Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/14/1994 09:25 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  CSSB 365(STA): An Act relating  to the improvement of  state                 
                 finances   and   fiscal   accountability   by                 
                 increasing  fees,  by  collecting  additional                 
                 revenue,   by   reducing    certain   program                 
                 expenditures   by   changing    services   or                 
                 eligibility  requirements  for  programs,  by                 
                 changing    certain   statutory    limitation                 
                 periods,  by  providing  for  use of  certain                 
                 electronic  records,  by  making  changes  to                 
                 state   agency   functions    or   procedures                 
                 including  certain  reporting   and  planning                 
                 procedures, and by authorizing extensions for                 
                 state  leases for  real  property if  certain                 
                 savings can be achieved; and providing for an                 
                 effective date.                                               
                                                                               
                 CSSB 365(FIN) was  ADOPTED by the  committee.                 
                 Nancy Slagle, Director, Budget Review, Office                 
                 of  Management   &  Budget,  Office   of  the                 
                 Governor;  Linda  Rexwinkel,  budget analyst,                 
                 Division   of   Budget   Review,  Office   of                 
                 Management  &  Budget;  M.  Clyde  Stoltzfus,                 
                 Special  Assistant,  Commissioner's   Office,                 
                 Department   of   Transportation   &   Public                 
                 Facilities;  Juanita  Hensley,  Chief, Driver                 
                 Services,   Division   of   Motor   Vehicles,                 
                 Department of Public Safety;  Diane Schenker,                 
                 Special  Assistant,   Commissioner's  Office,                 
                 Department of Corrections;  Paul B.  Arnoldt,                 
                 Director, Division of  Workers' Compensation,                 
                 Department of Labor;  Dugan Petty,  Director,                 
                 Division of General  Services, Department  of                 
                 Administration;  and  Deena  Henkins,  Chief,                 
                 Drinking Water & Wastewater Section, Division                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                 of  Environmental   Quality,  Department   of                 
                 Environmental  Conservation;  spoke  to  CSSB
                 365(FIN).  SB 365 was HELD in committee.                      
                                                                               
  CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 365(STA):                                             
                                                                               
       An Act relating  to the  improvement of state  finances                 
       and  fiscal  accountability  by  increasing  fees,   by                 
       collecting  additional  revenue,  by  reducing  certain                 
       program   expenditures   by   changing    services   or                 
       eligibility  requirements  for  programs,  by  changing                 
       certain statutory limitation  periods, by providing for                 
       use of certain electronic records, by making changes to                 
       state agency functions or procedures including  certain                 
       reporting and  planning procedures, and  by authorizing                 
       extensions  for  state  leases  for  real  property  if                 
       certain savings can  be achieved; and providing  for an                 
       effective date.                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-chair  Pearce  announced  that  SB  365  was  before  the                 
  committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger MOVED  for adoption of CSSB  365(FIN) version                 
  "K" for  consideration.   No objection being  heard, it  was                 
  ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle said she would like department representatives to                 
  go through the sections  applying to them.  She  also said a                 
  sectional analysis had  been provided to the  committee, and                 
  the fiscal note packet would be complete by the afternoon.                   
                                                                               
  Senator  Kerttula  noted  that  he   had  drafted  questions                 
  according  to version "J".   Co-chair Pearce  noted that the                 
  sections should be  the same although some small changes had                 
  been made.                                                                   
                                                                               
  M.  CLYDE  STOLTZFUS,   Special  Assistant,   Commissioner's                 
  Office, Department  of Transportation  & Public  Facilities,                 
  said he  would like to  address all the  capital improvement                 
  program changes in Sections 1, 2, 26, and 27.  He went on to                 
  say:                                                                         
                                                                               
  Section 1 set  up a six-year  program in a priority  format.                 
  It  would  modify AS  19.10.140.   It  also dropped  out the                 
  requirement to have the six-year program address maintenance                 
  so it would only address the capital projects intended to be                 
  built  with  federal dollars.    The maintenance  budget was                 
  appropriated by the legislature and  the department made the                 
  best use of  those dollars  not knowing what  they would  be                 
  from year to year.                                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Under Section 2,  the second report to the legislature would                 
  be  an annual construction  season program report, modifying                 
  AS 19.10.150.                                                                
                                                                               
