Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

01/20/2012 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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03:23:29 PM Start
03:24:14 PM HB279
04:23:25 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
         HB 279-EXTENDING CERTAIN BOARDS & COMMISSIONS                                                                      
3:24:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON  announced that the  only order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 279  "An Act extending  the termination  dates of                                                               
the Board  of Nursing, the  Board of Dental Examiners,  the Board                                                               
of  Barbers and  Hairdressers, the  Big Game  Commercial Services                                                               
Board,  the  Alcohol  Beverage  Control  Board,  and  the  Alaska                                                               
Seismic  Hazards   Safety  Commission;   and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
3:24:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE HAWKER,  Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as the chair  of the Legislative Budget and  Audit Committee that                                                               
requested  HB  279,  stated  that this  bill  is  a  housekeeping                                                               
measure,  which   would  reauthorize   the  various   boards  and                                                               
commissions with  sunset provisions in effect  in accordance with                                                               
statute.  This  bill is an omnibus bill bringing  forward all the                                                               
agencies  that  need  reauthorization this  legislative  session.                                                               
This consolidation of  sunset audits in an omnibus  bill helps to                                                               
obtain efficiencies  - rather  than to  have multiple  bills come                                                               
before the  legislature. The boards  and commissions  included in                                                               
this  bill  are  the  Alcoholic   Beverage  Control  Board  ("ABC                                                               
Board"), the  Alaska Seismic Hazards  Safety Commission,  the Big                                                               
Game Commercial Services Board (BGCSB),  the Board of Barbers and                                                               
Hairdressers, the  Board of  Dental Examiners,  and the  Board of                                                               
Nursing.    He   pointed  out  that  four  of   these  boards  or                                                               
commissions came  before the legislature  last session,  that the                                                               
omnibus bill had passed, but  that bill had included an amendment                                                               
the governor found  unacceptable, and so the  governor vetoed the                                                               
bill.     The  specific   amendment  had   substantial  judiciary                                                               
consequences,  but  did  not  receive  review  by  the  judiciary                                                               
committees  since  the  amendment  was  tacked  on  late  in  the                                                               
legislative session.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  identified the  boards that  were affected                                                               
by the veto  as the Board of Barbers and  Hairdressers, the Board                                                               
of Dental  Examiners (BDE),  and the Board  of Nursing  (BON) and                                                               
the Alcoholic  Beverage Control  Board ("ABC  Board").   He noted                                                               
two additional  boards also up  for reauthorization this  year as                                                               
the Big  Game Commercial  Services Board  (BGCSB) and  the Alaska                                                               
Seismic Hazards  Safety Commission.   He reported that  the dates                                                               
recommended  for  extension  are  those brought  forward  by  the                                                               
state's legislative  auditor.   He said  he was  bringing forward                                                               
the  bill  as  the  chair  of  the  Legislative  Budget  &  Audit                                                               
3:28:06 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR  STACEY,  Member,  Alaska Professional  Hunters  Association                                                               
(APHA) stated  that the APHA  strongly supports extension  of the                                                               
BGCSB.   He said that the  APHA believes the BGCSB  has been very                                                               
effective in raising industry  standards and adopting regulations                                                               
that  promote ethical  and responsible  development for  big game                                                               
guides and transporters.                                                                                                        
3:29:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked him to  outline the issues that APHA                                                               
is most interested in at this time.                                                                                             
MR. STACEY answered that when  the BGCS board was reinstated, the                                                               
thrust of APHA's interest was  to raise testing standards used to                                                               
license  new guides  and assistant  guides.   After the  original                                                               
BGCSB   sunsetted,   the   standards   had   been   significantly                                                               
downgraded, and specifically  did not contain an  oral portion of                                                               
the  exam.     The  oral  exam  was   especially  important  when                                                               
considering qualifications  of registered guides since  they have                                                               
the authority to  contract hunts and represent the  industry.  He                                                               
noted that he  holds a registered guide license and  is an active                                                               
big  game  guide  in  Alaska.    He  related  that  he  took  the                                                               
examination during the interim between  the boards, when the exam                                                               
was  administered by  the division.   However,  the exam  he took                                                               
only consisted  of a written  examination, which did  not reflect                                                               
the types  of standards the  industry finds as adequate  and good                                                               
for Alaska.   Once the board had been reinstated  an oral portion                                                               
- strongly supported  by the APHA - has been  added.  This allows                                                               
qualified  professionals  to  act  as  proctors,  administer  the                                                               
examination,  and assist  in  helping  to score  the  exams.   He                                                               
offered his  belief that this  has raised  industry participation                                                               
across the board.  Many  guides and transporters attend the BGCSB                                                               
meetings,  which  has  helped to  successfully  resolve  numerous                                                               
3:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  STACEY explained  that the  APHA currently  supports another                                                               
bill before  the legislature, sponsored by  Representative Feige.                                                               
When the  original BGCSB sunsetted, the  BGCSB's regulations were                                                               
placed into  statute.  The  APHA would  like to transfer  some of                                                               
these statutes  to regulations to  allow the industry to  be more                                                               
responsive to changes in the  profession and add more flexibility                                                               
when the business  environment changes.  It would  also allow the                                                               
industry   to   adopt   constructive   regulations   to   promote                                                               
responsible resource development.                                                                                               
3:32:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked him  to predict the  activities for                                                               
