Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/07/2016 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:45 p.m. Today --
+= HB 247 TAX;CREDITS;INTEREST;REFUNDS;O & G TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+ HB 230 NAMING ARCTIC MAN WAY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 230(FIN) Out of Committee
+ HB 237 INTERSTATE MEDICAL LICENSURE COMPACT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 7, 2016                                                                                            
                         1:52 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:52:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson   called  the  House   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 1:52 p.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mark Neuman, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Steve Thompson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Dan Saddler, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Lynn Gattis                                                                                                      
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton,  Sponsor; Taneeka Hansen, Staff,                                                                    
Representative   Paul   Seaton;  Brodie   Anderson,   Staff,                                                                    
Representative  Steve Thompson;  Representative Jim  Colver,                                                                    
Sponsor;   Mike   Lesmann,    Special   Assistant   to   the                                                                    
Commissioner,  Department   of  Transportation   and  Public                                                                    
Facilities.   Janey   Hovenden,    Director,   Division   of                                                                    
Corporations,    Business   and    Professional   Licensing,                                                                    
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 230    NAMING ARCTIC MAN WAY                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          HB 230 was REPORTED out of committee with a "no                                                                       
          recommendation" recommendation and with one                                                                           
          previously published zero fiscal note: FN1 (DOT).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 237    INTERSTATE MEDICAL LICENSURE COMPACT                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 237 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson discussed the meeting agenda.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 237                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  relating to an  interstate compact  on medical                                                                    
     licensure;  amending the  duties of  the State  Medical                                                                    
     Board;  and  relating  to   the  Department  of  Public                                                                    
     Safety's   authority  to   conduct  national   criminal                                                                    
     history record checks of physicians."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:53:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PAUL  SEATON,   SPONSOR,  appreciated   the                                                                    
opportunity to  present the bill.  He relayed that  the bill                                                                    
would  make  Alaska  a  party   to  the  Interstate  Medical                                                                    
Licensure Compact,  which would expedite licensing  to bring                                                                    
qualified  physicians  to  Alaska.  He shared  that  it  was                                                                    
currently a  14 to 18-week  licensure process. He  had heard                                                                    
from new doctors who were  from Alaska and licensed in other                                                                    
states  who wanted  to  return to  practice  in Alaska.  The                                                                    
individuals had been  waiting over six months  and still had                                                                    
not  received their  Alaskan  license  and were  considering                                                                    
jobs outside of  Alaska due to the delay. He  noted that the                                                                    
department [Department  of Commerce, Community  and Economic                                                                    
Development (DCCED)] was attempting to  speed up some of the                                                                    
processes.  He spoke  to the  importance of  getting doctors                                                                    
into Alaska on  a quicker basis due to the  state's need for                                                                    
physicians.  He cited  turnover  as an  issue. He  explained                                                                    
that licensure under  the compact had a  higher criteria and                                                                    
required  fingerprinting, background  checks,  and other.  A                                                                    
state seeking to be a member  of the compact had to agree to                                                                    
the   qualifications;  the   state  could   have  additional                                                                    
qualifications  and  under  the compact  a  physician  would                                                                    
receive  a  provisional  license until  they  fulfilled  the                                                                    
state's additional  requirements. When  a person  received a                                                                    
license under the  compact they would then  have the ability                                                                    
to apply  for work in  any other states within  the compact.                                                                    
Individuals had to pay the full  fees to the state and would                                                                    
receive a  license to  practice very quickly  in any  of the                                                                    
states under the compact.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:57:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kawasaki could see  the need and benefits for                                                                    
the state.  He asked for  verification that becoming  one of                                                                    
the  13 states  with the  licensure compact  should make  it                                                                    
easier  for  Alaska  state examiners  to  qualify  a  person                                                                    
registered in another state.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton   replied  in  the   affirmative.  He                                                                    
detailed  that  a  person  who  had  satisfied  the  compact                                                                    
criteria for  licensure could get  a license to  practice in                                                                    
any of the other compact  states. He furthered that Alaska's                                                                    
physicians who  met the criteria could  also obtain licenses                                                                    
more quickly in other states as well.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kawasaki pointed  to  the  fiscal note  that                                                                    
appeared to  be "hefty."  He observed  that the  fund source                                                                    
was receipt  supported services.  He believed that  once the                                                                    
compact was  in place  it would actually  cost less  for the                                                                    
