Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

04/07/2006 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 54 PROTECTIVE ORDERS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ SB 298 TRUSTS: CHALLENGES; CLAIMS; LIABILITIES TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSB 298(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 413 BURNING CAPABILITY OF CIGARETTES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 347 MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE & NOTICE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 347(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 276 BUSINESS LICENSE TOBACCO ENDORSEMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 276(JUD) Out of Committee
HB 413 - BURNING CAPABILITY OF CIGARETTES                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:40:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL  NO. 413,  "An Act relating  to the burning  capability                                                              
of  cigarettes being  sold,  offered for  sale,  or possessed  for                                                              
sale;  and  providing  for  an   effective  date."    [Before  the                                                              
committee was  CSHB 413(STA); in  members' packets was  a proposed                                                              
committee  substitute  (CS)  for   HB  413,  Version  24-LS1495\F,                                                              
Bannister, 4/5/06.]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:40:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKAYLA  SAITO,  Intern  to Representative  Reggie  Joule,  Alaska                                                              
State   Legislature,   relayed   on   behalf   of   the   sponsor,                                                              
Representative  Joule,  that  HB  413 establishes  a  standard  of                                                              
safety by  [requiring a  reduction in  the ignition propensity  of                                                              
cigarettes  sold  in Alaska],  and  that similar  legislation  has                                                              
been introduced in the states of New York and California.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  HULL,  Chief,  North  Tongass   Volunteer  Fire  Department                                                              
(NTVFD),  after relaying  that he  is also speaking  on behalf  of                                                              
Scott  Davis  -   Chief  of  the  South  Tongass   Volunteer  Fire                                                              
Department  (STVFD)  -  pointed  out that  a  cigarette  has  been                                                              
involved in  every one of  the several fire  deaths he has  had to                                                              
deal with  in his  over 30  years' of  experience in  firefighting                                                              
and  emergency medical  service  (EMS).   He  opined  that HB  413                                                              
raises a  lifesaving issue, and  thus the tobacco  industry should                                                              
not  be  a  primary participant  in  the  discussion;  rather  the                                                              
people should be the primary participants.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. HULL  referred to the  findings and  intent section of  HB 413                                                              
and noted  that one  of the  findings states  that cigarettes  are                                                              
the leading  cause of fire-related  deaths in the U.S.  each year,                                                              
claiming  a 1,000  lives  and causing  nearly  2,000 injuries  and                                                              
nearly  $400,000  in  direct  property   damage;  furthermore,  he                                                              
remarked,  Alaska leads  in every  one of those  categories.   The                                                              
simple  technology   to  significantly  reduce  such   deaths  and                                                              
carnage is  already available, other  states have  already enacted                                                              
legislation  similar  to HB  413,  and  Alaska should  join  those                                                              
other states.   One really  need look no  further than  Cable News                                                              
Network  (CNN) reports  regarding  how  this type  of  legislation                                                              
would benefit  not only those who  smoke [and their  families] but                                                              
the  EMS personnel  who must  respond  to fires  that result  from                                                              
cigarettes.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HULL pointed  out  that the  severe  fire  aboard a  Princess                                                              
cruise  ship  in   the  Caribbean  was  caused   by  a  discarded,                                                              
unattended cigarette.   Furthermore, on  the cruise ship  docks in                                                              
Ketchikan,  people discard  their lit  cigarettes on  the dock  on                                                              
dry  days  and those  cigarettes  get  in  between the  pieces  of                                                              
lumber  that  make  up  the  docks   and  smolder,  and  the  fire                                                              
departments  are called  in  a few  hours later  to  fight a  dock                                                              
fire, and  although most  such fires  are small,  at least  once a                                                              
year  a major  fire  erupts.   If  not for  the  quick and  expert                                                              
response  by the  Ketchikan  Fire  Department, he  relayed,  these                                                              
fires  would  have  easily spread  underneath  the  buildings  and                                                              
simply burnt away  the foundations of millions of  dollars in real                                                              
estate,  not to mention  the potential  loss  of jobs, taxes,  and                                                              
human lives  that were put  in danger by  a cigarette  that didn't                                                              
self-extinguish.    Furthermore  there  is also  the  danger  that                                                              
firefighters face in responding to such fires.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. HULL,  in conclusion, asked  members to choose lives  over the                                                              
needs of tobacco industry stockholders by supporting HB 413.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:46:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN  "RUSTY" BELANGER,  Assistant State  Fire Marshal,  Central                                                              
Office, Division  of Fire Prevention, Department  of Public Safety                                                              
(DPS),  relayed that  the  DPS supports  the  passage  of HB  413.                                                              
Alaska has  one of the highest  per capita fire fatality  rates in                                                              
the  nation, he  remarked, adding  that  over the  last 10  years,                                                              
one-fourth  of  Alaska's  fire  fatalities  have  been  caused  by                                                              
cigarettes.   Often, those dying  are not the smokers  themselves,                                                              
but rather  their family  members  and friends.   Via advances  in                                                              
technology and the  tobacco market, there now exists  the means by                                                              
which  to address  a  significant portion  of  this horrific  fire                                                              
record; by requiring  cigarettes [being sold in  Alaska] to comply                                                              
with  already existing  burning  standards in  major U.S.  markets                                                              
and in  all of Canada,  Alaska can begin  to enjoy a  reduction in                                                              
fire fatalities and property loss.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELANGER remarked  that  it  will be  easier  to address  the                                                              
ignition propensity  of cigarettes  than it  would be  to regulate                                                              
all  the home  furnishings  that are  often  typically ignited  by                                                              
unattended  cigarettes.   He remarked  that this  is not an  anti-                                                              
smoking issue  but is  instead a  life- and  property-conservation                                                              
issue;  all  manufacturers  can  and do  produce  these  types  of                                                              
cigarettes already,  and so  [passage of HB  413] will  not affect                                                              
revenues or  retailers.  "This bill  makes good sense  for Alaska,                                                              
and I  ask you  to help  us as  we do  what we  can to reduce  our                                                              
fire-loss record," he concluded.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:48:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHANNA BALES, Excise  Audit Manager, Tax Division,  Department of                                                              
Revenue (DOR),  noted that although  the DOR had  recommended some                                                              
changes to  the sponsor,  not all of  them were incorporated  into                                                              
the CS.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee                                                              
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  413,  Version  24-LS1495\F,  Bannister,                                                              
4/5/06, as  the work draft.   There being no objection,  Version F                                                              
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SAITO  acknowledged that although  the changes  recommended by                                                              
the  DOR  were   submitted  to  Legislative  Legal   and  Research                                                              
Services,  not  all of  them  were included  in  Version  F.   She                                                              
suggested  that perhaps some  of the  recommendations were  simply                                                              
overlooked by the drafter.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  set HB  413, Version  F, aside  for the  purpose of                                                              
allowing the sponsor  time to work further with  the DOR regarding                                                              
its recommendations.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[Later  in the  meeting  Representative Gruenberg  mentioned  that                                                              
he'd be helping the sponsor and his staff work on HB 413.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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