect.  These are spaces that               
 everybody uses every day.  He said that landscape architects are              
 not licensed and are disadvantaged when it comes to getting                   
 contracts in-state which means that Alaskan dollars and jobs are              
 being lost to outside states.  With no state minimum for landscape            
 architects there's the possibility of a wide variety of individuals           
 with varied education and experience designing these used spaces.             
                                                                               
 MR. MERTL explained that they go through the same education process           
 as engineers and architects.  They go to university for five years            
 and often do an internship of two - three years; and then they have           
 to pass a series of national exams.  In conclusion, he said he                
 supported SB 110.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 322                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. CATHERINE REARDON,  Director, Division of Occupational                   
 Licensing, said several people had seen her over the past two years           
 on this legislation and she appreciated their attempts to address             
 her concerns.  Her personal preference would be a title restriction           
 rather than a mandatory licensure law because she is unsure whether           
 the public health and safety risks of unlicensed landscape                    
 architecture warrants prohibition against people performing some of           
 the scopes of practice that are in the bill.                                  
                                                                               
 She liked the provisions allowing her to spread the costs of the              
 program equally among the licensees so that the landscape                     
 architect's costs will be reasonable.  She also liked the language            
 allowing the board, through regulations, to make the determinations           
 that some activities do not require licenses because of low public            
 health and safety risk.  She was also concerned whether there would           
 be a sufficient number of landscape architects available in the               
 State to cover the scopes of practice in the more remote areas.               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if she objected to his amendment allowing the            
 name of the board to stay the same, but to allow the practice of              
 landscape architects to be incorporated under that board.  MS.                
 REARDON said she had no objection at all.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN said there were two other substantive amendments.              
 MS. REARDON said she was familiar with them from the last                     
 legislature.  She said her concern was that it seemed that the                
 boundaries between the professions were confusing.                            
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN responded that he thought there might be some                  
 overlap, for instance, her example of road embankments, and he                
 wouldn't want to preclude anyone from doing that if it fell within            
 the scope of their services and that's why he wanted the clarifying           
 amendment.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON asked if the Chairman thought doing landscaping around            
 a building was generally thought to be within the scope of                    
 architecture.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN answered that generally that would be           
 in architecture or landscape architecture, but drainage was in the            
 area of engineering.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. JEAN SMITH,  staff to Senator Mackie, explained the main change          
 to the proposed CS was on page 14, lines 5 - 16 essentially                   
 eliminated the addition of a permanent voting landscape architect             
 to the board.  This would not only eliminate the fiscal impact a              
 permanent member would have, but would meet their intent to have a            
 landscape architect as a resource person during the initial                   
 regulation process.                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  said he would support that in the interests of                
 getting them up and running.  He moved to adopt the CS to SB 110.             
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY moved to adopt conceptual amendment #1 wherever the             
 board is referenced by name to delete the words "and landscape                
 architects."  SENATOR MACKIE objected saying that's what the bill             
 does, put them in the board.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that the               
 function would still be in there.  SENATOR MACKIE asked why he                
 wanted to take them out.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN answered because that is             
 the existing name and it just lengthened it.  All six disciplines             
 within engineering aren't listed either.  Furthermore, they checked           
 with legal drafting and there is no legal reason to not do it.                
 SENATOR MACKIE removed his objection.  There were no further                  
 objections and it was so adopted.                                             
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  explained that amendment #2 added a paragraph to             
 section 23 saying, "This chapter does not prohibit the practice of            
 landscape architecture by a person who is not registered to                   
 practice landscape architecture, if the services being performed by           
 the person are within the scope of practice authorized by another             
 license that is held by the person."                                          
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  commented that this was discussed three years ago and         
 was to protect landowners who hire people to mow grass in the                 
 summer time.                                                                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to adopt amendment #2.  There were no                  
 objections and it was so adopted.                                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that amendment #3 added subparagraph (c)             
 that says, "Notwithstanding the definition of the practice of                 
 landscape architecture in AS08.48.341 a registered landscape                  
 architect may not perform or offer to perform a service described             
 in AS08.48.341.17 if that service also requires registration as an            
 architect or engineer unless the landscape architect is also                  
 registered as an architect or engineer as applicable.                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR MACKIE asked how they can do it now without this language.            
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY  said that at one time he thought landscape                     
 architecture was trying to get into engineering areas.  He said he            
 wasn't sure of the language, but for today's purpose he moved to              
 adopt amendment #3.                                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced an at ease from 2:12 - 2:14 p.m.                     
                                                                               
