Legislature(1999 - 2000)
05/15/1999 10:03 AM House STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 CONSENT 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 Council. 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 Hudson. 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 information. 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. ADJOURNMENT Number 240 There being no further business before the committee, the House State Affairs Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:13 a.m.