Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/20/1993 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE March 20, 1993 8:00 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Al Vezey, Chairman Representative Pete Kott, Vice Chairman Representative Harley Olberg Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Gary Davis Representative Fran Ulmer MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Bettye Davis OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James Representative Terry Martin Representative Jim Nordlund COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HCR 16 Relating to establishing the coal policy of the state. MOVED FROM COMMITTEE WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION *HB 46 "An Act relating to frequent traveler credit for state-paid travel." HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION *HB 148 "An Act exempting the University of Alaska from the administrative adjudication provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act; and providing for an effective date." HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION *HCR 8 Proposing amendments to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to notice of committee meetings and action by committees; and providing for an effective date. HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION (* first public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER Representative Jeannette James State Capitol, Room 510 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-3743 Position Statement: Delivered Sponsor Statement, HCR 16 Representative Terry Martin State Capitol, Room 411 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-3783 Position Statement: Prime Sponsor, HB 46 Bruce Ludwig, Business Manager APEA/AFT 211 4th Street Juneau, Alaska 88801 586-2334 Position Statement: Opposed HB 46 and HB 148 Lois Foster 738 Forest Park Drive Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 225-2829 Position Statement: Opposed HB 148 Sara Fisher, Legislative Aide to Representative Gene Therriault State Capitol, Room 421 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-4797 Position Statement: Delivered Sponsor Statement, HB 148 Jake Warner 4000 Bull Moose Drive Wasilla, Alaska 99654 376-4151 Position Statement: Opposed HB 148 Terry Bill P.O. Box 6800 Ketchikan, Alaska Position Statement: Opposed HB 148 Wendy Redman, Vice President University Relations, University of Alaska 910 Yukon Drive Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5560 474-7582 Position Statement: Supported HB 148 Donna Chantry, President University of Alaska Employees General Assembly 11120 Glacier Highway Juneau, Alaska 99801 Position Statement: Supported HB 148 Representative Jim Nordlund State Capitol Court, Room 608 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-4968 Position Statement: Prime Sponsor, HCR 8 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HCR 16 SHORT TITLE: ESTABLISH STATE COAL POLICY BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF HOUSE ECONOMIC TASK FORCE TITLE: Relating to establishing the coal policy of the state. JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/15/93 648 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/15/93 648 (H) STATE AFFAIRS 03/20/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 46 SHORT TITLE: STATE-PAID TRAVEL MILEAGE CREDITS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN TITLE: "An Act relating to frequent traveler credit for state-paid travel." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/12/93 43 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/12/93 43 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE 03/20/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 148 SHORT TITLE: EXEMPT U OF AK FROM APA PROCEDURES BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT,Davies TITLE: "An Act exempting the University of Alaska from the administrative adjudication provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/11/93 322 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/11/93 322 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, HES, JUDICIARY 03/20/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HCR 8 SHORT TITLE: COMMITTEE MEETINGS: NOTICE AND ACTIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) NORDLUND,Olberg,Navarre, Ulmer,Sitton,B.Davis,Brown TITLE: Proposing amendments to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to notice of committee meetings and action by committees; and providing for an effective date. JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/19/93 390 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/19/93 390 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 03/20/93 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-30, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN AL VEZEY called the House State Affairs Committee to order at 8:02 a.m., on March 20, 1993. Members present included Representatives Kott, Sanders, Davis, Olberg and Ulmer, representing a quorum. Also present were Representatives Terry Martin, Jeannette James, and Jim Nordlund. HCR 16: ESTABLISH STATE COAL POLICY Number 019 CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title to HCR 16 and asked if anyone was present who wished to present a sponsor statement. Number 028 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES joined the committee at the table and explained she was presenting the Sponsor Statement on HCR 16 on behalf of the House Economic Development Task Force. She stated Alaska's coal industry is being hampered by misperceptions that our resources are not available for exploitation. She noted several outside buyers were concerned specifically with the availability of coal due to the mental health lands' dispute. She explained the House Task Force is making an effort to correct the image that coal is not readily available, and that such a plan had been endorsed by the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Coal Association and that the environmental community. There were no questions from the committee. Number 080 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT MOVED for unanimous consent to pass HCR 16 from committee. There was no objection, and IT SO MOVED. HB 46: STATE-PAID TRAVEL MILEAGE CREDITS CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title to HB 46 and invited Representative Terry Martin to present the Sponsor Statement. Number 114 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 46, stated 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 savings. 