agency to administer.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton deferred the question to his staff.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TANEEKA HANSEN,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE PAUL  SEATON, replied                                                                    
that the largest  portion of the fiscal note was  due to the                                                                    
background checks, which were  a requirement of the compact.                                                                    
She   relayed   that   currently   background   checks   and                                                                    
fingerprinting  were not  required  for Alaskan  physicians.                                                                    
The  bill  had  a   specific  authorization  for  physicians                                                                    
applying  for an  expedited license  through the  compact to                                                                    
undergo the background  checks; the bulk of  the fiscal note                                                                    
included  the fingerprinting  fee. Additional  funds in  the                                                                    
note were related  to travel and designating a  person to be                                                                    
in  communication with  the commission.  She explained  that                                                                    
under the compact, two commissioners  would come from Alaska                                                                    
to participate  on the Interstate Commission;  they would be                                                                    
current members  or staff  of the  medical board.  She added                                                                    
that  there   would  be  additional  travel   and  needs  to                                                                    
coordinate with the commission.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kawasaki  asked if the State  of Alaska would                                                                    
be  made  aware if  a  physician  in  the compact  had  been                                                                    
sanctioned  in  another  state. He  wondered  how  it  would                                                                    
impact licensure.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hansen  replied  that  there  were  compact  provisions                                                                    
listed in  the bill that outlined  disciplinary actions. She                                                                    
detailed  that if  there was  a disciplinary  sanction taken                                                                    
against any  expedited license in  another state,  the other                                                                    
states were  automatically notified  by the  state's medical                                                                    
board and the individual's  state license would be suspended                                                                    
until  a review  was  conducted.  Alaska's current  statutes                                                                    
included  a   provision  for   suspending  a   license  upon                                                                    
notification  or  proof of  another  state  action upon  the                                                                    
license until a hearing could be held.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:01:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg shared  a story  about a  dentist                                                                    
from New Zealand  who could not obtain a  license in Alaska.                                                                    
He thought  it appeared  that an individual  had to  live in                                                                    
another  state or  have a  percentage of  their practice  in                                                                    
another  state before  they could  transfer the  license. He                                                                    
furthered  that   the  individual  could  not   have  merely                                                                    
obtained  a  license  in   California  and  transferred  the                                                                    
license  to  Alaska;  the requirements  for  residency  were                                                                    
still  in   place.  He  asked   how  the  bill   related  to                                                                    
international compacts.  He wondered if the  residency issue                                                                    
still played a role.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hansen answered that there  was a section that addressed                                                                    
the definition  of the designation  of a state  of principal                                                                    
licensure,  which was  a  baseline  requirement for  compact                                                                    
eligibility. She  detailed that  an individual  was required                                                                    
to designate  a compact  state as  their state  of principal                                                                    
licensure.  Requirements  included  that the  state  be  the                                                                    
individual's primary  residency, a minimum of  25 percent of                                                                    
the practice of  medicine occurred, and the  location of the                                                                    
individual's  employer.  She  elaborated that  if  no  state                                                                    
qualified  under  the  requirements,  the state  had  to  be                                                                    
designated  as  a state  of  residence  for the  purpose  of                                                                    
federal  income  tax. Individuals  would  have  to meet  the                                                                    
qualifications in  one of the  12 compact states  (13 states                                                                    
if Alaska joined the compact).                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg   asked  for   verification  that                                                                    
international  doctors  could  not  come in  and  receive  a                                                                    
license. He surmised that the  individuals would be required                                                                    
to have residency in another  state. He asked about the time                                                                    
requirement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hansen answered  that  the compact  did  not outline  a                                                                    
requirement for the length of  residency. She noted that the                                                                    
information may  be outlined in  the commission  bylaws. She                                                                    
did not know the current  standards for an individual Alaska                                                                    
license  for  an  international physician  coming  into  the                                                                    
state. She  explained that  currently physicians  not living                                                                    
in Alaska could  apply for a license in Alaska;  they had to                                                                    
apply for a license in each state they wanted to practice.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton noted that  the primary reason for the                                                                    
bill  was to  save  individuals who  wanted  to practice  in                                                                    
multiple states  from applying for  a license  separately in                                                                    
