Legislature(2007 - 2008)

05/15/2007 11:19 AM FIN


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11:19:00 AM Start
11:19:43 AM SR7
11:31:24 AM HB184
11:43:54 AM SR7
11:48:54 AM HB244
11:54:39 AM Alaska Marine Highway System Review and Approval
12:02:59 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 184(STA)                                                                               
     "An  Act relating  to a  commemorative troops  license plate                                                               
     and  to  license  plates  available  to  disabled  veterans;                                                               
     relating  to  mandatory  motor  vehicle  insurance,  license                                                               
     suspensions,  and notices  relating  to  motor vehicles  and                                                               
     driver's licenses; relating to registration of vehicles for                                                                
     disabled persons; relating to the anatomical gift awareness                                                                
     fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the first hearing for  this bill in the  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman moved to adopt  committee substitute Version 25-                                                               
LS0621\V,  Luckhaupt,   dated  May  14,  2007,   as  the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no  objection,  committee  substitute  Version  25-                                                               
LS0621\V was ADOPTED as the working document.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:31:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB ROSES,  the bill's  sponsor, stated  that the                                                               
bill  would  establish  a  process  through  which  people  could                                                               
purchase commemorative  plates in honor  of those serving  in the                                                               
military. The money raised by  this endeavor would be utilized to                                                               
assist  military families  with such  things as  activities, rent                                                               
and other  necessities, and  education scholarships.  While, many                                                               
components of the bill have  changed during its committee hearing                                                               
process, an  amendment of particular  note was one  that expanded                                                               
the program  to include  families of  individuals serving  in the                                                               
Alaska National Guard.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:32:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOSH APPLEBEE,  Staff to Representative  Bob Roses,  informed the                                                               
Committee  that  Version  "V"   refined  and  shortened  language                                                               
contained in previous versions of the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Applebee  stated that several amendments  were adopted during                                                               
the  bill's committee  hearing process.  For example,  the Senate                                                               
State Affairs  Committee added language  to Section  1 subsection                                                               
(d) page  1 lines 7 through  10 to specify that  money donated to                                                               
the  organ  transplant  program   "may  be  appropriated  by  the                                                               
Legislature  to Life  Alaska, Inc."  The  intent of  specifically                                                               
naming Life  Alaska Inc.  in the  bill was  to clarify  where the                                                               
money donated to this program would be appropriated.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Applebee  continued. The House Veterans  and Military Affairs                                                               
Committee added language to Section  2 to allow disabled veterans                                                               
to continue getting their vehicle  license plates free of charge.                                                               
The amendment served to exempt  them from the federal requirement                                                               
that  the  international disability  symbol  be  depicted on  the                                                               
plate. "That's a  personal choice that I believe  we should offer                                                               
them."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:34:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Applebee   stated  that  language  in   Section  3  provided                                                               
specifics to  the design  and the  printing of  the commemorative                                                               
troops license plates proposed in this legislation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Applebee  noted  that  the  House  Finance  Committee  added                                                               
language to  Section 4 subsection  (f) page  3 lines 1  through 8                                                               
which  would  allow   residents  over  the  age  of   65  with  a                                                               
demonstrated disability  to receive  their vehicle  license plate                                                               
free of charge.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Applebee stated that the  fee pertaining to the commemorative                                                               
troops license  plate is  detailed in  Section 5  page 3  lines 9                                                               
through 20 of the  bill. The $40 fee would be  in addition to the                                                               
regular  license plate  fee  and would  be  earmarked to  benefit                                                               
Alaska troops and their families.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Applebee noted  that Section  6, page  3 line  21, specifies                                                               
that the legislation would become effective July 1, 2007.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:35:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins asked for further  information about Life Alaska,                                                               
Inc.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:35:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Applebee  advised  that  Life   Alaska  Inc.  is  non-profit                                                               
organization   which   facilitates   the   data   management   of                                                               
individuals who sign up as organ  and tissue donors. Were such an                                                               
individual to die, Life Alaska  would determine which organs were                                                               
available and where they would need to be transported.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:36:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins  asked for  further clarification  about language                                                               
in Section 1;  specifically whether the money  collected from the                                                               
purchase  of the  commemorative  troops license  plates would  be                                                               
allocated to Life Alaska Inc.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Applebee  clarified  that the  Division  of  Motor  Vehicles                                                               
operated two donation  programs: one for money  donated by people                                                               
toward  the organ  transplant  program and  the  other being  the                                                               
commemorative troops  license plate fee. The  language in Section                                                               
1 referred to the organ transplant program.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins acknowledged.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:36:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Huggins  asked whether the  eligibility criteria  for the                                                               
disability  license  fee  waiver  proposed in  Section  2,  would                                                               
specify  that an  individual  must  be a  minimum  of 50  percent                                                               