  Under Section  26, in the six-year program, it would require                 
  a general project  description and the source  of funding be                 
  provided in that report, modifying AS 37.07.060.                             
                                                                               
  The only change in  Section 27 was that the  report would be                 
  done on an annual construction season rather than the fiscal                 
  year.                                                                        
                                                                               
  End SFC-93 #69, Side 2                                                       
  Begin SFC-93 #71, Side 1                                                     
                                                                               
  In  answer  to  Senator  Sharp  regarding  Section  27,  Mr.                 
  Stoltzfus  said that the amount of  financing would be given                 
  as  a  lump sum.    Mr.  Stoltzfus said  that  the estimated                 
  project cost would  be in  the annual program  as listed  in                 
  Section 2.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger said  Section 2 only  referred to the  period                 
  immediately following the  construction season.  He  went on                 
  to  ask  if the  estimated costs  would  be included  in the                 
  longer  range  program  referred  to  in  Section  1.    Mr.                 
  Stoltzfus  said  that  the  bill  would  not  require  that.                 
  Senator Rieger said that  it would be prudent to  request an                 
  estimate of costs.   He also said that the  cost to complete                 
  had not been provided by the department from the prior year.                 
  He  said  that  was critical  information  in  preparing the                 
  capital budget.                                                              
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula asked if  Legislative Finance could provide                 
  that information.  Senator  Rieger felt that they  would not                 
  be able to do that.   Co-chair Pearce said she did not  know                 
  how the department  could have a project on  the development                 
  list and not have  an idea or estimate of what  the cost was                 
  going  to be for that project.   Senator Rieger agreed.  Co-                 
  chair  Pearce felt cost  estimates needed to  be attached to                 
  projects  early-on  but  she  said  she understood  why  the                 
  Commissioner  was asking  for this  process.  She  said this                 
  administration wanted to go to  a lump sum appropriation for                 
  federal projects and  this legislature  had no intention  of                 
  allowing that.                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula said  that a check  and balance system  for                 
  this  area had  been tried  about  10 years  ago but  it had                 
  failed.  Senator Sharp agreed that  cost estimates had to be                 
  approved  at an early point even though  it would be a rough                 
  estimate.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr.  Stoltzfus  said  Section  3  would amend  the  internal                 
  document  that was used for project  development.  Besides a                 
  technical word change, the department  would not be required                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  to  have  a maintenance  standard.    It  was  an  important                 
  liability issue and related to highway design and accidents.                 
  In  answer  to  Co-chair  Pearce, he  said  this  change was                 
  proposed by the DOT&PF but the Department of Law did concur.                 
  Co-chair Pearce  requested a letter by the Department of Law                 
  explaining this issue.   He went on to say  the third change                 
  was the deletion  of the  requirement that the  department's                 
  standards  conform to  the  American  Association  of  State                 
  Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).   The reason                 
  for this request  was the difference between  Alaska's roads                 
  and other states, and  because of the change in  ISTEA funds                 
  where  that  funding could  be used  in  roads off  the main                 
  highway system.  AASHTO's standards did not match the  types                 
  of projects that would be developed in Alaska.                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Stoltzfus said  that Section 28  was the requirement  of                 
  the state  transportation plan.  This  revision acknowledged                 
  that  the state transportation plan was a requirement of the                 
  federal  legislation  which  provided  the  federal  highway                 
  funding and it must meet  those federal requirements.  There                 
  was an annual plan that was required by the federal law.  In                 
  answer to  Co-chair Pearce, Mr. Stoltzfus said  the six year                 
  plan was different than this requirement.                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Stoltzfus said that Section  32 repealed AS 44.42.050(d)                 
  which  required  the  itemization  of  estimated  costs  for                 
  proposed capital budget projects.                                            
                                                                               
  PAUL   B.   ARNOLDT,   Director,   Division   of    Workers'                 
  Compensation, Department of Labor, said  that he would speak                 
  to Sections 4, 5 and 6, mainly housekeeping sections.                        
                                                                               
  Section 4 related  to the  rehabilitation program under  the                 
  workers'  compensation.   It  would  require that  the rehab                 
  specialists in the  field use  the current federal  "revised                 
  Dictionary of Occupational Titles".                                          
                                                                               
