Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/08/1993 01:00 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 62 - EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO USE LAWFUL PRODUCTS                              
  Number 027                                                                   
  REP. BEN GRUSSENDORF, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 62, commented that                 
  some people were so health-conscious that they wanted to                     
  carry those attitudes over into the homes of their                           
  employees.  He noted that he never thought that he would see                 
  the day that a bill like HB 62 would be necessary.  He said                  
  HB 62 provided that an employee, in the privacy of her or                    
  his own home, or in any other place where they were not                      
  associated with their employer, could use any lawful                         
  products that they desired.                                                  
  REP. GRUSSENDORF commented that the bill specifically                        
  provided that if use of the lawful products affected an                      
  employee's job performance, that was grounds for dismissal.                  
  He noted that the "bottle to throttle" policy of some                        
  airlines, in which pilots were not to drink within 12 hours                  
  of flying, was reasonable.  He noted that he had heard a                     
  number of complaints and concerns about company policies                     
  that went too far.                                                           
  REP. GRUSSENDORF explained that nothing in HB 62 ran counter                 
  to public health.  He said that religious corporations were                  
  exempt from the provisions of HB 62.  In summary, he said                    
  that HB 62 was a very straightforward, simple piece of                       
  legislation which was unfortunately necessary.                               
  Number 114                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Rep. Grussendorf why he felt it was                      
  necessary for the legislature to pass HB 62.                                 
  Number 121                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF replied that some companies had policies                    
  which discriminated against employees who used lawful                        
  products.  He noted that HB 62 would not prohibit companies                  
  from charging employees who used certain lawful products                     
  higher rates for health insurance.                                           
  Number 157                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Rep. Grussendorf if HB 62 would impact                   
  an employee who lived in a work camp.                                        
  Number 170                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF responded that HB 62 addressed "places                      
  other than the work site or premise of the employer."  He                    
  said that, in his interpretation, the existing rules in work                 
  camps would not be changed by HB 62.                                         
  Number 191                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS indicated her desire to make sure that Rep.                    
  Grussendorf's interpretation was correct.                                    
  Number 200                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked Rep. Grussendorf if he had ever been an                     
  Number 203                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF said he had been a crew chief, but not a                    
  true employer.                                                               
  Number 212                                                                   
  REP. JAMES commented that she was opposed to the unfair                      
  treatment of any person for any reason.  However, she said                   
  that Rep. Grussendorf, as a non-employer, might not be able                  
  to understand the rationale behind companies being able to                   
  choose who they hired.  She expressed her concern that                       
  government should not take all of an employer's options away                 
  with regard to who that employer would hire and fire.                        
  Number 226                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF commented that it would be very difficult                   
  to refuse to hire someone based on the use of lawful                         
  products.  He noted his concern about the treatment of                       
  employees after they had been hired.                                         
  Number 236                                                                   
  REP. JAMES stated that the bill said "may not refuse to                      
  hire."  She asked about an employer who owned a business                     
  which counseled people to quit smoking.  She asked if that                   
  sort of business should be able to refuse to hire someone                    
  who smoked.                                                                  
  Number 245                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF cited exemptions included in HB 62,                         
  including religious corporations, associations, educational                  
  institutions, and societies.  He commented that the example                  
  that Rep. James had offered would probably be considered an                  
  educational institution.                                                     
  Number 260                                                                   
  REP. GRUSSENDORF commented that an amendment being offered                   
  by the Department of Administration would gut HB 62.                         
  Number 292                                                                   
  MIKE MCMULLEN, of the DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION,                          
  testified in opposition to HB 62.  He offered an amendment                   
  to the bill, which he felt would adequately address the                      
  department's concerns with the bill.  He said that                           
  currently, the state and all other employers could take                      
  disciplinary action against an employee for off-duty conduct                 
  when the employer could demonstrate a close relationship                     
  between that conduct and the employee's job performance.                     
  Number 320                                                                   
  MR. MCMULLEN said that employers could establish reasonable                  
  rules for off-duty conduct and enforce them, as long as they                 
  could demonstrate the aforementioned close relationship.  He                 
  noted that some employees could not be separated from their                  
  employment identity.  He mentioned that if the head of the                   
  state's Office of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse were to                          
  habitually drink excessively and publicly while off-duty,                    
  the state would want to be able to take disciplinary action.                 
  Number 330                                                                   
  MR. MCMULLEN stated that HB 62 would cause the state to give                 
  up the ability that it now enjoyed to take disciplinary                      
  action against employees based on their off-duty conduct.                    
