Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/26/2012 02:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               SB 168-GEOGRAPHIC COLA FOR JUDGES                                                                            
2:02:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  the  consideration of  SB  168, "An  Act                                                               
relating  to  geographic  cost-of-living salary  adjustments  for                                                               
justices  of the  supreme court  and judges  of the  superior and                                                               
district courts; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
He asked for a motion  to adopt the proposed committee substitute                                                               
(CS), version M.                                                                                                                
2:02:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  moved to adopt  CS for SB 168,  labeled 27-                                                               
LS1181\M, as the working document.                                                                                              
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  that without  objection,  version M  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
2:02:38 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  WOOLIVER,  Deputy  Administrative  Director,  Alaska  Court                                                               
System, stated  that the  court supports  the amendment  and asks                                                               
the committee's favorable consideration of the CS.                                                                              
2:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH referenced  page 1,  line 7,  and asked  the fiscal                                                               
impact of removing the $40,000 cap.                                                                                             
MR.  WOOLIVER explained  that the  original version  of the  bill                                                               
would have cost just under  $800,000, and this version would cost                                                               
$249,199. Judges  now receive 17.5  percent of the  first $40,000                                                               
of salary for a maximum  geographic differential of $7,000. Under                                                               
version M, the 17.5 percent applies to the entire salary.                                                                       
CHAIR FRENCH summarized version M  provides a smaller increase in                                                               
salary but  removes the  $40,000 cap, thus  reducing the  size of                                                               
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
2:05:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked who came up  with the concept in version M,                                                               
and what their reasoning was.                                                                                                   
MR. WOOLIVER  explained that the court's  fiscal office developed                                                               
a  number  of  different  scenarios,   and  this  was  among  the                                                               
simplest.  He  noted that  the  House  was considering  the  same                                                               
CHAIR  FRENCH commented  that members  experienced sticker  shock                                                               
with the  original version  and found the  version the  House was                                                               
considering  more reasonable.  Most  legislators  agree that  the                                                               
current system is a little  too penurious for compensating judges                                                               
who serve in high-cost areas like Barrow, Kotzebue, and Nome.                                                                   
2:07:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked if Dillingham  was singled out  because of                                                               
transportation and housing.                                                                                                     
MR. WOOLIVER explained that the  governing statute was adopted in                                                               
1978  when Dillingham  didn't have  a superior  court judge.  The                                                               
statute  was   never  updated,  but  Dillingham   gets  the  same                                                               
geographic differential as Bethel.                                                                                              
2:08:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH closed public testimony  and announced he would hold                                                               
SB 168 in committee.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 168 Letter Alaska Court System 03.23.12.pdf SJUD 3/26/2012 2:00:00 PM
SB 168
SB 168 version M.pdf SJUD 3/26/2012 2:00:00 PM
SB 168