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Portrait of Senate President Senator Drue Pearce Senator Sean Parnell Portrait of Senate Finance Co-Chair, 
			Senator John Torgerson
Senator Drue Pearce
State Capitol, Room 111
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-4993
Fax: (907) 465-3872
Send E-Mail
Senator Sean Parnell
State Capitol, Room 518
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2995
Fax: (907) 465-6592
Send E-Mail
Senator John Torgerson
State Capitol, Room 516
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2828
Fax: (907) 465-4779
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Legislature Approves Funding for State Employee Contracts
Separate Bill Provides Pay Increase for Non-Union State Employees

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2000
Contact: Senator Drue Pearce at (907) 465-4993

Juneau -- The 21st Alaska Legislature adjourned special session Saturday after the Senate approved contracts for state employees represented by 12 union organizations while meeting their spending reduction targets. In addition to passing House Bill 3001, which appropriates the funding for the contracts, the Senate also passed House Bill 3002, which provides for pay increases for non-union state workers.

"There were a lot of funding concerns facing the Legislature at the end of the regular session," said Senate Finance Co-Chair Sean Parnell (R-Anchorage). "In addition to our constitutional mandate to approve an operating budget, and the reality that we needed to put together a bond package capable of addressing Alaska's critical needs, we were faced with trying to find a way to provide for our state employees. The special session provided the opportunity to focus solely on the issue of labor contracts."

Before the contracts were approved, the unions came forward with additional cost savings and the Administration revealed funding sources. The contracts that the Administration negotiated with the state's bargaining units call for a little over $19 million for fiscal year 2001. The Knowles Administration identified lapsed and reappropriated funds, and non-general funds not fully utilized in FY 2000, providing $14.3 million. In addition, another $4.7 million was found in the reduction in general fund spending for the FY 2001 budget.

"We were concerned about the significant cost of funding these collective bargaining agreements, and the potential liability to the state over the leave cash-in provision of the GGU contract, at a time when the legislature is focused on reducing state spending," said Senate President Drue Pearce (R-Anchorage). "We told the Administration that we would debate the contracts issue in good faith. They were able to find the funds to pay for the first year of the contracts, and we were able to approve them while still reducing general fund spending by $33 million."

"This is only the first year of the three year contract with State employees," said Senate Finance Co-Chair John Torgerson (R-Kasilof). "The 22nd Alaska Legislature is going to have to find funding for years two and three. It is also important to note that while we approved pay increases for union and non-union state workers, we did not raise the pay for legislators."

A separate bill, HB 3002, approving a new payment schedule and lump sum increase for non-union state employees, also passed the Senate. Both bills now go to the Governor for signature.

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= John Torgerson, 39 K

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