Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/13/1993 01:30 PM Senate L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE April 13, 1993 1:30 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator Steve Rieger, Vice Chairman Senator Bert Sharp Senator Georgianna Lincoln Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT All present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 101 "An Act relating to the adoption of the National Electrical Code and the National Electrical Safety Code." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 102(FIN) "An Act relating to the Alaska Labor Relations Agency; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 184 "An Act relating to civil liability of employees and volunteers of certain nonprofit corporations; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 188 "An Act permitting certain municipalities to participate in the deferred compensation program for state employees." SENATE BILL NO. 177 "An Act relating to salmon marketing, a salmon marketing tax, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 101 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 3/23/93. HB 102 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 3/23/93. SB 184 - No previous action to consider. SB 188 - No previous action to consider. SB 177 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 4/8/93. WITNESS REGISTER Josh Fink, Legislative Aide to Senator Kelly State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 101 and HB 102 Senator Steve Frank State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 184. Mike Ford, Attorney Division of Legal Services Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward, #404 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1219 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 184. Joe Ambrose, Legislative Aide to Senator Robin Taylor State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 188. Pete Halgren, Assembly member City/Borough of Sitka P.O. Box 1203 Sitka, Alaska 99835 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 188. Bob Stalnaker, Director Division of Retirement and Benefits Department of Administration P.O. Box 110203 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0203 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 188. Richard Lauber 321 Highland Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 188. Dean Paddock Bristol Bay Driftnetters Association P.O. Box 20312 Juneau, Alaska 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 188. Kim Elton, Executive Director Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute 1111 W. 8th St. Suite 100 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1895 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 177. Kate Troll Southeast Alaska Seiners Association 9226 Long Run Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 177. Commissioner Paul Fuhs Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110800 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0800 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 177. Tom Tilden Dillingham, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 177. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-28, SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. and announced HB 101 (NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE) to be up for consideration. JOSH FINK, Legislative Aide to Senator Kelly, explained the proposed changes in SCS HB 101(L&C), which was before the committee for its consideration. SENATOR SHARP moved to adopt SCS HB 101(L&C). There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR SHARP moved to pass SCS HB 101(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY announced CSHB 102(FIN) (PANEL MEMBERS ON AK LABOR REL. AGENCY) to be up for consideration. JOSH FINK explained the proposed changes in SCS CSHB 102(L&C) which was before the committee for its consideration. SENATOR SALO moved to adopt SCS CSHB 102(L&C). There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 100 SENATOR SALO moved to pass SCS CSHB 102(L&C) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 184 (VOLUNTEERS AND EMPLOYEES OF NONPROFITS) to be up for consideration. SENATOR FRANK, sponsor, explained changes made in a proposed committee substitute . He said there was support from the nonprofit agencies. SENATOR KELLY asked why on line 6 " recklessness" was used with "gross negligence... or intentional misconduct." SENATOR FRANK explained SB 184 would limit the liability on simple negligence, and recklessness was a standard legal term to be used on a scale of seriousness. SENATOR LINCOLN asked him if everyone who draws a salary is covered under this provision. SENATOR FRANK answered yes. Number 160 SENATOR FRANK commented that the amendment brought the corporation, itself, under the Act, as opposed to just the volunteers and employees. SENATOR LINCOLN asked why "certain non-profit corporations" was inserted on page 1, line 1. MIKE FORD, Legislative Legal Counsel, explained the Title refers to civil liability of only the employees and volunteers. This is actually a third category, the corporation, itself. It is in addition to the employees and volunteers. MR. FORD said they were capping the civil liability damages for employees and volunteers at $200,000 and $500,000. The employer volunteer, himself, is not liable. The corporation is liable up to the insured amount. SENATOR SALO asked if there is already some liability protection for non-profits. MR. FORD responded that there is a provision in AS 09.17 that provides limited immunity for officers and directors of non-profits. The employees and volunteers are protected in the same manner in this bill. Number 275 SENATOR KELLY closed the public hearing on SB 184, stating that the bill would be held in committee. SENATOR KELLY announced SB 188 (MUNICIPAL PARTICIPATION ST. DEFERRED COMP) to be up for consideration. JOE AMBROSE, staff to Senator Taylor, said the City/Borough of Sitka requested this bill. PETE HALGREN, Sitka Assembly, said he didn't think this bill would add any employees or cause additional expense to the state. He said the state has much better buying power than a city in terms of the investments made for the deferred compensation program. This bill allows political subdivisions that are participating in the Supplement Benefits System (SBS) program to go to the state deferred compensation program. SENATOR KELLY asked who he thought should have the liability to make sure those funds are accurate. MR. HALGREN said he didn't have a problem with the City having the liability that the money the state transfers is accurate. However, once the money is transferred, it goes to Great West Insurance, and neither the City nor the state should have liability for investment losses. BOB