the next extension of the BGCSB board.                                                                                          
MR. STACEY answered  that his industry would like  to continue to                                                               
address standards for the licensed  professionals.  He noted that                                                               
even guides and  transporters outside the APHA would  like to see                                                               
transporter    licenses    addressed,    including    water-based                                                               
transporters  and air  transporters -  anyone who  transports for                                                               
big game commercial services.                                                                                                   
3:34:06 PM                                                                                                                    
KELLY   VREM,  Registered   Guide-Outfitter   member,  Big   Game                                                               
Commercial  Services  Board   (BGCSB),  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community &  Economic Development  (DCCED), mentioned that  he is                                                               
also  supports  the  bill previously  mentioned  -  sponsored  by                                                               
Representative Feige  - since the  housekeeping measures  of this                                                               
dynamic industry currently  are cumbersome.  He  related that the                                                               
industry faces  an evolving process  as game  populations change.                                                               
He noted that  while he is a  new board member as  of March 2011,                                                               
he  has  attended  meetings  since  the  1970s  when  he  was  an                                                               
assistant guide.   With respect to HB 279, he  offered his belief                                                               
that  the BGCSB  serves a  purpose and  he would  like to  see it                                                               
3:36:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  OLSON,  after first  determining  no  one else  wished  to                                                               
testify on  the BGCSB and  the Alaska Seismic and  Hazards Safety                                                               
Commission, turned  to the Alcoholic Beverage  Control Board "ABC                                                               
Board" and related his understanding the executive director has                                                                 
3:37:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SHIRLEY GIFFORD, Executive Director, Alcoholic Beverage Control                                                                 
Board ("ABC Board"), Department of Public Safety (DPS) read from                                                                
prepared remarks [original punctuation provided]:                                                                               
     Representative   Olson,   Representative  Johnson   and                                                                    
     Members of the House Labor & Commerce Committee,                                                                           
     Thank you  for this  opportunity to  speak in  favor of                                                                    
     HB279, an  Act that would extend  the termination dates                                                                    
     of six different boards and  commissions. I am speaking                                                                    
     specifically   to  the   extension  of   the  Alcoholic                                                                    
     Beverage Control  Board. I have served  as the Director                                                                    
     for the ABC  Board for the past three  years. For three                                                                    
     years prior to  my appointment as director  I served as                                                                    
     a member  of the board  of directors. I  understand the                                                                    
     important work  the ABC Board  conducts in  the control                                                                    
     of  manufacturing, bartering,  possessing, and  selling                                                                    
     of alcoholic beverages in the state.                                                                                       
     The ABC Board  is currently in the wind  down year with                                                                    
     a mandate to close our  doors on June 30th. This action                                                                    
     would set the state  back significantly in the progress                                                                    
     we have made in  licensing of liquor establishments and                                                                    
     enforcement  of the  laws and  regulations that  govern                                                                    
     the  operations of  these  licensed  premises. We  have                                                                    
     made many  positive changes within  the agency  and our                                                                    
     employees  are  competent, professional,  ethical,  and                                                                    
     helpful to  licensees, members  of the  public, members                                                                    
     of  other  agencies,  and members  of  local  governing                                                                    
     The ABC  Board has made  mistakes in the past,  I fully                                                                    
     expect we  will make  mistakes in the  future; however,                                                                    
     we  continue to  work hard  to establish  safeguards to                                                                    
     lessen those mistakes. We  have made excellent progress                                                                    
     in the  development of our  policies and  procedures as                                                                    
     well   as    with   our   available    resources,   the                                                                    
     implementation  of  a   fair  and  objective  strategic                                                                    
     enforcement plan.                                                                                                          
     Since  I have  been in  my position  I have  heard from                                                                    
     industry    representatives    that   licensees    were                                                                    
     dissatisfied with  the ABC Board. Therefore,  I created                                                                    
     a  written mail-in  survey to  gather, anonymously,  if                                                                    
     they  wished,   feedback  from  licensees.   We  mailed                                                                    
     surveys  to  1,439  licensees   and  included  a  self-                                                                    
     addressed stamped envelope. After  three months and the                                                                    
     mailings  all  but  ceased to  arrive  we  tallied  the                                                                    
     results from 257 completed surveys.  I understand an 18                                                                    
     percent return on mail-in surveys is a decent return.                                                                      
     In all rated categories from  very poor to superior the                                                                    
     licensing staff  of the ABC Board  scored above average                                                                    
     to  superior. In  all  rated  categories from  strongly                                                                    
     disagree  to  strongly  agree  in  areas  such  as  the                                                                    
     investigator  demonstrated  respect;  the  investigator                                                                    
     explained the  purpose of  the visit;  the investigator                                                                    
     was  knowledgeable; the  investigator was  professional                                                                    
     and appropriate, the enforcement  staff scored agree to                                                                    
     strongly agree and in the  one category rated from very                                                                    
     poor to superior,  e.g. if the contact  was in response                                                                    
     to the  licensee's request, the process  of getting the                                                                    
     licensee's issue resolved,  the enforcement staff rated                                                                    
