Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/17/1994 09:15 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 372: An Act relating to the four dam pool transfer fund. Co-chair Pearce voiced her preference that HB 372 would move out of committee and SB 243 would be held. Senator Rieger voiced his concern over passing HB 372 without correcting the problems in the legislation. Co-chairs Pearce and Frank concurred. HB 372 was REPORTED OUT of committee with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note for the Dept. of Community & Regional Affairs. HOUSE BILL NO. 372: An Act relating to the four dam pool transfer fund. Co-chair Pearce announced that HB 372 was before the committee. She said that it was the companion bill to SB 243 that was still in committee. She voiced her preference that HB 372 would be reported out of committee while SB 243 would be held. She noted that Randy Welker, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division, was in the audience and willing to answer questions. Co-chair Frank commented that there had been much discussion on this legislation but few resolutions. He suggested that problems might be resolved in the budget process. Senator Rieger asked if HB 372 would address Senator Sharp's concerns since he was absent from the meeting. Senator Sharp's concerns as understood by Co-chair Pearce had to do with on-going funding for the Division of Energy. She said that HB 372 did not speak to those concerns. In addition, she said that Senator Sharp had informed her staff that he was comfortable with dealing with his concerns in another piece of legislation, the budget process, or in some other way. Senator Rieger voiced his concern with HB 372. He said that it seemed if problems were being addressed that were created in the legislation that was "stuffed down our throats" last year, he would prefer to correct all the problems in one bill. He said that he had not had adequate time to read the legislation last year and now wished he had asked for more time to do that. He again pointed out that there were more problems than just what was being addressed in HB 372 and reiterated that it would be his preference to do it in one piece of legislation. He said that when he looked at the history of appropriations for energy in the state in the early 80s, it had led to nothing but hard feelings from about 1984 on. So, now, when a discussion was held on this subject, everyone was just growling at each other because of "baggage" people carry regarding, who got more than someone else, resentments from having to pay back loans that supplement the grants received, who got more grants, etc. His biggest concern, in general, although there had been this amount of money appropriated for projects which may or may not be excellent projects, the state had put a lot of money into energy, but now the state had transferred the energy program to a place where it was opening up another source of money. He said he did not know how much money had gone into the interties, the hydro projects, the Healy clean coal project...but now there was a fund in AIDEA that was called the Enterprise Development Account which had $460M in it. There were statutory changes made last year that allowed AIDEA to go ahead and either back more power projects with its assets or pledge the state's moral obligation pledge. This opened up another source of funds, the capital reserve fund. This fund was an indirect way in which the Commissioner of Revenue could request additional money from the state to avoid defaults on bonds. He expressed his serious concern over how the transfer had been done last year, where it was at present, and the exposure the state had to AIDEA. He felt AIDEA was run well and was pleased to hear from Riley Snell's testimony that a feasibility study would be done, and done correctly before a project went forward. He felt that HB 372 was a minor clean-up for something that needed a broad based clean-up. He was disappointed that those problems were not being addressed. Recess at 10:00 Reconvene at 10:02 Co-chairs Pearce and Frank concurred with Senator Rieger's concerns. Co-chair Frank went on to say that a few things were left undone and it was a matter of strategy or cooperation with the other body to have that accomplished. He said there were Senator Rieger's concerns, the concern relative to the administrative costs, and another concern on a specific project brought up by Senator Halford. Co-chair Frank said he was not convinced that this was the best way to proceed and he wanted assurance that the other issues would be addressed in a strong way. Co-chair Frank MOVED for passage of HB 372 from committee with individual recommendations. No objections being raised, HB 372 was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note for the Department of Community & Regional Affairs. Co-chairs Pearce and Frank signed a "no recommendation." Senators Rieger and Kerttula signed the committee report with a "do not pass" recommendation.