Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/02/1993 03:00 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  Number 028                                                                   
  REP. GENE THERRIAULT testified as PRIME SPONSOR of HB 148.                   
  He said the need for the bill had arisen from court cases.                   
  He said the adjudication procedures were not designed for                    
  student or employee grievances, but for grievances against                   
  state boards and commissions.  Student and employee                          
  grievance procedures traditionally involve several levels of                 
  peer review, with several appeal options, he said.  He read                  
  his sponsor statement, which is on file, which said that                     
  requiring APA (Administrative Procedure Act) procedures for                  
  university grievances would be very costly.                                  
  (Rep. Olberg arrived at 3:14 p.m.)                                           
  Number 082                                                                   
  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, testified in Juneau in support of                      
  HB 148.  He cited the cost of formal outside hearings on                     
  everything from parking citation appeals to student                          
  discipline to faculty or employee grievances.  He said                       
  legislation passed in 1977 was never intended to cover those                 
  kinds of issues, and contained intent language leaving to                    
  the university the management of the university.  He said                    
  the APA process can take months.  He said adding the extra                   
  layer of due process would cost the state $250,000 per year.                 
  He said due process was already available for such                           
  Number 119                                                                   
  via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HB 148.  She                 
  said she had been on the university grievance committee for                  
  eight years.  She agreed with the previous two testifiers,                   
  saying the APA was not intended to apply to UAF and that the                 
  university already had an adequate grievance process.  She                   
  said the university did not need an expensive, time-                         
  consuming grievance procedure.                                               
  Number 138                                                                   
  ADVANCED COLLEGE TUITION, testified via teleconference in                    
  support of HB 148.  She said that since the lawsuit that put                 
  the university into its current situation, the university                    
  had been deprived of a reasonable and speedy grievance                       
  procedure.  In times of tight budgets, she said, use of the                  
  APA grievance procedure would mean cutting employee                          
  positions and reducing programs.                                             
  Number 172                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no further testimony, closed public                     
  testimony on HB 148 and invited discussion by the committee.                 
  REP. B. DAVIS distributed copies of an amendment to HB 148                   
  and moved the amendment, which she said would delay the                      
  effective date of the bill until such time as both the                       
  regents adopted a formal grievance procedure for employees                   
  to which the university employees' general assembly had                      
  REP. VEZEY asked whether the motion had been made.                           
  Number 206                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS said that she had.                                             
  REP. VEZEY objected to the motion, saying that when the same                 
  amendment had been considered in the House State Affairs                     
  Committee, it became clear that the amendment gave two                       
  separate groups the right effectively to veto the                            
  legislation.  He recommended voting against the amendment.                   
  CHAIR BUNDE invited Rep. B. Davis to speak to her amendment.                 
  Number 220                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS denied that the amendment would allow two                      
  sides an effective veto.  She noted that the regents wanted                  
  a speedy resolution of grievances.  She said that the                        
  amendment would ensure that the needs of all people involved                 
  would be met.  She said that some people felt they would                     
  have no recourse for their grievances absent the procedures                  
  established in the APA.                                                      
  REP. THERRIAULT said the amendment was unnecessary as UAF                    
  had a functional grievance procedure in place before the                     
  court instructed it to use the APA procedures, and the                       
  university would resume its normal grievance procedures with                 
  passage of HB 148.                                                           
  Number 259                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was a general grievance procedure                 
  for UAF, and was answered that there was.                                    
  REP. OLBERG restated Rep. Vezey's concern about granting                     
  outside organizations the power effectively to veto                          
  legislation by not agreeing to a grievance procedure.                        
  Number 270                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE expressed concern that the university general                    
  assembly could use its approval of a grievance procedure,                    
  which would save the university $250,000, to hold the                        
  university captive.                                                          
  REP. B. DAVIS said she understood that there were people who                 
  were unhappy with the current grievance procedure.  She                      
  asked if the federation of teachers had reached a                            
  satisfactory agreement with the university.  She said she                    
  would withdraw her amendment if she could be sure all of the                 
  university's bargaining units would support HB 148.                          
  Number 300                                                                   
  THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, testified in Juneau on HB 210.                     