 Number 463                                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. DUAYNE ADAMS  commented that in talking with Catherine Reardon,          
 he was concerned that it read that any other design profession can            
 do landscape architecture, but landscape architects can't do what             
 others can do.  So that left a lot of room for interpretation and             
 in essence the standard of practice is really based on education              
 and what a professional has been taught and can take liability for.           
                                                                               
 He saw no more grey area than exists between architects and                   
 structural engineers and that has been a peaceable existence for              
 some time.  This issue is already covered adequately by the                   
 standards of professional practices as well as existing licensure             
 law.  He recommends that the committee not adopt this amendment               
 because it does open those questions that Ms. Reardon is concerned            
 with.                                                                         
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked that he be allowed to withdraw the amendment.          
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  said his only concern is if the person who comes to           
 his house this summer to mow his lawn and do a little bit of                  
 gardening is allowed to do that.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN responded that he            
 thought that was covered in amendment #2.                                     
                                                                               
  MR. ADAMS  said there is a specific provision in the legislation             
 that says the practice of landscape architecture only covers those            
 areas that are within the purview of public health and safety.                
 This does not preclude a gardener from doing anything as long as              
 it's not a threat to public health and safety.                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced that hearing no objection, amendment #3              
 was withdrawn and he said the last amendment was #4 and noted that            
 it was on page 12, line 2 to be consistent with legislation they              
 have already moved.  There were no objections, and amendment #4               
 passed.                                                                       
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to pass CSSB 110(L&C) with individual                  
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
                                                                               
 Number 560                                                                    
                                                                               
                  SB 152 CERTIFIED NURSE AIDES                                
                                                                              
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced  SB 152  to be up for consideration.                 
                                                                               
 MS. ANNETTE KREITZER, Staff to Senator Leman, sponsor, explained              
 that the Alaska Nurses Association requested SB 152 which deals               
 with certified nurse aides.  Although certification of nurse aides            
 has been administered by the Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 there is no provision for revocation of certificates for                      
 inappropriate behavior.  In response to changes in federal law, SB
 152 allows for the creation of a certified nurse aide registry to             
 include the information required when a nurse aide is found to have           
 committed abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property in                  
 connection with their employment as a nurse aide.  SB 152 provides            
 a mechanism for the Department of Health and Social Services to               
 alert the Board of Nursing to inappropriate behavior by a certified           
 nurse aide when that occurs in a state licensed facility.                     
                                                                               
 The legislation protects the health, safety, and welfare of a                 
 vulnerable population served by certified nurse aides as well as              
 ensuring competency in the performance of nurse aide duties.                  
                                                                               
 She said basically the bill creates new sections giving the Board             
 of Nursing the authority to regulate and certify nurse aides.                 
                                                                               
 MS. KREITZER noted there was one amendment that corrects an                   
 oversight on page 3, lines 14 - 15, use of the title by inserting             
 the abbreviation "(CNA)".                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if anyone was opposed to SB 152.  There were             
 no objections to it.  He noted that he had Ron Cowan, Dorothy                 
 Fulton, Patricia Senner, and Louise Dean signed up to testify via             
 teleconference and said if he could enter their support on record.            
 There were no objections.                                                     
                                                                               
  MS. REARDON , Division of Licensing, said that the House had some            
 issues with the companion bill to SB 152.  She said the                       
 Administrative Procedures Act that came up in committee exempted              
 the Division of Occupational Licensing and Board of Nursing from              
 the APA in more places than they intended to exempt themselves                
 which raised some concerns about due process in the other body.               
 The effect of this amendment would be to limit their exemption from           
 the APA to only the actions referred to on page 4, line 15.  If the           
 Department of Health and Social Services has already given due                
 process to someone and found the person to have abused a patient,             
 they can immediately revoke their license without having to give a            
 second hearing since they just had their first hearing in HESS.               
 This is the only procedure from which they wanted an exemption from           
 the APA.                                                                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-19, SIDE B                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  moved to adopt amendment #1.  There were no                   
 objections and it was adopted.                                                
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to adopt amendment #2.  There were no                  
 objections and it was adopted.                                                
                                                                               
