Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/16/1999 10:20 AM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 155(FIN)                                                                                                 
An Act relating to methods of payment of and reports                                                                            
concerning certain state salaries and business                                                                                  
MARY GORE, STAFF, SENATOR MIKE MILLER, explained that the                                                                       
proposed bill would expand the number of state entities, in                                                                     
addition to the Legislature, annually required to report                                                                        
travel and compensation.  Detailed information for the                                                                          
previous calendar year of the salaries, per diem, travel                                                                        
expenses, relocation expenses and any additional allowances                                                                     
received would be the required from the following people:                                                                       
* Governor and Lt. Governor;                                                                                                    
 * Chiefs of Staff of the above;                                                                                                
 * Supreme Court Justices & Court of Appeals Judges;                                                                            
 * Administrative director of the Court:                                                                                        
 * Legislative Affairs Executive Director;                                                                                      
 * President & Vice President of the University;                                                                                
* Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners and                                                                                    
Division Directors; and                                                                                                         
 * Executive Heads of public corporations.                                                                                      
Representative J. Davies questioned the need for the                                                                            
proposed legislation given the expense it would incur.                                                                          
Representative Kohring also spoke to the expense associated                                                                     
with the legislation.                                                                                                           
DAVID ESSARY, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF                                                                                
ADMINISTRATION, stated that the fiscal note reflects efforts                                                                    
for personal services to prepare a report containing                                                                            
detailed information on salaries, per diem, travel expenses,                                                                    
relocation expense for all the above listed State employees.                                                                    
To compile the information will require gathering wage                                                                          
information from the payroll system, as well as gathering                                                                       
travel information for each individual's records.  The                                                                          
Department estimates that this will take the equivalent of                                                                      
approximately three months time for an Accountant IV.                                                                           
Representative Kohring recommended that the information be                                                                      
made available through the Internet, which he believed would                                                                    
save costs.  Representative Bunde observed that many people                                                                     
do not have computer access.                                                                                                    
Representative Grussendorf pointed out that the information                                                                     
would be required of approximately 125 employees.                                                                               
Representative J. Davies added that costs would be for                                                                          
distribution and assembling information.  He noted that he                                                                      
objected to all the costs associated with the legislation.                                                                      
He exclaimed that there will be a need to educate why these                                                                     
costs were incurred.  Representative Austerman also voiced                                                                      
his concern with the costs associated with the program.                                                                         
Representative J. Davies pointed out that currently the                                                                         
information is available for each department through the                                                                        
budget detail books.  Representative Bunde countered that                                                                       
the public's right to know is paramount.  Mr. Essary agreed                                                                     
that everyone has the right to know.  The Division of                                                                           
Legislative Audit has conducted some of this type work on a                                                                     
smaller scale.  The proposed legislation would remove the                                                                       
responsibility from that Division to the Department of                                                                          
Representative Austerman inquired if someone requested this                                                                     
information now would the Department provide it.  Mr. Essary                                                                    
explained that they would, however, under the Public                                                                            
Information Act, information made available is provided at                                                                      
no charge.  Any information that would require time                                                                             
gathering, as under this bill, the Department would be                                                                          
allowed to charge for.                                                                                                          
Mr. Essary stated that the Division of Legislative Audit has                                                                    
previously done a portion of this task; he voiced was                                                                           
concerned that if the bill does not pass, there could be a                                                                      
conflict between the two agencies.                                                                                              
In response to Representative G. Davis, Ms. Gore replied                                                                        
that no sunset clause had been proposed.                                                                                        
Representative Foster MOVED to report CSSB 155 (FIN) out of                                                                     
Committee with individual recommendations and with the                                                                          
accompanying fiscal note.  Representative Kohring OBJECTED.                                                                     
Representative J. Davies suggested that the money requested                                                                     
in the fiscal note could be used on many more important                                                                         
projects. He foresaw that $18 thousand dollars would only be                                                                    
the beginning of requested funds to run the program.                                                                            
Representative J. Davies stressed that this was not                                                                             
responsible spending.                                                                                                           
Representative Kohring observed that if reporting was not                                                                       
being requested for the Legislature, it should not be                                                                           
required for the other branches of government.  He                                                                              
reiterated comments to place information on the Internet.                                                                       
Representative Williams voiced additional concern with the                                                                      
fiscal costs associated with the legislation.                                                                                   
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to MOVED the bill.                                                                     
IN FAVOR: Foster, Kohring, Williams, Austerman, Bunde,                                                                          
G. Davis                                                                                                                        
OPPOSED  Grussendorf, Moses, J. Davies                                                                                          
Representatives Mulder and Therriault were not present for                                                                      
the vote.                                                                                                                       
The MOTION PASSED (6-3).                                                                                                        
CSSB 155 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with "no                                                                           
recommendation" and with a fiscal note by Department of                                                                         
Administration dated 5/7/99.                                                                                                    

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