Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/17/2001 08:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 65-STUDY OF PAY EQUITY FOR STATE EMPLOYEES ACTING CHAIR FATE announced that the first order of business would be CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 65(FIN), "An Act requiring a study regarding equal pay for equal work of certain state employees." He reminded the committee that CSSB 65(FIN) is a fairly simple bill that was amended to include "race" at the last meeting. The [Legislative Legal Division] has issued an opinion that including race in what is basically a gender bill will require the addition of more language to the statute, which will probably delay the bill. Acting Chair Fate explained that if the committee wants to adopt the original bill, which he encouraged, the committee would have to rescind its action in passing out HCS CSSB 65(STA) and [rescind its action in adopting the conceptual amendment] and thus CSSB 65(FIN) would be before the committee. RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff to Representative Coghill, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to testify. She explained that the legal opinion says that the findings and purpose portion of HCS CSSB 65(STA) are inconsistent and incomplete because the statute cited in Section 1 in the findings deals only with gender; it doesn't deal with race. She said there are a couple of options. The language in the legislative findings and purpose needs to be changed to incorporate statutes that address race, or the committee needs to rescind its action and go back to the original bill as a starting point. ACTING CHAIR FATE noted that Representative James had joined the meeting. Number 0313 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she had been thinking all weekend about how the issue of race could be examined. She said she thinks that when you want to look at race, it is an entirely different objective and a different procedure than it is to look just at gender. She said she would prefer that the House State Affairs Standing Committee rescind its action on passing the amendment because she thinks it does "really complicate and almost eliminate the ability to get this job done ... with the price we've got on it...." REPRESENTATIVE WILSON said she would like to know what the sponsor, Senator Donley, thinks. Number 0408 SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to testify as sponsor of SB 65. He said he would like to go back to the original piece of legislation "because that's what we've researched and worked with the administration on developing, a very specific proposal for the study...." He recalled that the administration had testified that they don't know how much it would cost to do the study proposed by the House committee substitute (HCS). He said he did not know what all it would entail to make the HCS consistent with its new purpose. Furthermore, there is little time remaining in the session and thus he thinks the original bill would be good stand-alone legislation. Moreover, the presence of multiple variables involved would make two separate studies "a lot cleaner." He mentioned that he had only been working on the cost of the gender study. REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD said he thought it was a laudable goal to extend the study and thus he wondered whether the sponsor would [carry] the bill [for the race study], [that is] if he was interested in splitting the two. Number 0573 SENATOR DONLEY informed the committee that he started working on the pay equity and gender issue more than ten years ago and began developing the proposal with the administration last July. This was his only bill before the legislature for most of the session. He said it was difficult for him to commit to sponsoring the race study because he has not done any research on it and there are a lot of other bills he wants to introduce. Therefore, he was not comfortable making a commitment to sponsor a bill until he had done research and review on the issue. He pointed out that others, including Representative Crawford, could introduce such a bill. REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD observed that it is much easier for people in the majority to get legislation passed. MS. MOSS clarified that the appropriate motion before the committee would be to rescind its action on Amendment 1 to CSSB 65(FIN). Number 0864 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES so moved. There being no objection, the committee's action in adopting Amendment 1 was rescinded. ACTING CHAIR FATE announced that the bill as originally presented to the House State Affairs Standing Committee [CSSB 65(FIN)] was now before the committee. MS. MOSS advised that the appropriate motion would be to report CSSB 65(FIN) out of committee with the attached fiscal note. Number 0864 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES so moved. There being no further discussion and no objection, CSSB 65(FIN) was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. SENATOR DONLEY expressed his appreciation to the committee.