Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/22/1995 03:25 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 224 - STATE PLUMBING CODE                                                 
                                                                              
 Number 581                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT said they would now hear from the Prime Sponsor of              
 HB 224.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 224, pointed out              
 there was a zero fiscal note accompanying the bill.  The basic                
 intent of the bill was to give the Department of Law the                      
 authority to adopt and amend the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).  He             
 said it does not make any changes to the existing code or adopt a             
 new version of code.  It simply changes the process by which the              
 code is adopted.  HB 224 has been supported by various labor                  
 unions and plumbing contractors, as well as engineering firms.                
 The Department of Labor would administer the code in a more                   
 timely manner.  He said this was a safety issue as far as setting             
 minimum safety standards of plumbing installations.  Because the              
 UPC code is so technical, it would make more sense for the                    
 Department of Labor to be the administrator.  He concluded by                 
 saying the Plumbing Code was the last code that still required                
 legislative approval.  He respectfully requested the committee's              
 consideration of the bill.                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were any questions for the prime                 
 sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 619                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT MINCH, ALASKA DESIGN SPECIALTY COUNCIL, testified they                 
 were in favor of the bill.  He said it would go a long way in                 
 cleaning up the process of adopting regulations covering the                  
 construction and design industries.  He encouraged them to pass               
 this from committee, and he added he would answer any questions.              
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were questions.  He then called                  
 Dwight Perkins to the table.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 626                                                                    
                                                                               
 DWIGHT PERKINS, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, testified             
 the department supports HB 224 with a technical change.  On page              
 2, line 3 through line 9, beginning with, "unless changed by the              
 department", under C & D of the section, he said they found lines             
 3 through 9 redundant.  This is addressed in the 1991 Plumbing                
 Code which the state is currently using.  This particular                     
 language came about when they were under the previous code which              
 did not address the Federal Clean Water Standard Act regarding                
 lead in water.  This is federally mandated; therefore, this                   
 language has to apply.  He said it is addressed in two separate               
 sections of the 1991 Plumbing Code.  He reiterated that the                   
 department supports the bill.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 641                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Perkins to briefly describe the             
 process for the adoption of the plumbing code in the state.                   
                                                                               
 Number 648                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded that currently the (indiscernible).                     
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-22, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS continued, saying the plumbing code is adopted by                 
 statute.  The Department of Labor does not have the authority, by             
 regulation, to adopt new codes as they become effective.  The                 
 most recent code became effective on June 12, 1991.  HB 224 would             
 allow the department to hold public hearings for contractors and              
 design professionals to have the opportunity to either add to, or             
 delete from the plumbing code.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 034                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if any mechanical engineers were on             
 staff at the Department of Labor.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 038                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS answered that two of the inspectors are plumbers, and             
 the chief engineer is an electrician.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 050                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if this was coincidental or                     
 required by statute.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded he wasn't familiar with the job                         
 descriptions.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 055                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked who wrote the regulations.                      
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated the mechanical section of the Department of                
 Labor would write those regulation.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if mechanical engineers were part               
 of that.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded he was not sure if they were licensed to do             
 mechanical engineering within the state.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 065                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if they hold public hearings in                 
 order to adopt local amendments to the codes.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said that was correct.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if, historically, this was what the             
 legislature has done.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS replied that, historically, amendments had been                   
 proposed in regards to other plumbing codes.  Those amendments                
 never were adopted, and the codes were adopted as originally                  
 written.  He said, "Alaska is a different place, and in some                  
 instances things don't work the way they should, but the                      
 department and the users of the code would have the opportunity               
 to make amendments, where needed, to alleviate problems."                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the legislature has ever made                
 amendments to the code.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said in a past life, he had been a lobbyist who was               
 involved with trying to make amendments to the code.  He said                 
 because of the lack of understanding of the technical portion of              
 the code, the legislature did not feel they were enough of an                 
 informed body to take what he said as gospel.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 098                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Perkins to explain the difference between             
 a single and double wall heat exchanger.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 105                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS replied that primarily in areas where oil fired                   
 domestic boilers are used, there is a heat exchanger submersed                
 inside the boiler that protects potable water.  He explained that             
 propylene glycol is added to the system.  If the heat exchanger               
 should rust out, the water in which it is immersed would leak                 
 into the potable water system.  He said with a double wall                    
 exchanger you would have that extra protection.                               
                                                                               
