Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/23/1993 03:00 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 65: IMPROVEMENT OF STATE FINANCES CHAIRMAN HUDSON outlined the material contained in the members' bill packets. Chairman Hudson explained that it was his intention to ask the committee to review and move out a committee substitute (CS) covering the treatment of fees by the state and to ask the committee to approve the introduction of two other bills covering most of the rest of HB 65. CHAIRMAN HUDSON further explained there were serious problems with the content of the bill violating the single subject rule. It was therefore decided to divide it up into the following: 1) the CS will cover the biannual treatment of the various licenses and fees; 2) a new bill for introduction to cover changes to Medicaid; and 3) a new bill for introduction for the changes to the Division of Motor Vehicles. Number 211 CHERYL FRASCA, DIRECTOR, BUDGET REVIEW, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, outlined section by section the new committee substitute. SECTIONS 1 THROUGH 32 MS. FRASCA testified that Sections 1 through 32 concerned the Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC Board), and by changing the payment of fees from an annual to biennial basis, the board would be able to spread out the workload. SECTIONS 33 THROUGH 35 BRANT McGEE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, testified that this section would allow his agency to charge fees for public guardians to people who are incapacitated but can afford to pay for the services. Number 278 REP. MACKIE inquired why the word `may' replaced the word `shall' in Section 34. MR. MCGEE explained that the OPA does not have the resources to investigate every case where a public guardian is appointed or requested, so this language change would give the agency some discretion. SECTIONS 36 THROUGH 43 MS. FRASCA explained that these sections give the postsecondary education department the right to charge a one percent loan guarantee fee. Number 300 DAVID DIERDORF, REVISOR OF STATUTES, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY, suggested the committee amend the language in Section 38, page 12, line 1: after the word `and' insert "subject to appropriation,". MR. DIERDORF suggested the same language change to Section 40, page 12, line 20. CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked what happens to the money collected through this one percent loan guarantee fund. MS. FRASCA explained that this fund would be used to help defray costs of defaults, deaths and disability. CHAIRMAN HUDSON noted that the statutes already provide for these types of problems. Number 350 DOUG HANON, FINANCE OFFICER, POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION COMMISSION, testified that the one percent fee was a one time only fee and comes off the top of the loan. The commission views this money as an insurance policy against defaults. REP. PORTER asked if this one percent fee was like points a person would pay at the bank for a mortgage loan. REP. PORTER also inquired if this fee would be retroactive. MR. HANON said no, the one percent would only apply to new applications. Number 365 The committee asked for further clarification on how the one percent fee would be handled within the department. MR. HANON responded with examples. SECTIONS 44 THROUGH 48 Number 465 MS. FRASCA stated that Sections 44 through 48 address some fee increases and changes in which certificates are issued in the Department of Labor. REP. PORTER told the committee for their information that he had an amendment to Section 47. Number 483 REP. MACKIE asked why, in Sections 44 and 45, the fees weren't spelled out. MS. FRASCA explained that the trend in recent years has been to allow the departments to set the fees and not spell them out in statute. It was felt it was more difficult to set fees in statute because the process is more political. MS. FRASCA stated that Section 48 raised the fees paid by approximately eight agencies in the state from $10 to $100, for a net benefit to the state of $700. REP. SITTON suggested the committee delete this section completely since the revenue generated was so small and the number of businesses affected was low. CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated he believed that to remain consistent in the in fee structure this one would have to be increased too. REP. MACKIE commented that it seemed strange to be in the business of charging people who help others get jobs. SECTIONS 49 AND 50 Number 533 MS. FRASCA outlined these sections as dealing with the definition of program receipts. She said AETNA currently pays the state of Alaska to administer the health benefits program, and the new language would change the account the money would be deposited to. SECTIONS 50 AND 51 Number 550 MS. FRASCA explained that this section related to the catastrophe reserve account and was amended to allow deposits of proceeds from state insurance settlements. Ms. Frasca further stated that it was the federal government that noted that since there were federal monies involved, the money should not be deposited in the general fund but into the catastrophe reserve account. CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked for the amount in this account. Number 565 DON HITCHCOCK, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF RISK MANAGEMENT, testified that the catastrophe reserve account was capped at $5,000,000. Mr. Hitchcock further stated that if the state collected more than $5,000,000 the balance would go into the general fund. SECTIONS 52 AND 53 MS. FRASCA testified that these sections would provide a vehicle for the state to charge for use of park facilities. CHAIRMAN HUDSON noted that this idea had been before the legislature last year and was not a popular one. SECTIONS 54 AND 55 MS. FRASCA explained that Section 54 allowed the Department of Environmental Conservation to charge for inspections that under current statutes it was mandated to perform. Section 55 requires the department to charge for both direct and indirect costs of air quality permit programs. TAPE 93-15, SIDE B Number 000 JANICE ADAIR, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, testified that Section 55 would broaden the department's authority to charge fees to all the health related public facility inspections that the department performs. SECTION 56 MS. FRASCA explained that this section repeals AS 13.26.410(b) and AS 37.05.210(1). The first repealed statute would eliminate the court's responsibility to determine the ability to pay by persons needing services from the OPA under this section. The second statute to be repealed would make a change in the uniform accounting procedure that was no longer needed since the state implemented its new accounting system eight years ago. SECTION 57 MS. FRASCA stated this section allows the Department of Natural Resources to establish temporary fees until the permanent fee structure is in place. Number 089 CHAIRMAN HUDSON inquired if there were any public hearing processes to establish temporary fees. MS. FRASCA answered no. SECTION 58 MS. FRASCA testified that Section 58 allows for a transition period for implementation of the biennial licenses issued by the ABC Board. SECTION 59 MR. DIERDORF explained that this section gives the authority to the state agencies to proceed on the regulation process. SECTION 60 MR. DIERDORF stated this section would allow the Department of Administration to charge for guardian's services without a court order. It would have the effect of amending the Alaska Rule of Probate Procedure. CHAIRMAN HUDSON noted that this section would require a 2/3 vote since it changes a court order. SECTIONS 61 THROUGH 64 MS. FRASCA stated these sections provided for effective dates. Number 152 REP. MACKIE moved that CSHB 65(L&C) be adopted by the committee and asked for unanimous consent. There being no objections, it was so ordered. Number 159 REP. MACKIE moved Amendment 1 as suggested by the revisor of statutes, that on page 12, line 1, and page 12, line 20, following the word `and' insert ", subject to appropriation". No objections were heard and it was so ordered. REP. PORTER moved Amendment 2: on page 14 delete lines 13 through 17 and replace it with the following: (7) charge and collect reasonable fees, established by the council by regulation, for processing applications for basic certification of police, probation, parole, and correctional officers under 13 AAC 85.040 and 230. No objections were heard; it was so ordered. Number 258 REP. MACKIE asked to be excused from committee as he had other business. Number 260 REP. SITTON moved Amendment 3: on page 14 delete lines 18 through 22. An objection was noted. Discussion ensued. REP. SITTON noted that this section only affects eight businesses and brings in a minimal amount of money to the state. Rep. Sitton further stated that the section was more bothersome than it was worth. CHAIRMAN HUDSON again noted his belief that if the state was going to charge fees for services, then they should be consistent. REP. SITTON withdrew his amendment. Number 360 REP. GREEN moved Amendment 4: housekeeping amendments. No objections were heard; it was so ordered. REP. PORTER moved CSHB 65(L&C)am with fiscal notes and asked unanimous consent. No objections were heard; it was so ordered. Number 370 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if the committee had any objections to introducing the two work drafts noted earlier covering Medicaid and motor vehicle issues as Labor and Commerce bills. No objections were heard; it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN HUDSON adjourned the meeting at 4:27 p.m.