Legislature(2019 - 2020)Anch LIO Lg Conf Rm

06/25/2019 02:00 PM Senate LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

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Audio Topic
02:03:11 PM Start
02:29:36 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Committee Business TELECONFERENCED
- LIO Hours of Operation
Contract Approvals
- FY20 Annual Hardware Refresh
- Governor Egan Bust
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                   
                           JUNE 25, 2019                                                                                      
                              2:00 PM                                                                                         
   MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                            
   Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                
   Representative Louise Stutes, Vice Chair                                                                                   
   Senator John Coghill                                                                                                       
   Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                       
   Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                
   Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                 
   Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                              
   Representative  Steve Thompson                                                                                             
   Representative  Tammie Wilson                                                                                              
   MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                             
   Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                       
   Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                      
   Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                      
   Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                  
   Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                  
   OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                      
   APPROVAL OF MINUTES                                                                                                        
   COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                         
   CONTRACT APPROVALS                                                                                                         
   SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                           
   Jessica Geary, Executive Director, Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)                                                        
   Tim Powers, Information and Teleconference Manager, LAA                                                                    
   Tim Banaszak, Information Technology Manager, LAA                                                                          
     2:03:11 PM                                                                                                             
I.   Call to Order                                                                                                          
     CHAIR STEVENS  called the Legislative Council meeting  to order at                                                       
     2:03pm  in  the  Anchorage Legislative  Information  Office  (LIO)                                                       
     Large  Conference  Room.   Present  at  the  call  were:  Senators                                                       
     Coghill,   Stedman,  Stevens;   Representatives  Edgmon,   Foster,                                                       
     Johnson,  Stutes, Thompson,  Wilson.  Senators Costello,  Giessel,                                                       
     Hoffman, von Imhof and Representative Kopp were absent.                                                                  
     9 members present.                                                                                                       
II. Approval of Minutes                                                                                                     
     a.    May 6, 2019                                                                                                      
  2:04:38 PM                                                                                                              
     VICE-CHAIR   STUTES  moved  and   asked  unanimous   consent  that                                                       
     Legislative  Council approve  the minutes  dated May  6, 2019,  as                                                       
     CHAIR  STEVENS asked  if there  were corrections  or additions  to                                                       
     those minutes. Seeing none, the minutes are approved.                                                                    
III. Committee Business                                                                                                     
     a.    LIO Hours of Operation                                                                                           
    2:04:56 PM                                                                                                            
     VICE-CHAIR  STUTES  moved  that  Legislative  Council  return  all                                                       
     year-round  Legislative  Information Offices  (LIOs) to  full-time                                                       
     operation during the interim.                                                                                            
     CHAIR  STEVENS objected  for purpose of  discussion and  asked Tim                                                       
     Powers to give a brief explanation and history of this request.                                                          
     TIM  POWERS, Manager  of  Information and  Teleconference for  the                                                       
     Legislative  Affairs   Agency,  said  he  wanted  to  provide  the                                                       
     Committee  some background on the  LIO's operations and  some cuts                                                       
     that have occurred over the past few fiscal years.                                                                       
     Mr.  Powers shared  that in FY16,  the LIO  budget was reduced  by                                                       
     $358,700  which resulted  in  the following  changes: reduced  the                                                       
     Utqiagvik   and  Kotzebue  offices   from  twelve  to   six  month                                                       
     operation;  reduced the  Fairbanks and  Mat-Su office  Information                                                       
     Assistant  positions  from twelve  to  six months;  reduced  eight                                                       
     Juneau  moderator  positions from  five to  four  months; and  the                                                       
     casual labor pool was reduced.                                                                                           
     In  FY17, the LIOs were  further reduced by $298,000.  Legislative                                                       
     Council  moved that all year-round  LIOs close at noon  on Fridays                                                       
     during  the interim. This  was compared  to the Court  System half                                                       
     day Friday  closure, in which the entire Court  System closes, not                                                       
     just  one section. In  practice, this  has proved impractical  and                                                       
     confusing  for  the  public,  legislators,  and  staff  wanting  a                                                       