 Number 139                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked what the department's position would be on                
 retaining the single wall heat exchanger.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 141                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated the department recognizes the need for looking             
 into this section of the code to amend it and allow single wall               
 exchangers in certain areas.  He said, "until they have the                   
 authority to make regulatory changes, they are at a loss to do                
 so, and the inspectors are following what they can by the code,               
 and the code says one thing, and until they are given the                     
 regulatory to make those changes their hands are tied."                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA interpreted that as saying the department               
 doesn't want to put exceptions into the law.  They want the                   
 ability to write the regulations themselves.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 164                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated they would fine tune the codes to Alaska's                 
 needs, and in this instance, with heat exchangers, they do see a              
 need for change.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 170                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if the department didn't want to                  
 write those changes into law.                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded no.  They feel the contractors and plumbers             
 should sit down with the Department of Labor and hammer out their             
 differences so the results would be in the best interest of the               
 state.                                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the state presently (indisc.)                    
 electrical codes and national codes that had been adopted.  He                
 asked if this was a similar regulatory plan on a three year                   
 cycle, or do they only make local amendments if there is public               
 input.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 184                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS explained that the public is notified through                     
 newspapers and public advertisements that the department will be              
 adopting the next version of the code, along with any suggested               
 changes.  He said the public process is followed so any changes               
 to the code will be heard at locations throughout the state.                  
                                                                               
 Number 198                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the drafting attorneys made the              
 ultimate decision.  He commented that even though there is public             
 input, it doesn't always mean those interests are followed.                   
                                                                               
 Number 202                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said with the exception of the Elevator Code, this is             
 the last construction code yet to be adopted by regulation.  He               
 pointed out the Electrical Code was adopted last year, and the                
 department now has the authority to adopt regulations for that                
 code.  The department does not view this legislation as                       
 adversarial to the users of the code, but as a streamlining                   
 process.  The public would have the opportunity to be involved in             
 adopting codes and making amendments.                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Representative Rokeberg to hold his questions             
 as they had many more people to testify.  He asked Representative             
 Jeannette James to join them at the table.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 225                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES voiced her concerns about HB 224.              
 She stated that the Department of Labor should not be given                   
 "carte blanche" authority to write regulations.  She pointed out              
 that when the department had been given specific points to work               
 with in the past, the regulations still haven't always come out               
 as they should.  In that regard, she disputes the bill.  However,             
 if the bill is to move forward, it should be amended.  She                    
 recognized that the Department of Labor said they would address               
 the concerns some people have with single wall heat exchangers.               
 However, from past experience, the people in her district are not             
 satisfied this will, in fact, happen.  The legislature is lazy to             
 have spun off the opportunity to make law by giving it to the                 
 Administration.  When it comes to codes directly affecting                    
 Alaska, there is a policy decision.  When it comes to making                  
 policy, the policies ought to be made by elected officials of the             
 legislature.  If the legislature gives the authority to the                   
 Department of Labor, it would be totally derelict in its duty.                
 She said the department should be implementing the statutes as                
 the legislature imposes them.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES continued that with single wall heat                     
 exchangers, there generally isn't any potable water in the                    
 system.  Propylene glycol is a nontoxic fluid and not a problem.              
 She added they have also been hearing from the people that "when              
 you write regulations and make us dance this other dance that we              
 haven't been dancing, please tell us and figure out how much it               
 will cost to dance the other dance."  She asked if the cost and               
 benefit would be balanced.  As the current bill is written,                   
 coupled with existing law, home owners wouldn't have the means to             
 have single wall heat exchangers.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES offered an amendment to HB 224 to address                
 the concerns of people being affected physically and financially              
 by the legislation.  "This amendment would allow that in single               
 wall construction, if the heat transfer medium is water and                   
 either propylene glycol or other essential nontoxic fluids,                   
 having a toxicity rating of Class One, or class of one as listed              
 in Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, Fifth Edition, and             
 the pressure of the heat transfer medium is limited to a maximum              
 of 30 pounds per square inch by an approved safety relief valve.              
 And the heat exchanger is permanently and (indisc.) labeled with              
 instructions concerning Sections 1 and 2 of this section."  She               
 said the rest of the three-page amendment is legal drafting that              
 "permits this to happen and continue happening."                              
                                                                               
