Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/23/1993 09:10 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                
                         April 23, 1993                                        
                            9:10 a.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                
  Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chairman                                           
  Senator Robin Taylor                                                         
  Senator Jim Duncan                                                           
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Senator Johnny Ellis                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  SENATE BILL NO. 199                                                          
  "An Act relating to employees of the division of elections."                 
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 206(STA) am                                            
  "An Act  amending provisions  of the  Alaska Elections  Code                 
  relating to election  campaigns to exempt from  the election                 
  campaign reporting requirements  a candidate whose  campaign                 
  contributions  and  campaign  expenditures  do  not   exceed                 
  $1,000, and to extend the Alaska Public Offices Commission's                 
  regulation of election  campaigns to elections to  boards of                 
  directors   of   electrical   cooperatives   and   telephone                 
  cooperatives who serve at least 10,000 customers."                           
  SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 196                                    
  "An  Act  relating to  the  state employment  preference for                 
  veterans and prisoners of war."                                              
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  SB 199 - No previous action to record.                                       
  HB 206 - No previous action to record.                                       
  HB 196 - No previous action to record.                                       
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman of Legislative                              
    Budget & Audit Committee                                                   
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 199                          
  Duncan Fowler, Ombudsman                                                     
  Office of the Ombudsman                                                      
  P.O. Box 113000                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-3000                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on SB 199                           
  Randy Welker, Legislative Auditor                                            
  Legislative Audit Division                                                   
  P.O. Box 113300                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-3300                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on SB 199                           
  James Pound, Chief of Staff                                                  
  Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                            
  P.O. Box 110015                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-0015                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 199                       
  Mike McMullen, Manager of System Services                                    
  Division of Personnel & Equal Employment Opportunity                         
  Department of Administration                                                 
  P.O. Box 110201                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-0201                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  No position on SB 199                                   
                       Testified in support of HB 196                          
  Representative Eldon Mulder                                                  
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of HB 206                                 
  Brooke Miles                                                                 
  Alaska Public Offices Commission                                             
  Department of Administration                                                 
  P.O. Box 110222                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-0222                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Present to respond to questions on                      
                       HB 206                                                  
  George Dozier, Jr., Staff to Representative Pete Kott                        
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on HB 196                           
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-31, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
  The meeting of the Senate State Affairs Committee was called                 
  to order by Chairman Loren Leman at 9:10 a.m.                                
  SENATOR  LEMAN  introduced  SB 199  (ELECTIONS  EMPLOYEES IN                 
  CLASSIFIED  SERVICE) as  the first  order of  business.   He                 
  invited Senator Randy Phillips,  Chairman of the Legislative                 
  Budget  & Audit  Committee  to present  an  overview on  the                 
  Number 020                                                                   
  SENATOR RANDY  PHILLIPS explained that  the legislation  was                 
  introduced by the  Legislative Budget & Audit  Committee and                 
  that there was no objection by any of the 10 members  of the                 
  committee to having it introduced.                                           
  SB  199  is the  result of  the  Legislative Budget  & Audit                 
  report of February  27, 1993 and also the Ombudsman's report                 
  of April 8, 1993.  Both conclude that the legislation should                 
  be  considered  by  the legislature.    Basically,  it would                 
  remove the employees  of the  Division of Elections,  except                 
  for the  director, from the exempt service and classify them                 
  as employees with a limited  right to strike.  LB&A  and the                 
  Ombudsman both recommend that these employees  be classified                 
  service employees.                                                           
  Number 070                                                                   
  DUNCAN  FOWLER,  Ombudsman,   State  of  Alaska,  said   the                 
  recommendation to move the majority of the employees in  the                 
  Division  of Elections  into the  merit system, was  to make                 
  sure that the employees  there would not be hired,  fired or                 
  promoted for reasons other than merit.                                       
  Currently, there  are only  two employees  remaining in  the                 
  Division of Election who were there more than two years ago.                 
