Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/17/1995 03:15 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 233 - EXTENSION OF MISC BOARDS & COMMISSIONS CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that the next bill before them is HB 233, sponsored by the House Labor and Commerce Committee. He continued the bill extends a number of boards and commissions which are either sunsetting or in their wind down year. The affected boards and commissions perform regulatory and licensure services. He stated they are all essential, necessary and in the best interest of the state. He referred to the proposed committee substitute (CS), Lauterbach, Version M, dated 3-16-95, and said sections eight, nine and ten have been added. Those are the Real Estate Commission, the Special Education Service Agency, and the Board of Storage Tank Assistance. He said these were overlooked. He indicated they did have a report by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee that recommends their extensions. Number 262 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA stated that he was interested in Section 12, and asked if this was the correctional industries sunset date. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if he was referring to the original bill or the proposed CS. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA responded he was referring to Section 12 of the proposed CS. He explained he had been asked by live stock producers in his district if that date could be extended until 1999. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that they first would need to adopt the proposed CS. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA made a motion to adopt the CS. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the CS for HB 233 was adopted. In response to Representative Kubina's question, Chairman Kott stated that they had extended the Correctional Industries Commission for an additional year based upon comments made by the commissioner regarding the supplemental budget. He said there was some discussion that the whole program is in jeopardy and may just be deleted. He said that rather than extending the date four years, and then finding out that they don't have a program, they opted to go with one year. Chairman Kott said that if something happens between now and the time this bill passes the Senate, it can be amended. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA commented that he wouldn't offer an amendment at this time but would like to work with the Chairman. In case things change, they could amend the bill on the floor. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated there is a meeting scheduled with the correctional industry in hopes that they can resolve some of the financial problems. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG agreed with Representative Kubina in wanting to work something out before the bill got to the floor. CHAIRMAN KOTT offered two conceptual amendments. The first, was on page 2, line 1 of the CS, dealing with Board of Marine Pilots, to conform with the transportation bill that extends them until 1999. The amendment would extend the Board of Marine Pilots until 1999. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA made a motion to delete line 1. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that it would be line 1, change "1996" to "1999". The change would reflect the same bill that is being sponsored by Representative Gary Davis. The second change would delete line 9 and 10 on page 2, that deals with Section 6. He stated that this particular area would now be within the Department of Administration. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if they were addressing the amendments separately or as one. CHAIRMAN KOTT preferred that they address them separately. He stated that amendment one had already been adopted, that being the change of 1996 to 1999. He stated this amendment would be conceptual amendment two, deleting section six. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 2. CHAIRMAN KOTT added that along with the two amendments, the title would have to be amended and requested that a comma be placed after "Real Estate Commission." Number 370 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked why some boards are extended to the year 2004, and some are to 1999. Number 372 CHAIRMAN KOTT responded that in the Legislative budget and audit reports, most of these boards have gone to a ten year provision. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the section numbers needed to be conformed. CHAIRMAN KOTT responded that they would change the section numbers accordingly. He explained the three changes as adding three areas: deleting the Board of Nursing Home Administrators, making a grammatical change, and extending Marine Pilots to 1999. He continued Amendment 2 had been adopted and that they still had Amendment 3. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 3. Number 400 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the motion passed. He stated that they now had the CSHB 233(L&C) with accompanying fiscal notes before the committee. He asked if there was anyone wishing to testify. CATHERINE REARDON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, explained that eight of these entities were within the Division of Occupational Licensing. She commented that the Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational Licensing, would be administering the program of Nursing Home Administrators. She mentioned that the Big Game Commercial Services Board was also in it's wind down year and is not mentioned in this bill. It is included in HB 102, which does extend that board. She said that there is a positive fiscal note; however, it does not indicate any increase over the current operating budget. She explained with sunset legislation, they are required to reflect the entire cost of administering these boards, rather than reflecting that it is a zero fiscal note. She also stated that the Division of Legislative Audit has recommended continuing all of these boards for either eight or ten years, rather that the four year period. They see this as being more efficient. Number 436 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked why it would cost $260,000 for personnel services for the State Medical Board. MS. REARDON stated that they have an executive secretary in statute, which is more or less an Executive Director along with two other staffers assigned to them. She stated that her division operates off of a self sufficiency mandate, which means that the fees charged to licensees must cover 100 percent of the cost of licensing and disciplining that particular profession. In order to do this, each employee writes down how much time they spend on a particular profession for every two week pay period, and accounts for all phone calls, which must be attributed to one profession or another. Number 453 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that they tried to come up with a composite list which covered all boards and commissions that needed to be covered. WALLY ROMAN, MANAGER, ALASKA CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIES, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, stated that he was there to answer any questions. Number 470 CHAIRMAN KOTT commented he had seen information which suggested that they may be at a point where they