     above average.                                                                                                             
     The ABC  Board recently contracted with  the University                                                                    
     of  Alaska Anchorage  to conduct  a  study to  identify                                                                    
     ways  to achieve  higher rates  of compliance  that are                                                                    
     being seen in tobacco compliance checks.                                                                                   
3:41:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORDS continued:                                                                                                         
     That report  should be available  within the  next week                                                                    
     or  two and  I believe  it will  provide the  ABC Board                                                                    
     with  an excellent  tool  to guide  our  future in  the                                                                    
     prevention  of  underage persons  purchasing  alcoholic                                                                    
     In fiscal year  2011 the ABC Board for  the first time,                                                                    
     according to  available records, attained the  goals of                                                                    
     percentages  of  compliance  checks  in  eight  regions                                                                    
     designated  by  the board.  In  meeting  our goals  the                                                                    
     compliance  checks increased  from 700  in fiscal  year                                                                    
     2010  to  804  in   fiscal  year  2011.  Compliance  by                                                                    
     industry members increased by  three percent - from 85%                                                                    
     to 88%. The  goal set is 95% for all  regions and three                                                                    
     regions  nearly  met  the  goal   -  licensees  in  the                                                                    
     Fairbanks  North Star  Borough were  93% compliant,  in                                                                    
     the City and Borough of  Juneau were 93% compliant, and                                                                    
     in the Mat-Su Borough  were 92% compliant. The industry                                                                    
     is  on  an  excellent  track and  we  look  forward  to                                                                    
     improvements in other areas of the state.                                                                                  
     This year we sent  information packets to all licensees                                                                    
     rather  than just  renewal forms  to approximately  one                                                                    
     half of  the licensees who  were up for  their biennial                                                                    
3:43:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORDS continued:                                                                                                         
     Partnering  with Alaska  Cabaret,  Hotel, Restaurant  &                                                                    
     Retailers  Association, CHARR,  CHARR provided  a "born                                                                    
     on"  calendar,  "born  on"   sticker,  and  a  brochure                                                                    
     entitled  "16   Required  Points  for   Alcohol  Server                                                                    
     Education  in Alaska."  I believe  these are  excellent                                                                    
     tools  that if  followed  by all  industry members  the                                                                    
     incidences that  put licensees  at risk  would decrease                                                                    
     substantially.   We  will   continue  our   efforts  to                                                                    
     educate.  We continue  to conduct  formal training  for                                                                    
     any  licensee who  requests  and  we address  questions                                                                    
     received  through our  website. All  of us  at the  ABC                                                                    
     Board  on a  daily basis  either answer  questions from                                                                    
     licensees  on  the  phone  or   in  e-mail,  or  assist                                                                    
     licensees who come to the office.                                                                                          
     We have a lot  of work to do and to  not extend the ABC                                                                    
     Board  would   set  us  back  as   the  state  explores                                                                    
     alternative ways to  license establishments and enforce                                                                    
     alcoholic beverage laws.                                                                                                   
     I  respectfully urge  you to  pass HB279  that includes                                                                    
     the extension of the ABC  Board to June 30, 2015. Thank                                                                    
3:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON asked for a copy of her written testimony and also                                                                  
for a report he anticipated would be released next week.                                                                        
MS. GIFFORDS agreed to do so.                                                                                                   
3:44:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked about the  "windup" of the ABC Board                                                               
and whether  operations were slowing  up or winding down  and for                                                               
her  to describe  the effect  of  the impending  deadline on  the                                                               
MS.  GIFFORD  answered that  she  has  not taken  any  aggressive                                                               
efforts  to  wind  down  the   ABC  Board  since  she  hopes  the                                                               
legislature  will act  on  this bill.   She  stated  she will  be                                                               
prepared  by the  end  of  the legislative  session  to take  any                                                               
necessary  action to  cease board  operations by  June 30,  2012.                                                               
She pointed  out she has  received two interpretations on  what a                                                               
final sunset  might mean:   first, that staff would  remain since                                                               
the  functions to  license and  enforce are  necessary and  would                                                               
continue, but the actual board  would disappear; and second, that                                                               
the board would  remain, but staff would not.   At this time, she                                                               
said  she was  unclear  of  the actual  impact  of the  impending                                                               
3:45:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked - in  the event that the  ABC Board                                                               
is extended  - for her to  discuss what she would  do differently                                                               
over the next eight or so years.                                                                                                
MS. GIFFORD answered that she would  like to see a more concerted                                                               
effort on compliance  checks - noting that the board  has been on                                                               
a good  track -  since these  checks result  in compliance.   She                                                               
offered  her belief  that last  year proved  that point,  but one                                                               
year  does  not provide  a  sufficient  track record.    Instead,                                                               
several  years need  to be  reviewed  and the  program should  be                                                               
adjusted  as necessary,  including updating  any regulations  and                                                               
statutes to assist  licensees in the "good,  lawful operation" of                                                               
their premises.   She offered her  belief that the board  is on a                                                               
good path to  reach 95 percent compliance.   Some naysayers think                                                               
95 percent compliance cannot be  reached but she thinks the track                                                               
