Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/19/2004 03:40 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    SB 287-REGULATION REVIEW                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 287 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
He noted there was a committee substitute (CS) and asked for a                                                                  
motion to adopt it as the working document.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BERT  STEDMAN made  a motion to  adopt CSSB  287, version                                                               
23-LS1566\D as  the working document.  There being  no objection,                                                               
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked Mr.  Stancliff to explain the changes in                                                               
the CS  and noted  there was a  revised fiscal  note accompanying                                                               
the CS.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAVE STANCLIFF,  staff to sponsor  Senator Gene  Therriault, said                                                               
the CS addresses  several of the comments expressed  at the prior                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
To reduce the fiscal impact  and not involve legislative legal in                                                               
reviews  that   don't  need  their  expertise,   all  boards  and                                                               
commissions were removed  from the review process.  The boards of                                                               
fish and  game were removed in  the CS and they  represent almost                                                               
21  percent  of  all  regulation   proposals  that  the  attorney                                                               
general's  (AG) office  reviews  in a  year.  With that  workload                                                               
reduction, the fiscal note is reduced by about $100,000.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Page  2, lines  10-18 addresses  the means  of communication.  He                                                               
explained that the bill requires  a review, but the communication                                                               
between legislative legal and the  AG's office is informal rather                                                               
than in writing unless there is no resolution.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The  third change  is  on  page 2,  lines  19-22  and relates  to                                                               
communication   between  Legislative   Legal  Services   and  the                                                               
Department   of  Law,   the   Administrative  Regulation   Review                                                               
Committee, the Senate President, and  the Speaker of the House of                                                               
Representatives.  For   reasons  of   confidentiality,  documents                                                               
between the  Legislative Legal  Services and  any of  the parties                                                               
named are  to be considered  working documents. He  reported that                                                               
conversations  are ongoing  regarding  changes  suggested by  the                                                               
Department  of Law.  Because those  changes might  further reduce                                                               
the  fiscal  impact, the  sponsor  has  said  he would  make  the                                                               
changes  prior to  the hearing  in  the Finance  Committee if  he                                                               
elects to incorporate them.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, lines 23-25 makes it  clear that reviews conducted by the                                                               
Legislative  Legal   Services  will   not  delay   the  adoption,                                                               
amendment, or repeal of a regulation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
On page 1, line  9 states that the Department of  Law will not be                                                               
encumbered with  the task of  copying and providing  documents to                                                               
legislative legal.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He concluded  his comments by  reemphasizing that the  sponsor is                                                               
still working  with the Department  of Law  and he is  aware that                                                               
many  of their  suggestions  are designed  to  reduce the  fiscal                                                               
impact.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS thanked Mr.  Stancliff and noted that although                                                               
this was  the second time  the committee  had heard the  bill, it                                                               
would be helpful for him to  recap the purpose of the legislation                                                               
and what it is attempting to accomplish.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.STANCLIFF  explained  that the  legislation  is  based on  the                                                               
premise  that the  Executive Branch,  through  the Department  of                                                               
Law,  provides a  good balance  regarding their  perspective into                                                               
the  legislative system.  But  the same  level  of oversight  and                                                               
involvement ceases  during the interim when  regulations begin to                                                               
flow.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
In  comparison,   the  Minnesota  Legislative   Branch  co-writes                                                               
regulation  with   the  Executive   Branch  while   the  Colorado                                                               
Legislature conducts an  annual review of regulations.  SB 278 is                                                               
an effort  to raise  the quality and  standard of  regulations to                                                               
comport  with  what  the  Legislature  intended  in  statute.  To                                                               
accomplish  this   end,  the  Legislative  Branch   would  review                                                               
regulations before the public comment  period. This, he asserted,                                                               
is nothing  more than a  quality review by the  legislative legal                                                               
team.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BERT  STEDMAN  remarked this  would  require  additional                                                               
state  hiring, but  the  fiscal note  indicates  there isn't  any                                                               
physical  space available  in the  legislative  legal office.  He                                                               
asked for  a comment on  increasing efficiency  versus increasing                                                               
state overhead.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF replied that is  a concern, but incorporating other                                                               
suggestions  from the  Department of  Law may  reduce the  fiscal                                                               
note to the point that finding  new space for the new hires won't                                                               
be an issue. With regard to  cost, he suggested that, "Just as in                                                               
a business,  an investment sometimes  up front translates  into a                                                               
great  savings  on  down  the line."  He  acknowledged  that  the                                                               
Finance  Committee  might insist  that  existing  space be  found                                                               
before they agree to move the bill.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   GRETCHEN  GUESS   questioned   excluding  all   boards,                                                               