 Number 313                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT opened testimony on the teleconference line.                    
                                                                               
 Number 318                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARK BLACKWELL, PLUMBING CONTRACTOR, testified via teleconference             
 on HB 224.  He read the following statement:  "I would like to                
 address the current fact-finding committee on the proposed                    
 inclusion of HB 224, and the impact of not including the 10.03 K              
 amendment the city of Fairbanks adopted January 1, 1993.  I                   
 specifically would like to address the use of single wall heat                
 exchangers, common component of domestic water systems in use for             
 80 years.  The multiple thousands of systems are in daily use                 
 around Fairbanks and many millions of these systems are used                  
 worldwide on a daily basis.  The single wall domestic heat                    
 exchanger coil remains the industry standard in terms of                      
 application and affordability to the end user, namely you and I,              
 in our residences, apartment buildings, even in commercial                    
 buildings.  I know of no verifiable deaths or illness directly                
 attributable to its use in Fairbanks due to a compromised or                  
 failed coil.  The cost benefit equation, far outweighs any life               
 safety issues that may remotely arise with its continued use.  I,             
 therefore, urge the committee to consider the 10.03 K amendment               
 which carries the prudent thinking of not only people in                      
 Fairbanks, but also manufacturers, engineers and contractors                  
 worldwide."                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 355                                                                    
                                                                               
 DAN PORTWINE, PORTWINE PLUMBING & HEATING, testified from                     
 Fairbanks via teleconference on HB 244.  He urged the committee               
 not to pass HB 224 without the 10.03 K amendment.  The single                 
 wall coil should be fully acceptable for heating domestic hot                 
 water under most circumstances.  The vast majority of boilers in              
 the Fairbanks area have single wall coils in use.  He has been in             
 the plumbing business in Fairbanks for 21 years.  In that time,               
 he has experienced three leaking coils.  All three coils were                 
 new, but had manufacturers defects which were discovered upon                 
 installation.  He has never experienced any health hazards caused             
 by the single wall coil.  (Indisc.) under normal circumstances                
 the domestic side of the coil, which operates at a higher                     
 pressure than the boiler enclosed side, will flow into the                    
 boiler, over pressure the boiler and turn the pressure release                
 valve on the boiler (indisc.--mumbling).  He said requiring                   
 nontoxic glycol in water as the heating fluid should adequately               
 address the safety issue.  He stated requiring double wall coils              
 would place unreasonable hardships on home and property owners.               
 Double wall coils are available for normal boilers.  Tank-type                
 water heaters with double wall boilers are very expensive and                 
 inefficient.  Operating electric or gas hot water heaters in                  
 Fairbanks is very expensive.  The oil fired water heaters are                 
 expensive to purchase and install.  His basic concern is a                    
 product that has been in use for 80 to 100 years does not warrant             
 the expense and hardships placed on the citizens of this state.               
 The Department of Labor has been aware of this problem.                       
                                                                               
 Number 382                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL HIRT, OWNER, COMFORT MECHANICAL testified via                         
 teleconference that on February 24, 1995, he received a long                  
 distance phone call from the acting Chief Mechanical Inspector,               
 Gerard Mankel, for the state.  Mr. Mankel referred to a single                
 wall coil that Mr. Hirt had installed at the Alaska Veterinary                
 Clinic, 410 Trainer Gate Rd., Fairbanks.  Mr. Mankel asked if he              
 intended to change the system in order to comply with the 1991                
 Uniform Plumbing Code Section 1003 K.  He informed Mr. Mankel                 
 that at the time the job was bid and designed, the 1979 UPC was               
 enforced with the state.  The 1988 UPC was enforced by the city,              
 and did not include language referring to single wall coils.  He              
 told Mr. Mankel the project was built within the city of                      
 Fairbanks and was subject to the administration authority of the              
 City Building Department.  The city of Fairbanks, during                      
 construction of this project, adopted the 1991 UPC at                         
 approximately the same time the state did.  However, the city of              
 Fairbanks chose to amend and clarify the code language to the                 
 city ordinance so it would be consistent with the UPC's intent.               
 He stated that he, in good faith, paid for a permit with the city             
 and expected the city to be the administrative authority to                   
 follow.  He told Mr. Mankel he had no intention of changing                   
 anything at the present time.  They also spoke of other                       
 interpretations of the ASME Code.  Recent misinterpretation by                
 state officials has caused thousands of dollars of expense to                 
 interior owners, only to find the officials had misinterpreted                
 its intent.  He then asked if Mr. Mankel agreed with the city                 
 ordinance in allowing single wall coils in cases where potable                
 water was on both sides of the coil.  He said Mr. Mankel's                    
 response was that he only enforces the state statutes, he doesn't             
 try to interpret them.                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. HIRT stated he would like to see HB 224 amended by having the             
 heat exchanger amendment and also that the administrative                     
 authority be defined as being the most local authority.  For                  
 example, a city would be more local than a borough.  Depending on             
 building demand, they would have a part or full-time official on              
 the payroll to administer the UPC, within its defined boundaries.             
 This is essential for proper application of the code.  The                    
 Department of Labor would interpret things as they see fit.                   
                                                                               