each of the locations.  He furthered that expedited licenses                                                                    
were  electronically  issued.  He explained  that  currently                                                                    
getting a license in Alaska was  only done on paper - it was                                                                    
not  as  efficient  as  it  could  be.  He  added  that  the                                                                    
department was trying  to expedite things by the  end of the                                                                    
year  - some  renewals were  done electronically.  The state                                                                    
was  behind   the  curve  on  electronic   verification  and                                                                    
submission of background information.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:05:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler  asked  about   the  current  process  a                                                                    
physician  licensed  in another  state  undertook  to get  a                                                                    
license in Alaska. He asked how long the process took.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton replied  that  the current  licensing                                                                    
process for first-time licenses in  Alaska was done on paper                                                                    
and required  all of the background  information. The normal                                                                    
timeframe was 14  to 16 weeks; however, with  staff cuts the                                                                    
length of time had been somewhat extended in recent years.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler asked  how much it cost to  apply for and                                                                    
receive a state license.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton  answered that the charge  for a state                                                                    
license through the compact was  whatever the state charged.                                                                    
He  explained that  an individual  did not  receive a  price                                                                    
break by applying electronically  for the expedited license.                                                                    
The process  provided an expedited  way to obtain  a license                                                                    
and saved  applicants from going through  paperwork for each                                                                    
state they wanted to practice in.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler asked if it  was common for physicians to                                                                    
want to be licensed in multiple states.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton  did not have numerical  data on hand;                                                                    
however, he  provided an example  of eye  surgeons traveling                                                                    
from the  Pacific Northwest to  do surgeries once a  week in                                                                    
Anchorage.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hansen  elaborated that the  licensure compact  had been                                                                    
adopted  by  many  rural states  where  physicians  traveled                                                                    
between  small  communities  or those  taking  advantage  of                                                                    
telemedicine, which  required the  physician to  be licensed                                                                    
in the state they were practicing.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson thanked the  sponsor for the bill. She                                                                    
relayed that she had helped  three or four physicians in the                                                                    
past  year with  the process  that had  taken three  or four                                                                    
months.  She   added  that  a  physician   could  have  been                                                                    
practicing  for 30  years and  they were  still required  to                                                                    
have their original transcripts and  residency - some of the                                                                    
items did  not exist  any longer because  a person  had been                                                                    
practicing  for so  long. She  discussed that  the Fairbanks                                                                    
hospital cancer  center only had  one specialist  in several                                                                    
different  areas, which  meant if  someone went  on vacation                                                                    
the hospital  had to  bring a  physician up  to fill  in for                                                                    
that two-week period.  She believed the bill  would make the                                                                    
process   go  much   quicker  for   individuals  in   states                                                                    
participating in the compact.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hansen  replied that theoretically  the answer  was yes.                                                                    
She detailed  that the bylaws  were currently  being written                                                                    
by the  Interstate Commission.  How long  it would  take for                                                                    
states to  be notified  had not yet  been seen  in practice.                                                                    
She furthered that  if a physician had  an expedited license                                                                    
in  one  state  all  they   needed  to  do  was  notify  the                                                                    
commission that  they would like  to be licensed  in another                                                                    
state. A  state was directed to  issue a license as  soon as                                                                    
it received  the fees and  notification. She  concluded that                                                                    
the process should be much faster.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  did  not   believe  there  would  be                                                                    
thousands  more doctors  applying for  a license  because it                                                                    
was easier. She remarked that  the fiscal note specified the                                                                    
need  for   an  additional  employee  [within   DCCED].  She                                                                    
believed that in reality after  the bill was implemented the                                                                    
process would be much easier.  She reasoned that there would                                                                    
be less paperwork.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton deferred the question to DCCED.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson wondered  if the  bill would  require                                                                    
all physicians in  Alaska - Alaskan residents  included - to                                                                    
adhere to the fingerprinting requirement.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton answered  in the negative. Individuals                                                                    
would  not  be  subject to  the  fingerprinting  requirement                                                                    
unless  they  wanted  to obtain  an  expedited  license  for                                                                    