  Section  5  codified  a  practice  of the  staff  scheduling                 
  doctor's appointments for  the Board.   The doctor's  report                 
  than goes to the Board and the Board could use them or not.                  
                                                                               
  Section  6  clarified  that  the  "current  edition  of  the                 
  American  Medical Association  Guides to  the  Evaluation of                 
  Permanent Impairment" be used at the time of rating.                         
                                                                               
  JUANITA HENSLEY,  Chief, Driver Services,  Division of Motor                 
  Vehicles,  Department  of  Public  Safety,  said  Section  7                 
  through 22 related to the Department.                                        
                                                                               
  Section 7 allowed the department to use an electronic record                 
  and certify it in lieu of producing a document or a  copy of                 
  the original document.  The purpose was to be able to use it                 
  in court.                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Section  8 changed the method  of notice from certified mail                 
  to first class mail.                                                         
                                                                               
  Section  9  allowed  administrative  hearings  to  be   held                 
  telephonically.                                                              
                                                                               
  Section 10 extended a  temporary license plate from  30 days                 
  to 60 days.  This would allow dealers to submit  their title                 
  information  in a reasonable time frame and allow the public                 
  time to obtain title.                                                        
                                                                               
  Section 11 repealed the section that required all commercial                 
  vehicles be registered  in January or  the beginning of  the                 
  year.   The  department had  been lumping these  vehicles in                 
  with the others.                                                             
                                                                               
  Section 12 and 13 dealt with administrative hearings.  Those                 
  dealing with DWIs could be held telephonically.                              
                                                                               
  Senator  Kerttula said that rural electrics and cooperatives                 
  did  not pay  for license  plates.   He felt that  should be                 
  looked at instead of increasing everyone else's fee.                         
                                                                               
  In  answer to  Co-chair Frank,  Ms. Hensley  said there  was                 
  legislation  pending  that would  add  mobile homes  back on                 
  licensing.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Section 14 through  22 increased the amount reportable in an                 
  accident damage from $500  to $1,000.  She pointed  out that                 
  the average accident claim was now $1,600,  and this section                 
  had not been changed since the 60s.                                          
                                                                               
  Section  32  repealed  the  section  that said  special  and                 
  commercial registrations must expire in  a certain month and                 
  allowed the  department to renew  them on a  rotating basis.                 
  It also  repealed one  section pertaining  to the  mandatory                 
  insurance law.                                                               
                                                                               
  DIANE  SCHENKER,  Special Assistant,  Commissioner's Office,                 
  Department  of  Corrections,  said  Section  23  listed  the                 
  standard that  was used, clarified that it was the standard,                 
  and made it  consistent with the standard  for psychological                 
  and physiatric care.   It clarified that the  department was                 
  not obligated to  provide cosmetic surgery or  other medical                 
  procedure that was  not necessary  for a serious  condition.                 
  In answer to Senator Kerttula, Ms. Schenker said there was a                 
  medical  review  board that  made  the decision  for medical                 
  treatment, and any  request received three levels  of review                 
  before performed.  Ms.  Schenker said that she was  not that                 
  familiar with all  the cases but  she had checked with  risk                 
  management regarding law  suits.  There  did not seem to  be                 
  many settlements even though many complaints had been filed.                 
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula  said  he had  been  very critical  of  the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  medical care in the prisons.  Ms.  Schenker said there was a                 
  medical grievance procedure  that a  prisoner could use  and                 
  assistance was  available for  claimants.   Senator Kerttula                 
  felt reasonable  medical care should be given  to the people                 
  in prisons without  having to  file a claim.   Ms.  Schenker                 
  felt this  section did  not stand  in the  way of  prisoners                 
  getting reasonable medical care.                                             
                                                                               
