Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/16/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 65:  FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION OF STATE GOVT.                              
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-29, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 010                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY called the committee back to order at 8:56                    
  a.m. and read the title to CSHB 65.  He stated his intention                 
  to go through the bill section by section with the                           
  committee, and began with sections one to 32, which dealt                    
  with the liquor industry.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 050                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHERYL FRASCA, DIVISION DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF BUDGET REVIEW,                 
  OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB), explained the OMB's                   
  role as the facilitator of the Governor's original version                   
  of CSHB 65.  She stated the bill was designed to save money                  
  by making most licenses biennial, which would cut down on                    
  the bureaucracy, and also to allow several departments the                   
  right to set fees for licenses, inspections, and                             
  certificates.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 067                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted the omission of a termination date for                  
  late applications for liquor licenses in Section 58,                         
  paragraph c, line 15, and asked if that was an oversight.                    
                                                                               
  Number 091                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA stated she did not know but would confer with the                 
  Department of Law.  She stated the law was only for                          
  transition from the old statues to new.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 108                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated CSHB 65, as written, seemed to modify                  
  AS 4.11.270, and asked Ms. Frasca to inquire about the                       
  omission.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 150                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA agreed to comply and stated she was at the                        
  committee's disposal to answer questions.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 170                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked committee members to look CSHB 65 over                  
  to see what questions they might have pertaining to sections                 
  one to 32.  There were none.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 178                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY directed the committee's attention to                         
  sections 32 through 36, dealing with the public guardian                     
  statutes in Title 13.  He had no questions, but considered                   
  it a major change in the law.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 190                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA explained the Office of Public Advocacy (OPA) is                  
  currently part of the Department of Administration, and                      
  CSHB 65's changes would allow the OPA to charge for guardian                 
  services on the basis of ability to pay.                                     
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted CSHB 65 also gave the OPA the right to                  
  appoint public guardians, currently a court duty.                            
                                                                               
  Number 216                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA said the authority to provide public guardians                    
  came through the court, but OPA had already undertaken the                   
  duties. She stated the repealed sections only dealt with the                 
  allocation of costs of a public guardian, not the authority                  
  of who assigned them.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 240                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY directed the committee to sections 36 through                 
  43, which dealt with student loan guarantees.  He stated the                 
  sections generally created a loan guarantee fee as part of                   
  the cost for a student loan.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 259                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked why such a fee might be needed                    
  since current figures showed collections were up, and                        
  defaults down.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 276                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA explained about $900,000 dollars from student                     
  loans had to be written off in 1992 due to death, bankruptcy                 
  or disability, and the fees would be used to cover those                     
  losses. She estimated the fee would provide about $513,000                   
  per year against such losses.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 290                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced an upcoming committee substitute he                 
  planned to submit would delete increases in the student loan                 
  fee.  He then directed the committee to section 44, which                    
  addressed the Department of Labor, giving the Department                     
  authority to set fees for examinations and administering                     
  applications for professional inspectors.  He noted the                      
  upcoming committee substitute would also delete the fees.                    
                                                                               
  Number 321                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked why the fees would be eliminated.                 
                                                                               
  Number 323                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY said allowing such fees by regulation fell                    
  into the area of giving the Department regulatory powers.                    
                                                                               
  Number 326                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER contended charging for inspections                      
  would not be regulatory.                                                     
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY disagreed, saying the ability to write                        
  regulations on fees would be regulatory.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 330                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked what kind of fee generation the                   
  Department might see, and what would happen if the                           
  Department was not allowed to impose such fees.                              
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA stated the fee was $400 to administer boiler                      
  pressure vessel exams, as opposed to no charge currently.                    
  She stated further that the OMB currently charged for most                   
  professional groups, and that institution of this charge                     
  would bring them in line with other professions.                             
                                                                               
  Number 335                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if there was any justification                    
  for not charging the fee.                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA said she had no idea.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 337                                                                   
                                                                               
  DONALD G. STUDY, ACTING DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF LABOR                          
  STANDARDS AND SAFETY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, said the                          
  Department's budget had been cut over the last three years,                  
  and wished to fund the system with program receipts.                         
                                                                               
  Number 340                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY noted the changes in CSHB 65 meant changing                   
  fees by regulation as opposed to changing fees by statute,                   
  and the legislature had no oversight powers to repeal                        
  regulations unless a proposed constitutional amendment was                   
  passed.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 350                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. STUDY stated those regulations underwent legislative                     
  review.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 353                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated the legislature could review such                      
  regulations, but had no oversight powers.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 360                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS asked why the Department wanted                  
  to go from statutory to regulatory changes on fees.                          
                                                                               
  Number 363                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. STUDY stated it was to reflect true costs of licenses,                   
  regulations and inspections.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 367                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked if that was not the case now.                  
                                                                               
  Number 370                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. STUDY explained that was not the case in several                         
  instances, and the allowance of fees by regulation would                     
  also eliminate peaks and valleys in program receipts, and                    
  stabilize the revenues from them.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 388                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA stated CSHB 65 reflected the frustration of                       
  having to pass rate increases through statues, which she                     
  said was inefficient.  She said CSHB 65 cleared the way to                   
  update fees easily.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 402                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOE RYAN, COMMITTEE AIDE TO CHAIRMAN VEZEY, noted CSHB 65                    
  allowed a broadening of scope for license fees to be                         
  regulated, and gave an example of a fee structure under the                  
  Department which would increase the professional fees almost                 
  immediately.                                                                 
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated the debate was more about                        
  philosophy than setting fees, and stated supporting user                     
  fees made sense.  She also stated those who used a service                   
  and benefitted should pay.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 420                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated the debate was not about user fees,                    
  but rather who got to set them:  The people running the                      
  department or the legislature.  He then directed the                         
  committee to read through section 53, and called for                         
  comments on the catastrophic reserve account.  Seeing none,                  
  he stated the upcoming committee substitute he planned would                 
  eliminate the provisions for the account.  He then directed                  
  members to the section allowing the DNR to set user fees for                 
  state parks, and announced his committee substitute would                    
  also delete this reference.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 462                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated Alaska's parks were used by far                  
  more people than those in the Lower 48, and not allowing the                 
  DNR to charge users for their services would lead to a                       
  deterioration of the parks.  She stated removing such                        
  authority was a mistake.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 466                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY stated he did not intend to remove the                        
  authority to charge fees, but rather to prevent them from                    
  being set by regulation.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 480                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER stated it was impractical for the                       
  legislature to address fees every year for every department,                 
  and by forcing them to do so would cause the parks to                        
  deteriorate, since legislators might put off such increases.                 
                                                                               
  Number 485                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY reiterated the status of a constitutional                     
  amendment to allow regulations to be repealed by the                         
  legislature, and stated that must be passed before allowing                  
  departments to set such fees.  He then directed the                          
  committee to section 54, which allowed the Department of                     
  Environmental Conservation (DEC) to set regulatory fees, and                 
  also gave the DEC broader powers.  He stated the upcoming                    
  committee substitute would delete this section.                              
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY also noted section 55 dealt with air quality,                 
  and stated consideration of this section would be                            
  inappropriate until the legislature's study of air quality                   
  was completed.  He then noted sections 56 through 58 were                    
  housekeeping measures, which generated no comment from                       
  members.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 537                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. FRASCA noted the sections simply provided a regulatory                   
  bridge between the old statutes and the new.                                 
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 556                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY then introduced the House State Affairs CS to                 
  CSHB 65, and seeing no comment or testimony, adjourned the                   
  meeting at 9:31 a.m.                                                         

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