another state.  The bill did not  change Alaska requirements                                                                    
for  its  licenses. He  furthered  that  if a  physician  in                                                                    
Alaska  wanted to  obtain an  expedited license  for another                                                                    
state they  would have to  satisfy the background  check and                                                                    
fingerprint requirements for the compact.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson shared that  a doctor had participated                                                                    
in the Iditarod,  but had almost been  unable to participate                                                                    
because it  took so long  to get his  replacement physicians                                                                    
licensed.  She believed  the bill  would  make more  doctors                                                                    
want to come to Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:11:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Munoz believed  the  bill went  hand-in-hand                                                                    
with  the   Medicaid  reform   bill  currently   before  the                                                                    
legislature - especially as it  related to telemedicine. She                                                                    
thanked the sponsor for bringing the bill forward.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler  asked if  the  primary  purpose of  the                                                                    
compact was  to expedite licenses  and increase the  ease of                                                                    
cross-state licensure.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hansen answered  that it  was primary  purpose, but  it                                                                    
also allowed states  in the compact to  maintain a database.                                                                    
She  detailed   that  the  exchange  of   information  about                                                                    
disciplinary  actions  would  be   up  to  date  and  easily                                                                    
accessed  by all  states. The  Federation  of State  Medical                                                                    
Boards  kept track  of  licenses  for participating  states;                                                                    
therefore, Alaska  was able  to obtain  some of  the primary                                                                    
documents  through  the  coordinated database.  The  compact                                                                    
database  provided  additional  detail  with  all  licensure                                                                    
information, which would enable easier confirmations.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler remarked  that there  was a  federalized                                                                    
system and  each state  had the power  to set  its standards                                                                    
for any profession.  He believed the bill  presumed that any                                                                    
state's  medical license  was  as appropriately  set as  any                                                                    
other. He  surmised that any  physician licensed in  any one                                                                    
of  the states  should be  quickly able  to practice  in any                                                                    
other state within  the compact. He asked if  there were any                                                                    
states that had extraordinarily  high standards for extended                                                                    
residencies, education, or training.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton responded that  the assumption was not                                                                    
that every state had the  criteria, just like Alaska did not                                                                    
require  a  fingerprint  or background  check.  The  compact                                                                    
allowed the  doctors within Alaska  to also qualify  for the                                                                    
compact  if   they  applied  and  provided   the  additional                                                                    
required criteria;  at that point  they could  easily obtain                                                                    
licenses  in  other  states.   People  understood  that  the                                                                    
compact had a  uniform group of criteria,  which were higher                                                                    
than  required  in  a  number of  states,  and  that  anyone                                                                    
satisfying the  universally high  criteria would be  able to                                                                    
get  a  license and  practice  medicine  in Alaska  with  an                                                                    
expedited license.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  for  verification  that the  bill                                                                    
only  applied   to  medical   physicians  and   not  nurses,                                                                    
optometrists, ophthalmologists, or other.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton replied in the affirmative.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara relayed that he  had not heard about any                                                                    
opposition  or controversy  related  to the  bill. He  noted                                                                    
that the state  medical board and Alaska  State Hospital and                                                                    
Nursing Home  Association (ASHNHA)  had supported  the bill.                                                                    
He was happy to move the bill forward.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  asked  why the  bill  would  require                                                                    
another  staff because  she believed  it  would make  things                                                                    
much easier.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:15:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Seaton  deferred   the   question  to   the                                                                    
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JANEY   HOVENDEN,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF   CORPORATIONS,                                                                    
BUSINESS   AND   PROFESSIONAL   LICENSING,   DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                    
COMMERCE, COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,  replied that                                                                    
the  bill represented  an additional  pathway to  licensure.                                                                    
She continued that the bill  only applied to individuals who                                                                    
met the higher  criteria [required by the  compact]. The old                                                                    
pathway would still have to  remain in place because not all                                                                    
physicians  would qualify  for the  higher criteria  (e.g. a                                                                    
person could  have no disciplinary records).  The new system                                                                    
would be  housed with the executive  administrator who would                                                                    
track the licenses and handle  the fingerprinting cards that                                                                    
the other pathway did not  have. The position [listed in the                                                                    