record  for  the  Fairbanks, Juneau,  and  the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
Borough areas have already proven that  it is possible.  She said                                                               
these communities should be commended.                                                                                          
3:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  asked   whether   any  survey   results                                                               
indicated areas in which the board did not score so well.                                                                       
MS.  GIFFORD  reviewed her  notes  and  then indicated  that  the                                                               
survey  consisted of  11 questions  on  licensing and  10 on  the                                                               
enforcement efforts.   She said  some misconception  still exists                                                               
on  the process  the  investigators use  to determine  compliance                                                               
checks.  She described one response  to the survey appeared to be                                                               
from an  angry person.   The survey contains  contact information                                                               
so  she called  the person.   The  person had  mistakenly thought                                                               
that  false  identification had  been  used  for underage  buyers                                                               
during compliance  checks.  She  was able to clarify  the process                                                               
used  by the  ABC Board's  investigators.   This  resulted in  an                                                               
amicable call, one in which  the person seemed satisfied with her                                                               
answers.   She  concluded that  just "opening  up communications"                                                               
provides a means to educate licensees on compliance checks.                                                                     
3:49:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON said  he recognizes the ABC Board  is in a                                                               
tenuous position,  but the  audit recommendations  indicate clear                                                               
action steps for the ABC Board  to take.  He paraphrased from the                                                               
auditor's recommendation  No. 1  [Audit Control  Number 12-20063-                                                               
09], dated July 27, 2009], as follows:                                                                                          
     There  is no  enforcement  strategy  to prioritize  and                                                                    
     apply  resources  in  a  cohesive  fashion  to  enforce                                                                    
     alcohol beverage  laws.   The agency  does not  know if                                                                    
     inspecting and  checking half the  licensees is  a good                                                                    
     or  bad  outcome for  their  efforts,  an efficient  or                                                                    
     effective  use  of  their resources,  or  in  the  best                                                                    
     interest of the public.   The ABC Board continues to be                                                                    
     without a  systematic strategy to ensure  resources are                                                                    
     used  effectively   and  efficiently  to   enforce  the                                                                    
     alcoholic beverage laws.  The  ABC Board members should                                                                    
     make  it  a  priority  to develop  and  implement  this                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON    referred   to   the    second   audit                                                               
recommendation.  He said, "...should  develop and enforce written                                                               
policies and  procedures to ensure their  staff's compliance with                                                               
state  laws and  decisions..."   He  indicated  this is  somewhat                                                               
troubling.  He  read, "There are instances  of non-compliance and                                                               
non-enforcement with state  laws, overpayments to municipalities,                                                               
possible nonpayment  of fees by  license holders,  and incomplete                                                               
and inaccurate tracking of data.   The ABC Board's staff does not                                                               
have  sufficient oversight  and accountability  over the  staff's                                                               
activities  to ensure  compliance with  state laws  and decisions                                                               
made by  the board and director."   He also asked  how the agency                                                               
could determine  that it has  95 percent compliance if  the board                                                               
does not  have adequate tracking.   He asked for a  status update                                                               
on the  two recommendations  noting the audit  was issued  a year                                                               
3:51:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORD answered the audit  language quoted was language from                                                               
earlier audit recommendations,  which contains dated information.                                                               
She indicated  that he ABC  Board currently has  clear, strategic                                                               
goals, a system  in place - including tracking forms  - to ensure                                                               
investigators  are not  duplicating their  efforts on  compliance                                                               
checks.   She related  that the tracking  system is  automated in                                                               
the database.   She  acknowledged that  previously, investigators                                                               
would  drive around  and randomly  select premises  they did  not                                                               
think  were recently  checked.   However, due  to technology  and                                                               
strategies  in  place  for  fair compliance  checks  -  based  on                                                               
information in  the system  - investigators  operate differently.                                                               
She was  hired on January  5, 2009,  and auditors spent  the next                                                               
five months  in her  office.  She  said she  implemented policies                                                               
and procedures  soon after the  initial meeting with  auditors in                                                               
2009.    Additionally,  she  worked  to  correct  issues  as  the                                                               
auditors brought them to her  attention.  She expected Ms. Curtis                                                               
to provide an updated report to  the committee.  She said she met                                                               
with  auditors  on  Tuesday  to  discuss  one  outstanding  issue                                                               
pertaining  to coding  revenues  in the  system,  which is  being                                                               
addressed  with  the  assistance  of  the  Department  of  Public                                                               
Safety's  (DPS) finance  staff.   She  also noted  she would  add                                                               
another code to  track permits.  She offered her  belief that the                                                               
committee will  find the  ABC Board  has met  the recommendations                                                               
put out several years ago [in the audit.]                                                                                       
3:53:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON said  he hoped for this answer.   He found                                                               
it was  disconcerting to  see noncompliance  with state  laws and                                                               
looked forward to the updated report.                                                                                           
3:53:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  related his understanding that  teams of                                                               
two  have  been  citing  bartenders or  servers  for  serving  an                                                               
inebriated person  and that the  inebriated person has  also been                                                               
arrested.  He asked if  any disparity exists between the standard                                                               