  He noted that his amendment would serve as an exemption to                   
  provisions of HB 62.                                                         
  Number 357                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if HB 62 pertained to lawful products                    
  only or also to lawful activities.  As a hypothetical                        
  example, she cited a state employee who worked for a                         
  division that worked with children who moonlighted as a                      
  Number 387                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked if HB 62 was before the committee.                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER indicated that HB 62 was indeed before the                   
  Number 400                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON made a motion to move HB 62 out of the                         
  Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations.  There                  
  was objection.                                                               
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that modern American society was                     
  going after individual rights more and more.  He said if                     
  employers were going to try to dictate to employees what                     
  lawful products they could and could not consume in the                      
  privacy of their own homes, he feared for future                             
  generations.  For that reason, he said, he supported moving                  
  HB 62 out of committee.  He noted that he had been an                        
  employer in the past.  He said he agreed with HB 62's                        
  sponsor that the Department of Administration's amendment                    
  would gut the bill.                                                          
  Number 440                                                                   
  REP. JAMES indicated her support for the intentions of HB
  62.  She expressed her concern that when government tried to                 
  legislate every small situation that occurred, larger                        
  problems were created than those that government had                         
  attempted to solve.  She stated that more and more                           
  restrictions were being placed on employers.  She said she                   
  would like to see the elements of HB 62 accomplished without                 
  legislation.  She agreed that a problem existed, but said it                 
  was her opinion that HB 62 would create more problems than                   
  it solved.                                                                   
  REP. JAMES expressed her opinion that an employer did not                    
  have the right to tell an employee what to do or not do on                   
  that employee's off-duty time.  She stated that HB 62 would                  
  be a roadblock to jobs, however.                                             
  Number 495                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that he did not favor the                          
  Department of Administration's amendment.  He said it was a                  
  close call for him, but he would support moving HB 62 out of                 
  Number 534                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON offered a hypothetical example of a                            
  legislative staffer who took RU486, if lawful, although her                  
  boss was opposed to abortion.  Could she be fired for that                   
  action, he asked?  He questioned when an individual's rights                 
  kicked in.                                                                   
  Number 577                                                                   
  REP. JAMES noted that labor laws were already very                           
  protective of employees, and HB 62 was therefore redundant.                  
  She reiterated her concern that legislation passed to remedy                 
  one small problem often resulted in the creation of more,                    
  larger problems.  She said she was not so concerned with HB
  62's impact on who an employer fired, but was concerned with                 
  its impacts on an employer's ability to hire whomever she or                 
  he wanted to hire.                                                           
  Number 616                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS indicated her desire to tighten up the bill's                  
  language regarding work sites.                                               
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that discussion of HB 62 would be                  
  suspended until Rep. Phillips' amendments could be prepared                  
  and distributed to the committee.  He announced that the                     
  committee would take up HB 147 next.                                         
  REP. KOTT moved to table the motion before the committee, to                 
  move out HB 62, until Rep. Phillips' amendment was                           
  officially offered.  No objection was heard, so the motion                   
  was tabled.                                                                  
  HB 62 - EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO USE LAWFUL PRODUCTS                              
  CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the committee would again take                   
  up HB 62.  He called the committee members' attention to                     
  Rep. Phillips' proposed amendment.                                           
  REP. PHILLIPS stated that the amendment would go on page 2,                  
  after line 20.  She explained that it would clarify the                      
  definitions of a work site and the premises of an employer.                  
  She moved the amendment, but said that she would rather not                  
  act on the bill itself until she had heard from the sponsor                  
  of HB 62.                                                                    
  REP. DAVIDSON objected for purposes of discussion.  He said                  
  that perhaps Mr. Doug Rickey, staff to the sponsor of HB 62,                 
  could address the amendment.                                                 
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that he did not believe that the                   
  sponsor would object to Rep. Phillips' amendment.                            
  Number 578                                                                   
  that the only possible problem with the amendment might be                   
  that the definition of "work site" might not be what Rep.                    
  Phillips had intended.                                                       
  Number 594                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS stated that the definition reflected her                       
  intention exactly.  She said she was referring to mining                     
  camps, logging camps, and North Slope employment where                       
  everyone lived in one facility.                                              
  Number 600                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON stated that his understanding was that if an                   
  individual lived in housing in Juneau, owned by the Greens                   
  Creek Mine, that person could not drink in his or her own                    
  home if it were against the company's policy.                                
  Number 609                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS withdrew her motion to move the amendment.                     
  She said she would discuss her amendment with the bill's                     
  sponsor.  She asked that Ms. Horetski work on the amendment.                 
  Number 615                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that it was his impression that if                 
  he were an employer, and provided housing for his employees,                 
  whether on the work site or not, he could set rules for                      
  behavior in the housing.                                                     
  Number 629                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Mr. Rickey if he knew of specific cases that                 
  demonstrated the need for HB 62.                                             
  Number 640                                                                   
  MR. RICKEY noted that several cases had received national                    
  television coverage.  He called the members' attention to an                 
  editorial in their packets which cited a New York Times                      
  report of 6,000 companies which refused to hire smokers.                     
  Number 645                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if there was a problem in Alaska that                        
  merited passage of HB 62.                                                    
  Number 654                                                                   
  MR. RICKEY replied that HB 62 was prophylactic in nature,                    
  intended to prevent problems in other areas of the nation                    
  from appearing in Alaska.                                                    
  TAPE 93-29, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 003                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that HB 62 would be held to a time                 

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