fiscal  note] was  an  Office Assistant  I  (range 10)  that                                                                    
would   assist   the   executive  administrator   with   the                                                                    
specialized    program.    The   position    would    handle                                                                    
communication with the  commission, travel arrangements, and                                                                    
other.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara believed the  costs would be funded with                                                                    
a  fee  charged to  doctors  for  use  of the  service.  Ms.                                                                    
Hovenden  answered  in the  affirmative.  The  fee would  be                                                                    
charged  to  physicians who  selected  to  use the  specific                                                                    
pathway to licensure.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg noted  that  he  had often  heard                                                                    
that due to  the competitive nature of the  field in Alaska,                                                                    
other doctors  were keeping  doctors out.  He asked  how the                                                                    
bill would  deal with that  process. He provided  an example                                                                    
of a highly  skilled and qualified doctor  in another state.                                                                    
He wondered if  the medical board had an  approval or denial                                                                    
basis.  Alternatively,  he  wondered  if  the  person  would                                                                    
receive  a  license  because   they  qualified  through  the                                                                    
compact.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hovenden answered  that if  a person  qualified through                                                                    
the  compact and  had no  discipline on  their record  there                                                                    
were no additional requirements.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  for  verification  that the  bill                                                                    
enacted  the  entirety  of  the   charter  for  the  compact                                                                    
(beginning in Section 6 of the legislation).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative    Seaton   replied    that   it    was   his                                                                    
understanding.  He  noted  that the  bylaws  were  currently                                                                    
being worked out by the  commission and would not be enacted                                                                    
by the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler understood that  the fees for the license                                                                    
application  and  fingerprinting  would   be  borne  by  the                                                                    
applicants.   He  remarked   that  any   interstate  compact                                                                    
required some  staff support.  He asked  if the  fiscal note                                                                    
reflected any  portion of  the compact's  shared maintenance                                                                    
and management costs.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hansen replied  that the  issue would  be decided  more                                                                    
clearly  in  the  bylaws.  The   compact  did  authorize  an                                                                    
assessment on  the member  states; however,  in conversation                                                                    
with current  commissioners in  the compact,  the indication                                                                    
was that they planned to  raise the needed revenue through a                                                                    
licensure fee. She  detailed that it would  essentially be a                                                                    
registration fee  for doctors using the  compact system. She                                                                    
added that  until the  bylaws were  written it  was possible                                                                    
that the cost  would be an assessment on  member states. She                                                                    
relayed  that the  commission was  comprised of  two members                                                                    
from each medical board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:20:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler asked  if the  department had  detail on                                                                    
how  many physicians  licensed in  Alaska  also had  medical                                                                    
licenses  in other  states. Ms.  Hovenden  replied that  the                                                                    
department did not track that information.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB  237  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 230                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act designating Pipeline Road 34-ALP-3 as Arctic                                                                       
     Man Way."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:21:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler MOVED  to ADOPT  the proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for  HB  230,  Work  Draft  29-LS1135\W  (Bruce,                                                                    
3/25/16). There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BRODIE  ANDERSON,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  STEVE  THOMPSON,                                                                    
explained the changes in the  Committee Substitute (CS). The                                                                    
CS  removed  the  identifying pipeline  road  marker  number                                                                    
reference  and inserted  the  old name  for  the road:  "Old                                                                    
Isabel  Camp Access  Road." He  detailed that  Department of                                                                    
Transportation   and  Public   Facilities   (DOT)  and   the                                                                    
Department of  Natural Resources (DNR) were  amenable to the                                                                    
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson asked if the  road covered by the bill                                                                    
was a state-owned.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Anderson deferred the question to the bill sponsor.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kawasaki  asked for  the history of  the road                                                                    
name  and who  Isabel was.  He  spoke to  a recent  platting                                                                    
board issue  in Fairbanks  related to whether  Terminal Road                                                                    
should be renamed to Citizen's  Way to reflect that the road                                                                    
lead  to the  borough chambers  area of  town. He  explained                                                                    
that there was  a historic reason why the name  had not been                                                                    
changed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Anderson  deferred  to  DOT or  the  bill  sponsor.  He                                                                    
relayed that the name change  had been requested by property                                                                    
