Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/28/1994 08:35 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HOUSE BILL NO. 457                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act making appropriations  to satisfy the  monetary                 
       terms of  certain collective bargaining  agreements for                 
       certain public safety  employees under an  arbitrator's                 
                                                                               
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       decision; and providing for an effective date."                         
                                                                               
  TERRY  CRAMER, LEGAL  COUNSEL,  DIVISION  OF LEGAL  SERVICES                 
  explained that if the legislature failed  to pass HB 457 but                 
  did  pass an  operating budget  that funded the  salaries at                 
  some level for public safety employees, the action on salary                 
  would  constitute  approval  of the  monetary  terms  of the                 
  arbitrated  agreement.  In order to  disapprove the terms of                 
  collective  bargaining, the legislature  would need to adopt                 
  language to the  effect of, "failure  of the legislature  to                 
  make  a   special  appropriation  to   fund  the  collective                 
  bargaining contract, constitutes disapproval of the monetary                 
  terms.     The  legislature  cannot disapprove  the contract                 
  through its inaction.                                                        
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson summarized that  adoption of the Department                 
  of  Public  Safety's  budget  contained   in  HB  370  would                 
  constitute an  action  that  would  put  the  terms  of  the                 
  arbitrator  into effect.  Ms.  Cramer agreed that the action                 
  would obligate the state to pay at the negotiated level.                     
                                                                               
  Ms. Cramer clarified that the legislature cannot selectively                 
  approve of terms in the  collective bargaining contract. The                 
  legislature  must   approve  or  disapprove  of   the  total                 
  contract.                                                                    
                                                                               
  JIM  GASPER, ATTORNEY,  PUBLIC SAFETY  EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION                 
  spoke in  support of  HB 457.   He  noted that  AS 23.40.215                 
  requires that the legislature make a determination within 60                 
  days.  He emphasized that the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled                 
  that the ultimate  arbitrator's award is final  and binding.                 
  He maintained that the findings are binding on the executive                 
  branch.   He  stressed that  there are  no opportunities  to                 
  renegotiate the basic terms of the agreement.  He noted that                 
  once  the arbitrator's  ruling  has been  given there  is no                 
  authority to resubmit  the ruling  for reconsideration.   He                 
  accentuated  that  the  legislature  can  only   approve  or                 
  disapprove of the monetary terms of the agreement.                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  asserted   that  the   legislature's                 
  constitutional power of appropriation is being challenged.                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Gasper discussed  court rulings  regarding the terms  of                 
  contractual relationship created under collective bargaining                 
  and the legislature's constitutional right of appropriation.                 
  He concluded that the contractual relationship created under                 
  collective bargaining does not infringe on the legislature's                 
  appropriation ability.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  stressed that approval is an advisory                 
  expression  of legislative intent  and that  disapproval may                 
  result in renegotiation.   He observed that  the legislature                 
                                                                               
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  must  approve or disapprove of  the contract.  He emphasized                 
  that it is not appropriate to do nothing.                                    
                                                                               
  Representative  Hanley  MOVED  to  report   HB  457  out  of                 
  Committee with individual recommendations.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  expressed   concern  regarding   the                 
  legislature's ability to control funding.                                    
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-144, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson  emphasized  that appropriation  bills  are                 
  handled  at  the  end  of  the  legislative  session.     He                 
  maintained that it  is not the legislature's  responsibility                 
  to negotiate contracts.   He  observed that the  legislature                 
  has been faced  with hard decisions regarding  reductions in                 
  the  Department  of Public  Safety's  operating budget.   He                 
  expressed concern  that proponents of  the legislation  were                 
  abusive to committee staff.                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean expressed  concern with the monetary  terms                 
  of the bargaining agreement.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Martin noted that other public employees have                 
  not received cost of living increases.                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre observed  that collective  bargaining                 
  and binding arbitration statutes have  not been revisited in                 
  a long time.   He  stressed that statutes  provide that  the                 
  legislative  appropriation approval is  the final  aspect of                 
  the  collective bargaining  process.   He expressed  concern                 
  with  reductions  to  the  Department  of  Public   Safety's                 
  operating   budget.     He  noted   that  arbitrators   have                 
  consistently ruled in  favor of  the employees.   He  stated                 
  that as part of the collective bargaining process,  and with                 
  the financial situation  in the state, the  legislature must                 
  say "no" at some point.                                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre OBJECTED to the motion to move HB 457                 
  from Committee.  A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                   
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown, Hanley, Martin, Parnell, Grussendorf                        
                 MacLean, Larson                                               
  OPPOSED:  Therriault, Navarre                                                
                                                                               
  Representatives  Hoffman and  Foster  were absent  from  the                 
  vote.                                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (7-2).                                                     
                                                                               
  HB  457  was  reported  out  of  Committee  with  individual                 
  recommendation.                                                              
                                                                               
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