STALNAKER, Director, Division of Retirement and Benefits, said they don't support SB 188, because the state is not the appropriate entity to administer deferred compensation plans for other political subdivisions. He remarked that there are private sector financial institutions and insurance companies that will provide deferred compensation plans for any employer, public or private. Secondly, if Alaska Federal is eliminating 14 or 15 different public employers, he didn't think it was a good idea to limit this to just those who are participating in the SBS program. There is no tie with the 457 deferred compensation plan and social security, he explained. The fact that a public employer may be participating in social security doesn't mean they don't need a deferred compensation plan or that they wouldn't like to have the same advantage Sitka would gain from this. The 457 plan is a provision in the Internal Revenue Code that allows an employer to sponsor a plan. This bill intends to allow the Department of Administration to become a third party administrator for these political subdivisions. SENATOR KELLY asked if we were doing any of that right now. MR. STALNAKER said we weren't. He said they have estimated it would increase their staff by two people which he thought was a conservative estimate on what the interface requirements would be in accepting contributions. Number 435 SENATOR SALO asked him to explain how limiting the scope of participation wasn't fair. MR. STALNAKER explained that you cannot participate in supplemental benefits if you are participating in social security. MR. STALNAKER said the cost to the state for administering the program is .95 percent which is supposed to be paid by the participants. He admitted that there are economies of scale with larger groups. SENATOR LINCOLN commented that she didn't think the costs had been explored fully. She asked if he had been working with Senator Taylor's office to come up with some solution. He said he had not discussed the issue with his office, but he would like to. MR. STALNAKER said the difficulty with the fiscal note was that it should be considered for all political subdivisions and not just a few, because if Sitka does it this year, Ketchikan will do it next year, etc. They are talking about varying degrees of sophistication with different employers. TAPE 93-28, SIDE B Number 580 MR. HALGREN said he wanted it made clear they were not trying to get into anything different than what the state already has. SENATOR SALO asked if he thought it a good idea for the state to charge a 1.5 percent fee. MR. STALNAKER said no. The Department's position is that they shouldn't be getting into the role of a third party administrator for third party political subdivisions when those concerns can be met in the private sector. SENATOR KELLY said they would hold the bill for another time and announced a 10 minute recess. Number 525 SENATOR KELLY announced SB 177 (SALMON MARKETING, TAX;ASMI BOARD & DUTIES) to be up for consideration. MR. FINK explained the changes contained in the new committee substitute which were included after discussion during the previous meeting. SENATOR LINCOLN asked what guarantees that representatives from the small discrete fisheries on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, and Norton and Kotzebue Sound were going to be heard. MR. FINK said there were no provisions stipulating those concerns. He said this bill restricts administrative costs to 10 percent and the remaining 90 percent would go to domestic marketing. RICK LAUBER, Pacific Seafood Processors Association, commented that the language on page 4, line 7 was confusing. It could be interpreted as establishing grades, classifications, etc. instead of establishing a futures market. The language he suggested was "...product forms and to explore the development of futures markets for salmon products." DEAN PADDOCK, Bristol Bay Driftnetters Association, said the fishermen want to be reassured that if they are going to pay, they are going to be able to play a substantial part in determining where the money goes and that is accomplished by deleting the "9" on line 29 and adding "8." SENATOR LINCOLN asked what assurance there is that it will not tax the fisherman whose product occupies a specialty market niche without providing visible benefits to them. Number 440 MR. ELTON said there probably isn't any assurance. He pointed out that the market is extremely diverse and there are many new product forms. A representative from the Alaska Trollers Association opposed SB 177. Trollers feel that marketing is not their problem, she said. Not catching enough fish is their problem. SENATOR RIEGER moved to adopt the amendment and then asked a question on "e". He thought they should refer to the "whole salmon enhancement tax" instead of "three percent" because the figure may vary. KATE TROLL, Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, explained that they want to be able to petition the Commissioner of Department of Commerce and Economic Development directly to repeal the tax because they didn't want to have an institutional perspective involved. PAUL FUHS explained the only provisions in there are for a repeal, because other people might want to change it. He said it is a matter of democracy that the people who establish it should have the right to vote on it. SENATOR SALO asked if there wasn't an easier way to solve the problem of having to repeal everything before instituting a new tax rate. COMMISSIONER FUHS said he did believe this was the most direct way to do it given all the circumstances. Number 275 TOM TILDEN, a commercial fisherman from Dillingham, said there was a lot of opposition to the bill in its present form. There was a lot of fear regarding who was going to dominate the governing board. He said there were no stipulations for the commercial fishermen although there were for the processors. He feared domination by the seafood processors. SENATOR KELLY asked if there was objection to the amendment. SENATOR SALO and SENATOR LINCOLN objected. SENATOR SHARP, SENATOR RIEGER, and SENATOR KELLY supported the amendment and the amendment was adopted. SENATOR RIEGER moved to pass the CSSB 177 (L&C) out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR LINCOLN objected. She pointed out that there has been considerable language change to the bill and there were other amendments that need to be made before it moves to the other committees. SENATOR KELLY said there was ample time to look at the changes before it moved from the Finance Committee. SENATOR SHARP, SENATOR RIEGER, SENATOR KELLY, and SENATOR SALO favored moving the bill and SENATOR LINCOLN was opposed. The Chairman stated the motion to move SB 177 out of committee had passed. SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m.