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 BRUCE LUDWIG, BUSINESS MANAGER, ALASKA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES 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 anyway. 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 meals. 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 solution. 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 void. Number 660 REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG suggested leaving penalties up to a judge. Number 662 CHAIRMAN VEZEY suggested leaving the penalty up to the administration. 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. HB 148: EXEMPT U OF AK FROM APA PROCEDURES Number 053 LOIS FOSTER testified by teleconference from Ketchikan in opposition to HB 148, and said university employees had fought long and hard for grievance procedures. She also said the University was spending money to rid itself of procedures to weaken employees, and noted that while the University is taking personnel cuts, it is increasing the size of its legal staff. Number 097 CHAIRMAN VEZEY then called for a sponsor statement on HB 148. Number 103 SARA FISHER, LEGISLATIVE AIDE TO REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 148, joined the committee and read the sponsor's statement. She stated the University was never intended to be covered by the provisions of the Alaska Statute creating the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). She said the APA was not designed for student or employee grievances, but rather for citizens' grievances against boards and commissions. She noted the University is spending a great deal of money defending itself needlessly against APA filings. Number 145 JAKE WARNER testified by teleconference from Mat-Su in opposition to HB 148, saying as a parent of two university students, he felt exempting the University from the APA would lessen the ability of students to be heard. He stated the University would be given more power over the appeals process, and students would previously have had a much tougher time gaining access to grievance procedures prior to the APA's application to the University. Number 192 TERRY BILL testified by teleconference from Ketchikan and opposed HB 148. He stated the University could not be trusted to protect its employees without the APA. He cited the McGrath v. University of Alaska and Odum v. University of Alaska cases as proof. He also said the University's claim that the APA costs too much was irrelevant. Number 230 BRUCE LUDWIG, BUSINESS MANAGER FOR APEA/AFT testified in opposition to HB 148. He stated the APA sets a standard of conduct for administrative employees who review the cases, and removing that standard could allow abuse. He also said that without the APA in place, the only redress employees might have would be a court case, which for most employees is not practical because of the cost. Number 267 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER was under the impression there were dual systems in place: The University's original grievance procedure, and the APA. She asked why. MR. LUDWIG stated classified employees are not satisfied with the grievance system and said many felt they would not get their "day in court" without the APA. Number 290 CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if the APA's procedures were tedious compared to the internal process. MR. LUDWIG stated the APA process was fair but not tedious. Number 314 CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated it seemed the APA gave employees a right to what amounted to a jury trial in front of a hearing officer. MR. LUDWIG stated the APA does give employees the right to such a hearing, but that it rarely happens. He said usually, administrators hear the grievance themselves or hand it off to another personnel officer to hear. Number 356 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated it seemed that employees' biggest concerns are who does the grievance hearings, and how the hearing is done. She asked if there is a compromise possible for employees and the University to agree upon. MR. LUDWIG knew of no discussions on such a compromise. Number 383 WENDY REDMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITY RELATIONS FOR THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM joined the discussion in support of HB 148. She stated Mr. Ludwig's group, APEA/AFT, was not a recognized bargaining unit for university employees, and they were only involved in early discussions with about 20 mechanical employees in the system. She went on to say that university employees have worked under the old grievance system for several years, and only after Judge Brian Shortell ordered the university to use the APA's procedures in the Odum case were they modified. MS. REDMAN stated the University had no interest in dismantling the grievance procedure, but wanted to clarify the procedures as the Supreme Court later ordered in the Odum case. She also stated the APA's procedures were costly to the University, and pointed out employers under the APA bear the entire cost of holding such hearings. She said the APA was never intended for employees under the original intent of the statutes. Number 515 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if HB 148 passed, what guarantee would be given to employees to have their grievances heard. Number 526 MS. REDMAN stated the University and the employees' assembly had been working on a grievance procedure for more than two years, and if that plan is adopted by the regents, the grievance procedure would likely return as written by the employees' assembly prior to the APA decision. Number 543 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER felt there were a number of employees who did not like the idea of returning