Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/18/1994 08:00 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 277 - INDEMNIFICATION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES                                 
  Number 029                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, prime sponsor of HB 277, stated                 
  that HB 277 has the support of municipalities and the public                 
  and private sector.  He stated that HB 277 was necessary                     
  because of public employees being adversely affected by                      
  being named in suits; and without formal indemnification, it                 
  causes them personal problems.  He stated an example.                        
  REPRESENTATIVE PORTER explained that HB 277 provides more                    
  than adequate protection for the public employer, state,                     
  municipalities and boroughs.  He said HB 277 would not                       
  indemnify an employee whose acts were beyond the scope of                    
  his/her employment; gross negligence; intentional acts; or                   
  punitive damages.                                                            
  REPRESENTATIVE PORTER submitted suggestions from the                         
  Department of Law.  (Attachment on file.)  He noted that he                  
  disagreed with provision AS 39.90.160(b)(1) outlined on page                 
  2, paragraph 3.                                                              
  Number 185                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY inquired what was preventing employers from                   
  indemnifying their employees?                                                
  Number 211                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded there was nothing preventing                 
  the employer; however, it would require a legislative body                   
  to codify an effective law.                                                  
  Number 222                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY conveyed the equality of an effective law and                 
  a good employer policy, noting the private sector's common                   
  practice of indemnification of employees in almost all                       
  Number 237                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PORTER expounded upon the idea of unstable                    
  work relations via employer/employee.                                        
  Number 249                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT questioned why, other than                          
  collective bargaining, the university employees are                          
  REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied he did not know and he did not                 
  have a preference.                                                           
  Number 268                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY introduced GORDON PARKER, testifying via                      
  teleconference from Anchorage.                                               
  Number 273                                                                   
  GORDON PARKER, Director of Carrier Relations and Public                      
  Policy  for the Anchorage Telephone Utility (ATU),                           
  introduced STEVE TERRY, Director of Human Resources for ATU.                 
  Number 307                                                                   
  STEVE TERRY spoke in favor of HB 277, expressing the                         
  vulnerability of employers in such cases as wrongful                         
  termination and the expenses they incur.  Mr. Terry believed                 
  the passage of HB 277 would succeed in making cases harder                   
  to try for the plaintiff's attorney due to the closer                        
  relationship which would develop between the employer and                    
  the organization.                                                            
  Number 360                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY expressed his concern that the issue of                       
  punitive damages may be better addressed under the tort                      
  reform bill now circulating within the legislature.                          
  Number 372                                                                   
  MR. TERRY deferred to the subject of future pay options.                     
  Number 389                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY questioned the matter of Anchorage not                        
  addressing this issue at the municipal level.                                
  Number 393                                                                   
  MR. TERRY heeded Chairman Vezey's suggestion as an                           
  alternative.  However, he felt there were others in the                      
  state who could benefit from HB 277.                                         
  Number 398                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY did not believe HB 277 would indemnify those                  
  in violation of the Open Meetings Act which covers public                    
  employees/officials liabilities.  He asked Mr. Terry to                      
  Number 411                                                                   
  MR. TERRY believed the coverage would become inevitable.                     
  Number 440                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS requested additional time for the                  
  sponsor to gather support and documentation.                                 
  Number 450                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY agreed and stated HB 277 would be held in                     
  committee until a time uncertain.                                            

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