Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/18/2000 05:45 PM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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        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:                                                                                                            
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     (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 [1982].                                                              
     For fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2000 [1982], 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 [10] 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 [1981], 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.                                                                                                                        

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