for an inebriated person in a  bar and for a person driving under                                                               
the  influence of  alcohol.   He wondered  if the  regulation for                                                               
inebriated on  premises needed  to be  clarified, noting  that he                                                               
has  not specifically  read the  regulations.   He stated  that a                                                               
person in a bar might be  too impaired to drive, but have planned                                                               
to take  a cab home.   He further asked whether  the standard for                                                               
being  inebriated  on  premises  and  driving  while  intoxicated                                                               
needed to be addressed.                                                                                                         
MS. GIFFORD  answered that the standards  are not the same.   She                                                               
offered that  a blood alcohol level  of .08 while driving  is the                                                               
not the same standard used for  a drunken person on premise.  She                                                               
said  the correct  terminology  is a  "drunken  person" and  that                                                               
would pertain  to characteristics exhibited  by a person  such as                                                               
stumbling, an  inability to  stand up, falling  off a  bar stool,                                                               
throwing up, inability to talk,  and bloodshot or unfocused eyes.                                                               
She  thought most  people  could  recognize when  a  person is  a                                                               
"drunken person" but that this standard  is not the same as for a                                                               
person who  is under the  influence who  should not drive  a car.                                                               
She  offered her  belief that  the statutes  and regulations  are                                                               
clear with respect to the  definitions.  She has heard informally                                                               
that people  say that  bars are  where you get  drunk, but  it is                                                               
illegal to get drunk on a  premise.  She indicated the licensees'                                                               
feedback is  that they do  not want  a "drunken person"  in their                                                               
bars.  She  reiterated the people being escorted out  of bars, or                                                               
those being  cited or  arrested are the  people licensees  do not                                                               
want on their premises.                                                                                                         
3:56:40 PM                                                                                                                    
J. KATE BURKHART, Executive Director,  Alaska Mental Health Board                                                               
Advisory Board  on Alcoholism and Drug  Abuse (ABADA), Department                                                               
of Health  and Social  Services (DHSS)  began by  mentioning that                                                               
Robert  Coghill,  chair of  ABADA  has  joined  her today.    She                                                               
emphasized that she is solely  representing the ABADA, but is not                                                               
representing the Department of Health  and Social Services (HSS).                                                               
She said  ABADA appreciates  the "ABC  Board's" inclusion  in the                                                               
Omnibus bill  and ABADA supports  the extension of the  ABC Board                                                               
since it provides  a critical component to  the overall substance                                                               
abuse prevention system  in the state.  Part of  the strategy for                                                               
reducing  substance abuse  - at  the national  and state  level -                                                               
involves  reducing   and  preventing  underage  drinking.     The                                                               
strategies related  to reducing access  to alcohol to  minors and                                                               
those  under  the  age  of  21 include  the  duties  Ms.  Gifford                                                               
outlined,  such  as  compliance checks,  preventing  third  party                                                               
purchases by  adults for  those under  the age  of 21  - underage                                                               
drinking - and  training for retailers and their  employees.  She                                                               
said  she  was  encouraged  to  hear Ms.  Gifford  speak  of  the                                                               
partnership with the industry, with  respect to the education and                                                               
use of the  "born on" stickers and cards.   She acknowledged that                                                               
the Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant,  & Retailers Association (CHARR),                                                               
has  continued  to  work  hard  to  ensure  its  members  receive                                                               
training,  which  is  a  critical  component  to  our  prevention                                                               
system.   She  referred to  her  written comments  for data  that                                                               
shows great  progress made to  curb underage drinking  in Alaska.                                                               
It has taken over 15 years - about  the same time as it has taken                                                               
to curb tobacco use  - to make this progress.   She said it takes                                                               
a long  time to change people's  minds and their behaviors.   She                                                               
noted that  Alaska's high school  youth has reported  less active                                                               
alcohol   use.     Additionally,  she   reported  that   Alaska's                                                               
statistics  are  better  than the  national  average,  which  she                                                               
applauded.  She  concluded by expressing ABADA's  support for the                                                               
extension of the ABC Board.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  for any  areas ABADA  supports for                                                               
improvements to the ABC Board's operations or activities.                                                                       
MS.  BURKHART responded  that one  area she  previously discussed                                                               
with Ms.  Gifford and  she was encouraged  to hear  mentioned was                                                               
the  increased partnership  and  cooperation  with the  industry.                                                               
The ABC Board's  job has been to ensure  compliance with Alaska's                                                               
laws and that  only lawful sales are made.   She stated ABADA has                                                               
benefited  from partnering  with  the industry  and retailers  in                                                               
other  areas  of  prevention,  such  as  fetal  alcohol  spectrum                                                               
disorder.   "It has been a  great opportunity for us,"  she said.                                                               
The ABADA  has gained  a better  understanding of  the industry's                                                               
perspective on  alcohol, alcohol sales,  and the use  of alcohol.                                                               
She stressed that  ABADA is not a teetotal  organization, but one                                                               
that believes in  responsible use or abstinence as  choices.  The                                                               
ABADA's job is  to focus on preventing  the negative consequences                                                               
of alcoholism  and drug abuse.   Based on her own  experience she                                                               
identified  this  as  one  area  she  was  interested  in  seeing                                                               
improvement.   She referred  to Ms.  Gifford's comments  that the                                                               
relationship with industry is improving  and concurred she'd also                                                               
like to see it continue to  improve.  She thought it possible for                                                               
the  ABC  Board  to  operate  as  an  enforcement  and  licensing                                                               