owners  to use  the  pipeline road  marker reference  rather                                                                    
than  its old  name.  He believed  the  property owners  had                                                                    
requested a better designating name.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JIM  COLVER, SPONSOR,  spoke to the  bill. He                                                                    
relayed that  on the pipeline  drawings and in  the original                                                                    
version of the  bill, the access route to what  once was the                                                                    
Isabel  Pass   camp  was   designated  34-ALP-3   (a  design                                                                    
designation  included on  a drawing).  He  relayed that  the                                                                    
road ran  across general  state land.  He detailed  that the                                                                    
Arctic Man  held an event  down the road. He  explained that                                                                    
in the  area that had  been called  Isabel Pass there  was a                                                                    
pad,  which  once  contained   trailers  and  buildings  the                                                                    
Alyeska  Pipeline  Service Company  had  used  to build  the                                                                    
pipeline. The site was currently  the location of one of the                                                                    
largest events in Alaska; attendees  at the Arctic Man event                                                                    
were estimated at  13,000 in 2015 and 15,000  in the current                                                                    
year. He elaborated that the  race included a combination of                                                                    
skiing  and snow  machines  where speeds  reached  up to  80                                                                    
miles per hour. He noted  that the governor had participated                                                                    
as a forerunner on the race in 2014.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Colver explained  that  the  reason for  the                                                                    
proposal to change  the name was mostly  to commemorate that                                                                    
it was the event location.  He elaborated that there was not                                                                    
really  any signage  indicating  the location;  part of  the                                                                    
purpose  was to  point  to  the location  of  the event.  He                                                                    
believed  the  name  change  was   appropriate  due  to  the                                                                    
popularity  of the  event. The  name  in the  bill had  been                                                                    
worked  out  with  Alyeska  Pipeline  Service  Company;  the                                                                    
company had wanted the Old  Isabel Camp Access Road included                                                                    
in the bill. He relayed that  Arctic Man had agreed to cover                                                                    
the  cost of  the  sign and  had committed  to  pay $800  to                                                                    
$1,000 for  installation; he  did not expect  DOT to  do the                                                                    
work. The  department had initially  included a  fiscal note                                                                    
of  $200,   which  had   been  zeroed   out  by   the  House                                                                    
Transportation   Committee;    the   Arctic    Man   Classic                                                                    
organization would provide funding  and resources to install                                                                    
a new road  sign - up to $1,000. He  relayed that Mr. Howard                                                                    
Thies (Arctic  Man president), had testified  on record that                                                                    
they  would  replace the  sign  in  the  event it  was  ever                                                                    
knocked down.  He spoke to  the unique nature of  the event;                                                                    
there  was no  other race  like it  in the  world. He  asked                                                                    
members to support the legislation.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:29:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson wondered whether  it was a state road.                                                                    
She relayed that  if it was not a state  road, a statute was                                                                    
not required. She explained that if  it was not a state road                                                                    
they could work  with the property owner to put  the sign up                                                                    
- she was unsure whether  the owner was the Alyeska Pipeline                                                                    
Service Company or the state.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  LESMANN,   SPECIAL  ASSISTANT  TO   THE  COMMISSIONER,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION  AND PUBLIC FACILITIES, relayed                                                                    
that  the road  was not  maintained by  DOT. The  department                                                                    
believed  the road  was  on  DNR land  with  an easement  to                                                                    
Alyeska.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson did  not believe  a statutory  change                                                                    
was necessary.  She relayed  that she lived  on a  road that                                                                    
was not  owned by  the state  - they had  to go  through the                                                                    
borough to  change the  street name.  She wondered  if there                                                                    
was  currently anything  preventing Arctic  Man from  making                                                                    
and posting  a sign on its  own. She explained that  once it                                                                    
was in statute it would become DOT's responsibility.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lesmann replied that he did not know.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson  reiterated that if the  road name was                                                                    
put in statute  it would become a  DOT issue. Alternatively,                                                                    
if the road was on  private property, they could request DNR                                                                    
to install  the sign, but if  it came down, no  one would be                                                                    
responsible for putting it back up.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson did  not know  what the  regulations were                                                                    
for putting up a sign along  a state road. He explained that                                                                    
the bill ensured that the  state had been amenable to having                                                                    
a  sign  put   up  in  the  state   right-of-way  along  the                                                                    
Richardson Highway.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  explained  that  road  service  area                                                                    
commissioners could not  put up a sign that  falls down; the                                                                    
borough would not  allow it. She explained that  it would be                                                                    
