Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/18/2000 05:45 PM RLS
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 331-AK NATL GUARD/NAVAL MILITIA/DEFENSE FORCE CHAIRMAN KELLY noted that a technical amendment had been proposed. That amendment reads as follows. A M E N D M E N T OFFERED IN THE SENATE BY SENATOR LEMAN TO: CSHB 331(MLV) Page 3, Lines 15-27: DELETE ALL MATERIAL INSERT: (B) Members of the Alaska National Guard and Alaska Naval Militia are entitled to receive, for each day of active service under AS 26.05.070, pay [AND ALLOWANCES] equal to 200 percent of the minimum daily basic pay [THOSE] provided by federal laws and regulations for members of equivalent grades of the United States armed forces. However, a member may not receive less that $105 [$65] per day for active service performed during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000 . For fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2000 , the minimum payment of [$65] $105 shall be increased one percent for each percent increase in the consumer price index for [of] Anchorage, Alaska, as determined by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, not to exceed an annual increase of 4  percent. The increase, if any, takes effect not more than 30 days after the release of the consumer price index. The consumer price index that is published immediately after July 1, 1999 , is the reference base index. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked a DMVA representative to explain Senator Leman's amendment. MS. CAROL CARROLL, Administrative Services Division, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), explained Senator Leman's proposed amendment to HB 331 as follows. The amendment changes the existing statute provision that sets the minimum basic pay for Alaska National Guardsmen at $65 per day to $105 per day. It also changes the base year from June 30, 1982 to June 30, 2000. In addition, it lowers the ceiling for the amount of the consumer price index (CPI) that the daily pay rate can be adjusted on from 10 to 4 percent. Since 1960, the CPI has risen over 4 percent only 13 times. SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt the amendment. CHAIRMAN KELLY objected and asked for further explanation. SENATOR LEMAN commented that some of the provisions in the amendment were proposed by DMVA but he suggested updating the provisions that were 20 years old. He also suggested that the ceiling be set at 4 percent the inflationary period that we was occuring when that provision first took effect in the early 1980's no longer exists. Since 1985, there have only been two years in which the CPI increase was more than 4 percent. This will only affect the pay rates of guardsmen at the very bottom of the scale where the minimum amount kicks in. Right now it is set at two times the federal pay or the minimum, whichever is more. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if the reason for this section is that calculating pay and allowances is a difficult computation that usually equals 200 percent. MS. CARROLL said that is correct and explained that, essentially, this bill attempts to eliminate a lot of complicated calculations. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked for examples of the types of allowances that are paid. MS. CARROLL stated the guardsmen are given a housing allowance, food allowance, and a cost of living allowance which is changed by the federal government about every two weeks. This bill attempts to get rid of that administrative burden while maintaining the same amount the soldiers are making now, which equals about 200 percent. A new calculation will be used that does not include any allowances. The new system will allow DMVA to process pay checks faster. MS. CARROLL replied that HB 331 is a streamlining bill. DMVA is trying to get rid of some administrative overhead caused by the burdensome calculations. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked Ms. Carroll to explain the last line of the amendment. MS. CARROLL replied that since 1981, DMVA has been using the dollar amount that was set in statute at that time to calculate what the pay would be with the CPI. As of July 1, 1999, that amount was $105 which is what DMVA uses now, so that amount was included in the amendment to be used as the new base amount. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked whether the July 1, 2000 CPI will contain an increase requiring the base amount to be increased beginning July 1, 2000. MS. CARROLL said yes, and when the CPI comes out in July, DMVA will do another calculation depending upon the CPI for Anchorage. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if the increases should begin the next year because the 200 percent is a little bit more than the basic pay and allowances. MS. CARROLL stated that the 200 percent is a little bit less. SENATOR LEMAN noted that for three of the grades it is a little bit more but for most of the grades it is less. CHAIRMAN KELLY asked if there was objection to adopting the amendment. There being none, the amendment was adopted. SENATOR LEMAN moved to calendar, at the Chairman's discretion, all Senate versions of HB 331 with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried.