Legislature(1999 - 2000)
12/08/1999 09:00 AM C33
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 33-TASK FORCE ON PRIVATIZATION CO-CHAIR HALFORD called the Conference Committee on SB 33 to order at 8:45 a.m. Present were Senators Pearce, Elton and Halford, and Representatives Brice, Ogan and Cowdery. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked Tam Cook to explain the differences between the final House and Senate versions of SB 33. TAM COOK, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES, pointed out that, under the Uniform Rules, a conference committee is charged with looking at amendments to a bill which she interprets to mean the ways the bills differ from each other. She informed committee members she would refer to CSSB 33(FIN) and identify the changes made to that version by the House. On page 2, after line 6, the House added the following statement: "there may be functions of state government that should cease." CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if that language can be adopted by the Conference Committee without any power of free conference. MS. COOK said it can. MS. COOK explained the second difference is that Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the Senate version, beginning on line 16 of page 2, make substantive changes to the law. Corresponding sections are not contained in the House version. Section 5 of the Senate version designates the membership of an 11 member commission; the House version designates the membership of a 15 member commission. MS. COOK clarified that the Conference Committee can elect to adopt either the formation of an 11 or 15 member commission without requesting limited powers of free conference. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if limited powers need to be requested to change the composition of the commission. MS. COOK answered if the Conference Committee wishes to create a 13 member board, it will need limited powers of free conference. MS. COOK stated the House version does not designate that one member be a representative of the labor unions (page 3, line 15). She noted that a few of the members in each bill are identical, however quite a few differ. She pointed out that determining whether members are identical is a matter of substance rather than paragraph numbering. The Conference Committee can retain the members that are identical in each bill and then "mix and match" from the others without limited powers of free conference. The Senate version contains one Local Boundary Commission member. The House version membership differs in that it contains a rural bush caucus legislator, a public member who represents a Native corporation, a public member who represents a Native nonprofit corporation, a member of the AFL-CIO, a member of the largest public employees union, and one member from each minority caucus. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if a request for limited powers of free conference would cover any changes the committee wishes to make to the number of members and composition of the commission. MS. COOK said it would, and that if the Conference Committee asks for limited powers as to the number of members and make up of the commission, it could create an entirely new composition of commission members. MS. COOK noted another difference between the House and Senate versions is per diem. The Senate version allows per diem and travel expense reimbursement for the public members appointed by the presiding officers. The House version permits per diem and travel for all public members. MS. COOK indicated that the House version specifies on page 4 that the report identify state-funded functions that should be eliminated as functions of state government. That provision does not appear in the Senate version. The House version requires a preliminary report due January 1, 2000, followed by a final report due January 1, 2001. The Senate version requires that one report be submitted on January 1, 2000. The repeal date of the commission in the House version is January 1, 2001, while the Senate repeal date is January 1, 2000. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked committee members whether they had any questions of Ms. Cook. Number 155 SENATOR ELTON asked if public members, for the purpose of per diem, include the labor representatives and the representative of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. MS. COOK replied that a public member is not defined in either version, however a statute is referenced that applies to boards and commissions. She believes a public member, in this context, would be a non-governmental employee who is appointed because of his/her position in office. She clarified a legislator would not be considered a public member, nor would a commissioner of a state department. She thought that a representative of a state labor union should be treated as a public member because even though that person is a government employee, membership on this commission is not part of their employment role. That person would probably not be reimbursed by the State of Alaska for his/her participation on the commission. She maintained that because the bill does not contain a definition, the test would be whether or not the member expects to receive a salary, per diem and travel expenses for participation from the state. CO-CHAIR HALFORD pointed out the area that the Conference Committee needs limited powers of free conference for would be covered by a statement on the powers and membership of the commission. He asked if committee members were interested in requesting limited powers of free conference for any other areas. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he would like to make sure that the issue of whether the commission should recommend which state-funded functions of state government should be eliminated is addressed. CO-CHAIR HALFORD noted that could be addressed by adopting the House language, therefore limited powers would not be necessary. CO-CHAIR HALFORD acknowledged that if a committee member from either side wanted to move to adopt the entire composition of the commission from the bill of the other side he or she could do so but it would probably be a waste of time. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked Senator Ward, the sponsor of SB 33, to discuss his opinion on the differences between the two versions with committee members. Number 214 SENATOR WARD said that he believes some of the work done by the House made great improvements to the bill. He encouraged the Conference Committee to retain the Senate's 11 member commission, to designate a position for an Alaska Native to be appointed by the presiding officers, and to support the provision that the report disclose state-funded services that should be eliminated as functions of state government. He recommended that the report due date be January 1, 2000 because time is of the essence. CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked for a motion to request of the presiding officers limited powers of free conference on the number of members and composition of the commission. REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY so moved. There being no objection, the motion carried. CO-CHAIR HALFORD announced a letter would be sent to the presiding officers and that he would schedule a second meeting as soon as he receives a response. He then adjourned the meeting at 9:00 a.m.