 Number 420                                                                    
                                                                               
 LEONARD KIMBALL, BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR THE CITY OF KODIAK AND THE             
 KODIAK ISLAND BOROUGH, testified via teleconference that single               
 wall coil heat exchangers had been in use for many years in                   
 Kodiak without any serious cost connection problems.  The 1991                
 edition of the UPC out ruled these systems in spite of the fact               
 they had done very well with oil fired burners.  Much of the                  
 United States still allows for this system.  Natural gas is not               
 available in Kodiak, and they feel the UPC is unfairly impacting              
 their community.  In 1991, the Kodiak Code Review Committee, made             
 up of contractors and citizens, recommended an exception to the               
 code allowing the continued use of single wall heat exchangers.               
 He said the City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly,                  
 after holding public hearings, unanimously approved the                       
 exception.  He said that by refusing to accept tried and tested               
 material, still approved in many parts of the country, and                    
 tolerating requirements that are excessive, permits the code to               
 provide basic minimal provision necessary for (indisc.), the UPC              
 code is straying from its stated purpose to provide minimum                   
 requirements and standards for the protection of public health,               
 safety, and welfare.  He closed by asking the committee to                    
 support the amendment allowing the continued use of single wall               
 heat exchangers as proposed by the city of Fairbanks, the city of             
 Kodiak, and the Kodiak Island Borough.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 447                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOHN BUTLER, JOHN'S HEATING SERVICE IN KODIAK, testified via                  
 teleconference that if HB 224 is initiated, he would like to see              
 the amendment to the single wall coil.  In the last 20 years they             
 haven't had any problems with people being poisoned from backflow             
 or anything resulting from failure of the coil.  These added                  
 costs would be passed on to the consumer.  The officials in                   
 Kodiak are capable of making the right decision for these codes.              
                                                                               
 Number 460                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if double wall exchangers would take              
 more energy to produce the same amount of heat for the water.                 
                                                                               
 MR. BUTLER stated it would take 30 to 40 percent more energy to               
 produce the same amount of hot water with the double walled coil,             
 as opposed to the single wall coil.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 468                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM STREIFEL, STREIFEL PLUMBING & HEATING testified via                       
 teleconference that it is not often that so many plumbers get                 
 together and agree they don't want to make money.  He stated                  
 they could charge more for the double wall coils but they just                
 don't work.  They are building systems so people can afford them.             
 This would cut efficiency.  The "feds" are already mandating a                
 limit to the number of BTUs that can be put into a house.  When               
 they have to figure heat loss, and they go over the limit by 10               
 percent, if they must use double wall coils, they won't get the               
 numbers to work.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 481                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked what the standard life span of a single wall              
 coil was.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 489                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BUTLER answered he had been doing heating work for the past               
 20 years and there are a lot of single wall coils in existence                
 that preexist the 1964 tidal wave.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 490                                                                    
                                                                               