    MS. REARDON  clarified amendment #3 was on page 3, line 1 changed          
 "may" to "shall".  She said it was pointed out that the board                 
 "shall" issue certification to a qualified person.  It's not an               
 optional activity.  The final item is saying when they mail out               
 notice to an individual that their license has been revoked due to            
 their appearance on the abuse registry, they need to send it                  
 certified so there is proof of mailing.                                       
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to adopted amendment #3.  There were no                
 objections and it was adopted.                                                
                                                                               
  MS. REARDON  said the last issue was concerning line 22 regarding a          
 single subject, rules, and titles which lead them to want to                  
 eliminate section 16.  This has to do with when other agencies can            
 reveal confidential information from their investigations of abuse            
 to them.  She said this needs to be clarified, but it causes                  
 problems in this bill.                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he thought that health professionals, other               
 than nurse aides, should be covered under other legislation.  MS.             
 REARDON said that was her initial impression also.  Department of             
 Law raised the possibility that specifically mentioning CNAs                  
 weakens their legal claim to ever get that information out for                
 other professionals because the legislature specifically addressed            
 it for these people.                                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN explained that amendment #4 deleted section 16.                
                                                                               
  MR. RON COWAN  asked if they could wait to adopt amendment #4 until          
 they could talk to other agencies that are going to be affected by            
 that change.  They are not certain that deleting the entire section           
 16 is needed to fix the problem.  CHAIRMAN LEMAN said that whatever           
 is taken out can be put back in and if this is going to get through           
 the legislature this year, it needed to be moved.  MR. COWAN                  
 withdrew his objection.                                                       
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to delete section 16 as amendment #4.  There           
 were no objections and it was so ordered.                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass CSSB 152(L&C) from committee with                
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 ordered.                                                                      
                                                                               
              SB 169 VOLUNTARY FLEX TIME FOR MINES                            
   CHAIRMAN LEMAN  announced  SB 169  to be up for consideration.  He         
 announced an at ease from 2:33 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.  He said although             
 it is not his intention to move the bill today, those who are                 
 interested can provide written testimony to the committee and he              
 said that the five hours of testimony from the House would become             
 part of the committee's record, also.                                         
                                                                               
 MS. KREITZER, Staff to Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, said SB
 169 changes the current employee, voluntary, flexible work hour               
 provisions in AS28.10.  Under current law an employer must pay an             
 employee one and one half times the regular rate of pay for any               
 hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week or 8 hours a day.                   
 However, the law also provides that the Department of Labor may               
 approve a written agreement between an employer and employee,                 
 increasing the regular pay hours to 10 hours per day, a long as no            
 more than 40 hours per week are worked when the employee has                  
 entered into a voluntary flexible work hour plan.                             
                                                                               
 SB 169 permits the Department of Labor to approve a written plan              
 between the employer and employee increasing the regular pay hours            
 to 12 per day, but not more than 40 per week.                                 
                                                                               
  MR. TOM IRWIN,  Operations Manager, Fort Knox, supported SB 169.  He         
 said he was here really at the request of the employees who are               
 working eight hour shifts and want to change it to 12 hour shifts.            
 He said they sent out petitions and received a 98% approval rating.           
 This bill would give their employees significant benefits allowing            
 them to work 168 hours every four weeks, but they would have 14               
 days off in that time period instead of seven giving them a total             
 of 91 more days off per year.  He stressed that they still intend             
 to pay overtime over 40 hours.  Their overtime pay with this bill             
 will increase by 2.3% which is $250,000 per year.  With current               
 law, they would pay $1.5 million per year or $18 million over the             
 life of the mine.                                                             
                                                                               
 He said the mine makes between $200 - $230 per ounce, but they have           
 $180 million in acquisition and predevelopment costs.  They have              
 $375 million in capital costs and estimate $30 million more of                
 sustaining capital.  The bills need to be paid and Fort Knox is a             
 low grade project, but with correct operations and management it is           
 now, and will continue, to be a viable mine Alaska can be proud of.           
                                                                               
