Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/03/1995 01:05 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 234 - ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General, Commercial Section, Civil Division, Department of Law testified via teleconference. It is the position of the Administration that administrative adjudications should be faster and less costly to the parties and to the state than court proceedings are. Current provisions, which are confusing and archaic, can cause delay. She said the changes were run through the Executive Committee of the Alaska Bar Association. At that meeting, it was found that these changes would be a major improvement, and would provide a great deal of clarity. One change would replace registered mail with certified mail. The provision for witness assistance has changed. Back in 1959, apparently $15 per day was adequate. MS. WILLIAMS suggested the following change: On page 3, line 17, instead of the word `subsistence', change it to `food and lodging'. That will eliminate any question that we are talking about fishing rights here. The discovery provision gives the agencies the discretion to allow reasonable discovery. The agencies currently only have the authorization to give reconsideration for 30 days after a decision is entered. Here we have used a comparable court rule that says you have 15 days instead of 30 days, giving the agency 15 days to reconvene and to give reconsideration to the request. CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER asked Ms. Williams if changing subsistence to food and lodging would include transportation costs. MS. WILLIAMS answered that transportation costs are addressed in Section 2, starting at line 11. She noted the word `subsistence' is used on line 26 as well. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked Ms. Williams about the 14 zero fiscal notes. She understood that to mean that this will not cost anything more than it is costing already. MS. WILLIAMS replied that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY felt this new language would take an extremely archaic statute and make it a little less archaic, but archaic still. He thought the language mandating where hearings would be held was cumbersome. He thought that language should be made simpler. It seems to require unnecessary traveling expenses. He thought it should be in Juneau if it is in the First Judicial District, Anchorage if in the Third Judicial District, and Fairbanks, unless agreed to by the parties otherwise. Number 300 MS. WILLIAMS did not have a position on that one way or the other. CHAIRMAN PORTER said without the ability to talk to some of the departments that hold these hearings, they at least have the ability to allow the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable site, so short of hearing of any problems with it, he would be hesitant to change it at this point. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked another question on the whole Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Why don't we adopt or coordinate with the rules of uniform arbitration in Title IX? MS. WILLIAMS said that at some point, some wholesale changes will be necessary to the APA, but the changes in this bill are ones that could be made quickly, and that have a zero fiscal note. In fact, they will save the state money. We needed changes we could make quickly, recognizing we were going to eventually have to take a much more serious look at the APA. That is an excellent idea for us to be looking at later, but she felt it would slow this bill down if they tried to craft something like that at this point. REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE made a motion to adopt Amendment Number 1, which would change the word `subsistence' to `food and lodging' on page 3, lines 17 and 26. Seeing no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to pass HB 234 out of committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes. Seeing no objection, CSHB 234(JUD) moved out of committee.