 LEE HOLMES, LICENSED MECHANICAL ENGINEER, RSA ENGINEERING, past               
 president of Alaska Special Design Council, and Charter member of             
 Alaska Chapter of the International Association of Plumbing &                 
 Mechanical Officials, testified via teleconference in support of              
 HB 224.  He stated it had taken 12 years to upgrade the Plumbing              
 Code this last time.  He believes the professionals who deal with             
 codes on a daily basis should have the authority to come up with              
 the amendments and adopt the code in a timely manner.  He has sat             
 on the municipality of Anchorage Code Review Committee since                  
 1988, working to pass amendments needed to modify the code to                 
 meet local requirements unique to Anchorage.  There has been                  
 misleading information and misunderstandings.  Amtrol makes both              
 single and double wall heat exchangers that are hooked up to                  
 boilers as a separate item.  The double wall heat exchanger is                
 $8.00 cheaper.  In 1991, when the code went into effect, it                   
 caught many manufacturers off guard.  Over the past three years,              
 they have caught up and actually exceeded the number of double                
 wall exchangers originally anticipated.  In talking with a                    
 manufacturer's representative recently, 90 percent of the heat                
 exchangers he sells, dealing with potable water, are double wall              
 exchangers.  The 10 percent of single wall exchangers that are                
 sold are for steam and potable water on both side systems.  He                
 expounded on the flagging of boilers and the use of propylene                 
 glycol.  He stated that propylene glycol is toxic, the same as                
 alcohol is toxic.  It is not as toxic as ethylene glycol.  There              
 are various grades of propylene glycol.  The type listed by                   
 Representative James is not what you would purchase if you went               
 to (indisc.) and asked them for premixed propylene glycol.  He                
 stated propylene glycol is corrosive to piping.  Therefore,                   
 inhibitors are added to prevent corrosion.  These inhibitors are              
 not classified as nontoxic.  He said in bush communities, when a              
 boiler goes down and it is refilled, you are just as likely to                
 get Prestone installed into the system.  In remote areas where                
 home owners have modified systems or extremely corrosive water,               
 unlike Fairbanks or Kodiak, (indisc.).  Another misunderstanding              
 was that the exchangers are less efficient, using 30 to 40                    
 percent more energy.  The Amtrol double wall heat exchanger water             
 heater that works as a zone off of the boiler, takes no more                  
 energy to create the same amount of hot water than a single wall              
 unit.  He said double wall side arm heaters, which fit right into             
 the boilers, do not create as much hot water as single wall                   
 heaters, but they do not draw any more energy to heat that water.             
 He concluded if an amendment is needed, it should be adopted by               
 the Department of Labor when they go through the amendment                    
 process.  He does not feel there is uniform consensus throughout              
 the industry.  He knew of no engineer who would support single                
 wall heat exchangers over double wall exchangers due to the                   
 ethics and personal liability involved.  He feels that they                   
 should not be tied into technology based 15 to 20 years ago when              
 the industry itself is changing to support the double wall heat               
 exchangers.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 560                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the Anchorage Code Review was                
 like the Board Examiner of Appeals for the municipality of                    
 Anchorage.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. HOLMES responded when new codes come out, they go to the                  
 professional and construction communities and ask individuals to              
 sit on the committee to go through the code and make                          
 recommendations for amendments.  He said there are separate                   
 committees for Fire, Mechanical, Structural, Plumbing and the                 
 Uniform Building Codes.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 568                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if, after the recommendations those             
 go to the assembly, or to the Board of Examiner Review.                       
                                                                               
 MR. HOLMES answered they go out for public comment; then                      
 eventually, they go to the assembly to be adopted by resolution.              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if you could have additional public             
 hearings after issuing a first draft.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. HOLMES stated this was correct.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG continued it then goes to the assembly                
 for approval, at which time a citizen can make a complaint or ask             
 for further amendments.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. HOLMES said this was correct.                                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT invited Representative Gene Therriault to sit at                
 the table.                                                                    
                                                                               
