Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/13/1999 01:40 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HB 123-MINIMUM WAGE & OVERTIME EXEMPTIONS                                                                            
CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced HB 123 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained that the National Ski Patrol                                                                  
requested an exemption from Alaska's Wage and Hour Act because in                                                               
many instances they work under the supervision of a profit making                                                               
organization; for example, Alyeska Ski Resort which employs                                                                     
professional as well as volunteer patrollers and the supervisors                                                                
are paid.  This bill only speaks to the volunteers and exempts them                                                             
from the Wage and Hour Act.  He said that organized labor does not                                                              
oppose this legislation and are quite sympathetic.                                                                              
SENATOR KELLY asked what the status was on the volunteers being                                                                 
covered by Workmen's Compensation.                                                                                              
MR. DWIGHT PERKINS, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Labor,                                                                   
testified that they are covered under the Worker's Compensation                                                                 
SENATOR KELLY asked him to verify that.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG mentioned that Eaglecrest Ski resort is                                                                 
under municipal ownership.                                                                                                      
MR. PERKINS said the Department supported this bill.  He explained                                                              
there are several nonprofits who have volunteers who are subject to                                                             
Wage and Hour and overtime laws if it wasn't changed.  The                                                                      
Department feels that certain organizations that are strictly                                                                   
volunteer like the Iditarod Groups should have the ability to                                                                   
volunteer their time and services without being paid compensation.                                                              
SENATOR LEMAN asked for an example in Alaska of an activity that                                                                
would not be a nonprofit activity of a nonprofit organization.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the Salvation Army Thrift Shop paying                                                              
its workers was one example.                                                                                                    
MR. PERKINS added that there were a few organizations that are                                                                  
selling T-shirts or trinkets as their for-profit side that may have                                                             
very different rules affecting them.  Those people are being paid                                                               
and have to be compensated with minimum wage and overtime while                                                                 
working in the store.  The volunteers who wouldn't be paid are ones                                                             
working events like the Iditarod volunteers along the course.                                                                   
SENATOR LEMAN said he wasn't sure the language "engaged in                                                                      
nonprofit activities" was necessary.                                                                                            
CHAIRMAN MACKIE tried to clarify that in the case of the Salvation                                                              
Army, working in their Thrift shop is a forprofit activity, but for                                                             
a nonprofit organization.                                                                                                       
SENATOR LEMAN  wanted to know where Alaskan corporate laws separate                                                             
profit and nonprofit activities of a nonprofit organization.                                                                    
MR. PERKINS explained if Senator Leman is the manager of the                                                                    
Salvation Army Thrift Shop and he (Mr. Perkins) wants to work                                                                   
there, and Senator Leman controls the days and hours he works                                                                   
there, then there is an employer/employee relationship.  Under                                                                  
those guidelines, he would be eligible to be compensated for                                                                    
minimum wage and overtime.  The definition of volunteer is coming                                                               
and going as a volunteer.                                                                                                       
SENATOR LEMAN said his problem is with the phrase "nonprofit" in                                                                
the first line and the last addition to the same paragraph.  He                                                                 
asked if we have nonprofit organizations that have profit making                                                                
activities that are allowed under the law.  He wanted to know what                                                              
activities of nonprofit organizations exist that cause the                                                                      
legislature to want to clarify that.  He asked if there are                                                                     
"nonprofit activities going on in Alaska of nonprofit organizations                                                             
that are not nonprofit activities."                                                                                             
SENATOR LEMAN said he thought the words on line 9 "or other                                                                     
nonprofit organizations" was to make sure the Special Olympics and                                                              
the Ski Patrol were covered.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG added for background that last year the                                                                 
Legislature redefined "business" to include nonprofit                                                                           
organizations.  The language in this bill actually came from Mr.                                                                
Randy Parr, Department of Labor, and it was reviewed by Legislative                                                             
Legal Service.                                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN MACKIE announced that he intended to hold the bill over so                                                             
they could talk to the drafter to make sure it does what it's                                                                   
intended to do.                                                                                                                 

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