  MR. IRWIN  said that they had looked into using the 10 hour flex             
 plan except to work the two hours overtime which was originally               
 suggested by Commissioner Cashen.  Later the Deputy Commissioner              
 testified that was illegal. Proposals have been made to drop the              
 pay for employees by Mr. Frye, AFL-CIO, and there were 13 areas               
 where their employees would get hurt by doing that.  They would               
 lose in their short and long term disability, they would have                 
 reductions in life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment           
 insurance, reductions in military pay leaves, and reductions in               
 workers compensation benefits (all which are set by State law).  It           
 has been suggested that they form their own union and a legal                 
 opinion they got on the matter said it would be a clear violation             
 of National Labor Relations and employees could lose their rights.            
 The legal opinion said it also bordered on fraud.                             
                                                                               
 MR. IRWIN said that Alaska is the only state where miners of this             
 wage cannot work with this 12 hour exemption.  It is being fought             
 for in Nevada and California.  He said they want fairness and for             
 their employees to be able to make their own choices especially               
 since this schedule is a factor that affects their families and               
 children.  He said this would allow the employees to have one of              
 the best work schedules he's seen allowing them time to go home and           
 have quality time with their families.                                        
                                                                               
  MS. MICHELLE STEEL,  Human Resource Technician, Fort Knox Mine,              
 supported SB 169.  She said she has worked a 10 hour day four days            
 a week under a flexible work hour plan under the current law.  It's           
 very nice and it's good to be able to choose her schedule.  It                
 reduces the number of times she has to commute to the mine, about             
 25 miles each way (45 minutes).  She said most importantly it                 
 allows her to have an additional day with her family.  She said her           
 position at the mine allows her to know every employee and all of             
 their dependents and the request for the 12 hour flexible work hour           
 plan is supported by the employees and their families. She is aware           
 that local hire is a major concern and assured them that this is              
 not designed to help employees to commute from out-of-state.  In              
 fact, all 248 employees are Alaska residents and she said that                
 nearly all of them were hired within the State of Alaska.                     
                                                                               
 MS. STEEL said they are proud to work for a company whose                     
 management addresses concerns and issues that are pertinent to her            
 family.  She said this would allow her 91 more days per year to               
 spend together with her family.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked if she currently works four 10s.  MS. STEEL             
 replied that she started out working that schedule, but now she is            
 working eight hour days, five days per week, but she will return to           
 the other schedule as soon as she can.                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked how many of the 248 employees at Fort Knox want           
 to move to a 12 hour shift.  MS. STEEL said that 98% of the                   
 employees are in favor of that.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 364                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. CAROL DESNOYERS,  Alaskan Workers, opposed SB 169.  She said             
 they should remember that Fort Knox is trying to change a State               
 labor law that was enacted to protect the workers from an abuse of            
 excess work hours each day by penalizing the employer while                   
 compensating the worker when they do.                                         
                                                                               
 Despite the narrowed down version of this bill, it will still have            
 repercussions in other industries and other mining areas. For                 
 instance, Usibelli Coal Mine just asked its workers to give up                
 their overtime. Carlisle Trucking also is asking for exemptions as            
 well.  She said Alaska is beginning to see a new era in the mining            
 industries.  She named three mines that were opening up and said              
 hundreds of thousand of acres were just recently opened to mining             
 exploration bringing jobs that would be directly affected by this             
 law.                                                                          
                                                                               
 AMAX has a legacy of backing legislation in other states that erode           
 workers wages as well as their rights - all under the guise of                
 making their employees' schedules more liveable and family                    
 friendly.  Anyone who has lived in Alaska for any length of time              
 has had to endure hardships to make a living. The bottom line on              
 hardships is the cost of living, much of which is offset by the               
 overtime pay.  SB 169 and HB 68 threaten to erode the wages and               
 rights of workers and the majority of Alaskan workers are really              
 appalled that such a bill would be considered.                                
                                                                               
 MS. DESNOYERS said that AMAX says the only feasible way they can              
 give their workers the schedule they are requesting is through an             
 overtime exemption caused by the fluctuating gold prices and cost             
 overruns in construction.  She added that also due to the hard work           
 of the employees AMAX expects to make their production curve six              
 months ahead of schedule this year and is expected to save $20                
 million on projected cost overruns and that recent exploration                
 tests indicated an additional 2.7 million ounces of gold.  She also           
 noted that AMAX  hedges their gold prices to keep from having to              
 deal with fluctuating gold prices on the market.                              
                                                                               
