Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124
02/09/2011 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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HB 126-OMNIBUS BOARD EXTENSIONS 3:17:44 PM CHAIR OLSON announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 126, "An Act extending the termination dates of the Board of Nursing, the Board of Dental Examiners, the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and providing for an effective date." 3:17:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE MIKE HAWKER, Alaska State Legislature, stated that two bills originated in the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee (LB&A), and as Chair of the committee he is presenting the bills before this committee today. The first bill is a housekeeping matter. Many boards and commissions have sunset dates to allow the legislature to periodically consider whether programs are fulfilling their desired tasks and if it is appropriate for a specific board or commission to continue. Historically, the legislature has considered each board or commission individually. In response to Chair Olson, he agreed that this bill consolidates sunset audits into one omnibus board extension bill. He pointed out that legislators have historically separated reauthorization bills from policy bills and he cautioned the committee not to clutter HB 126 with policy changes. 3:21:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER explained the legislative auditor's function. The legislative auditor conducts administrative reviews of the management and operation of boards or commissions and provides a detailed report to the legislature through the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee (LB&A). The recommendations made in HB 126 reflect the recommendations made by the division via the legislative auditor, Pat Davidson. This bill would extend the following boards and commissions for eight years to June 30, 2019, as recommended by the legislative auditor: Board of Barbers and Hairdressers, the Board of Dental Examiners, the Board of Nursing, and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. The legislative auditor also recommended the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) be extended to June 30, 2015. Last year during a sunset audit review process of the ABC Board, the auditor detailed operational and administration issues for the ABC Board. The legislature extended the ABC Board for one year only to allow the ABC Board to make administrative management corrections. The legislative auditor has since reviewed the board's activities and has cleared the "to do" list from the original audit. This bill now would recommend the ABC Board be extended for an additional four years. He recapped that HB 126 reauthorizes agencies which have passed muster with the legislative auditor. 3:23:46 PM REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES stated that she liked the new format for sunset reviews. She pointed out one discrepancy. The legislative auditor recommended the ABC Board be extended to 2014, but the bill would extend the ABC Board until June 30, 2015. She said she was unsure whether she was reviewing an old audit or if the most recent audit is in members' packets. REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER agreed Representative Holmes has identified an anomaly in the ABC Board's audit. He explained that the original audit identified the ABC Board's problems but still recommended a four-year extension. However, the legislature decided only to extend the ABC Board for one year, tasked it with correcting any deficiencies, and the legislative auditor reported the board's progress in an update to the sunset audit. As the Chair of the LB&A Committee, he said he considered whether to extend the ABC Board for four years from this point forward or to use the auditor's updated review date as a starting point. He ultimately decided to select the extension date as four years from this point forward, he said. 3:25:39 PM PAT DAVIDSON, Legislative Auditor, Division of Legislative Audit, Alaska State Legislature, said she was available to answer questions on any of the audits contained in HB 126. REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES related that she noticed a number of concerns had been raised by the auditor. She asked for an update on the auditor's findings since the last legislative audit. MS. DAVIDSON explained that in the FY 09 audit, which was during the last sunset review, the auditors made two recommendations to the ABC Board. The first recommendation was with respect to its enforcement policies. She related that the auditors wanted to see quantifiable and objective enforcement goals and for the board to communicate specific goals to its staff to carry out. The second recommendation contained "a bit of a laundry list" of administrative issues, she said. She reported that the administrative operations have been substantially addressed. She noted while the ABC Board has made some progress with respect to its enforcement issues, these issues were not substantially resolved. The auditors found a mix of issues in terms of establishing objective quantifiable enforcement goals. The auditors would like the public and legislature to be able to review the ABC Board's enforcement operations and be able to evaluate whether the enforcement goals were met. 3:29:09 PM CHAIR OLSON, after first determining no one else wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 126. REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER, in response to Chair Olson, expressed his intent to limit any changes to HB 126 solely to address sunset provisions and not on policy matters. He acknowledged that members may have issues with those specific boards and commissions' policies. He urged members to address specific policy issues in separate legislation and not to make policy changes in HB 126, the omnibus bill. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON moved to report HB 126 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, HB 126 was reported from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.