     teleconference  on Friday afternoons. With this  cut, they reduced                                                       
     17  employees from 12 months to  11.3 months, resulting in  a 6.1%                                                       
     reduction in annual salary.                                                                                              
     This  reduction resulted in  several issues, including  morale and                                                       
     employee   retention.   Short   term  effects   included   reduced                                                       
     paychecks   and  leave  accrual,  while  long   term  it  affected                                                       
     employee  retirement. There were many long-time  employees nearing                                                       
     retirement  whose salaries  were reduced  equivalent to two  steps                                                       
     or  four  years  of  work  in  longevity,  which  set  back  their                                                       
     Since   the  cuts  began,   LIOs  lost  Information   Officers  in                                                       
     Utqiagvik,   Cordova,    Glennallen,   Kenai,   Kotzebue,   Sitka,                                                       
     Unalaska,  Valdez  (twice);  Administrative Assistants  in  Juneau                                                       
     and  Anchorage;  and  two  Information  Assistants  in  Anchorage.                                                       
     Employee   turnover   has   increased   drastically   from   eight                                                       
     resignations   in  the   nine  years  before   the  cuts,   to  15                                                       
     resignations in the four years since.                                                                                    
     Mr.  Powers said  he has  continued to  exercise fiscal  restraint                                                       
     and  lower overall costs,  for example:  turned off cellular  data                                                       
     (wifi  back  up)  for  the  committee  iPads  for  $10,000  annual                                                       
     savings;  upgraded  the   digital  teleconference  phone  circuits                                                       
     which   reduced  the   teleconference   operating  costs   $17,680                                                       
     annually;  turned  on  geographic  call  blocking  which  prevents                                                       
     callers   from  using  long  distance  when  a   local  number  is                                                       
     available  for  $12,000-$24,000 annual  savings.  Costs have  also                                                       
     been  reduced  by  printing  both  the Pocket  Directory  and  the                                                       
     Directory  of  State  Officials in-house  (22   and 25   per  copy                                                       
     respectively)  with   added  flexibility  in  print  quantity  and                                                       
     He said  he is still looking  for ways to save money  and actually                                                       
     lapsed  $226,000 in FY16; $35,000  in FY17; $190,000 in  FY18; and                                                       
     approximately $200,000 in FY19.                                                                                          
     He  would like  to restore  the LIOs  hours of  operation to  full                                                       
     time  and has money in  the current budget  to allow for  that. He                                                       
     would  like to  have LIOs  open 37.5  hours per  week, like  every                                                       
     other   section  in  the  Agency,   to  continue  to   assist  the                                                       
     CHAIR  STEVENS thanked Mr. Powers  and asked what the  benefits to                                                       
     the public are in taking this action.                                                                                    
     MR.  POWERS replied that  the LIO functions  as a contact  for the                                                       
     public   to  help  them   better  understand  the   often  complex                                                       
     Legislative process.                                                                                                     
     To  that end, in  2017, he implemented  an online chat  service on                                                       
     the Legislature's  website where the public can  instantly connect                                                       
     with  an LIO  information  officer. Each  year  since, there  have                                                       
     been approximately 2000 contacts through this service.                                                                   
     Having  the LIOS work full time  would make them available  to the                                                       
     public  every  weekday,  including Friday  afternoons,  to  answer                                                       
     legislative questions and/or arrange meetings.                                                                           
     VICE-CHAIR  STUTES said she noticed this motion was  for full time                                                       
     only  during the interim  and asked Mr.  Powers if he  anticipated                                                       
    going back to part time when the Legislature is in session?                                                               
     MR. POWERS asked if she was referring to the session only LIOs.                                                          
     VICE-CHAIR STUTES responded yes.                                                                                         
     MR.  POWERS replied that  session only LIOs  do still  operate six                                                       
     months  per year,  traditionally December  through May, and  could                                                       
     possibly  be  open for  special sessions.  This  action would  not                                                       
     impact any of those six month positions.                                                                                 
     VICE-CHAIR  STUTES  requested  additional clarification  and  read                                                       
     the   motion,  "to  return   all  year-round  LIOs   to  full-time                                                       
     operation  during the  interim." She  asked if  they were at  full                                                       
     time operation during session.                                                                                           
     MR.  POWERS replied  yes,  the LIOs  do operate  full time  during                                                       
     VICE-CHAIR  STUTES  asked about  the  loss of  15-16  jobs and  if                                                       
     those were resignations from people quitting or retiring.                                                                
     MR.   POWERS  replied   three  of  the   positions  were   due  to                                                       
     CHAIR STEVENS  said there has been discussion about  impact to the                                                       
     public, will  you please discuss the impact to  legislators. Is it                                                       
     correct  that  currently there  can be  no  committee meetings  on                                                       
