Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106
02/13/2006 06:00 PM ECONOMIC DEV., TRADE, AND TOURISM
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|Testimony on Proposed Committee Resolution - Alaska Association of Future Farmers of America|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 389-REGULATION OF TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS 6:05:35 PM CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 389, "An Act relating to tourist accommodations permits and to penalties for failing to comply with permitting requirements; removing a requirement that persons operating tourist accommodations post certain laws and regulations on the premises; and providing for an effective date." 6:06:32 PM KAREN LIDSTER, Staff to Representative John Coghill, Alaska State Legislature, informed the committee that [HB 389] is in response to a request by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to repeal legislation regarding the permitting requirements for tourist accommodations. Currently, [DEC] doesn't enforce the statute, and tourist accommodations are regulated by annual water testing, health inspectors, fuel tank inspections, and the number of toilets that have to be in a [bathroom]. She added that tourist accommodations are heavily regulated as public accommodations. 6:07:26 PM MS. LIDSTER identified the sections that will be repealed by [HB 389]: AS 18.35.040, which relates specifically to [tourist accommodation] permits that DEC no longer requires; AS 18.35.050, which is the penalty for noncompliance for the permit requirement; and AS 44.64.030(a)(16), with AS 44.64.030 relating to the adjudicatory authority and jurisdiction of DEC and AS 44.64.030(a)(16) specifically relating to AS 18.35.040 tourist accommodations. 6:08:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL requested that Ms. Lidster inform the committee as to what [the State of Alaska] isn't going to do [when HB 389 is enacted]. MS. LIDSTER remarked that [the State of Alaska] isn't going to require a permit for tourist accommodations [when HB 389 is enacted]. 6:09:41 PM KRISTIN RYAN, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), explained that the Food Safety and Sanitation Program regulates hotels and tourist accommodations through 18 AAC 30. She noted that these regulations were last drafted in 1982 and need to be updated. The [DEC] has not permitted tourist accommodations since 1982. 6:10:21 PM MS. RYAN informed the committee that [the Division of Environmental Health] conducts complaint investigations as well as inspections if/when a complaint arises. She remarked that the requirement of permitting [tourist accommodations] adds a layer of paperwork that isn't helpful in the mission of [the Division of Environmental Health]. She added that the risk of [tourist accommodation noncompliance] is extremely low compared to other facilities that [the Food Safety and Sanitation Program] inspects. The kitchens, for example, in [tourist] accommodations, are still inspected and regulated under the Food Safety Regulation. 6:10:59 PM MS. RYAN explained that tourist accommodations sanitation statutes and regulations address the rooms of the facility to ensure that they are clean and sanitary. She informed the committee that [HB 389] does not remove or eliminate [DEC]'s obligation to set sanitary standards for tourist accommodations and [DEC] will continue to do so. However, [HB 389] removes [DEC's] requirement to permit, post the permit, and fine [tourist accommodations] if/when a permit is not posted, which [DEC] is currently not doing and hasn't done since 1982. 6:11:37 PM CO-CHAIR NEUMAN inquired as to what constitutes a tourist accommodation. MS. RYAN responded that [a tourist accommodation] provides lodging for the public for a fee. She added that a tourist accommodation includes hotels, lodges, and RV parks. In further response to Co-Chair Neuman, she informed the committee that [DEC] has a special permit for camps and/or transients that's geared toward guides and hunters. It's an all-encompassing permit that includes food, wastewater, garbage disposal and drinking water - everything that DEC regulates to varying degrees. 6:14:14 PM CO-CHAIR NEUMAN, upon determining that no one else wished to testify, announced the closure of public testimony. 6:14:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved to report HB 389 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, HB 389 was reported out of the House Special Committee on Economic Development, International Trade and Tourism.