 The employees at Fort Knox are an asset to the mine and AMAX would            
 be wise to recognize that and give them the schedule they have                
 asked for and pay them the overtime they would have earned in that            
 schedule rather than using them as pawns to change the State labor            
 laws that are there to protect the rights of all the Alaskan                  
 workers.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked who she thought Fort Knox should be                      
 accommodating, the 97% of employees who want the change or the                
 other 3%.  MS. DESNOYERS replied she thought they should recognize            
 their workers as an asset that has already proven to make more                
 money for them.                                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN said that testimony stated the workers would make              
 $70 more per cycle and yet she is suggesting taking money away.               
 MS. DESNOYERS replied that AMAX should recognize their workers as             
 an asset and pay them what they are worth.                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  asked where she works.  She replied that she is a            
 nonunion worker and works in a gift shop.  Her husband has worked             
 in the mining industry in both union and nonunion jobs.                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR MACKIE said he thought Chairman Leman was trying to say               
 that this would give people more time with their families and pay             
 them more money and asked if she didn't think that was accurate.              
                                                                               
 MS. DESNOYERS said she is saying that a State labor law that has              
 been enacted to protect the rights of all the Alaskan workers                 
 shouldn't be changed when accommodations could be made at the mine            
 by giving the workers schedules they want and paying them what they           
 are worth.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 267                                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. DAN SEATON , Teamsters Local 959, opposed SB 169 because once it         
 is granted to one group of people, it's not going to be able to be            
 denied to other industries whether it be construction or whatever.            
 He lives in a very small town, Kodiak, where people are very                  
 dependent upon seasonal work.  Without the overtime rates through             
 the summer months, the cannery industry, the freight industry, and            
 the construction industry a lot of people will not be able to make            
 it through the winter months, especially considering the high cost            
 of living in the small villages.                                              
                                                                               
 MR. SEATON said he thought everyone needed to step back and think             
 about what everyone and their fathers went through and fought to              
 get a fair wage. One of the biggest battles they had was obtaining            
 an overtime rate.  He said that 12 hours is a pretty hard day and             
 he didn't think they were counting the evening times they would be            
 home with their families helping with home work and doing whatever            
 goes on in their family life.                                                 
                                                                               
 He said he didn't see this profiting anyone but big business.  He             
 thought Fort Knox could take care of their workers if they chose to           
 do so.  He said he has heard from other businesses if this does go,           
 they are going to try to get exemptions also.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 192                                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. JERRY MARSHALL,  Fort Knox Gold, said he represented the people          
 who signed the petitions and supported SB 169.  He said the company           
 did not coerce them into this at all.  When they first started up             
 the mill, they worked 12 hour days, five days a week.  So they know           
 what it's like and they asked the company to do this for them.  He            
 said in order for this to work every employee has to want it and              
 also Fort Knox has to go to the Department of Labor every year and            
 reapply for the certification.                                                
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked why they didn't organize under a collective             
 bargaining agreement under the Wage and Hour Act, number 13, work             
 performed by an employee under a flexible work hour plan.  MR.                
 MARSHALL replied that if they do it for this pretext, they are                
 breaking the law or on the verge.  He said the unions play a very             
 important role in our society and there should always be the right            
 to organize and help each other out.  The reason to have unions is            
 when management and workers can't come together.  In this case                
 workers and the company want to work together.                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked how they dealt with holidays like Christmas in            
 terms of overtime.   MR. IRWIN  replied that they have 10 set                 
 holidays.  An employee is paid time and a half for his benefits.              
 If it's his time off, he would get paid holiday pay.                          
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  asked what would happen if an employee didn't want           
 to go to this schedule and wanted to stay with the existing                   
 schedule.  MR. IRWIN said they thought about that a lot and feel              
 their word to their employees is important.  They have made it                
 clear if someone wants to stay on their schedule, if it's an eight            
 hour schedule, he will stay on his schedule.  He said it's clearly            
 voluntary.  If the employees decide they don't like it, the                   
 Commissioner of Labor has the right to change it.                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-18, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. IRWIN said they would end up paying their employees more                  
 overtime.  The benefit to the company they see is safety.                     
 Statistics show that it's not the schedule they work, but the                 
 satisfaction of the worker in the job.  They feel they will break             
 even at $250,000.  They don't feel under current law they could               
 afford the $1.5 million extra.                                                
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  asked if they followed current law and went to two           
 12-hour shifts, it would cost them $1.5 million extra and by going            
 to the proposed shift it would cost $250,000 more.  MR. IRWIN said            
 that was right.                                                               
                                                                               