  The concern is that if  there continues to be a turnover  of                 
  election  employees over the  years, it has  the tendency to                 
  shake the consistency and the ability  of the division to be                 
  able to run good elections.                                                  
  Number 100                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN asked why the regional directors were not kept                 
  in the exempt service as was done with the director.  DUNCAN                 
  FOWLER responded that he  thinks it is a policy call, but it                 
  is his  understanding that  there has  been some  litigation                 
  involving the  Division of  Elections for  some terminations                 
  that occurred.   The court  has indicated that  they believe                 
  that  regional  directors  are not  policy  makers  and that                 
  regional managers are the kinds of people who should be in a                 
  more protected situation.                                                    
  Number 112                                                                   
  DUNCAN  FOWLER  pointed  out that  he  has  recommended that                 
  Section 3 of the  bill be deleted because there is already a                 
  very  good system  in place  to protect those  employees who                 
  move from  exempt service  into the  merit system.   SENATOR                 
  PHILLIPS added that he has prepared an amendment which would                 
  delete that section.                                                         
  Number 135                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN asked if there have been  similar turnovers in                 
  the  32-year  history  of  the  State  of  Alaska  when  new                 
  administrations have come  in.  DUNCAN FOWLER  answered that                 
  he did not go  back and do a study of the  turnover of prior                 
  administrations.  However,  they did  survey other  election                 
  systems in other states  and found that the other  states do                 
  tend to have systems that protect the employees within those                 
  divisions  so  that  they  are   not  subject  to  political                 
  pressures.  He  added that his sense is that  in working for                 
  the state for several years and watching  these things, that                 
  with the current  administration this is  one of the  larger                 
  turnovers of this division's personnel that he can recall.                   
  Number 160                                                                   
  JAMES  POUND,  Chief of  Staff  to the  Lieutenant Governor,                 
  State of Alaska, said after reviewing SB 199, the Lieutenant                 
  Governor  must  oppose the  legislation  as it  is presently                 
  There are two  basic reasons  for the Lieutenant  Governor's                 
  opposition.    First, the  bill  was  drafted in  part  as a                 
  reaction to a  Legislative Budget  & Audit  report in  which                 
  Randy  Welker  indicates  that employees  of  the  elections                 
  division should be non-exempt.  Mr. Pound directed attention                 
  to  a transcript of a  deposition from Jerry Reinwand, Chief                 
  of Staff to Former Governor Jay  Hammond.  The deposition is                 
  from the Crane v. Coghill civil suit and in it  Mr. Reinwand                 
  explains in detail  why employees  in the Governor's  Office                 
  and the Lieutenant Governor's Office, including the Division                 
  of Elections,  were placed  into and  need to  remain in  an                 
  exempt status.                                                               
  The second reason  for opposition  to the bill  is that  the                 
  Lieutenant Governor's office  is in the  process of doing  a                 
  complete management  analysis of the Division  of Elections.                 
  The report, once completed, will give  a picture of what has                 
  been done in the division and  where the division should go.                 
  Mr. Pound related that the Lieutenant Governor requests that                 
  the committee hold SB 199 in  abeyance until their report is                 
  Number 200                                                                   
  MIKE  MCMULLIN,  Division  of Personnel  &  Office  of Equal                 
  Employment Opportunity, Department of Administration, stated                 
  the  department did not have a position  on SB 199, but that                 
  he was available to respond to questions from the committee.                 
  Number 210                                                                   
  There  being no further  witnesses present to  testify on SB
  199, SENATOR LEMAN said the bill would be held over and that                 
  he did not expect that there would be another  hearing on it                 
  until the next legislative session.                                          
  Number 225                                                                   
  SENATOR  LEMAN  introduced CSHB  206(STA) am  (ELECTIONS AND                 
  ELECTRIC COOP ELECTIONS) as the next order of business.                      
  REPRESENTATIVE  ELDON  MULDER,  prime  sponsor  of  HB  206,                 
  explained  the legislation  addresses  a problem  which they                 
  have  been experiencing  throughout the  railbelt in  recent                 
  years as it relates to  electrical and telephone cooperative                 
  elections.  In  the past, many  of the these elections  were                 
  "run  out  of the  pocket",  but  now that  whole  focus has                 
  changed.  Because there are vested interests that lie within                 
  these boards, the elections now cost thousands and thousands                 
  of  dollars.  However, with those elections, no changes have                 
  been  brought to bear in  relation to election financing and                 
  restrictions,    Currently  there  are  no  restrictions  or                 
  reporting requirements by people who run for the boards.                     