 LEE DESPAIN, DESPAIN PLUMBING & HEATING, testified via                        
 teleconference, that he had been in the plumbing business for 40              
 years.  He stated Mr. Holmes commented on the double wall heat                
 exchanger costing $8.00 less than the single exchanger.  However,             
 he forgot to say the installation alone would cost between $1000              
 to $1500 extra, because you're not able to use the coil that                  
 comes in most boilers they install in Fairbanks.  Mr. Holmes also             
 commented he knew of no engineers who would opt to install the                
 single wall exchangers over the double wall exchangers.  Mr.                  
 Despain said it was his understanding the Code Review Commission              
 has mechanical engineers on it and that the commission                        
 unanimously supported the use of single wall coils, as long as                
 they are installed with the provision that the city of Fairbanks              
 has for those applications.                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. DESPAIN continued by reading a prepared statement:  "It                   
 appears to me that the Department of Labor is making a run for                
 power.  You legislators can ill afford to delegate your                       
 responsibility for maintenance of the current applicable codes to             
 the Department of Labor.  These codes affect every resident in                
 this state with no exceptions either directly or indirectly.  If              
 you feel I've overstated my position, please feel free -- how                 
 much of the population of Alaska, regardless of age, creed, color             
 or national origin or religion, does not use water.  There are                
 several other codes in this legislation that also apply to                    
 Alaskans, in addition to the Plumbing Code.  This legislation                 
 will establish the Department of Labor as the Internal Revenue                
 Service of plumbing and other codes, Alaska-style.  If an appeal              
 is necessary after this piece of legislation, a person can go see             
 the next higher Department of Labor person.  It sounds like DOL               
 justice to me, or is that IRS justice?  I can hardly wait to see              
 how much money the Department of Labor can leverage from the                  
 legislature if this ill-conceived piece of legislation is                     
 approved.  Please, legislators, keep these codes within your                  
 jurisdiction and abolish this ill-conceived piece of legislation,             
 HB 224."                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. DESPAIN stated there are presently exemptions to the code                 
 existing under state statute concerning code compliance.  He                  
 asked if this legislation would still allow for those exemptions,             
 which concern municipalities and some small rural communities.                
                                                                               
 Number 618                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded they amend the administrative sections of               
 the codes.  He didn't feel this would be a problem.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out he was asking if there is an              
 exemption from the codes when you have a code in a municipality?              
                                                                               
 MR. DESPAIN asked if that exemption disappears with this piece of             
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS apologized for misunderstanding the questions, and he             
 added, "When exemptions are applied for and the department feels              
 they are in the best interest, then they are granted."                        
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS clarified there are existing exceptions to the                    
 legislation allowing codes to be processed in Juneau at this                  
 time.  Those exemptions are for municipalities and certain rural              
 communities.  His question whether these exemptions still apply               
 "when DOL is made God instead of the state legislature?"  Will                
 they still be in effect?                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS responded he didn't know why they wouldn't be.                    
                                                                               
 MR. DESPAIN reiterated there seemed to be poor information being              
 disseminated with regard to the double wall coil.  His concern is             
 that the double wall coil issue is insignificant in comparison                
 with establishing the Department of Labor as the group                        
 (indisc.--end of tape)                                                        
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-23, SIDE A,                                                           
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. DESPAIN continued that they should continue to let the                    
 legislature do what they have been doing for years.                           
                                                                               
 Number 004                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if they were to enact this                      
 legislation, whether the new Plumbing Code, as administered by                
 the Department of Labor, would be superior to the municipal codes             
 in Anchorage, Fairbanks and elsewhere.                                        
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated at this time, the state's UPC is a minimum                 
 standard.  It says the municipalities may make the codes more                 
 stringent, but not less stringent.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if this was for all codes.                      
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated he was only referring to the Plumbing Code.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the state had adopted the                    
 Uniform Building Code.                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS answered that to his knowledge, yes.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG queried whether they couldn't be less                 
 stringent than the UPC.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS said he could only refer to the Plumbing Code right               
 now.  The municipalities can be more stringent than the 1991                  
 code, but not less stringent.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 059                                                                    
                                                                               