disabled.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Applebee understood that to be correct.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:37:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman, noting that Duane  Bannock with the Division of                                                               
Motor Vehicles  was participating  via teleconference,  asked him                                                               
to explain  how the money donated  to the organ donor  program is                                                               
collected and allocated.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DUANE BANNOCK,  Director, Division of Motor  Vehicles, Department                                                               
of Administration,  testified via  teleconference from  an offnet                                                               
location  and informed  the Committee  that "the  Anatomical Gift                                                               
Awareness  Fund" was  established approximately  four years  ago.                                                               
People  visiting a  Division of  Motor Vehicle  Office are  asked                                                               
whether they would like to  contribute to the Fund, also referred                                                               
to as  the Donate  a Dollar  for Life  fund. Donations  have been                                                               
collected for the Program for  approximately the past three and a                                                               
half years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman asked how the funds are dispersed.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:37:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bannock  stated that that  is the effort being  undertaken in                                                               
this  bill.  This  legislation  would  allow  that  money  to  be                                                               
allocated to Life Alaska Inc  which is the organization in Alaska                                                               
"responsible of promotion of organ and tissue donation."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman  understood that  the Donate  a Dollar  for Life                                                               
fund has accumulated approximately $60,000 to date.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bannock affirmed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bannock  disclosed that  he was a  volunteer board  member of                                                               
Life Alaska Inc. donor services.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman asked  whether  Life Alaska  Inc.  is the  only                                                               
organization in the State involved in an organ donor program.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bannock understood that to be true.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:38:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #1: This  amendment deletes the entirety  of Section 1,                                                               
page  1 lines  5 through  8 and  replaces it  with the  following                                                               
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. AS 13.50.160(d) is repealed and reenacted to                                                                    
     read:                                                                                                                      
          (d) Money in the fund may be appropriated by the                                                                      
     legislature to an organization for the purpose of promoting                                                                
     the donation program established in AS 13.50 and AS 13.52.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The  amendment  also  repeals Alaska  Statute  13.50.160(c).  The                                                               
language being deleted reads as follows.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          (c) Donations to the fund shall be segregated within                                                                  
     the fund until they are appropriated for use by the fund.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman moved Amendment #1  and objected for purposes of                                                               
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:39:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MILES BAKER,  Staff to  Co-Chair Stedman,  distributed a  copy of                                                               
Alaska  Statute  Section  13.15.160.  Anatomical  gift  awareness                                                               
fund.,  which  was  the  section  of  Statute  affected  by  this                                                               
amendment and  a copy of  a May  14, 2007 memorandum  from Gerald                                                               
Luckhaupt,  Legislative  Counsel,  addressed to  Senator  Stedman                                                               
[copies  on  file].  The  memorandum  advised  that  the  "direct                                                               
appropriations  of  funds  to private  organizations,  even  non-                                                               
profit organizations such  as the reference to  Life Alaska, Inc.                                                               
in  Section 1  page 1  line 8  of Version  "V", "may  violate the                                                               
public purpose clause of Art. IX" of the State's Constitution.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Baker stated  that this amendment would  remove the reference                                                               
to  Life Alaska  Inc in  order to  address the  Constitutionality                                                               
concern.  The  intent, however,  is  that  the Legislature  would                                                               
annually authorize an  appropriation to Alaska Life  Inc from the                                                               
fund.  "The  primary reason  the  money  has  not been  spent  is                                                               
because the Legislature just hasn't appropriated it."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Baker  communicated that the Statutory  language pertinent to                                                               
the Anatomical  gift awareness fund  was modeled after  a similar                                                               
program adopted  by the  State of Washington.  The Statute  "is a                                                               
bit   confusing"   because  that   state's   use   of  the   term                                                               
"appropriations" differs from that of Alaska's.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Baker  advised therefore that  Amendment #1 would  repeal the                                                               
language  currently  in  AS 13.50.160(c)  and  would  rewrite  AS                                                               
13.50.160(d).                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Baker stated  that Life  Alaska Inc.  is currently  the only                                                               
organ donor  management organization  in the State.  The proposed                                                               
language  could accommodate  any  other  organization that  might                                                               
conduct similar operations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:42:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Thomas understood  therefore  that  the amendment  would                                                               
alter language in  Version "V" to specify  that the appropriation                                                               
to  be  made  to  "an  organization" in  general  rather  than  a                                                               
specific named organization.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Baker replied that that was correct.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman removed his objection.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman moved  to report  committee substitute  Version                                                               
25-LS0621\V,   as  amended,   from   Committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection,  SCS CSHB  184(FIN) was  REPORTED from                                                               
Committee with previous  zero fiscal note #1  from the Department                                                               
of Administration.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:43:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                

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