a public  road and would have  to abide by those  rules. She                                                                    
elaborated  that  if  the entity  had  permission  from  the                                                                    
property  owner it  was much  easier to  hang the  sign that                                                                    
way. She  was trying  to simplify  the situation  if statute                                                                    
was not needed.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:31:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Colver  answered that  the road was  on state                                                                    
property; it was not about the  sign it was about the event.                                                                    
He  furthered that  the sign  had a  safety implication.  He                                                                    
elaborated  that without  the  road-sign  people had  gotten                                                                    
lost  in the  area; ambulances  responded to  the area  when                                                                    
needed  [and  needed to  be  able  to  find their  way].  He                                                                    
explained  that  there  had  recently  been  an  unfortunate                                                                    
incident involving  an avalanche. He reiterated  that it was                                                                    
state land  and was appropriate  for the state  to designate                                                                    
right-of-way. He  reasoned that if  the sign went  away, the                                                                    
sign  went away;  but the  statute memorialized  that Arctic                                                                    
Man took  place in  that location.  He stated  that pipeline                                                                    
camps came and  went; likewise, Arctic Man may  come and go.                                                                    
He restated  that it was  state land and it  was appropriate                                                                    
to designate the road a certain name.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson explained  that  she did  not have  a                                                                    
problem with the  sign. She elaborated that  her concern was                                                                    
about the  proper process and  procedure. She  detailed that                                                                    
it  was helpful  to know  if  another person  in the  future                                                                    
wanted to put a sign on a  road in the area. She believed it                                                                    
would be easier  if the designation was not  in statute. She                                                                    
did not  have a problem  renaming the road. She  wondered if                                                                    
because  the road  did not  belong  to DOT  that Arctic  Man                                                                    
could  merely ask  DNR for  permission to  post a  sign. She                                                                    
thought that may  be easier and less costly.  She noted that                                                                    
the  state  was required  to  post  certain kinds  of  signs                                                                    
(which were more  expensive) as opposed to  a sign purchased                                                                    
on the internet.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kawasaki had  never known the road  to be Old                                                                    
Isabel  Camp Access  Road or  anything else.  He had  always                                                                    
just known  the location  as where Arctic  Man was  held. He                                                                    
asked if the current name had historical meaning or value.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Colver  answered that it had  been designated                                                                    
as Old Isabel  Camp Access Road on  Alyeska Pipeline Service                                                                    
Company maps. The legislation would  enable a person to look                                                                    
back to see that what the road had previously been named.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Kawasaki  spoke   to   his  concern   about                                                                    
historical meaning.  He remarked  that the current  name was                                                                    
historically speaking  not extremely old  - it was  from the                                                                    
pipeline era.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Guttenberg did not  understand the reason for                                                                    
putting the name  in statute. He relayed that  in his former                                                                    
district  he  had to  threaten  DOT  that  he was  going  to                                                                    
personally put up a sign if  the department failed to do so.                                                                    
He stated  that "in my  neighborhood we put up  road signs."                                                                    
He  continued that  when  the state  put  in a  subdivision,                                                                    
legislation did not name the  roads or streets. He discussed                                                                    
that legislation  was expensive.  He remarked that  the name                                                                    
change in  the bill was a  $200 issue. He would  have merely                                                                    
bought a  sign and installed  it. He elaborated that  a sign                                                                    
shop could make a sign  that would be indistinguishable from                                                                    
a state  sign. He  asked about the  precedence the  bill was                                                                    
setting. He  asked about Alyeska Pipeline  Service Company's                                                                    
position. He would understand  memorializing a highway after                                                                    
a  group such  as the  Purple Heart  Highway. He  emphasized                                                                    
that the  bill would name  a street in statute.  He wondered                                                                    
about  other  streets  named  by  statute.  He  thought  the                                                                    
commissioner could  have merely checked the  request off and                                                                    
put the sign up.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lesmann replied  that he could not  answer the question.                                                                    
He deferred  to the Department  of Law or  Legislative Legal                                                                    
Services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson relayed  that  to change  the  name of  a                                                                    
street  in Fairbanks  it  was necessary  to  go through  the                                                                    
entire  process  with  the  city   council;  it  had  to  be                                                                    
identified  on maps  for public  safety (i.e.  police, fire,                                                                    
and  ambulance). He  explained that  inside the  borough the                                                                    
name change had  to go through a process.  He explained that                                                                    