organization,  but also  have a  collaborative relationship  with                                                               
the industry.                                                                                                                   
4:01:41 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  COGHILL, Chair,  Alcoholic Beverage  Control Board  ("ABC                                                               
Board"), Department  of Public Safety (DPS)  stated he previously                                                               
spent  nine years  serving on  the  Fairbanks School  Board.   He                                                               
related that  he is very  concerned about children, which  is one                                                               
reason he  is on the ABATA  board.  He acknowledged  the progress                                                               
he has seen  in the last decade, with respect  to liquor stores -                                                               
noting he  owns shares  in a  liquor store.   He pointed  out the                                                               
training  staff  receives  is preventing  alcohol  use  [underage                                                               
drinking] as a result of the "ABC Board's" efforts.                                                                             
4:03:04 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICIA REYNAGA,  Registered Nurse, stated  that she has  been a                                                               
registered nurse for 42 years.   She supports the reauthorization                                                               
of the Board  of Nursing.  She attends the  majority of the Board                                                               
of Nursing's quarterly  meetings and has done so for  years.  She                                                               
has  observed   the  board  making  decisions   after  thoughtful                                                               
discussion and  testimony during its  meetings.  The  board posts                                                               
and  often  refers  to its  mission  during  the  decision-making                                                               
process.  She thanked members for their time.                                                                                   
4:04:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SHERRY BUTTERS,  Retiree, said  she is  a retired  First Sergeant                                                               
[Alaska National  Guard], but  has worked -  about eight  years -                                                               
with kids  while serving for  the Counterdrug Support  Program in                                                               
the Drug Demand  Reduction Division.  She  emphasized her support                                                               
for the  continuation of  the ABC Board  to protect  our children                                                               
from alcohol.   She  said that the  earlier kids  start drinking,                                                               
the earlier they get into trouble,  plus alcohol and drug use can                                                               
reduce their  ability to join the  military.  She also  said, "It                                                               
really sets them up for failure in life."                                                                                       
4:05:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked for the trend in recruitment.                                                                      
MS. BUTTERS  answered that problems  with substance  abuse issues                                                               
have prevented  youth from  joining the military.   As  an aside,                                                               
she mentioned another reason not  related to alcohol and drug use                                                               
that has  prevented youth from  joining the military  is impaired                                                               
hearing.   She  surmised their  hearing  loss may  be related  to                                                               
playing loud music.   She also emphasized that  youth cannot join                                                               
the military if they have  been cited for underage drinking until                                                               
they reach  the age  of 21.   She pointed  out that  generally if                                                               
youth  have not  joined by  the ages  of 18  or 19,  they do  not                                                               
consider joining the military.                                                                                                  
4:06:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked whether  she has observed any issues                                                               
such as the use of bath salts or synthetic use.                                                                                 
MS.  BUTTERS  agreed  she  has  seen the  type  of  drug  use  he                                                               
described.  She said  that this type of drug use  has not been an                                                               
issue  for those  youth wishing  to enlist,  but it  has been  an                                                               
issue for  young soldiers already  serving in the military.   She                                                               
clarified that soldiers  can be busted for any  type of substance                                                               
abuse that alters their state of  being.  She reiterated that the                                                               
military does  not screen for  those types of substances,  but if                                                               
active duty  soldiers are caught  using drugs they will  get into                                                               
4:07:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  OLSON,  after first  determining  no  one else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 279.                                                                                     
4:07:48 PM                                                                                                                    
KRIS  CURTIS,  Acting   Legislative  Auditor,  Legislative  Audit                                                               
Division, explained  the last  full audit for  the ABC  Board was                                                               
dated July  2009.  The auditors  have followed up with  the board                                                               
last year  and again this  week with  respect to the  prior audit                                                               
recommendations. The  audit concluded that  the ABC  board should                                                               
be extended and  was serving a public  purpose; however, auditors                                                               
made    several   recommendations    regarding   improving    the                                                               
effectiveness  and  efficiency  of   the  board.    The  auditors                                                               
recommended   a   stronger   internal  control   environment   be                                                               
implemented to  include written policies,  operational procedure,                                                               
and  a  strategic  plan  governing  the  enforcement  activities.                                                               
Since that time many improvements have  been made.  Almost all of                                                               
the  auditor's  recommendations  have   been  implemented.    She                                                               
agreed,   that  as   Ms.  Gifford   discussed,  one   outstanding                                                               
recommendation  remains   regarding  licensing  revenues.     The                                                               
licensing fee revenues recorded in  the ABC Board's data base did                                                               
not agree nor  was it reconciled with the  same revenues recorded                                                               
in the state's  accounting system.  This  deficiency continues to                                                               
exist.   She  related  auditors discussed  this  matter with  the                                                               
DPS's  administrative staff  who indicated  that turnover  in the                                                               
fiscal  staff has  delayed addressing  the issue.   However,  the                                                               
department is currently trying to address the issue.                                                                            
4:09:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON recalled the  auditors recommended the ABC                                                               
Board be extended to 2014.                                                                                                      
MS.  CURTIS  agreed that  the  2009  audit recommended  extension                                                               
until 2014.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON   asked  whether   that  date   is  still                                                               
