Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/23/1993 01:30 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE March 23, 1993 1:30 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Harley Olberg, Chairman Representative Jerry Sanders, Vice-Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative John Davies Representative Cynthia Toohey Representative Ed Willis Representative Bill Williams MEMBERS ABSENT None OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Eldon Mulder Representative Pat Carney Representative Curt Menard COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 76: "An Act making a special appropriation to the Department of Natural Resources for the purchase of the inholdings of the Seldovia Native Association and the Cook Inlet Region, Inc., and the timber rights of the Timber Trading Company, within the Kachemak Bay State Park; and providing for an effective date." PASSED FROM COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS Bills previously heard: HB 206: "An Act relating to the regulation of election campaigns, and providing for regulation by the Alaska Public Offices Commission of elections by electrical cooperatives." PASSED FROM COMMITTEE WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION HB 32: "An Act relating to reimbursement of school construction debt; and providing for an effective date." PASSED FROM COMMITTEE WITH NO RECOMMENDATIONS HB 20: "An Act relating to the electrical service extension fund." PASSED FROM COMMITTEE WITH NO RECOMMENDATIONS (* first public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER Sandy Nusbaum, Legislative Aide to Representative Gail Phillips State Capitol, Room 216 Juneau, AK 99811-1182 Phone: 465-2689 POSITION STATEMENT: Read HB 76's sponsor statement Karin Holser HC 33 Box 3177 K Wasilla, AK 99654 Phone: 376-6231 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 76 Anne Wieland Kachemak Bay Citizens Coalition - Anchorage Chapter 1421 N St. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 276-5477 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 76 Katya Kirsch Alaska Environmental Lobby P.O. Box 22151 Juneau, AK 99802 Phone: 463-3366 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 76 Representative Eldon Mulder State Capitol, Room 116 Juneau, AK 99811-1182 Phone: 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor, HB 206 Representative Pat Carney State Capitol Court Building, Room 607 Juneau, AK 99811-1182 Phone: 465-2186 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor, HB 32 Gary Bader, Director Administrative Services Department of Education 801 W. 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 Phone: 465-2875 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 32 Representative Curt Menard Capitol Building, Room 405 Juneau, AK 99811-1182 Phone: 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor, HB 26 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 76 SHORT TITLE: APPROP: KACHEMAK BAY ST. PK.TIMBER RIGHTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PHILLIPS TITLE: "An Act making a special appropriation to the Department of Natural Resources for the purchase of the inholdings of the Seldovia Native Association and the Cook Inlet Region, Inc., and the timber rights of the Timber Trading Company, within the Kachemak Bay State Park; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/93 129 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/22/93 129 (H) CRA, RESOURCES, FINANCE 03/23/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 206 SHORT TITLE: ELECTIONS AND ELECTRIC COOP ELECTIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MULDER TITLE: "An Act relating to the regulation of election campaigns, and providing for regulation by the Alaska Public Offices Commission of elections by electrical cooperatives." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/05/93 553 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/05/93 553 (H) CRA, STATE AFFAIRS 03/16/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/17/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/17/93 (H) MINUTE(CRA) BILL: HB 32 SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION DEBT REIMBURSEMENT BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) CARNEY TITLE: "An Act relating to reimbursement of school construction debt; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 32 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 32 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 32 (H) CRA, HES, FINANCE 03/11/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/18/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/19/93 (H) CRA AT 01:30 PM CAPITOL 124 03/19/93 (H) MINUTE(CRA) BILL: HB 20 SHORT TITLE: ELECTRICAL SERVICE EXTENSION FUND GRANTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MENARD,Carney TITLE: "An Act relating to the electrical service extension fund." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 29 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 29 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 29 (H) CRA, LABOR & COMMERCE, FINANCE 01/20/93 117 (H) COSPONSOR(S): CARNEY 03/18/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/19/93 (H) CRA AT 01:30 PM CAPITOL 124 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-17, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN HARLEY OLBERG called the meeting to order at 1:42 p.m. He noted Representatives Bunde, Williams, Toohey, and Davies were present. HB 76: APPROP: KACHEMAK BAY ST. PK. TIMBER RIGHTS Number 024 SANDY NUSBAUM, LEGISLATIVE AIDE TO REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 76, read the sponsor statement into the record. (A copy of this sponsor statement may be found in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee Room, Capitol 110, and after the adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.) Representative Jerry Sanders joined the committee at 1:43. Number 138 KARIN HOLSER, WASILLA, testified in support of HB 76 saying, "We just heard this morning at the pollution prevention conference that tourism has surpassed the fisheries and mining industry here in Alaska, and it just seems to me that tourists are not going to come down to Homer to look at clear cutting." Number 160 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS said, "(Do) I understand you saying that now, we would rather have tourists here than the timber industry?" MS. HOLSER replied, "All I'm saying is: The economist from ISER (Institute of Social and Economic