Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/13/1999 08:45 AM C33

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SB  33-TASK FORCE ON PRIVATIZATION                                                                               
CO-CHAIR HALFORD called the Conference Committee on SB 33 to order                                                              
at 8:45 a.m.  Present were Senators Pearce, Elton and Halford, and                                                              
Representatives Brice, Ogan and Cowdery.  CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked                                                                
Tam Cook to explain the differences between the final House and                                                                 
Senate versions of SB 33.                                                                                                       
TAM COOK, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES, pointed out                                                               
that, under the Uniform Rules, a conference committee is charged                                                                
with looking at amendments to a bill which she interprets to mean                                                               
the ways the bills differ from each other.  She informed committee                                                              
members she would refer to CSSB 33(FIN) and identify the changes                                                                
made to that version by the House.  On page 2, after line 6, the                                                                
House added the following statement:  "there may be functions of                                                                
state government that should cease."                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if that language can be adopted by the                                                                   
Conference Committee without any power of free conference.  MS.                                                                 
COOK said it can.                                                                                                               
MS. COOK explained the second difference is that Sections 2, 3, and                                                             
4 of the Senate version, beginning on line 16 of page 2, make                                                                   
substantive changes to the law.  Corresponding sections are not                                                                 
contained in the House version.                                                                                                 
Section 5 of the Senate version designates the membership of an 11                                                              
member commission; the House version designates the membership of                                                               
a 15 member commission.  MS. COOK clarified that the Conference                                                                 
Committee can elect to adopt either the formation of an 11 or 15                                                                
member commission without requesting limited powers of free                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if limited powers need to be requested to                                                                
change the composition of the commission.  MS. COOK answered if the                                                             
Conference Committee wishes to create a 13 member board, it will                                                                
need limited powers of free conference.                                                                                         
MS. COOK stated the House version does not designate that one                                                                   
member be a representative of the labor unions (page 3, line 15).                                                               
She noted that a few of the members in each bill are identical,                                                                 
however quite a few differ.  She pointed out that determining                                                                   
whether members are identical is a matter of substance rather than                                                              
paragraph numbering.  The Conference Committee can retain the                                                                   
members that are identical in each bill and then "mix and match"                                                                
from the others without limited powers of free conference.  The                                                                 
Senate version contains one local boundary commission member.  The                                                              
House version membership differs in that it contains a rural bush                                                               
caucus legislator, a public member who represents a Native                                                                      
corporation, a public member who represents a Native nonprofit                                                                  
corporation, a member of the AFL-CIO, a member of the largest                                                                   
public employees union, and one member from each minority caucus.                                                               
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked if a request for limited powers of free                                                                  
conference would cover any changes the committee wishes to make to                                                              
the number of members and composition of the commission.                                                                        
MS. COOK said that is correct, and that if the Conference Committee                                                             
asks for limited powers as to the number of members and make up of                                                              
the commission, it could create an entirely new composition of                                                                  
commission members.                                                                                                             
MS. COOK noted another difference between the House and Senate                                                                  
versions is per diem.  The Senate version allows per diem and                                                                   
travel expense reimbursement for the public members appointed by                                                                
the presiding officers.   The House version permits per diem and                                                                
travel for all public members.                                                                                                  
MS. COOK indicated that the House version specifies on page 4 that                                                              
the report identify state-funded functions that should be                                                                       
eliminated as functions of state government.  That provision does                                                               
not appear in the Senate version.  The House version requires a                                                                 
preliminary report due January 1, 2000, followed by a final report                                                              
due January 1, 2001.  The Senate version requires that one report                                                               
be submitted on January 1, 2000.  The repeal date of the commission                                                             
in the House version is January 1, 2001, while the Senate repeal                                                                
date is January 1, 2000.                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked committee members whether they had any                                                                   
questions of Ms. Cook.                                                                                                          
Number 155                                                                                                                      
SENATOR ELTON asked if public members, for the purpose of per diem,                                                             
include the labor representatives and the representative of the                                                                 
Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.                                                                                               
MS. COOK replied that a public member is not defined in either                                                                  
version, however a statute is referenced that applies to boards and                                                             
commissions.  She believes a public member, in this context, would                                                              
be a non-governmental employee who is appointed because of his/her                                                              
position in office.  She clarified a legislator would not be                                                                    
considered a public member, nor would a commissioner of a state                                                                 
department.  She thought that a representative of a state labor                                                                 
union should be treated as a public member because even though that                                                             
person is a government employee, membership on this commission is                                                               
not part of their employment role.  That person would probably not                                                              
be reimbursed by the State of Alaska for his/her participation on                                                               
the commission.  She maintained that because the bill does not                                                                  
contain a definition, the test would be whether or not the member                                                               
expects to receive a salary, per diem and travel expenses for                                                                   
participation from the state.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR HALFORD pointed out the area that the Conference Committee                                                             
needs limited powers of free conference for would be covered by a                                                               
statement on the powers and membership of the commission.  He asked                                                             
if committee members were interested in requesting limited powers                                                               
of free conference for any other areas.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he would like to make sure that the issue                                                              
of whether the commission should recommend which state-funded                                                                   
functions of state government should be eliminated is addressed.                                                                
CO-CHAIR HALFORD noted that could be addressed by adopting the                                                                  
House language, therefore limited powers would not be necessary.                                                                
CO-CHAIR HALFORD acknowledged that if a committee member from                                                                   
either side wanted to move the entire composition of the commission                                                             
from the bill of the other side he or she could do so but it would                                                              
probably be a waste of time.                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked Senator Ward, the sponsor of SB 33, to                                                                   
discuss his opinion on the differences between the two versions                                                                 
with committee members.                                                                                                         
Number 214                                                                                                                      
SENATOR WARD said that he believes some of the work done by the                                                                 
House made great improvements to the bill.  He encouraged the                                                                   
Conference Committee to retain the Senate's 11 member commission,                                                               
to designate a position for an Alaska Native to be appointed by the                                                             
presiding officers, and to support the provision that the report                                                                
disclose state-funded services that should be eliminated as                                                                     
functions of state government.  He recommended that the report due                                                              
date be January 1, 2000 because time is of the essence.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR HALFORD asked for a motion to request of the presiding                                                                 
officers limited powers of free conference on the number of members                                                             
and composition of the commission.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY so moved.  There being no objection, the                                                                 
motion carried.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR HALFORD announced a letter would be sent to the presiding                                                              
officers and that he would schedule a second meeting as soon as he                                                              
receives a response.  He then adjourned the meeting at 9:00 a.m.                                                                

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