current bill  went through the  same process - if  there was                                                                    
an  accident and  someone  needed to  find  the location  it                                                                    
would show up on a map.  He believed it was important to get                                                                    
the information in the state's ledgers.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler suspected  that an  Arctic Man  Way sign                                                                    
may be  a target of  opportunity. He  thought it would  be a                                                                    
souvenir for people  to capture as part of  their time spent                                                                    
at the  Arctic Man  event. He  wondered about  the potential                                                                    
for the  sign to  be stolen or  vandalized. He  wondered who                                                                    
would be responsible if so.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson relayed  that  Mr. Thies  had provided  a                                                                    
letter  to  the  committee  stating   that  the  Arctic  Man                                                                    
organization would  pay for and  replace the sign if  it was                                                                    
vandalized or stolen.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon  spoke in  support  of  the bill.  He                                                                    
reasoned that it was about  naming a particular highway, but                                                                    
more importantly it was about  formally designating an event                                                                    
- that  was important  to thousands of  Alaskans -  in state                                                                    
statute.   He   added   that  other   infrastructure   items                                                                    
throughout  the state  were enshrined  in  statute time  and                                                                    
time again. He believed it  was a worthy designation. He was                                                                    
ready  to  move  on  to  more  weighty  matters  before  the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thompson OPENED and CLOSED public testimony.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler highlighted  the zero  fiscal note  from                                                                    
DOT.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson asked  for verification  that Alyeska                                                                    
did not currently have a sign posted at the location.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson  replied  that   there  was  currently  a                                                                    
numbered  highway marker  sign posted.  He relayed  that his                                                                    
office  had   spoken  with  Alyeska   and  DOT   along  with                                                                    
Representative  Colver's office.  He explained  that because                                                                    
of  various problems,  Alyeska  wanted  the numbered  marker                                                                    
reference removed  from the bill  so its designation  of the                                                                    
location would  not be included.  All parties had  agreed to                                                                    
the proposed change.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson assumed that  the numbers would remain                                                                    
posted on the highway along with the new sign.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson confirmed  that the  numbers would  still                                                                    
remain.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler  voiced his  concern that the  sign could                                                                    
be  stolen.  He  hoped  the Arctic  Man  organization  would                                                                    
commit to replacing the sign as often as necessary.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:43:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pruitt  referred to  a letter from  Mr. Thies                                                                    
dated February  8, 2016  (copy on  file). The  letter stated                                                                    
that  Arctic Man  would "provide  funding  and resources  to                                                                    
install  a new  road sign  estimated  by DOT  to cost  $800-                                                                    
$1000. Please  pass this legislation." He  echoed Vice-Chair                                                                    
Saddler's  comments  that the  letter  did  not specify  the                                                                    
organization would pay for and  reinstall a new sign that if                                                                    
it  was damaged  or stolen.  He relayed  that he  had looked                                                                    
through statutes  during the meeting and  had been surprised                                                                    
so many things were named.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Colver would  provide the  committee with  a                                                                    
copy of  Mr. Thies's  testimony to the  House Transportation                                                                    
Committee. He relayed that Mr.  Thies had testified that the                                                                    
organization  would  replace the  sign.  He  added that  the                                                                    
Arctic Man event  was currently underway. He  noted that Mr.                                                                    
Thies had been the northern director for DOT.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson  noted  that   Mr.  Thies  had  been  the                                                                    
director of maintenance and operations for DOT.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler MOVED  to REPORT HB 230  out of committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  OBJECTED.  She emphasized  that  the                                                                    
bill  would  require  DOT  to  do work  on  the  issue.  She                                                                    
explained  that whether  or not  someone had  specified that                                                                    
they would replace  the sign, it would be  another thing for                                                                    
DOT. She  was concerned  that there  were many  other events                                                                    
that happened. She understood that  Mr. Thies would keep his                                                                    
word as long  as he was with the  organization. She remarked                                                                    
that the  state was not  going to  sue someone over  a sign.                                                                    
She WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB  230   was  REPORTED   out  of   committee  with   a  "no                                                                    
recommendation"  recommendation  and   with  one  previously                                                                    
published zero fiscal note: FN1 (DOT).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thompson discussed  the agenda  for the  following                                                                    
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:48:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:48 p.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 237 Dr. Hornberger letter.pdf HFIN 4/7/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 237