Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/15/1999 10:03 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                    May 15, 1999                                                                                                
                     10:03 a.m.                                                                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                                                                           
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Harold Smalley                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 155(FIN)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to methods of payment of and reports concerning                                                                
certain state salaries and business expenses."                                                                                  
     - MOVED CSSB 155(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
BILL: SB 155                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SALARY REPORTS: LEG/EXEC/JUDICIAL BRANCH                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                             
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/15/99       933     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/15/99       933     (S)  STA                                                                                                 
 5/06/99               (S)  STA AT  3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                           
 5/06/99               (S)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 5/07/99      1295     (S)  STA RPT  3DP                                                                                        
 5/07/99      1295     (S)  DP: WARD, PHILLIPS, GREEN                                                                           
 5/07/99      1295     (S)  FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                                                                   
 5/07/99      1295     (S)  FIN REFERRAL ADDED                                                                                  
 5/10/99               (S)  FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 5/10/99               (S)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 5/10/99               (S)  FIN AT  6:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 5/10/99               (S)  MOVED CS (FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                     
 5/10/99               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                         
 5/11/99               (S)  RLS AT 12:00 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 5/11/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 5/11/99      1363     (S)  FIN RPT  CS  7DP 1NR 1AM  SAME TITLE                                                                
 5/11/99      1363     (S)  DP: TORGERSON, PARNELL, PHILLIPS,                                                                   
                            GREEN,PETE KELLY, LEMAN, DONLEY;                                                                    
 5/11/99      1363     (S)  NR: ADAMS;                                                                                          
 5/11/99      1363     (S)  AM: WILKEN                                                                                          
 5/11/99      1364     (S)  PREVIOUS FN (ADM)                                                                                   
 5/11/99      1364     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR  5/11/99                                                                          
 5/11/99      1366     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 5/11/99      1366     (S)  FIN  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                        
 5/11/99      1366     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                                                                      
 5/11/99      1367     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 155(FIN)                                                                  
 5/11/99      1367     (S)  PASSED Y18 N2                                                                                       
 5/11/99      1367     (S)  WILKEN  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                   
 5/12/99      1400     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                                                                   
 5/12/99      1401     (S)  PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y19 N1                                                                    
 5/12/99      1406     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 5/13/99      1362     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/13/99      1363     (H)  STA, FINANCE                                                                                        
 5/15/99               (H)  STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
MARY GORE, Legislative Assistant                                                                                                
  to Senator Mike Miller                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 119                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4920                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 155 on behalf of Legislative                                                                  
DAVID ESSARY, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Finance                                                                                                             
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110204                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 3435                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on SB 155.                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-35, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 10:03 a.m.  Members present at the                                                                
call to order were Representatives James, Coghill, Whitaker, and                                                                
SB 155-SALARY REPORTS: LEG/EXEC/JUDICIAL BRANCH                                                                                 
CHAIR JAMES announced CSSB 155(FIN), "An Act relating to methods of                                                             
payment of and reports concerning certain state salaries and                                                                    
business expenses," is before the committee.                                                                                    
Number 010                                                                                                                      
MARY GORE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Mike Miller, Presented                                                              
SB 155 on behalf of the Legislative Council, noting it extends the                                                              
number of state entities which have to complete an annual travel                                                                
and compensation report each year.  She added that it will track                                                                
salaries, per diem, travel expenses, and any relocation expenses or                                                             
additional allowances from the judicial branch, the executive                                                                   
branch, the university, the railroad and all heads of public                                                                    
corporations.  She pointed out that the Department of                                                                           
Administration will compile the reports for the executive branch                                                                
and that all departments will be required to submit their reports                                                               
to the Department of Administration by January 21 each year.  On                                                                
January 31, when the legislator's reports are required to be                                                                    
released, the Administration's reports will be required to be                                                                   
distributed to the legislature through the Senate President and the                                                             
Speaker's Office.                                                                                                               
MS. GORE further noted the railroad is currently exempt (Title                                                                  
37.05, Fiscal Procedures Act), however, the Senate Finance                                                                      
Committee ensured that the Alaska Railroad Corporation will also be                                                             
required to compile their reports.  She mentioned the corporation                                                               
