Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/20/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 46:  STATE-PAID TRAVEL MILEAGE CREDITS                                    
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title to HB 46 and invited                           
  Representative Terry Martin to present the Sponsor                           
  Number 114                                                                   
  the decision facing the committee was a simple one:  Whether                 
  the mileage credits given by airlines are property of the                    
  state or state employees.  He noted Alaska is unique because                 
  our employees are not able to travel county to county as in                  
  other states, and the amount of air travel done here is far                  
  more substantial.  He advised state paid air travel is 7.3%                  
  of the total travel in Alaska, which, if mileage credits                     
  became state property, could account for $2.3 million in                     
  Number 191                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER noted Alaska Airlines had opposed                  
  such a plan earlier and asked if Representative Martin had                   
  spoken with the company.                                                     
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN replied in the negative, but knew the                  
  airline was still unwilling to go with the plan because it                   
  has a monopoly on state travel.                                              
  Number 215                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated because of that monopoly, it                     
  should make no difference to Alaska Airlines who got the                     
  credit unless there was a problem in setting up the state                    
  accounts for mileage.                                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated Alaska Airlines may be                          
  benefitting from extra travel by state employees because                     
  they could benefit from getting such mileage.  He stated                     
  there is the possibility of cutting down on unneeded travel                  
  if the incentive was taken away, and said setting up                         
  departmental accounts should be no problem.                                  
  Number 272                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked how the federal government handled                      
  mileage credits.                                                             
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated the federal accounts were                       
  regional, and that other major companies like BP and Arco                    
  had set up company wide accounts.  He stated the University                  
  of Alaska made it a point of honor for employees not to                      
  claim mileage.                                                               
  Number 296                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated it was apparent to her most                      
  states did not monitor mileage because it is not cost                        
  effective and not worth the trouble.                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN restated that Alaska employees travel                  
  far more by air than any other state, and he saw nothing                     
  simpler than one state working with one airline to monitor a                 
  limited number of accounts.                                                  
  Number 380                                                                   
  ASSOCIATION (APEA), opposed HB 46 and stated APEA members                    
  routinely traveled during non-working hours and spent                        
  several nights away from family, and the mileage credits are                 
  the only compensation for the inconvenience.  He also stated                 
  lawmakers are getting into collective bargaining when they                   
  approach this as a money source, since the union considers                   
  it a contractually agreed benefit.                                           
  Number 451                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked Representative Martin about the Class B                 
  misdemeanor HB 46 mandated for those who violate it.  He                     
  expressed concern jail time for employees might counter the                  
  dollar savings HB 46 might provide.                                          
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN explained jail time probably would not                 
  be a factor often, and that it might be a fitting punishment                 
  Number 476                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if the $2.3 million savings still might                 
  be offset by putting people in jail.                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN reiterated he did not think that would                 
  be a large factor, and noted it was not fair for the                         
  administration to negotiate deals with the union and then                    
  expect legislators to fund them with no input.                               
  Number 511                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER replied that in past years, the                         
  legislature entered labor negotiations with disastrous                       
  results.  She reminded the committee the legislature ended                   
  that practice in 1971, and said returning to it would be a                   
  bad idea.                                                                    
  Number 529                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated after 20 years, and with the                    
  current contracts in the condition they are, it might be a                   
  good time to reenter those negotiations.                                     
  Number 537                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS, as a point of information,                     
  stated as a print shop owner, he would like it if all state                  
  employees submitted their printing jobs to his company, and                  
  said he might even consider a 7.5% kickback to them, just                    
  like the airline gives.                                                      
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN stated employees were getting other                    
  perks as well, including hotel benefits, and per diem for                    
  Number 554                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if Representative Martin had any                   
  dialogue with the administration on getting a special rate                   
  from the airline as opposed to claiming the air miles.                       
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN said he had not, because he did not                    
  think he would get anywhere.  He pointed out the majority of                 
  air travel is done by upper level employees who might block                  
  such an idea.                                                                
  Number 568                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked why the airline might negotiate to                 
  set up mileage accounts for each department.                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN explained there was no incentive, and                  
  there is no control on how much employees travel.                            
  Number 584                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT suggested instead of claiming air miles                  
  from employee travel, cutting the travel budget of each                      
  agency by the amount expected to be saved might be the                       
  Number 608                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG MOVED passage of HB 46.                         
  Number 610                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked the committee to check the                         
  statutes on the potential penalties for a Class B                            
  misdemeanor before taking a vote.                                            
  Number 617                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked Representative Olberg to WITHDRAW his                   
  MOTION to allow a possible amendment.                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG did so.                                                
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY then put the committee at ease.                               
  Number 630                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called the committee back to order and noted                  
  the penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is zero to 90 days.                    
  Number 641                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked what would happen if the airline                   
  refused to go along with the single account idea.                            
  Number 650                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS replied other airlines would fill the                 
  Number 660                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG suggested leaving penalties up to a                    
  Number 662                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY suggested leaving the penalty up to the                       
  Number 670                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS suggested AMENDING HB 46 to DELETE                 
  section 2, paragraph b.                                                      
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG OBJECTED.                                              
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS felt agents responsible for issuing                  
  travel vouchers should be held accountable to just doing                     
  their job and be subject to penalties.                                       
  Number 690                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG said after looking closer at HB 46, he                 
  interpreted it to read that penalties would be applied to                    
  employees of the airline.                                                    
  Number 692                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS said he now understood, and WITHDREW                 
  his MOTION.                                                                  
  TAPE 93-30, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG MOVED passage of HB 46.                                
  Number 012                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER OBJECTED, saying mileage credits are                    
  covered under a collective bargaining agreement.                             
  Number 042                                                                   
  HB 46 FAILED to pass by a 3-3 vote, Representatives Vezey,                   
  Olberg and Sanders voting YES; Representatives Kott, G.                      
  Davis and Ulmer voting NO.                                                   

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