 STEVE SHUTTLEWORTH, BUILDING OFFICIAL, CITY OF FAIRBANKS,                     
 testified via teleconference.  He commented they had only                     
 received notice of the teleconference the day prior, and would                
 have appreciated more notice.  He said the city has several                   
 concerns regarding HB 224.  The city of Fairbanks recognizes that             
 HB 224 was initiated by the Alaska Professional Design Council,               
 not the Department of Labor.  The city of Fairbanks also                      
 recognizes that the purpose of the bill is to adopt the state                 
 plumbing code by regulation.  They do not feel they will receive              
 a "fair shake" from the Department of Labor regarding the actual              
 regulatory process.  The city of Fairbanks has received little                
 cooperation from the DOL.  He pointed out that on page 2, line                
 11, the bill acknowledges only one code.  He said there are                   
 several nationally recognized plumbing codes that should be                   
 considered.  This code is the only code that prohibits single                 
 wall coils.  He said that on page 3, lines 17 and 18, the                     
 language is inappropriate.  He quoted, "best interest of the                  
 state," and then asked, what about the people, cities, and                    
 accountability?  The current language suggests an agenda which                
 recommends revision or deletion of lines 17 and 18, as noted.  He             
 referred the committee to page 17 in the handbook of the State                
 Constitution.  He asked why HB 224 was only referred to one                   
 committee, bypassing State Affairs.  He said the city of                      
 Fairbanks would consider supporting HB 224, provided the                      
 Fairbanks and Kodak amendment is included.  He asked the                      
 committee not to underestimate the city of Fairbanks' commitment              
 to the passage of this amendment.  This issue affects his office              
 every day.  The collective wisdom regarding plumbing and single               
 wall coils has been, or is, vested with the Department of Labor;              
 nor is it vested in communities with natural gas.  There has been             
 a concern that if they accept this amendment, what about all the              
 others?   Isn't this the governmental process?  In summary, he                
 stated the single wall coil issue will not go away.  In                       
 Fairbanks, they have a genuine problem with the currently overly              
 restrictive double wall heat exchanger state requirement.  If the             
 proposed Fairbanks and Kodiak amendment is not adopted, they will             
 work diligently for the defeat of HB 224.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT thanked him for his testimony and assured him that              
 the state was under new management.  The committee does not                   
 arbitrarily teleconference every Labor & Commerce Committee                   
 meeting.  The request came late from either the bill sponsor or a             
 member of the public.  In response to being the only committee of             
 referral, he assured Mr. Shuttleworth that the Labor & Commerce               
 Committee would thoroughly evaluate HB 224.  He asked Mr.                     
 Shuttleworth for his phone number.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. SHUTTLEWORTH stated that it was 459-6725.                                 
                                                                               
 LARRY LONG, PLUMBING INSPECTOR FOR THE CITY OF FAIRBANKS,                     
 testified via teleconference.  He commented that Mr. Shuttleworth             
 was his supervisor.  He said:  "This limiting, even the                       
 consideration of any other plumbing code except the UPC, we all               
 know where that comes from."  He said they should consider the                
 best code for the state of Alaska, not one that is a private                  
 vested interest.  He commented on what Mr. Despain had said in                
 regards to changing the transfer of power by the legislature.  It             
 creates another IRS, EPA, and a totally out of control                        
 administration.  He said he could not believe anyone could think              
 the single wall/double wall coil is a safety hazard.  He was in               
 much more danger driving to the teleconference than he ever would             
 be drinking water from a single wall boiler.  He reiterated that              
 the Department of Labor is not a pleasant subject in Fairbanks.               
 He does not trust anything anyone says from the department.                   
                                                                               
 Number 226                                                                    
                                                                               
 BILL SAGER, CHANDLER PLUMBING & HEATING, testified via                        
 teleconference.  He said the ability of any department to be able             
 to change or adopt codes administratively is not in the best                  
 interest of the state.  He concurred with previous speakers                   
 regarding the double wall coil requirements as being unnecessary.             
 He urged that the requirement of the double wall coil be deleted              
 from whichever code is adopted.                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was anyone else wishing to testify.              
 Hearing none, he closed public testimony and asked Representative             
 Therriault to join them.                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT stated his staff had been in                   
 contact with a number of people in Fairbanks and that a few                   
 people were upset with the sponsor of the bill.  He said                      
 Representative Kohring had no ulterior motive in introducing the              
 bill; that he was a fellow member on the House Finance Committee,             
 and they could work these problems out.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated they had heard much testimony in the past                
 hours, along with feeling much heat.  He said they have learned a             
 lot and understand the issues related to HB 224.  He said that                
 these issues are substantial and need to be addressed in a                    
 subcommittee.  He appointed Representative Rokeberg as chair,                 
 along with Representative Elton and himself.                                  
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the House Labor &              
 Commerce Committee, Chairman Kott adjourned the meeting at 5:20               
 p.m.                                                                          
                                                                               

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