Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/26/2020 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
01:30:05 PM Start
01:30:47 PM HB301
01:42:51 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 301(L&C) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                         March 26, 2020                                                                                         
                           1:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Click Bishop, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Mia Costello (via teleconference)                                                                                       
Senator Joshua Revak                                                                                                            
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 301(L&C)                                                                                
"An Act relating to certificates of fitness for plumbers and                                                                    
     - MOVED SCS CSHB 301(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                 
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 301                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELECTRICIAN & PLUMBER APPRENTICESHIPS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SHAW                                                                                              
02/24/20       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/20       (H)       L&C                                                                                                    
03/09/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/09/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/20       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/11/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/11/20       (H)       Moved CSHB 301(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/11/20       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/13/20       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) 6DP                                                                                    
03/13/20       (H)       DP: HANNAN, GILLIS, STORY, FIELDS,                                                                     
                         STUTES, SPOHNHOLZ                                                                                      
03/13/20       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/13/20       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/17/20       (H)       BILL REPRINTED                                                                                         
03/21/20       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/21/20       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 301(L&C)                                                                                 
03/22/20       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/22/20       (S)       L&C                                                                                                    
03/23/20       (S)       L&C  WAIVED  PUBLIC HEARING  NOTICE,RULE                                                               
03/24/20       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/24/20       (S)       --  Meeting Postponed  to  3/25 at  1:30                                                               
                         p.m. --                                                                                                
03/25/20       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/25/20       (S)       -- Meeting  Postponed from 3/24  at 1:30                                                               
                         p.m. --                                                                                                
03/26/20       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LADDIE SHAW                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime sponsor of HB 301.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ZACH FIELDS                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Cosponsor of HB 30                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:30:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLICK BISHOP called the  Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:30  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Costello (via  teleconference) Gray-Jackson,                                                               
Stevens, Revak, and Chair Bishop.                                                                                               
          HB 301-ELECTRICIAN & PLUMBER APPRENTICESHIPS                                                                      
1:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  announced the  consideration of  CS FOR  HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO. 301(L&C),  "An Act  relating to  certificates of  fitness for                                                               
plumbers and electricians."                                                                                                     
He  stated that  this  was  the first  hearing  and  there was  a                                                               
committee  substitute (Committee  Substitute)  to consider  after                                                               
the bill was presented.                                                                                                         
1:31:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZACH FIELDS,  Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, cosponsor of  HB 301, stated that this  bill protects the                                                               
status   quo   for    electrical,   plumbing,   and   pipefitting                                                               
apprenticeships. He  explained that when the  Department of Labor                                                               
and  Workforce  Development  (DOLWD)  proposed  regulations  last                                                               
December that  would have radically  shaped the  way occupational                                                               
licensing works  for these skilled  trades, the industry  rose up                                                               
to  urge the  department to  not create  a work-around  for these                                                               
apprenticeships  and  to not  change  the  trainee to  journeyman                                                               
ratio. The department pulled the  regulation package, but said it                                                               
would  continue to  look at  it.  He said  he and  Representative                                                               
Shaw, along with  17 other cosponsors, introduced HB  301 to give                                                               
the  skilled workers  in this  industry more  certainty in  these                                                               
uncertain  economic  times  by  providing  a  sound  pro-business                                                               
regulatory environment. He highlighted  that the testimony in the                                                               
House Labor  and Commerce  Committee was  very positive.  He said                                                               
Representative   Shaw   would    discuss   the   bill's   broader                                                               
relationship to returning servicemembers in the workforce.                                                                      
1:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LADDIE  SHAW  Alaska State  Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, prime sponsor of HB 301,  stated that his interest in the                                                               
apprenticeship  issue was  as a  veteran who  is very  aware that                                                               
uncertainty in the workplace and  the lack of transferable skills                                                               
can lead to unemployment for  many military members. Further, the                                                               
lack of career options has  led to many veterans having financial                                                               
He related  that the Transition  Program, which was  available to                                                               
returning Vietnam Veterans, allowed  active duty military members                                                               
to  transition into  any  field  they wanted  to  enter. It  also                                                               
allowed active  duty members  to attend  a semester  of schooling                                                               
that was paid  for by the government.  He said HB 301  is in that                                                               
same  vein; it  protects  veterans seeking  new  careers as  they                                                               
transition to civilian life. Today,  two of the multiple programs                                                               
that help  returning servicemembers enter skilled  trades are the                                                               
IBEW's veteran  electrical entry  program and the  veteran piping                                                               
program.  The IBEW  offers  both these  programs  to veterans  on                                                               
active  duty  at no  cost  to  the veteran.  He  said  HB 301  is                                                               
critical  to ensure  public  safety for  both  these workers  and                                                               