Research) that was speaking this morning was pointing out that tourism is an industry that is going to be growing and growing, so we need to consider it..." REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS asked if she agreed with the $22 million dollar price. MS. HOLSER replied, "From everything I've seen yes, it seems very viable. We've sort of been putting this issue off and off and off, and the longer you put it off the higher the price is going to be. If it's one that everybody can agree on then we need to move forward with it. If we try to get them to lower the price, I don't think they're in a negotiating mood because, my personal opinion is, they've been jerked around long enough." Number 204 ANNE WIELAND, ANCHORAGE CHAPTER, KACHEMAK BAY CITIZENS COALITION, testified in favor of HB 76 saying, "What you have before you is an opportunity...to solve a longstanding problem situation in a win-win kind of way. The administration has put together a package. One portion of which is from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council: Money that was approved this January. A second part of it is money from the Alyeska Pipeline settlement. The third part is Representative Phillips's HB 76," and "We also feel the $50 million criminal penalty money is the appropriate source of funding for HB 76 given the language of that settlement and also given the documented oiling of Kachemak Bay in 1989..." Number 283 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked, "Is there any land along the waterfront that could be used for development, small lots for people to build cabins?" MS. WIELAND replied, "There are lots of private inholdings here and there in that area, and some of those are subdivision holdings... Additionally, Seldovia Native Association has an active leasing program in the area on some of the remaining land they hold just outside the park." REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS said, "I am from a timber industry area, which is Ketchikan, and I believe that clear-cuts, if they're done correctly, are good looking." He then extended an invitation to Ms. Wieland to show her this. He added, "Timber is a renewable resource, it will grow back. So I would appreciate it if everybody else would see that this is better for the state in a different manner than say that 'clear cuts are ugly'." MS. WIELAND said she is familiar with his district and, "This is not a logging issue. This is a completion of a package put together by the administration. That is how we view it. All of us live in wood houses. I use paper. As a result, I am very cognizant of this issue that you raise." Number 328 KATYA KIRSCH, ASSISTANT, ALASKA ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY, testified in support of HB 76 and added, "However, we believe also that this legislation should address a broader range of habitat projects around the oil spill affected area. The Alaska Environmental Lobby would like to emphasize that the environmental community, as well as many other Alaskans, believe the remaining criminal money should be spent on habitat projects and acquisitions. These include acquisitions around Cordova, Frog Neck Island, the Kenai River, Kodiak Archipelago, and other areas. Money should also be set aside for fisheries projects around Kodiak, Kenai and Prince William Sound to mitigate fisheries damage by the oil spill." Number 372 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE commented, "It's very difficult for me to spend seven and a half million dollars to buy dead trees when I'm under assault for reducing budgets for schools, seniors, welfare and that sort of thing." CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "I think that's why this proposal's for only seven million." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE continued, "I feel so much better... But, as their is such a large constituency that seems to want this. I will vote the will of that constituency." Number 385 CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "This seems to me to be a bill and an issue that truly needs to go to the floor of both houses of the legislature for final resolution." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE MOVED that HB 76 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the MOTION CARRIED. CHAIRMAN OLBERG called a short at ease from 2:05 to 2:06 p.m. HB 206: ELECTIONS AND ELECTRIC COOP ELECTIONS Number 414 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 206, testified on the two new work drafts he supplied the committee. He said, "(The CS with) the last letter K does not include the amendment as proposed by Representative Davies. It does, however, include the amendment by APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission). (The CS with) the letter O includes both the APOC amendment as well as Representative Davies' amendment. The APOC amendment requires that APOC be notified by the appropriate clerk, to let them know who the list of candidates are. I consider that to be a friendly amendment." REPRESENTATIVE MULDER continued, "The Davies' amendment, includes the stipulation that these cooperatives could opt out of APOC regulation by a vote of their membership. After deliberation, with the individual that actually wrote the amendment, I concluded that for the spirit and the intent of the legislation as I drafted it, I would not consider that to be friendly, in that it should be uniformly addressed and put to every organization." He then recommended the committee adopt the CS for HB 206 numbered 8-LS0686\K. Number 443 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made the MOTION to ADOPT the 8- LS0686\K CS as the committee's working draft. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES OBJECTED and said, "There are many different kinds of communities around this state. This would make it mandatory for every community around the state to be under the APOC regulations. Some of these problems in the smaller areas of the state where this might still apply, however, more than 10,000 customers, have relatively informal elections. There aren't large power groups out there manipulating to control things. So I think by having the option to opt out, we would allow the communities to tailor according to their own likes, what kind of public process they want." REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said, "We do make an allowance with the 10,000 customer threshold which, coincidentally, is probably larger than any of our house districts, in terms of voting populations... There are only five rural electric cooperatives that are included and one municipal telephone cooperative that is included in that membership." REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY gave an example where HB 206 would have alleviated some problems and been beneficial. A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Williams, Toohey, Olberg and Sanders voted to ADOPT the 8-LS0686\K CS. Representative Davies voted NO. The MOTION CARRIED. Number 510 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "It's not my experience that this is a problem and it seems to me this just adds an unnecessary level of bureaucracy and control. There's no problem to be solved here in other areas of the state." He then MOVED that "everywhere the figure 10,000 appears in this bill, as it applies to the number of customers, that it be amended to 50,000." CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "I've made some inquiries about, thinking along those very same lines, and it turns out...the problem that we're attempting to address is, in fact, Homer. And Homer is unfortunately, 18,173 (members)." He then OBJECTED to Representative Davies' PROPOSED AMENDMENT. A roll call vote was taken on whether to adopt Representative Davies most current amendment. Representatives Williams, Toohey, Olberg, Sanders and Bunde voted NO. Representative Davies voted YES. The MOTION FAILED. Number 556 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS MOVED that the 8-LS0686\K CS for HB 206 be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the MOTION CARRIED. CHAIRMAN OLBERG called a brief at ease between 2:15 and 2:17 p.m. HB 32: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION DEBT REIMBURSEMENT Number 570 CHAIRMAN OLBERG asked at the onset, "Does this change anything that we're doing now? Does this do anything now?" REPRESENTATIVE PAT CARNEY, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 32, testified addressing Chairman Olberg's questions: "Over the years, quite a number of years in the past, 15 years perhaps or more, the state agreed to pay a percentage of the debt service for communities to bond themselves for building schools. That percentage has varied from time to time based on the sentiment of the particular people involved in passing legislation. From 50 percent to 90 percent... In 1989, the bill passed, HB 37, which was supposed to level the playing field of school construction statewide, supposedly taking the politics out of school construction, of prioritizing school construction to be built by the state at the state's cost without bonding." REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY continued, "Unfortunately, because of the great need for schools in the Bush from a health safety point...most of the schools that are being funded directly by the state are being funded in the rural areas. So I believe, in order to give some relief to the urban areas that need schools constructed now, we can't wait until they come up high on the priority list..." Number 593 CHAIRMAN OLBERG asked, "Does this affect bonding that currently exists...previously incurred debt?" GARY BADER, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DOE), replied in the negative and said, "This is an approach for school constructions and municipalities that would be in addition to the current HB 37 process... In HB 37 it's a straight grant by the legislature. It's a legislative appropriation to fund school construction. I believe what's intended under this bill (HB 32) is that in addition to that, municipalities would have the opportunity to bond themselves and to construct schools and get reimbursed from the state for a portion of the bonding cost." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out, "There is a provision that the Department of Education evaluate these requests. I don't think it's a blank check." Number 626 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said, "In fact the requirements for these schools are identical to the requirements involved in the priority one schools, that DOE has to go through the same evaluation process and come up with a determination of the need for the school." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said, "I can easily conceive there will be more requests than money available. How are we going to prioritize?" REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said, "In the first place these payments begin two years after the bond has been incurred. So there's a two year lag before you have to begin funding. If it turns out that the funding isn't available, the legislature simply short-funds. Instead of getting 70 percent, they get 50 or 40 or whatever we fund." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked, "If ten people requested and we had enough money to fund eight at 50 percent, you're saying then they would spread the money out over all ten at a lower rate." Number 640 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY replied, "I hope that wouldn't happen but that's what traditionally happens if we run up short of money. We prorate based on the requests. CHAIRMAN OLBERG asked, "Aren't we already doing that?" Number 642 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said, "On previous bonds that were sold some years back, we're doing that, I believe." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "Those were funded at various percentages, typically around 80 percent of the 80 percent." REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said, "So you see, we've been short- funding 20 percent on our previous commitments." CHAIRMAN OLBERG referred to the fiscal note. (A copy of this fiscal note may be found in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee Room, Capitol 110, and after the adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.) He then asked Mr. Bader if HB 32, aside from administrative fees, would cost more than what is spent now "because the funds still have to be appropriated by the legislature and allocated by the department." Number 652 MR. BADER pointed out HB 32 requires a DOE approval, but he did not know if the approval was prior to the municipalities' bond or after. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "I can't imagine a municipality doing that. There are a lot of questions asked when you try to put an issue out to bond. The voters have to approve it. And if the point was raised that you didn't have approval for this, I'm sure the bond issue would go down in flames." Number 681 MR. BADER referred to Chairman Olberg's earlier question on the DOE's fiscal note. He said, "We have no idea how many municipalities might decide to go out and bond for this so these costs reflected here are simply administrative costs." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE suggested current DOE employees "pick up the program rather than have to hire new employees." REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY concurred that HB 32 requires the same tasks that are already being done currently at the DOE. Number 699 MR. BADER said, "The legislature funded school construction last year at a level of about 20 to 25 million dollars. That's a handful of grants... This program, presumably, there will be many times that amount of grants to approve." TAPE 93-17, SIDE B Number 000 MR. BADER continued, "I think it's a valid statement to say we are looking at the grant requests as they come in, but primarily what we're doing with them is we're taking them and putting them on a list and ranking them." REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS agreed most of the work is being done already and asked how many positions are requested to work on the school funding bill, HB 83. Representative Ed Willis arrived at 2:35 p.m. MR. BADER indicated two positions, at approximately $130,000, are included for the school funding bill, HB 83. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES clarified, "Most of the schools we're talking about in terms of the approval part of the process, have already requested approval. They're on the list in some priority ranking right now, so there would be relatively little, in most cases, additional work required in that aspect of the project. If the program were to blossom into some big program, there may be more ongoing work in terms of oversight of the projects." He then suggested the House Finance Committee address the fiscal note. Number 063 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out school funding is currently being discussed in the House Education and Social Services Committee. He said, "You're asking for a blanket 30 percent match which would exclude many of the smaller communities. But it also would excuse some of these larger communities that the governor would ask for a 50 percent match. Have you given any thought to that kind of graduated scale, three levels of funding or something like that?" REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY replied, "We have to assume that some of these schools will be built under the Governor's program of prioritizing schools. I don't know how many... It could be a decision by the community about whether or not they want to take the 70 - 30 percent in bonding and build schools they need now, or if they wanted to wait... I just think this is an option..." Number 133 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES made a MOTION to pass HB 32 out of committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the MOTION CARRIED. HB 20: ELECTRICAL SERVICE EXTENSION FUND GRANTS CHAIRMAN OLBERG called an at ease from 2:38 to 2:40 p.m. REPRESENTATIVE CURT MENARD, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 20, began by testifying, "I was involved in the legislation that set up the small electric grant fund (Title 44.83.370) a few years ago which was a 60/40 match... One of the things that upset me with the way we structured the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) fund, was that the Executive Director makes the total grant applications. ...Under this bill (HB 20), the AEA directors would make the decision after receiving the recommendation from the executive director. It would also require the directors to state, in writing, the reasons for awarding or denying applications." REPRESENTATIVE MENARD then read his sponsor statement into the record. (A copy of this sponsor statement may be found in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee Room, Capitol 110, and after the adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.) He added, "My contention is: I feel homesteaders that are on generators on the end of a line have every bit as equal access to that fund as a large commercial development. All I want is a level playing field." Number 242 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY pointed out she probably has a conflict of interest because she "lives on a road, seven miles out" and has no electricity. She then asked, "Does this include municipal property?" REPRESENTATIVE MENARD was unsure. CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "Almost by definition, this is going to be people beyond the end of the line. It isn't going to be folks in town." Number 288 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "I don't have any problem with requiring the directors to consider a cost benefit analysis, but I think oftentimes public policy considerations come into play where the right thing to do is not necessarily the one that's most cost effective." He added, "I wonder if you would consider a friendly amendment to modify that in such a way that it said they shall give consideration to this, but not necessarily give priority to them." REPRESENTATIVE MENARD explained in detail the financial mechanisms involved with HB 20. CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "You're suggesting that if we eliminate the lowest costs per customer criteria, we need some other?" Number 352 REPRESENTATIVE MENARD said, "Your eight customers would have to get together with your utility. You'd have to have all your eight customers willing to sign up for it. The utility would give you the estimate on what it would cost. They would tell you what your forty percent is. You'd have to divide that forty percent up..." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "My concern is that there are many varying circumstances around the state, and if we happen to have a circumstance where there's only five people at the end of one particular line... I'm just wondering if we can allow the board of directors some (discretion)." CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "I'm on record as suggesting that you can't pass a piece of legislation in the state of Alaska that's equitable throughout the state." Number 409 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES MOVED that HB 20 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the MOTION CARRIED. ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN OLBERG adjourned the meeting at 2:40 p.m.