have to discontinue the Correctional Industries Program. He asked Mr. Roman if he had any information. MR. ROMAN stated that he had no information. JERRY SHRINER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, stated that the budget issues are for the supplemental budget, not FY 96. The department is comfortable that they have sufficient money in the supplemental budget, and they will be able to continue to operate correctional industries, statewide, as long as they receive the funding as it now stands. Number 490 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if it was the department's desire to leave the date at 1996, or raise it to 1999. Number 500 MR. SHRINER responded that the department considers correctional industries an integral part of the efforts of reformation and population management. From the Corrections stand point, it is first a program of rehabilitation and vocational training. In the effort to do that, they interject themselves into the private community. He said they work with Mt. McKinley Meats, they provide a vital service to various farmers from Delta to the Mat-Su Valley. He stated they have public/private efforts with a casket company out of Spring Creek, and also with a laundry service here in Juneau. He stated private businessmen need to be able to plan longer than June 30, of one year to June 30, of another. He said they would like to not have the sunset date at all, or have it considerably longer than the one year, not only for planning internally, but also because its difficult dealing with the private sector when they aren't sure that the correctional industries can follow through from one year to the next. Number 523 CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that Mt. McKinley Meats slaughters, cuts and packages. He said that the slaughtering is not competing with the private sector. However, the cutting and packaging processes are by one third or one half. Number 532 MR. ROMAN stated in FY92 and FY93 when there was concern among the red meat industry that Mt. McKinley Meats might go out of business. They have held several public hearings and, from the testimony, the ranchers in the valley clearly stated that Mt. McKinley Meats should continue its operations. The commission at the time appointed a private sector committee to look into the problem. That committee recommended that the correctional industries enter into the custom cut and wrap operation. The commission voted to enter into this. He said their pricing is on the low end of the scale. On March 31, they will be meeting with the Correctional Industries Commission and the private sector to determine what process they should establish. He explained the correctional industries is caught in the middle. One side of the private sector wishes them to lower their prices because they provide a service to the public, and the other side of the private sector is in that business and they don't want them to fall below the market price. He stated that they need to clarify how they arrive at these prices and it should be reviewed regularly by the commission. This will all be discussed at the March 31st, meeting along with a survey by the Division of Agriculture and Correctional Industries of how their prices fall in with the rest of the state. Number 562 CHAIRMAN KOTT made the observation that people will always want to pay a lower price for services but that this isn't always feasible. Number 575 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA said he was under the impression, after attending an agricultural symposium, that they had in fact raised their prices, and are now five percent above the average. MR. ROMAN responded that this was one of the strategies that they had put forth. They should be five percent above the private sector, giving the private sector the edge. It was then determined that perhaps this would be too high. He said several scenarios will be brought forth on March 31, and that the prices should be higher than what they are now. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA concurred they shouldn't be undercutting private businesses. Number 601 CHAIRMAN KOTT added if similar prices were charged, there is still an advantage of taking your products to Mt. McKinley Meats, because they are the only ones who do the slaughtering. MR. ROMAN stated there is some benefit at having everything done at Mt. McKinley. What they have offered to do is truck to private sector companies, providing them the option of having it done at Mt. McKinley Meats or another private sector processor. Number 601 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked what they pay the inmates. MR. ROMAN answered that $1.25 per hour is the top wage. CHAIRMAN KOTT added a butcher in Anchorage receives approximately $15 per hour. MR. ROMAN pointed out most of the people that come through Mt. McKinley Meats are learning the profession. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. Number 610 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA stated that AS 33.32 will be repealed July 1st, and they are changing 1995, to 1996. He said it's not just the commission they are talking about, and that the Chairman may be right on the point of deleting the repeal dates. He stated if you don't fund them, they are not going to happen anyway. He would like to see this extended, but if there is controversy, they should get more backup material. He said it might be better to repeal the whole repealer. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if that meant to not have a sunset date at all. He supposed that you could make that an argument for all the boards and commissions, that if you don't fund them, they're not going to be there. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA interjected only this particular repealing date is in the section several times. They could leave it this way for the commission itself, but for the law as having correctional industries in that section, they are repealing it more than once. It's not just the commission this is effecting. He asked if they should change the date to 1999. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that he would have no problem with that. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA moved to amend Section 7, AS 33.32 to July, 1999, rather than 1996. Number 640 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that there was a motion to change Section 7, line 28, from "1996" to "1999". This would be conceptual amendment 4. TAPE 95-19, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was an objection to Amendment 4. Hearing none, it was so ordered. RACHAEL YATES, ALASKA ASSOCIATION OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, stated that she was here to answer any questions. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked what the board does and how often they meet. MS. YATES responded that the board licenses and looks over the licensure regulations for marriage and family therapists in the state. They meet every quarter. Number 041 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that the CSHB 233(L&C) as amended was before the committee. Number 052 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to move the CSHB 233(L&C), as amended, with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. Number 060 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was an objection. Hearing none, the motion passed.