Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2001 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                               
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
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.                                                                     

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