     Friday afternoons?                                                                                                       
     MR. POWERS  replied that this Friday, it would  be possible. Since                                                       
     there was  such a short time between the first  and second special                                                       
     sessions,  LIO staff  currently  work the  session schedule.  Upon                                                       
     adjournment  of the second special session, LIO  staff will return                                                       
     to  the interim  schedule  and close  LIOs  on Friday  afternoons                                                        
     unless this motion passes.                                                                                               
     REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON noted that  Mr. Powers said he  already had                                                       
    money in the budget, so was his budget increased this year?                                                               
     MR. POWERS responded that his budget was flat, not increased.                                                            
     REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said it sounded  like this would be  a cost                                                       
     increase  of around  $298,000, and  wants to  understand how  that                                                       
     money is  in the LIO budget if it was flat and  there was no money                                                       
     in the interim before.                                                                                                   
     MR.  POWERS said  he was  citing the  lapsed fundsmoney   achieved                                                       
     through  cost  saving  measures  and  not  spent.  He  anticipated                                                       
     lapsing  approximately $200,000  this year  and the  cost of  this                                                       
     motion is approximately $107,000.                                                                                        
     REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked to  confirm, this  action will  cost                                                       
     approximately $107,000?                                                                                                  
     MR.  POWERS  replied  yes, that  will  be the  increased  employee                                                       
     CHAIR STEVENS  asked if there were further comments  or questions.                                                       
     He continued  that his biggest concern is that when  LIO staff are                                                       
     not  present on Friday afternoons,  partisan staff must  take care                                                       
     of  any issues  as people walk  in and  ask questions, instead  of                                                       
     focusing  on their work.  He asked Ms.  Geary for her  comments or                                                       
     recommendations on this motion.                                                                                          
     JESSICA  GEARY, Executive  Director,  Legislative Affairs  Agency,                                                       
     responded  that this is  something that  has needed to  happen. As                                                       
     Mr. Powers  mentioned, there have been severe  morale issues; this                                                       
     is  a matter  of fairness  since the  rest of  the Agency  remains                                                       
     open  and continues  to work and  be paid for  a full day  Friday.                                                       
     Mr.  Powers  has  done  a  phenomenal  job  decreasing  costs  and                                                       
     finding  efficiencies. Having LIO  staff work full time,  like the                                                       
     rest of the agency, is an excellent use of the budget.                                                                   
     CHAIR  STEVENS asked if there  were comments or questions.  Seeing                                                       
     none, he requested a roll call vote.                                                                                     
     A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                              
     YEAS: Senators Coghill, Stedman, Stevens;  Representatives Edgmon,                                                       
     Foster, Johnson, Stutes, Thompson.                                                                                       
     NAYS: Wilson                                                                                                             
     The motion passed 8-1.                                                                                                   
IV. Contract Approvals                                                                                                      
     a.    FY20 Annual Hardware Refresh                                                                                     
     2:20:58 PM                                                                                                             
     VICE-CHAIR  STUTES  moved  that Legislative  Council  approve  the                                                       
     FY20  hardware refresh  expenditure  of $149,836  out of  existing                                                       
     capital funds.                                                                                                           
     CHAIR  STEVENS objected for purposes  of discussion and  asked Tim                                                       
     Banaszak to please provide a brief explanation of this request.                                                          
     TIM BANASZAK,  Manager, Information Technology, said  on behalf of                                                       
     the  Legislative   Council's  IT  Subcommittee,   he  offered  the                                                       
     following   FY20   hardware  end-of-life   equipment   replacement                                                       
     recommendations  for  consideration: 21  laptop workstations  that                                                       
     replace  models dating back to  2011/12; 35 tiny  workstations; 20                                                       
     color  printers that  replace models dating  back to 2011/12;  and                                                       
     38 monitors. The total estimated cost is $149,836.                                                                       
     This  is consistent  with the  Three Year Technology  Plan and  is                                                       
     based  on a  five year  or  older equipment  replacement cycle  to                                                       
     manage  upkeep  costs, maintain  reasonable  performance,  address                                                       
     obsolescence, and manage security risks to an acceptable level.                                                          
     The  IT Subcommittee technology  recommendations are also:  first,                                                       
     integrating   with  hardware  used   in  the  mobile   workstation                                                       
     initiative  that  eliminates   computer  equipment  being  shipped                                                       
     between  district and  session offices  twice a  year; second,  it                                                       