  She said she could give Rep. B. Davis that assurance.  She                   
  said all university employees in collective bargaining units                 
  were covered by the state PARA ?? Act, which defines                         
  grievance procedures in collective bargaining agreements.                    
  REP. B. DAVIS asked if anyone would be left out of that act.                 
  MS. REDMAN answered that most university employees were not                  
  covered by collective bargaining, by their own choice, but                   
  were covered by an internal grievance procedure in operation                 
  at the university for 75 years.                                              
  Number 313                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS asked the pitfalls of her amendment.                           
  MS. REDMAN said that the pitfalls had already been stated by                 
  others at the meeting.  She said that while she and the                      
  university employees appreciated the intent of the                           
  amendment, it was unnecessary.  She said that most employees                 
  were eager to return to a university grievance policy which                  
  had received a year's work by the grievance council, and                     
  which was about to be implemented when the court decision                    
  concerning the APA was delivered.  She said the policy had                   
  recently been distributed in anticipation of the passage of                  
  HB 148, in hopes it could be placed into effect at the June                  
  board meeting.                                                               
  Number 332                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS asked why, if what Ms. Redman said was true,                   
  would anyone think that the university board or general                      
  assembly would try to block the bill.                                        
  MS. REDMAN said that the objections to the amendment were                    
  not with its intent, but with the technical problems dealing                 
  with whether the legislature could grant other organizations                 
  power over the effective date of the bill.                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS said he had initially supported the amendment,                 
  but opposed it after additional research and discussion with                 
  Ms. Redman.  He said it leaves it up to one or two people to                 
  delay the bill's effective date, for legitimate or                           
  illegitimate reasons.                                                        
  Number 350                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said personnel grievances were only a small part                  
  of the scope of the APA.  He thought the APA addressed                       
  boards and commissions and quasi-judicial responsibilities,                  
  but, according to a court decision, the APA procedures                       
  applied to university procedures great and small.  He said                   
  one person had successfully avoided paying a parking ticket                  
  by asking for an APA hearing.                                                
  REP. B. DAVIS said Rep. Vezey's point was well-taken and she                 
  believed it was true that not all employee grievances were                   
  intended to be heard under APA procedures.  She said that                    
  those people who had expected their grievances to be heard                   
  under APA procedures would need extra time to find out how                   
  their grievances would be addressed in a different process.                  
  After noting that the university general assembly would meet                 
  in June 1993, and that HB 148 would take effect immediately,                 
  she withdrew her amendment and expressed her intention to                    
  introduce another amendment to change the effective date.                    
  Number 378                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that the bill still had to be signed by                    
  the governor before taking effect.                                           
  REP. B. DAVIS observed that the bill could be passed by the                  
  legislature and be signed by the governor and take effect.                   
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that while that would not be typical, it                   
  would be possible.  He asked whether Rep. B. Davis had                       
  withdrawn her amendment.                                                     
  Number 384                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS indicated that she had.  She then moved an                     
  amendment changing the effective date of HB 148 to June 30,                  
  1993.  She noted that even without an effective date, the                    
  bill would take effect 90 days after it was signed by the                    
  REP. TOOHEY asked if a 90-day delay would be harmful.                        
  REP. THERRIAULT said he did not think there was a need for a                 
  delay.  He noted that the bill allowed any grievance process                 
  which had started under APA to be completed under APA, and a                 
  delay in the effective date would leave a large window of                    
  opportunity for many grievances to be started and completed                  
  under the costly APA process.                                                
  CHAIR BUNDE noted the motion and asked if there were any                     
  REP. VEZEY objected.                                                         
  CHAIR BUNDE called for a roll call vote.  He noted that Rep.                 
  Brice was on-line from Fairbanks.                                            
  REP. BRICE greeted the committee members and encouraged them                 
  to proceed.                                                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE repeated his call for a vote on the motion.                      
  Those voting yes were Reps. B. Davis and Nicholia.  Those                    
  voting no were Reps. G. Davis, Vezey, Kott, Olberg, Toohey                   
  and Bunde.  The motion failed 2-6.  Chair Bunde asked the                    
  will of the committee.                                                       
  REP. VEZEY moved passage of HB 148 with individual                           
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections and, hearing none, declared                 
  HB 148 passed with individual recommendations.                               
  CHAIR BUNDE then brought HB 210 to the table.                                

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