commissions,  councils or  other public  corporations. She  noted                                                               
the Board  of Fish  and the  Board of  Education are  both boards                                                               
within  a department  and she  was curious  how that  would work.                                                               
Because  the   Board  of   Education  approves   regulations  the                                                               
Department of Education makes,  she questioned whether regulation                                                               
such as  the implementation  of the  high school  qualifying exam                                                               
would be excluded.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  STANCLIFF replied  if  the regulation  or  proposed rule  is                                                               
generated from  a board  or commission, it  would be  exempt from                                                               
this rule regardless  of whether or not it is  part of an agency.                                                               
He reported  this broad-brush  application was  a policy  call to                                                               
reduce cost.  It is  agency driven  regulations promulgated  as a                                                               
matter of agency policy that  have been problematic, he asserted.                                                               
Further,  board  and  commission  members take  their  jobs  very                                                               
seriously  and they  usually have  an assistant  attorney general                                                               
assigned to work with them.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS maintained  the writing is too broad  and she would                                                               
like the committee  to consider that and have  Mr. Stancliff take                                                               
that  assertion  back to  the  sponsor.  She didn't  believe  any                                                               
comments  in the  previous hearing  suggested that  all education                                                               
regulations be excluded  from the bill, but that  is what appears                                                               
to have  happened. The Board of  Fish and the Board  of Education                                                               
are   very  different   and  she   asked  that   be  taken   into                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
She then asked  if councils and public  corporations included the                                                               
Alaska Railroad  Corporation, Alaska Housing  Finance Corporation                                                               
(AHFC), and Permanent Fund Corporation.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF  agreed and said those  political subdivisions that                                                               
have  been  created   over  the  years  and   exempted  from  the                                                               
Administrative Procedure  Act (APA) are excluded  from the review                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  if  the  Council  on  Sexual  Assault  and                                                               
Domestic Violence would be an example of a council.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF  said yes,  he thought the  drafter, Tam  Cook, was                                                               
trying  to  separate  any quasi-regulatory  body  that  had  been                                                               
created from the "hard agency" regulatory provisions.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  expressed concern about the  three extra positions                                                               
and asked  him to  elaborate on  the "savings  down the  road" he                                                               
referred to earlier. She reviewed  the fiscal note and said, "For                                                               
the  record, when  it gets  to Senate  Finance -  10 months  of a                                                               
legal secretary seems interesting..."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF  said there  has been some  discussion of  how this                                                               
might be funded.  He pointed to the chart that  shows some of the                                                               
ways that agencies  are financially affected when  the AG reviews                                                               
them. He  contended that the  direct savings would  probably come                                                               
from having  a better process.  When people know their  work will                                                               
be reviewed, they do a better job.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The indirect  savings, he  asserted, are  enormous. "The  cost of                                                               
one  poorly written,  wrongfully constructed  regulation, applied                                                               
at the  wrong time, that  causes litigation is  unbelievable." He                                                               
called this a "better government provision."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  observed that  legislative legal  works less                                                               
than full time during the interim  and he wondered if there might                                                               
not be a way to use them more fully.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF thought  there was room for  further negotiation in                                                               
the interest of making the bill more fiscally palatable.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  if there  were  other  questions  or                                                               
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS made  a final  comment  regarding eliminating  all                                                               
boards,  commissions,  councils,  and  public  corporations.  She                                                               
advised, "You  might want to go  for what you think  is right and                                                               
see if we can negotiate  somewhere around that because I'm pretty                                                               
concerned about it."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced Senator  John Cowdery had joined the                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:50pm                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
ANNETTE KREITZER, chief of staff  to Lt. Governor Leman, answered                                                               
Senator  Guess's question  about  boards  and commissions  saying                                                               
there  is  nothing in  the  public  process that  would  preclude                                                               
Legislative Legal from reviewing  boards and commissions. As they                                                               
look at  amending the  bill, they  would keep  that in  mind, she                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
For the record  she stated that Lt. Governor Leman  and his staff                                                               
would continue to work with the sponsor as the bill moves along.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS said  she appreciates the comment and  she sees the                                                               
purpose of  the bill,  but her  worry is that  if all  boards and                                                               
commissions are  taken off  the table  that won't  change because                                                               
people are busy.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS announced he would  like to move the  bill on                                                               
to the Finance Committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY made a motion to  move CSSB 287, \D version, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                              

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