those  living in  homes they  built. He  confirmed Representative                                                               
Fields'  statement   that  there   are  17  cosponsors   to  this                                                               
legislation as well as many stakeholders across the state.                                                                      
1:35:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked what regulations  DOLWD proposed that would                                                               
have radically reshaped things for these skilled trades.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  replied the department had  two proposals,                                                               
both of which were unpopular  with the industry. One proposal was                                                               
to change the trainee/apprentice to  journeyworker ratio from 1:1                                                               
to as high  as 10:1. He said people in  these highly skilled jobs                                                               
work  with things  like high  voltage electricity,  high pressure                                                               
boilers,  and oxygen  lines. From  the public  safety and  worker                                                               
perspective, mistakes in  these jobs can cause loss  of life. The                                                               
proposed  10:1  ratio  is   inconsistent  with  the  longstanding                                                               
federal apprenticeship rules and very unpopular in the industry.                                                                
The other proposal would allow  trainees to get their 8,000 hours                                                               
of experience outside an apprenticeship  program. This is despite                                                               
the  fact   that  registered  apprenticeship  is   and  has  been                                                               
regulated  by   the  federal  government  for   many  years.  The                                                               
standards of  apprenticeship outline what the  work processes are                                                               
for someone to  be a skilled worker in these  skilled trades. The                                                               
alternative  proposal would  effectively  be a  workaround to  an                                                               
apprenticeship.  Someone  could   spend  8,000  hours  installing                                                               
electrical boxes but they wouldn't have  the skills to be a power                                                               
lineman  or  to  do  utility   work.  This  workaround  has  been                                                               
criticized by industry and training  programs because it does not                                                               
provide standards or accountability.                                                                                            
1:38:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS indicated that the explanation was helpful.                                                                     
CHAIR BISHOP  found no further  questions and solicited  a motion                                                               
to adopt the CS.                                                                                                                
1:38:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS moved  to adopt  the [Senate]  CS for  CSHB 301,                                                               
work order 31-LS1506\O, as the working document.                                                                                
CHAIR BISHOP objected for an explanation of the changes.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS  replied  there is  just  one  substantive                                                               
change. The plumber  utility trainee certificate of  fitness is a                                                               
limited  license that  is only  required  for installing  utility                                                               
sewer and  water mains for work  outside and up to  a building. A                                                               
plumber trainee certificate  of fitness covers all  the work from                                                               
the  street where  the  utility  stops through  the  roof of  the                                                               
structure. Plumber  utility work is restricted  to work performed                                                               
up to the building property line.  The clarification in the CS is                                                               
necessary to  ensure the bill  institutes just the status  quo so                                                               
contractors can continue to work as they have been.                                                                             
CHAIR  BISHOP  explained that  the  exemption  in  the CS  for  a                                                               
plumber  utility   trainee  level   certificate  of   fitness  is                                                               
important because that certificate level  covers just the work on                                                               
the  1.5 inch  copper  line  that runs  from  the  street to  the                                                               
foundation. The work  from the foundation on  inside the building                                                               
gets very  technical so  it is important  to maintain  the status                                                               
quo  level of  training required  for the  plumber trainee  level                                                               
certificate of fitness.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS agreed.                                                                                                   
1:40:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  removed his  objection and the  CS was  adopted. He                                                               
opened public  testimony and  asked Senator  Costello if  she had                                                               
any comments.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  COSTELLO,  via teleconferenced,  expressed  appreciation                                                               
for the bill.                                                                                                                   
1:40:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP closed public testimony.                                                                                           
1:41:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GRAY-JACKSON commented  that this  is a  good bipartisan                                                               
bill that  supports the safety  of the public and  the workforce.                                                               
She also expressed appreciation that  the chair stepped away from                                                               
an important finance committee meeting to hear this bill.                                                                       
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if  the department was  going to  speak to                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR  BISHOP said  the department  was not  online but  he'd had                                                               
contact with the commissioner and they understand the bill.                                                                     
SENATOR REVAK echoed Senator Gray-Jackson's comments.                                                                           
CHAIR BISHOP  thanked Representative  Shaw for bringing  the bill                                                               
forward and expressed appreciation  of his comments on employment                                                               
of veterans. He  noted that the Marine Corps  program, Helmets to                                                               
Hardhats, initiated  in the  2000s for  veterans was  still going                                                               
He solicited the will of the committee.                                                                                         
1:42:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS moved to report the Senate CS for CSHB 301, work                                                                
order    31-LS1506\O,    from     committee    with    individual                                                               
recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP found no objection and SCS CSHB 301(L&C) was                                                                       
reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                 
1:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Bishop adjourned the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting at 1:42 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 301 Draft L&C CS ver. O.pdf SL&C 3/24/2020 1:30:00 PM
SL&C 3/25/2020 1:30:00 PM
SL&C 3/26/2020 1:30:00 PM
HB 301
HB 301 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 3/9/2020 3:15:00 PM
HL&C 3/11/2020 3:15:00 PM
SL&C 3/26/2020 1:30:00 PM
HB 301
HB 301 Public Comment received 03-24-20.pdf SL&C 3/24/2020 1:30:00 PM
SL&C 3/25/2020 1:30:00 PM
SL&C 3/26/2020 1:30:00 PM
HB 301