    SENATOR KELLY  asked if this legislation doesn't pass, will they go        
 to 12-hour shifts.  MR. IRWIN replied that they didn't see how they           
 could do that economically.  He said there is a lot of talk about             
 how they are a big company and have ulterior motives and that's a             
 lie.  He has personally done over 150 economic analyses on the                
 property and they did not dig in the wrong place, but they have to            
 have very clear plans to make sure they protect the environment and           
 have a good economic mine.  If it would have been economic to do              
 12-hour shifts, they would have done it long ago.  He explained               
 that the mobile mechanics will stay on a 10-hour day shift, anyhow.           
 This schedule would not give them more production, he said in                 
 answer to Senator Kelly's question, because they operate 24-hours             
 a day anyway.  This is why they have 8-hour shifts; it's tough to             
 divide work schedules up into 10-hour shifts.  You can do two 10s,            
 but how can you fill the gap in for the other four hours?                     
                                                                               
 Number 79                                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  said it was stated that you commute an hour each way         
 and work a 12-hour shift, that's 14 hours per day and asked what              
 his experience has been with fatigue and safety.   MR. IRWIN                  
  replied, for example, when they worked 12-hour shifts and drove              
 further there was over one year without a loss of time accident.              
 Another company, Lone Tree, in Santa Fee went to 12-hour shifts and           
 actually dropped to nil losses and their drive was farther than               
 his.  One of his sister companies, AMAX Gold, switched to 12-hour             
 shifts and the year they switched they won the National Sentinel's            
 Safety Award.                                                                 
                                                                               
  MR. DARRELL MCSPADDEN,  Teamsters 959,   opposed SB 169 and any other        
 legislation that affects the working conditions of the people of              
 Alaska in the manner this does.  He said there is no need for                 
 unions when companies treat you properly.  Working 12-hours a day             
 at any job is an exhausting thing to do to anybody.  The mine was             
 designed and built with full knowledge of existing labor laws.  And           
 although the mine's representatives claim the change is for the               
 benefit of their employees, they know who the ultimate                        
 beneficiaries are going to be.                                                
                                                                               
 MR. MCSPADDEN said that he hasn't talked to one individual, outside           
 of the Fort Knox people, who has said anything in support of this             
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 219                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  said he has heard conflicting stories about                  
 exemptions current in State law.  He asked why the 98% of employees           
 who are asking for this at Fort Knox not be allowed to do it.  MR.            
 MCSPADDEN responded that these laws were written after long, hard             
 contested battles that cost many lives.  It would take a great deal           
 of research into labor union history.                                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked Mr. Irwin if you're switching from three 8's            
 now to two 12's, don't you need one-third less people?  MR. IRWIN             
 replied no because they still have the same number of hours in a              
 month to cover.  He added that they have four crews right now.                
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 320                                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. ED FLANAGAN,  Deputy Commissioner, Department of Labor, said he          
 is here to try and hold back the snowball he sees as rolling down             
 the hill.  They are opposed to this bill, although they sympathize            
 with the workers there.  He said the schedule they are on would               
 certainly drive folks to distraction and to try to change the law             
 for all workers to address their own situations.  He said the                 
 Department of Labor did not put them on that schedule;  Mr. Irwin             
 did.  Alaska is the only state they couldn't do this in and he felt           
 that we should be proud that we have exceptional laws protecting              
 the rights of workers.  He said they hear that other states do it             
 all the time, but don't find that a persuasive argument.                      
 He explained that Alaska is one of three states that has anything             
 for over 8 hours as far as overtime.  Rather than give one                    
 exemption a year, maybe they should consider scrapping it.                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  said he grew up in California and whenever he worked          
 over eight hours he got overtime and asked if that was not standard           
 practice now.  MR. FLANAGAN said that California has an industrial            
 welfare commission that's appointed by the Governor that has                  
 recommended a drop in the over-eight, but the legislature is                  
 holding on to it.  So California is an over-eight state and so are            
 we.   MR. CLARK , Attorney for Fort Knox, interrupted to say that             
 California changed that law two weeks ago.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN continued saying that was not an argument for doing              
 away with the law.  He said that Mr. Marshall's argument is well              
 taken about an exemption.  There are 16; why not 17, etc. Why not             
 just muck out the whole thing, if that's where we want to get, and            
 take a race to the bottom with other jurisdictions by sacrificing             
 worker protections.                                                           
                                                                               