  HB 206 will  require the  people running for  the boards  of                 
  electrical and telephone cooperatives  to file APOC reports,                 
  and they will  have the  same restrictions that  legislators                 
  face when  they run  for election.   There  is a  limitation                 
  whereby it will  only be placed on those  cooperatives which                 
  serve  over 10,000  customers.   In essence,  that  means it                 
  would  only  apply  to  five  electrical utilities  and  one                 
  telephone cooperative in the state.                                          
  Representative  Mulder also  pointed  out the  bill provides                 
  that if  an individual raises  and spends less  than $1,000,                 
  that individual does not have to file a report.                              
  Number 305                                                                   
  SENATOR  LEMAN  noted  Brooke  Miles   of  the  Division  of                 
  Elections was present to respond to questions.                               
  Number 342                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN moved that  CSHB 206(STA) am be passed  out of                 
  committee  with  individual  recommendations.    Hearing  no                 
  objection, it was so ordered.                                                
  Number 350                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN introduced SSHB 196 (STATE EMPLOYMENT VETERANS                 
  PREFERENCE) as the next order of business.                                   
  GEORGE DOZIER, staff  to Representative Pete Kott,  said the                 
  legislation   addresses   veterans   employment   preference                 
  statutes in  the  State of  Alaska.   The  current  statutes                 
  permit  a  total of  10  points  to be  awarded  to disabled                 
  veterans, 10 points to be awarded to former prisoners of war                 
  and five points  to veterans  in general.   Pursuant to  the                 
  existing statute, the points can only be used once to obtain                 
  a  permanent position  and may  not be used  for promotional                 
  HB 196 modifies the existing  veterans preference statute by                 
  permitting veterans to utilize their  points to obtain entry                 
  level permanent positions  more than once.   It retains  the                 
  previous state policy of not  allowing veterans to use their                 
  points  for  obtaining   promotions  within  the  classified                 
  Number 383                                                                   
  MIKE  MCMULLEN,  Division  of Personnel  &  Office  of Equal                 
  Employment Opportunity, Department of Administration, voiced                 
  the  department's support for veteran  hire.  The bill would                 
  expand  existing preference  which currently is  utilized by                 
  about five to six percent of state job applicants.  He added                 
  the bill carries a zero fiscal note.                                         
  Number 397                                                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR moved  and asked unanimous consent  that SSHB
  196   be   passed   out   of   committee   with   individual                 
  recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                   
  Number 400                                                                   
  SENATOR  TAYLOR  brought  SB  199  (ELECTIONS  EMPLOYEES  IN                 
  CLASSIFIED SERVICE) back before the  committee to give Randy                 
  Welker an opportunity to testify on the legislation.                         
  RANDY   WELKER,   Legislative  Auditor,   Legislative  Audit                 
  Division, said both  the audit done by the Legislative Audit                 
  Division and  the investigation  conducted by  the Ombudsman                 
  point to the fact that part of the cause for the problems in                 
  the Division of Elections are the result of lower morale and                 
  personnel matters  that they believe would best be solved by                 
  putting these positions in the  classified service.  To even                 
  have doubt cast  on the  appearance of  impartiality in  the                 
  Division of  Elections warrants  removing any  doubt or  any                 
  appearance  of impairment from  that division.   SB 199 will                 
  accomplish that  by placing  all employees,  other than  the                 
  director,  into  classified service.    All of  the division                 
  employees will be on equal footing, they will all understand                 
  the rules and will know how things will happen.                              
  The  audit  review found  that  one  of the  biggest  morale                 
  problems in the Division of Elections was not knowing or not                 
  understanding  how people  were  promoted, how  people  were                 
  demoted or the reasons for it.                                               
  Number 435                                                                   
  SENATOR  LEMAN   restated  his  question   on  why  regional                 
  directors  were not  kept  in the  exempt  category.   RANDY                 
  WELKER answered that  he thought it  was a policy call  that                 
  the legislature could make.   He added that he  didn't think                 
  there  was  any  clear  line   drawn  between  the  regional                 
  supervisors and the director.                                                
  Number 456                                                                   
  SENATOR LEMAN said  SB 199 would  be held over in  committee                 
  until the next legislative session.                                          
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 9:42 a.m.                            

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