     applies  a  phased  approach  to  standardizing  one  color  laser                                                       
     printer  for  each  office,  reducing the  maintenance  and  toner                                                       
     costs;  and third,  it is  cost  efficient, leveraging  government                                                       
     contract  volume  discount  pricing  that all  three  branches  of                                                       
     government use to leverage buying power.                                                                                 
     Mr. Banaszak said he is happy to answer any questions.                                                                   
     CHAIR  STEVENS  asked if  there were  questions.  Seeing none,  he                                                       
     requested a roll call vote.                                                                                              
     A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                              
     YEAS: Senators Coghill, Stedman, Stevens;  Representatives Edgmon,                                                       
     Foster, Johnson, Stutes, Thompson, Wilson.                                                                               
     NAYS: None                                                                                                               
     The motion passed 9-0.                                                                                                   
     b.    Governor Egan Bust                                                                                               
     2:24:48 PM                                                                                                             
     VICE-CHAIR   STUTES  moved  that   Legislative  Council   award  a                                                       
     contract  to  artist   Roy  Peratrovich  to  commission  a  bronze                                                       
     sculpture of Governor Bill Egan in the amount of $19,000.                                                                
     CHAIR STEVENS  objected for purposes of discussion.  He noted that                                                       
     Council  appointed the Capitol  Art Subcommittee which met  on May                                                       
     11,  2019, reviewed  the proposals, and  selected Mr.  Peratrovich                                                       
     as the  artist. Senator Coghill brought this issue  to the Council                                                       
     and  has been  working on it  for some  time. Chair Stevens  asked                                                       
     Senator Coghill to please discuss the project.                                                                           
     SENATOR COGHILL  said in dealing with the sixtieth  anniversary of                                                       
     the  Legislature, he  considered how to  commemorate it  and honor                                                       
     one  of  Alaska's first  Governors.  Bill Egan  came  to mind,  so                                                       
     Senator  Coghill spoke  with Governor  Egan's son, former  Senator                                                       
     Dennis  Egan, and requested permission  to propose placing  a bust                                                       
     of  Governor Egan in  the Capitol foyer.  Senator Egan  agreed, so                                                       
     Senator  Coghill  made  the  proposal  to the  Council  and  Rules                                                       
     Senator  Coghill found  that both  Eagle Bronzing  in Wyoming  and                                                       
     Roy  Peratrovichwho   produced  the bust  in  the Capitol  of  his                                                       
     mothercould   create this piece.  Mr. Peratrovich's bid  was lower                                                       
     than  Eagle Bronzing, and a  new, less experienced  sculptor could                                                       
     create  it  for  slightly   less  than  Mr.  Peratrovich.  Senator                                                       
     Coghill  advocated for Mr.  Peratrovich because of  his experience                                                       
     and  historical  context,  and  noted he  is  becoming  physically                                                       
     infirm so  this may be one of his last sculptures.  This is a fine                                                       
     way  to honor the  Chairman of  the constitutional convention  and                                                       
     first Governor.  Due to the recent passing of  his father, Senator                                                       
     Coghill  expressed that  he  became quite  sentimental about  this                                                       
     CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  Senator  Coghill  to please  speak  to  the                                                       
     historical  context and Mr.  Peratrovich's background  so everyone                                                       
     is aware.                                                                                                                
     SENATOR  COGHILL responded  that  Mr. Peratrovich's  mother was  a                                                       
     historic   civil  rights   activist,   his  father   was  in   the                                                       
     Constitutional  Convention, he has sculpted many  pieces including                                                       
     one  in the Capitol  of his mother.  He is a  fine Alaskan  and it                                                       
     would  bring  historical   value  to  his  sculpture  due  to  the                                                       
     artistry,  and the artist.  Mr. Peratrovich  has had many  firsts                                                        
     including  being the first  Alaska Native civil engineer  licensed                                                       
     in the stateand brings a deep history.                                                                                   
     CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  if there  were  any questions  and  thanked                                                       
     Senator  Coghill  for making  this project  a  reality. Seeing  no                                                       
     questions, he requested a roll call vote.                                                                                
     A roll call vote was taken.                                                                                              
     YEAS: Senators Coghill, Stedman, Stevens;  Representatives Edgmon,                                                       
     Foster, Johnson, Stutes, Thompson, Wilson.                                                                               
     NAYS: None                                                                                                               
     The motion passed 9-0.                                                                                                   
V.   Adjourn                                                                                                                
     CHAIR  STEVENS  said  if there  is  no  further business  to  come                                                       
     before the Council, we are adjourned.                                                                                    
    2:29:36 PM                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
6.25.19 Leg. Council Meeting Packet.pdf JLEC 6/25/2019 2:00:00 PM
6.25.19 Leg. Council Meeting Packet