Legislature(1999 - 2000)

12/08/1999 09:00 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  it would, 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 to adopt  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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