MS. CURTIS  said she believed  the follow-up audit  recommended a                                                               
one-year  extension.   In  2010, the  auditors  performed a  more                                                               
informal status update.  Thus, the  auditors did not come up with                                                               
a recommended date,  per se, but just followed up  with the prior                                                               
4:10:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked whether the auditors  had a revised                                                               
recommended date  or would retain the  initial recommended sunset                                                               
date of 2014.                                                                                                                   
MS. CURTIS  answered that  the extension dates  in HB  279 seemed                                                               
reasonable and would allow the auditors  to go back and do a full                                                               
sunset review.                                                                                                                  
4:10:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON asked whether the  division thought the ABC Board was                                                               
moving in the appropriate direction.                                                                                            
MS.  CURTIS answered  that the  division has  seen many  of their                                                               
recommendations  implemented, which  she  attributed as  benefits                                                               
derived from  the audit recommendations.   She  acknowledged that                                                               
the division noticed  quite an improvement once  Ms. Gifford took                                                               
the position as director.                                                                                                       
CHAIR OLSON  agreed that has  been her  record with at  least one                                                               
other agency.                                                                                                                   
4:11:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CURTIS   turned  to  the   Alaska  Seismic   Hazards  Safety                                                               
Commission.   She  stated that  the audit  report was  dated June                                                               
2011.  The  purpose of the sunset review was  to determine if the                                                               
termination  date  of  the  commission  should  be  extended  and                                                               
whether it was serving the  public's interest.  She reported that                                                               
based  on  the  auditors  review, the  division  found  that  the                                                               
commission is operating effectively  and serves a public purpose.                                                               
The auditors  recommended that the  commission be  extended until                                                               
June 30, 2016, and this date is  reflected in HB 279.  The report                                                               
recommended  four improvements:    First,  the commission  should                                                               
develop  a  strategic  plan  to guide  its  efforts  to  mitigate                                                               
seismic  hazard risk  in Alaska;  second,  the commission  should                                                               
develop procedures  to ensure  the public  notice of  meetings is                                                               
published  timely;  third,  the  auditors  recommended  that  the                                                               
commission  follow its  own adopted  procedures  with respect  to                                                               
habitually  absent   members;  and   finally,  auditors   made  a                                                               
recommendation   to  the   Office   of  the   Governor  to   fill                                                               
appointments to the commission in a more timely manner.                                                                         
4:12:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked whether  any long-term vacancies had                                                               
MS.  CURTIS answered  that  the auditors  had  reported that  one                                                               
local  government position  was open  for nine  months due  to an                                                               
insufficient applicant pool.                                                                                                    
4:13:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CURTIS turned  to  the Big  Game  Commercial Services  Board                                                               
(BGCSB).   She  stated that  the audit  is dated  September 2011.                                                               
The audit's purpose was to  determine whether the board should be                                                               
continued  and if  it serves  a  public interest.   The  auditors                                                               
recommended  the termination  date of  the BGCSB  be extended  to                                                               
June 20, 2016, as listed in  HB 279.  The auditors determined the                                                               
board  has served  the public  interest  by providing  reasonable                                                               
assurance  that individuals  licensed  to  guide, transport,  and                                                               
outfit  are qualified  to  do  so.   The  BGCSB has  successfully                                                               
developed  regulations   to  improve  the  big   game  commercial                                                               
industry.   The limit  of a  four-year extension  was due  to the                                                               
board not fully implementing the  prior audit recommendations and                                                               
the  less than  sufficient  support services  from the  division.                                                               
The  sunset  report  included one  new  recommendation  and  five                                                               
repeat  recommendations.   The new  recommendation requested  the                                                               
division  and  board  address the  poor  security  controls  over                                                               
electronic  and paper  versions  of hunt  and transport  records.                                                               
She stated that this information  is confidential by statute, but                                                               
the division does not have  staff with the technical capabilities                                                               
to  restrict  access to  the  electronic  records.   She  further                                                               
stated the division does not  have the policies and procedures in                                                               
place  to  ensure  the  physical  files  are  safeguarded.    The                                                               
auditors also recommended the  prior audit recommendations, which                                                               
cover a variety of issues,  including poor operational support by                                                               
the division in both the  administrative and investigative areas.                                                               
She  noted that  licensing fees  continue to  be insufficient  to                                                               
support the board's  operations.  At the end of  FY 11, the board                                                               
had a deficit of almost  $375,000.  The auditors recommended that                                                               
the first aid requirements needed  to provide consistency between                                                               
the  guide-outfitter  licensee types.    The  board continues  to                                                               
desire a  data base of  hunt records and  reports.  This  takes a                                                               
significant amount  of administrative time and  given the board's                                                               
fiscal condition  does not appear  to be  a prudent use  of funds                                                               
given the little value it demonstrates.                                                                                         
4:16:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CURTIS, turned  to  Board of  Barbers  and Hairdressers  and                                                               
agreed,  in  response to  a  question,  that  there were  no  new                                                               
issues.  She  mentioned that the extension  dates recommended for                                                               