is currently able to decide what they consider confidential                                                                     
information and that they consider salaries confidential                                                                        
information at this point in time.  However, SB 155 requires them                                                               
to release that information.                                                                                                    
Number 0068                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked Ms. Gore what is the intent of SB 155.                                                              
MS. GORE pointed out there was some concern (by a couple of                                                                     
Senators) that every year the legislature gets "raked over the                                                                  
coals" for their annual compensation and travel reports and that                                                                
this just gives a comparative base across the board to other                                                                    
portions of government.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he believes this information would be a                                                              
good tool for analyzing budgets because travel is a multimillion                                                                
dollar entity in this state.                                                                                                    
Number 0093                                                                                                                     
DAVID ESSARY, Director, Division of Finance, Department of                                                                      
Administration (DOA), came before the committee noting that the                                                                 
division worked with the legislative auditor and corrected what                                                                 
they thought were deficiencies.  He said the previous version did                                                               
not require the university or public corporations to report the                                                                 
information to the DOA so they asked that change be made.  He said                                                              
the department believes the requirement date is reasonable and that                                                             
they do not oppose SB 155.  He stated their ability to comply with                                                              
this provision is dependent upon the fiscal note being approved.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if the fiscal note ($18.2 thousand)                                                                
includes all departments.                                                                                                       
MR. ESSARY replied yes.                                                                                                         
CHAIR JAMES said she will support moving SB 155 out of committee                                                                
and that she understands the rationale, however, she has                                                                        
reservations about putting all this information on the front page                                                               
of a newspaper because she doesn't necessarily believe the response                                                             
is going to be positive to the legislature and that it will put                                                                 
more pressure on the legislature because, "We have the purse," and                                                              
people are going to maybe think it's too much and too varied.  It's                                                             
still going to fall in the legislature's lap as our responsibility.                                                             
Chair James said she believes it's a very inflammatory piece of                                                                 
legislation.  She added that she doesn't know that she even agrees                                                              
with putting legislators' salaries and per diem on the front page                                                               
of the paper because she believes it's public information and if                                                                
people are so inclined to want to know this, we should let them                                                                 
find it.  She added that the legislature bends over backwards to                                                                
show the public information and some don't care, yet others will                                                                
take it differently than the actual intention.                                                                                  
Number 168                                                                                                                      
CHAIR JAMES further stated that she has a problem with the railroad                                                             
because the law is very specific in exempting them from the other                                                               
issues of disclosure because the railroad is in a competitive                                                                   
business with the public and whether that's a good idea or not, is                                                              
not to be questioned at this time.  She further stated that if                                                                  
someone were interested in buying the railroad she would be willing                                                             
to sell it for its value, however, she is not willing to give it                                                                
away.  Chair James mentioned legislation was introduced a few years                                                             
ago which was intending to do that and polls were conducted which                                                               
asked the public if they would be willing to sell the railroad for                                                              
what the state paid for it, which was $20 million or something like                                                             
that.  And then $11 million was added for operating expenses, and                                                               
they were told not to come back to the public trough again and they                                                             
haven't.  The railroad has received federal funds and they have                                                                 
been operating since 1985 or 1986 without allocations from the                                                                  
state with the exception for the $11 million which was appropriated                                                             
to purchase rail cars for the Wishbone Hill coal project.  She                                                                  
noted the project didn't go forward and that money is still on                                                                  
deposit earning interest because it can only be used for that                                                                   
purpose and that purpose is not there anymore.                                                                                  
CHAIR JAMES concluded that she believes it may not be in the best                                                               
interest of the railroad to make that information available.  She                                                               
emphasized that she is not interested in passing legislation that                                                               
would require them to do that.  However, she supports the rest of                                                               
the bill because the public would probably like having this                                                                     
Number 232                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON moved to report CSSB 155(FIN) out of                                                                      
committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying                                                                  
fiscal note.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                      
Number 240                                                                                                                      
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
State Affairs Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:13 a.m.                                                                     

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