Legislature(2005 - 2006)

05/03/2006 05:57 PM 104


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05:57:32 PM Start
06:03:44 PM SB104
06:21:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
        SB 104-PERMANENT FUND DIVIDEND FRAUD/ELIGIBILITY                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR RALPH  SEEKINS announced that the  Conference Committee for                                                               
SB 104 was  the business before the committee.  He explained that                                                               
the bill  passed the  Senate as a  Permanent Fund  Dividend (PFD)                                                               
fraud bill. He asked Representative  McGuire to outline the House                                                               
perspective.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL McGUIRE related  that the House amended what                                                               
was HB 127  into SB 104, which did two  things. First it includes                                                               
a civil  penalty provision  for fraud so  that the  Department of                                                               
Revenue could:  issue an order  of forfeiture of  an individual's                                                               
dividend;  make the  individual  ineligible to  receive the  next                                                               
five dividends after  the forfeiture; and impose a  civil fine of                                                               
up to $3,000.  The fine could be  imposed administratively, which                                                               
would  save the  division money  and send  a strong  message that                                                               
fraud won't be tolerated.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Second it restores PFD eligibility  to Peace Corps volunteers. In                                                               
1981 when the Legislature established  the framework for the PFD,                                                               
the  Peace Corps  was included  in the  group of  individuals who                                                               
might qualify  for an  excused absence.  In 1997  the Legislature                                                               
removed  the Peace  Corps from  that  list. She  argued that  the                                                               
action was arbitrary  and that there was no record  of abuse. The                                                               
population  is  limited  and  in  any given  year  it  has  never                                                               
exceeded 30. She  submitted that the eligibility  for Peace Corps                                                               
members ought to be restored.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
6:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Allowable absence  for Olympic  athletes was  added on  the House                                                               
floor.  This  last  year  there  were  eight  Alaskan  Olympians.                                                               
Obviously,  she  said,  these folks  consider  themselves  to  be                                                               
Alaskan, but their training and  competition takes them away from                                                               
the state longer than the allowable absence period.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a question  that Senator  Therriault asked  in a                                                               
previous hearing, she suggested that  adding the Peace Corps is a                                                               
restoration  and it's  appropriate.  She  asked Senate  committee                                                               
members for their support.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:04:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  recalled  that  when  SB  104  was  returned  for                                                               
concurrence,  there  was  a  tie   vote  so  it  failed  and  the                                                               
conference committees were appointed.  For the record he recapped                                                               
that Sections 1-19 are unchanged.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  stated that Section  20 is the  corpus of                                                               
the difference.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS read  the  language  in Section  20  of the  House                                                               
version to extend eligibility to  Peace Corps volunteers and U.S.                                                               
Olympians and asked if that was correct.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE agreed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted that there  would be renumbering and no other                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   McGUIRE   clarified   that  just   Peace   Corps                                                               
volunteers  would be  eligible for  the excused  absence and  not                                                               
other members of the household.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  added that just  members of the U.S.  Olympic team                                                               
are included  and members of  other national teams are  not under                                                               
consideration in SB 104.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE  related that  the definition  coming from                                                               
the  House floor  was  directed at  that  issue and  specifically                                                               
identifies a member of the United States Olympic Team.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS continued  to  say that  in  addition to  criminal                                                               
penalties for  fraud, the House  added a provision for  the state                                                               
to  impose a  civil  penalty  of up  to  $3,000,  which could  be                                                               
imposed administratively.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE said that's correct.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Senator Therriault  if his questions had been                                                               
clarified.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT replied he thought so.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS determined that committee  members had no questions                                                               
for the Permanent Fund Division.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  explained the  conference committee  procedure and                                                               
said the first question before  the committee is whether there is                                                               
agreement on either version.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
6:10:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  directed  attention to  the  \S  House                                                               
version  and stated  for  the record  that there  ought  to be  a                                                               
technical change on  page 8, line 27. Delete the  word "that" and                                                               
insert "who" for the reference to the treating physician.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
6:11:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE  motioned to  adopt the House  version 24-                                                               
LS0519\S as  the Conference Committee  Substitute for SB  104 and                                                               
to move it from committee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  for  a  roll call  and  the motion  failed.                                                               
Representatives Gruenberg,  Lynn, and McGuire voted  yea. Senator                                                               
Guess voted yea and Senators Therriault and Seekins voted nay.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
At ease from 6:13:08 PM to 6:15:36 PM.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  stated that the  problem relates to  the effective                                                               
dates.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referenced the  last page of  the House                                                               
version and recommended that the  staff draft a letter asking for                                                               
limited powers to change the  effective dates in Sections 34, 36,                                                               
and 37.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  remarked the committee  would need  limited powers                                                               
of free conference to deal with effective dates.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRETCHEN  GUESS asked why  the effective dates  needed to                                                               
be amended.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  responded  there   would  be  resistance  if  the                                                               
effective date for fraud were retroactive.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS observed that it was in the original bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS reiterated there would be resistance.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested that if you  were to contrast                                                               
all  the  dates  with  the  \L version  that  passed  the  Senate                                                               
Judiciary  Committee, you  would  find that  all  but the  actual                                                               
effective date on the final line  related to things put in by the                                                               
House and they weren't criminal.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  said the bill  the Senate  passed last year  had a                                                               
2005 effective date.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG responded  last  year was  2005 and  it                                                               
wouldn't have  been retroactive  because July  1 would  have been                                                               
after the Legislature adjourned.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  suggested the committee  would need  limited power                                                               
on just Section 36.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
6:19:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS responded he would prefer  to hedge the bet and ask                                                               
for limited power on all effective date sections.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS   agreed  then  said   discussion  of   the  fraud                                                               
perspective during the next meeting would be helpful.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if any  other sections ought to  be included                                                               
in the request for limited free powers.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCGUIRE  clarified that  the letter would  ask for                                                               
limited free  powers to address  the effective dates in  just the                                                               
particular sections.  The request does not  include discussion of                                                               
the sections themselves.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS remarked that is an important clarification.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT agreed that covers the issues under                                                                          
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
6:20:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked for a motion.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG motioned to report to the Senate and                                                                   
the House the request for limited free conference powers on the                                                                 
effective dates only.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced that without objection it was so                                                                        
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 104 was held in Conference Committee.                                                                                        

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