Board  of Barbers  and Hairdressers,  Board of  Dental Examiners,                                                               
and Board of Nursing are the same dates contained in HB 279.                                                                    
4:16:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON   indicated  his  desire  to   cut  state                                                               
government to  streamline the process for  businesses to operate.                                                               
He asked whether all these boards are necessary.                                                                                
MS. CURTIS  related that when  conducting the first audit  of the                                                               
Alaska  Seismic Hazards  Safety Commission,  auditors recommended                                                               
terminating  the  commission.    At   the  time,  it  was  a  new                                                               
commission  and no  board members  had yet  been appointed.   The                                                               
auditors  agreed  that if  it  was  the legislature's  intent  to                                                               
continue  the commission,  the  commission  should appoint  local                                                               
representation  from  areas  impacted  from seismic  risk.    She                                                               
reported the  appointments occurred  and the commission  has been                                                               
running since then.   The auditors determined  the commission was                                                               
serving a  public interest  given its  statutory responsibilities                                                               
so the auditors recommended an extension.                                                                                       
4:18:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON reiterated  his  interest in  determining                                                               
whether  an  activity  is something  that  government  should  be                                                               
involved in and if the commission is necessary.                                                                                 
MS. CURTIS  noted the auditors  do take that  into consideration,                                                               
but she  has nothing to recommend  as far as termination  of this                                                               
4:18:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER noted  the fiscal  notes are  very small.                                                               
He  acknowledged  that  the  board  members  are  volunteers  and                                                               
provide  expertise, time,  and experience  to benefit  the state.                                                               
He asked whether  the state is getting the  appropriate "bang for                                                               
the buck" for money spent on the boards.                                                                                        
MS. CURTIS answered that the audit  did not look at that specific                                                               
value.   She  reported  that the  Alaska  Seismic Hazards  Safety                                                               
Commission has  a $10,000 annual  budget, which  is not a  lot of                                                               
money.   The  auditors did  not estimate  or quantify  the value.                                                               
The  ABC  Board has  an  annual  budget  of  $1.4 million.    She                                                               
clarified  that none  of the  sunset criteria  that the  division                                                               
uses  has the  auditors  evaluate and  provide  a specific  value                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER referred  to his  experience with  boards                                                               
and  commissions.   He thanked  board members,  characterized the                                                               
service  as thankless  service,  and offered  that the  committee                                                               
appreciates service on boards and commissions.                                                                                  
4:19:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON  noted Representative  Saddler has  spent significant                                                               
time on boards and commissions.                                                                                                 
4:20:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER  stated  that  he has  brought  this  bill                                                               
forward  as  the  chair  of  the  Legislative  Budget  and  Audit                                                               
Committee.   He asked  this committee  to provide  the evaluative                                                               
process.    He   offered  his  belief  that   the  committee  has                                                               
identified issues  with the  ABC Board and  the long  sequence of                                                               
recurring  audits.   He recalled  the  2009 audit  was the  third                                                               
audit conducted by  the Legislative Audit Division  over the past                                                               
seven   years.     The   auditors   consistently  discussed   the                                                               
significant  management deficiencies  the agency  had.   He noted                                                               
that the auditors  are clearly seeing changes in the  agency.  He                                                               
offered differences exist between whether  an agency exists for a                                                               
good and  valid purpose  and should  be renewed  and how  well an                                                               
agency might be executing those  responsibilities.  He emphasized                                                               
the  ABC Board  as  an appropriate  function  of government  that                                                               
should  be  reauthorized  regardless   of  how  well  the  agency                                                               
functions internally.                                                                                                           
4:21:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER referred  to  the  Alaska Seismic  Hazards                                                               
Safety  Commission.   He  said  he  was  hesitant to  bring  this                                                               
reauthorization forward.  He stated  that after reading the audit                                                               
carefully, it  makes one  wonder why  the commission  does exist.                                                               
He related  that as the  bill moves through the  legislature that                                                               
legislators  may  want to  review  the  commission from  a  cost-                                                               
benefit analysis to the state.   He reiterated that it is the L&C                                                               
committee's decision  on whether  to move the  bill forward.   He                                                               
reported that  he is comfortable  with the bill as  presented and                                                               
would appreciate  moving it forward for  further consideration in                                                               
the legislature.                                                                                                                
4:22:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON recalled how contentious the bill was last year.                                                                    
4:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to report  HB 279 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 279 was reported  from the                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB279 verB.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Sectional Analysis.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Audit Summary Reports-all brds.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-ABC Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-AK Seismic Hazards Safety Comm Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Big Games Comm Services Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Board of Barbers and Hairdressers Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Board of Dental Examiners Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Text and veto of HB126.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 126
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-Board of Nursing Sunset Review.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Fiscal Note-DCCED-CBPL-01-19-12.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Fiscal Note-DCCED-CBPL-01-20-12- Revised.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-ABADA letter & chart.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279
HB279 Supporting Documents-1-20-2011 Testimony by Shirley Gifford-Director ABC.pdf HL&C 1/20/2012 3:15:00 PM
HB 279