Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/18/2000 09:09 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 331(MLV) "An Act relating to compensation of members of the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Naval Militia in active service; changing the name of the Alaska State Militia to the Alaska State Defense Force; relating to compensation and work status for members of the Alaska State Defense Force; and providing for an effective date." CAROL CARROLL, Director, Division of Administrative Services, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, addressed the three changes the legislation would make to existing law: · The bill would streamline the process for paying members of the Guard and Naval Militia when called to active duty ensuring timely and accurate pay for the soldiers. · The bill would change the name of the Alaska State Militia to the Alaska State Defense Force, the name commonly used to refer to the volunteer force. · The bill would clarify the status of the Alaska State Defense Force when called to State active duty ensuring that the Defense Force has Title 26 job protection and subject to military command and discipline. Co-Chair Torgerson questioned the zero fiscal note given the proposed pay increase. Ms. Carroll responded, currently, the Alaska National Guard is paid basic federal pay scale, which increases, by the number of years in service. Additionally, they are paid an allowance for cost of living. The bill clarifies that the basic pay would be multiplied by 200% and no longer would the pay allowances be given. The State's impact would be that some members would be paid a little less and others, the exact same for most members on duty. The 200% would be an attempt to match what is currently paid. She reiterated that the impact to the State would be minimal. Co-Chair Torgerson noted that it was based on the federal government basic pay and asked if the State could be out of balance if they increase the pay rate. Ms. Carroll explained that the State would always be nearing what the federal government pays as it is based on the federal basic minimum pay. Co-Chair Torgerson asked what had been added in Sections 6 & 7. Ms. Carroll commented that both groups would be eligible for workman's compensation when brought on State's active duty. Those sections speak to the workman's comp situation. Senator Leman questioned why Section 5 was not being changed. Ms. Carroll replied that it was left the same because over the years, as the concept has changed, other things were applicable. The Department believed that would be safer since the impact was not known. Senator Leman did not understand the retroactivity clause and how that would make a difference. Ms. Carroll agreed that it would make sense to change it, however, the State attorney had recommended leaving that language the same. MAJOR RICHARD THOMAS, (Testified via Teleconference), Assistant Chief of Staff, Alaska Army National Guard, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, offered to answer any questions the Committee had regarding pay concerns. GENERAL THOMAS WESTALL, (Testified via Teleconfernce), Alaska National Guard/Naval Militia/Defense Force, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, offered to answer any questions from the Committee regarding the history of the defense force and why the bill was so important to the Department. Senator Leman recommended that the Committee identify what the minimum pay is for the current fiscal year and determine what an appropriate multiplier would be. Co-Chair Torgerson countered that he would prefer to move the bill from Committee and address that concern on the floor. Co-Chair Parnell MOVED to report CS HB 331(MLV) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HB 331 (MVL) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a fiscal note by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.