Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211
05/03/2005 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 213-ALCOHOL SERVER EDUCATION CHAIR SEEKINS announced HB 213 to be up for consideration. JANE PIERSON, staff to Representative Ramras, sponsor, explained the provisions of the bill. The alcohol server education course was instituted several years ago with the intent of reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road and it has been very successful. However, every three years competent bartenders, servers and doormen have to spend three to four hours taking an alcohol server education course, which is quite redundant. In the service industry it could mean losing three to four hours of wages and gratuities. HB 213 will allow alcohol servers who have been successfully working in the industry to renew their alcohol server education cards without retaking the full course provided that they pass the test. If a server fails the test, he would be required to retake the course. 1:57:08 PM SENATOR DAVIS asked if you currently have to take a test each time you renew your card. MS. PIERSON replied yes. CHAIR SEEKINS asked where the test is administered. MS. PIERSON replied that the monitored tests are administered by different agencies in different places throughout the state. 1:57:40 PM SENATOR HUGGINS asked if training people in rural communities was a problem. MS. PIERSON replied that there are times when the course cannot efficiently be offered in small rural communities, but there are other ways to go about teaching it. SENATOR HUGGINS said his number one concern is that this becomes a course where someone just comes in and gets his card signed. DOUG GRIFFIN, Director, Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC), responded that he didn't think he should be concerned. The role of the ABC Board is to approve the courses and several vendors offer approved alcohol server training. Nationwide packages are customized to reflect the rules and laws of the State of Alaska. He is satisfied that they are appropriately taught even though this area is evolving with use of computer-generated instruction and testing, some of which were approved for the more rural locations. 2:00:08 PM SENATOR HUGGINS asked if the training done in a rural areas has problems. MR. GRIFFIN replied that it is valid for him to be curious about that, but to his knowledge vendors are doing it appropriately. He said the board is looking at the new technology that tests people on each module before going forward to the next module. It seems to be very effective and he believed the board would tweak the regulations to allow that technology within a year. 2:02:07 PM KAREN ROGINA, CEO, Alaska Hospitality Alliance, supported HB 213. This bill improves alcohol server training in Alaska by making it faster and easier for experienced servers to be in compliance with the law. Effectively, this bill allows someone who is already trained and certified in alcohol server training in accordance with the State of Alaska's provisions in Title 4 to renew their certification by taking a test rather than sitting through another four-hour class. It's important to note that the cost of the class and the time required to take the class is often paid by the server, not the employer and is done on server's own time. Passing a written test accomplishes the spirit of what was intended by insuring the server is experienced in techniques of alcohol serving and guest management and it makes compliance more accessible as it is easier to make a test available to a server than it is to bring an instructor or otherwise make a four- hour class available to rural areas.... 2:03:56 PM TAMMY KILBOURN, Fairbanks, said she is a professional bartender and supported HB 213. She believes the test needs to be taken to remind you of your duties and to keep everybody on the same page of the new laws. 2:04:47 PM PAUL THOMAS, Alaska Cache Liquor, supported HB 213. He thought it would actually lead to advanced training levels, because instructors would be at the same level and would be able to respond to more specific questions. He also would not be opposed to charging the same fees for both types of classes. 2:06:00 PM SENATOR BEN STEVENS moved HB 213 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There were no objections and it was so ordered.