to the old procedures. Number 553 MS. REDMAN stated the APA's procedures had been in effect for slightly more than two years, and she felt confident employees would return to the old procedures. Number 565 CHAIRMAN VEZEY knew of no other employer who subscribed to the APA's style procedures, including the use of an outside hearing officer. Number 585 DONNA CHANTRY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES GENERAL ASSEMBLY joined the committee to testify for HB 148. She stated university employees are not represented by any union. She said as president of the assembly, she went through every grievance procedure with every claimant, and knew the procedure well. She said most of the time, problems are easily resolved even if an employee has a grievance. She stated under the procedures, an employee's supervisor or the other party is usually called in, and the problem can usually be solved. MS. CHANTRY said under this system, employees have had great success with grievances, and the system was working very well. If HB 148 is passed, she said the assembly was prepared to devise and pass a formal hearing option for employees to pursue in place of the APA procedures. She stated removing the APA from university procedures is fiscally wise in the face of budget restraints, and she urged the committee to pass the bill. Number 674 CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked when the assembly might move on such a procedure if HB 148 is passed. Number 676 MS. CHANTRY stated the assembly would move quickly upon HB 148's passage. Number 692 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER MOVED to AMEND HB 148 to make the resulting law effective when the assembly and then the regents adopt the plan. Number 696 CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if removing the APA from the University's procedures might have an effect elsewhere beside labor relations. TAPE 93-31, SIDE A Number 000 MS. REDMAN replied, "It might." Number 012 CHAIRMAN VEZEY expressed concern that Representative Ulmer's proposed effective date might be too ambiguous. Number 028 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated it would not be a problem, since previous legislation tied effective dates to actions outside the legislature's control, such as appropriations. Number 46 CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted HB 148 does not apply to situations like receiving checks, and stated it could eventually involve labor groups and the National Labor Relations Board. Number 060 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER did not see the problem, since the University and the regents wanted it, and so did the employees. Number 064 REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG felt the standard effective date of 90 days might be acceptable. Number 075 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated the 90 day limit might create a window between the abolition of the APA's procedures and the time when the new procedures are in place. Number 121 REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated the old procedures would be in place anyway, with the exception of the APA. Number 132 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS was in favor of the amendment, and had no problem accommodating people nervous about the changeover. Number 145 MS. FISHER stated Representative Therriault would have no problem with the change in the effective date. Number 170 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT MOVED acceptance of the AMENDMENT. Number 192 The AMENDMENT to HB 148 PASSED by a 4-2 vote. Number 196 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT MOVED passage of HB 143, as amended. REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG OBJECTED. HB 148, as amended, PASSED 4-2. Number 199 CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted the Committee Substitute to HB 148 would be drawn up as amended and then moved. Number 216 REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG RESTATED his OBJECTION. Number 229 CHAIRMAN VEZEY CHANGED his VOTE, which forced a tie. HB 148, as amended, was NOT MOVED from committee. HCR 8: COMMITTEE MEETINGS: NOTICE AND ACTIONS Number 240 CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title to HCR 8 and invited its sponsor, Representative Jim Nordlund to deliver his statement. Number 245 REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND, PRIME SPONSOR OF HCR 8, explained the intent of the resolution to streamline the committee process. He said most committees are already following the practices laid down by HCR 8, but the procedures need to be formalized. HCR 8 would establish a Wednesday rule for committee reporting of the following week's calendar, and then a publication date of Thursday by the clerk. HCR 8 would also establish a notification procedure for introducing new bills and the date of the next hearing on already-heard bills. At the same time, HCR 8 would allow full participation, including voting and signing of reports by those attending by teleconference. Number 405 CHAIRMAN VEZEY expressed his concern with section two, which would allow full participation and voting in the meeting, and asked if that might also allow someone who might not attend a full meeting to sign a committee report as if they had. Number 424 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND did not believe so, but said he would be open to amending HCR 8 to please the committee. He stated his prime concern was to make the legislature more accessible to people outside of Juneau. He also pointed out HCR 8's intent to allow only bills to be introduced by a majority of a committee. Number 472 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if Representative Nordlund had ever been prevented from speaking on a bill introduced by the majority. Number 475 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND said that had never happened. ADJOURNMENT Number 480 CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted the time, and told the committee HCR 8 would have to be heard at another time, since other committees were near their convening time. He adjourned the meeting at 10:07 a.m.