 The workers have a right to organize or not.  They exercised their            
 rights by taking jobs with a mine that is the lowest paying large             
 mine in the State.  They already pay $3 - $4 less than the going              
 rate for large mines in the State of Alaska.  That's a considerable           
 cost savings already.  MR. FLANAGAN allowed that they do need to              
 make a profit and they have done a good job of training and hiring            
 locally and are a welcome addition to the State, in that respect.             
 If $18 million would cost them to comply with State law, they have            
 just written down the cost overrun by $25 million.                            
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN said he wanted to correct Mr. Irwin's statement that             
 Commissioner Cashen never said they should work four 10s and pay              
 the overtime, too.  That is not consistent with current law.                  
 Commissioner Cashen said can't you do something using the four 10s            
 exemption under law; and there is a four 10s exemption under law              
 for those employees where it is appropriate.                                  
                                                                               
 He said the department is ready to support Representative James               
 bill that would put exemption 13, collective bargaining units, on             
 the same footing - just the straight four 10s.  There are three               
 power-house agreements that cover a total of 20 employees in the              
 whole State that had straight time for 12 hours.  When the                    
 Commissioner decided he would support Representative James' bill,             
 he talked to the unions involved about what they would do if this             
 bill passed.  They said they would have to renegotiate the wages if           
 it's important for the guys to stay on 12 hours, but the employer             
 won't go with the overtime on that schedule.                                  
                                                                               
 Fort Knox has made much of the fact that their benefit plans are              
 geared to the base pay.  While it is true that a couple of those              
 are statutory, but with the proposed great savings in safety that             
 they are expecting to see, according to Mr. Irwin and Mr. Lange,              
 they could possibly redirect some of the savings towards some kind            
 of supplemental disability.  If this bill doesn't pass, he thought            
 they would find a way to achieve what they need to do under current           
 State law.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN said one of Commissioner Cashen's biggest concerns               
 with this bill is that it is changing State law for 243 employees.            
 No one doubts that they are behind this and they will take Fort               
 Knox's word that they would accommodate anyone who didn't want this           
 schedule, but he thought other companies would not give that                  
 option.  He noted that no large industry had tried to get an                  
 exemption.  However, there are other smaller ones in the wings,               
 like auto mechanics and hairdressers.  He predicted they would see            
 more of these bills and the Department of Labor will sound like a             
 broken record, because they will be here opposing them because they           
 don't think it's in the best interests of the workers of the State            
 of Alaska.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN also pointed out that it's not true that the exemption           
 would have to be approved every year by the Department of Labor.              
 They do it if they get a complaint or they decide to rescind the              
 plan, but the employees do have a window period every                         
 November/December where they could say they don't want to be on the           
 voluntary plan any more.                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. FLANAGAN concluded that if the legislature wants to chip away             
 at the eight-hour law, they would have to agree to disagree and try           
 to convince them that there's nothing to be ashamed of in having a            
 law that's more protective of its workers than other states in the            
 union.                                                                        
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE  commented that he has mixed feelings about this sole         
 proposal and he has listen closely to testimony on both sides of              
 the issue.  He said he didn't think it necessary to criticize                 
 people with an opposing view.  He said the bill would probably pass           
 out of committee since it is sponsored by the President of the                
 Senate and would come to a vote on the floor.                                 
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  stated that he appreciated the civility people used          
 in discussing this charged issue.                                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR KELLY  asked under the terms of this law, does the                   
 Commissioner have to okay any agreement with Fort Knox.  MR.                  
 FLANAGAN replied yes.  SENATOR KELLY asked if he has to approve it.           
 Could he say no?  MR. FLANAGAN responded that he could say no, but            
 if he didn't produce a finding, they could be challenged.  SENATOR            
 KELLY commented that he didn't see what good it does to pass a law            
 if the Department of Labor talks like this about it.                          
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  adjourned the meeting at 3:43 p.m.                           
                                                                               

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