  DUGAN  PETTY,   Director,  Division  of   General  Services,                 
  Department of Administration, said  that Section 24 extended                 
  a bill,  SB 129,  that was  passed last  year, allowing  the                 
  department the ability  to negotiate  rent concessions of  5                 
  percent of the base  rent with ADA compliance in  return for                 
  an extension of that lease.   This allowed an eighteen month                 
  window of opportunity.   This  section extended that  period                 
  and allowed the department up to a 10 year extension instead                 
  of five.   A much more  favorable rate could be  advanced if                 
  the  department could extend the lease for ten years because                 
  of refinancing,  etc.  Under SB 129,  he said that 18 leases                 
  had been renegotiated and a  substantial amount of money had                 
  been  saved.  He  noted that if  it was not  a good business                 
  deal the department would pass it up.                                        
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula said he was concerned with long term leases                 
  and would like  to compare that  to ownership.  However,  he                 
  agreed the department was saving money with this section.                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Petty agreed  with Senator Kerttula's concerns  but said                 
  that the bill would not cover lease purchases.  He said that                 
  if  the  department  would  see  an  opportunity  for  lease                 
  purchase it  would be brought before the  legislature but at                 
  this  time  no structure  was  set  up  for  this  to  be  a                 
  competitive process.                                                         
                                                                               
  Mr. Petty said that Section 25  was an attempt to streamline                 
  the process for acquisition of leases.   There were over 300                 
  leases  that the department was  required to replace as they                 
  expired.  Currently there were 16 leases on a month to month                 
  backlog, 32 expiring in FY95 without renewal options, and 51                 
  expiring with renewal options.  Many  of those would have to                 
  be rebid because they would not comply with ADA.   With this                 
  section, many of  the small leases, under  2500 square feet,                 
  could be included in the  small procurement category without                 
  using a formal bid.                                                          
                                                                               
  In answer  to Senator  Rieger, Mr.  Petty said this  section                 
  could  include initial  lease acquisition.   Senator  Rieger                 
  said he had a problem with this section since a lease  of as                 
  large as  $225,000 could be initiated.   Senator Rieger felt                 
  that might be acceptable for a renewal.                                      
                                                                               
  DEENA HENKINS,  Chief, Drinking Water &  Wastewater Section,                 
  Division   of   Environmental    Quality,   Department    of                 
  Environmental Conservation,  said in  regard to  Section 30,                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  that it was the department's intent to audit a statistically                 
  valid sample of  these certifications annually.   Either the                 
  department would audit them or it would contract it out.                     
                                                                               
  In  answer to  Senator Kerttula,  Ms. Henkins said  that the                 
  department was taking  various steps  from writing a  letter                 
  regarding  an  oversight  to  dealing  with a  violation  of                 
  department regulations  like a septic  tank too  close to  a                 
  well.  She felt  that could include refusing to  sell stamps                 
  to  an engineer, or bringing  that engineer's actions to the                 
  Board depending on the seriousness of the problem.                           
                                                                               
  Ms. Henkins said that the department was just starting to do                 
  the audits and  was only aware  of one complaint.   However,                 
  the department had  been involved in this  process for about                 
  10 years and there had been  fewer complaints now, than when                 
  the department was doing the certification themselves.                       
                                                                               
  End SFC-93 #71, Side 1                                                       
  Begin SFC-93 #71, Side 2                                                     
                                                                               
  Ms. Henkins said Section 31 provided legal authority for the                 
  department  to  delegate the  review  of plans  for domestic                 
  sewage systems  to a competent  government entity such  as a                 
  municipality.    This had  been  provided for  in wastewater                 
  regulations for  quite a few  years and  the department  had                 
  made  similar  delegations   to  communities  like  Wasilla,                 
  Anchorage and Valdez.   This would  clarify the plan  review                 
  function.                                                                    
                                                                               
  In answer to Senator Kerttula, Ms.  Henkins said the city of                 
  Wasilla had taken  delegation only for sewer  connections to                 
  their sewer  system.   DEC would  deal with  any other  plan                 
  reviews in the Wasilla area and  she assumed the state could                 
  have some liability if DEC was not overseeing Wasilla's plan                 
  reviews in some competent fashion.                                           
                                                                               
  Ms. Slagle said  that Section 33 allowed  the departments to                 
  develop regulations  to implement the  various sections that                 
  pertain to them.  Section 34 provided an immediate effective                 
  date for that  section.  Section 35 gave July 1, 1994 for an                 
  effective date for the remainder of the bill.                                
                                                                               
  Senator Kerttula commented  that sometimes when the  law was                 
  written in  sufficient detail,  it limited  authorization of                 
  regulatory imposition.  He called it "lazy law."                             
                                                                               
  Co-chair Pearce said that SB 365 would be HELD in committee.                 
                                                                               
  BILLS SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD:                                               
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects