Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/20/2000 01:40 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              HB 291-ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE NOTICES                                                                       
Representative  Beth Kerttula,  prime sponsor  of HB 291,  explained                                                            
that  HB 291  updates  the Administrative   Procedures  Act so  that                                                            
administrative   procedure  notices   will  now  be  available   and                                                            
distributed  via electronic  format to legislative  offices.   Paper                                                            
copies will be distributed upon request.                                                                                        
MS. DEBORAH  BEHR, Assistant  Attorney General,  informed  committee                                                            
members that the  Department of Law sees no legal  problems with the                                                            
bill and that the Administration supports the measure.                                                                          
The committee took an at-ease from 1:44 p.m. to 1:46 p.m.                                                                       
SENATOR  LEMAN moved  to adopt Amendment  1 which  applies to  legal                                                            
advertising.    Currently,  the  Departments  of  Natural  Resources                                                            
(DNR),  Environmental  Conservation  (DEC)  and  Transportation  and                                                            
Public  Facilities  (DOTPF)  place  full  length  advertisements  in                                                            
newspapers.  Amendment  1 removes three of the required  elements of                                                            
legal advertisements because  they can be delivered through handouts                                                            
to interested parties or via an electronic format.                                                                              
Amendment   1  allows  departments   to   place  advertisements   in                                                            
newspapers, trade  or industry publications or broadcasts  that only                                                            
AS 44.62.200                                                                                                                    
     (a)(1)  a   statement  of  the  time,  place,   and  nature  of                                                            
     proceedings   for  adoption,   amendment,  or  repeal   of  the                                                            
     (a)(4) other matters  prescribed by a statute applicable to the                                                            
     specific  agency  or to  the specific  regulation  or class  of                                                            
     regulations; and                                                                                                           
     (a)(6) a  brief general description of the proposed  subject of                                                            
     agency action,  how more detailed information  may be obtained,                                                            
     and  the  name  of  the  agency  contact   person;  (6  is  new                                                            
The elements dropped from  printed or broadcast notices by Amendment                                                            
1 are:                                                                                                                          
AS 44.62.200                                                                                                                    
     (a)(2)  reference to the authority  under which the  regulation                                                            
     is proposed  and a reference to the particular  code section or                                                            
     other   provisions   of  law   that  are   being  implemented,                                                             
     interpreted, or made specific;                                                                                             
     (a)(3) an informative summary of the proposed subject of                                                                   
     agency action;                                                                                                             
     (a)(5) a summary of the fiscal information required to be                                                                  
     prepared under AS 44.62.195.                                                                                               
SENATOR  LEMAN  indicated  that Amendment  1  is  an idea  that  was                                                            
proposed  by  the  Administration  several  years  ago.   All  three                                                            
departments  support  it  and,  in  fact,  DOTPF  already  does  it.                                                            
Commissioner  Shively of DNR told  him last week that he  would like                                                            
to go farther than Amendment  1 to reduce DNR's cost of advertising.                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said she spoke to the Lt. Governor's Office                                                            
staff who pointed  out that at this  point the Administration  is in                                                            
support of Amendment 1.   She noted she supports the general idea of                                                            
going toward e-mail and  electronic notices but many people in rural                                                            
Alaska  still depend  on newspapers  to learn  about legal  notices.                                                            
She cautioned  that  Alaska is  not ready  for that  step yet.   She                                                            
added  that Amendment  1 will  not  save money  and it  would add  a                                                            
fiscal note to the bill.   In addition, Representative Kerttula said                                                            
Amendment 1 will prevent  the measure from being enacted.  For those                                                            
reasons she opposes it.                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN  MACKIE   asked  Senator  Leman  if  any   other  piece  of                                                            
legislation deals with this topic.                                                                                              
SENATOR LEMAN  replied various bills have dealt with  this issue and                                                            
other  committees have  amended  them but  the legislation  did  not                                                            
progress.  He was looking for a vehicle that was moving along.                                                                  
The Committee took a brief at-ease from 1:49 p.m. to 1:54 p.m.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN  MACKIE asked  a representative  of  the Administration  to                                                            
MS.  DEBORAH  BEHR,   Assistant  Attorney  General,   said  the  Lt.                                                            
Governor's  Office does not support  Amendment 1 at this  time.  The                                                            
Administration suggested,  in a separate bill a number of years ago,                                                            
that this amendment  go forward but  it generated strong  opposition                                                            
for several reasons.  One  reason was a concern that the abbreviated                                                            
notices will not contain  all of the information so those who depend                                                            
on newspaper  advertisements will  not get that information.   Also,                                                            
when one looks at the cost  of display advertisements, they are more                                                            
expensive than a regulation  advertisement so a display ad with less                                                            
information  will not necessarily  cost less  and will not  generate                                                            
more  public  interest.    She repeated  that  at  this  point,  the                                                            
Administration does not support Amendment 1.                                                                                    
SENATOR  LEMAN  clarified  that Amendment  1  does not  prevent  any                                                            
agency from  providing information  that is essential; it  only says                                                            
that it must  contain information  provided in paragraphs  1, 4, and                                                            
6.   It  would give  the  departments  additional  flexibility  when                                                            
designing public  notices.  It is a tool to make government  better.                                                            
He  stated if  the  Lt. Governor  has  changed  her mind  because  a                                                            
newspaper publisher called, he is disappointed.                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN MACKIE  asked if Senator Leman was willing  to get together                                                            
with the Lt. Governor and the sponsor to work something out.                                                                    
SENATOR  LEMAN  said  he would  be  happy  to  do that.    He  asked                                                            
Representative  Kerttula if the problem  is not that she  is opposed                                                            
to  the concept  but she  is  afraid the  amendment  will stop  good                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  said that  is true.   She  added that  she                                                            
believes  the  amendment   will  require  a  fiscal  note  that  the                                                            
amendment raises issues regarding equity for rural Alaska.                                                                      
SENATOR  DONLEY  thought  the  better compromise   was to  move  the                                                            
legislation  forward at this  time.  He felt  HB 291 is a  good bill                                                            
that  may not  have the  necessary  support in  the House  if it  is                                                            
SENATOR LEMAN withdrew his motion to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                         
SENATOR DONLEY  moved CSHB 291(STA)  from committee with  individual                                                            
recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                 

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