Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

02/16/2012 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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08:05:41 AM Start
08:05:59 AM HB264
08:25:01 AM Presentation: Yk Village Cluster Consolidated Services Model Plan
08:59:41 AM HB219
09:38:33 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 264 MUNI PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION: SUBDIVISIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 264(CRA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 219 FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Calista Overview: Marshall Port, Chikuminuk, TELECONFERENCED
Platinum Airport & Tri-Villages Project
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                       February 16, 2012                                                                                        
                           8:05 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz, Chair                                                                                      
Representative Neal Foster, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Alan Austerman                                                                                                   
Representative Alan Dick                                                                                                        
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 264                                                                                                              
"An Act  allowing a deferral  of municipal property taxes  on the                                                               
increase  in   the  value  of   real  property   attributable  to                                                               
subdivision  of that  property;  and providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 264(CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: YK VILLAGE CLUSTER CONSOLIDATED SERVICES MODEL                                                                    
PLAN                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 219                                                                                                              
"An Act exempting certain emergency medical and fire department                                                                 
services from regulation as insurance."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 264                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNI PROPERTY TAX DEFERRAL: SUBDIVISIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MUNOZ                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
01/17/12       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/13/12                                                                               
01/17/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (H)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/14/12       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/14/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/14/12       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/16/12       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 219                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) FEIGE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
03/31/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/31/11       (H)       CRA, STA                                                                                               
02/16/12       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that she has agreed to work with                                                               
those in support of HB 264.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER CLARK, Staff                                                                                                        
Representative Munoz                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented potential amendments to HB 264 on                                                              
behalf of the sponsor, Representative Munoz.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVE HANNA                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing of HB 264, answered                                                                       
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE KLEIN, Chief Operating Officer                                                                                        
Calista Corporation                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a presentation regarding the YK                                                                 
Village Cluster Consolidated Services Model Plan.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC FEIGE                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke as the sponsor of HB 219.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL PASCHALL, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Eric Feige                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  of  HB 219,  answered                                                             
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LINDA HALL, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concern with HB 219.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SEBASTIAN SAARLOOS, Member                                                                                                      
City Council                                                                                                                    
City of Delta Junction                                                                                                          
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 219.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:05:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CATHY  ENGSTROM  MUNOZ  called  the  House  Community  and                                                             
Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee  meeting to  order at  8:05                                                               
a.m.    Representatives  Foster, Austerman,  Dick,  Gardner,  and                                                               
Munoz were present  at the call to order.   Representative Cissna                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        HB 264-MUNI PROPERTY TAX DEFERRAL: SUBDIVISIONS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:05:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  264, "An  Act allowing  a deferral  of municipal                                                               
property  taxes on  the increase  in the  value of  real property                                                               
attributable to  subdivision of that property;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:06:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHIE  WASSERMAN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal League,                                                               
acknowledged that  after speaking  with some  municipalities, she                                                               
had written  a letter to the  committee regarding HB 264.   Since                                                               
that time  she has spoken with  Dave Hanna, who is  involved with                                                               
the legislation, and agreed to work  with those in support of the                                                               
legislation.    For  now,  she  said to  ignore  the  letter  she                                                               
submitted to the committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:08:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ announced that public testimony was closed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:08:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER  CLARK, Staff,  Alaska  State Legislature,  presented                                                               
[Amendment 1]  labeled 27-LS1090\B.1, Bullard, 2/13/12,  with the                                                               
attached explanation, which read as follows:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 8, following "to":                                                                                            
          Insert "(1)"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 9, following "parcels":                                                                                       
          Insert "; and                                                                                                         
               (2)  any improvements made to the property                                                                       
     necessitated by its subdivision"                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                  Explanation of Amendment B.1                                                                                
     Prepared by Christopher Clark, Aide, Rep. Cathy Munoz                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The current  language in  HB 264  may limit  a property                                                                    
     tax  deferral to  only those  costs  that are  directly                                                                    
     attributable to subdividing a  parcel such as surveying                                                                    
     and platting.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Some municipalities such  as Juneau require subdivision                                                                    
     developers to make improvements  for things like access                                                                    
     roads, drainage ditches, and utility corridors.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Adding  the   words  "any  improvements  made   to  the                                                                    
     property  necessitated by  its subdivision"  will allow                                                                    
     improvement  costs  to  be  part   of  a  property  tax                                                                    
     deferral.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:09:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if [Amendment 1]  allows holding off                                                               
on the full extent of  development and giving protections so that                                                               
the  property owner  isn't  taxed.   She  expressed concern  with                                                               
creating  a situation  in  which  the land  is  cleared and  sits                                                               
vacant for 10 years, conceivably ready for development.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK reminded  the committee that HB 264,  as written, would                                                               
limit  the tax  deferral to  up  to five  years or  end when  the                                                               
permit is  issued.   The idea  is to  wait for  a building  to be                                                               
constructed on the property and then the tax deferral would end.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ  also reminded  the committee  that the  proposed tax                                                               
deferral is optional.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:11:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  recalled that  in Anchorage in  1967 there                                                               
was property with partial development  that was ready to sell and                                                               
build upon,  but which sat empty  and cleared for 30  years.  She                                                               
asked if HB 264 allows the aforementioned.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK clarified  that's not the intent, rather  the intent is                                                               
to speed up development and avoid  vacant fields.  The idea is to                                                               
receive the  tax deferral  for five  years, such  that developers                                                               
have time to construct a building to sell.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:13:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVE HANNA  emphasized that HB 264  is a valuable tool  to ensure                                                               
that  Representative   Cissna's  concerns  don't  happen.     The                                                               
language in  HB 264  is broad enough  to allow  municipalities to                                                               
apply the deferral in any manner  they see fit.  These incentives                                                               
could  be  used  in  various   ways  to  encourage  the  type  of                                                               
development the  municipalities want,  such as wider  green belts                                                               
or larger play grounds.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA   surmised  then  that  HB   264  provides                                                               
municipalities choices and it's optional.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANNA replied yes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:14:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   AUSTERMAN    asked   if   the    language   "any                                                               
improvements"  that  would  be  inserted  per  [Amendment  1]  is                                                               
defined or needs to be defined.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANNA  said that it  would be  left to the  municipalities to                                                               
define.     However,   he  informed   the  committee   that  most                                                               
municipalities  allow phased  development of  a subdivision.   He                                                               
surmised that municipalities  would use [the language]  as a tool                                                               
to  specify that  a certain  amount  of development  occurs by  a                                                               
certain  point.   He related  that currently  in Juneau,  one can                                                               
apply  for a  plat and  make improvements  without recording  the                                                               
plat or completing the improvements.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:16:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked if  it's the sponsor's  intent that                                                               
the proposed property tax referral is not renewable.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK answered  that since  the legislation  doesn't make  a                                                               
provision  for it  to be  renewable  he presumed  that it's  not.                                                               
Therefore, the  proposed property  tax referral  would be  a one-                                                               
time allowance.   Again, the legislation  provides flexibility to                                                               
municipalities to  implement the  proposed property  tax deferral                                                               
as they see fit.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:17:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER moved to adopt Amendment 1, 27-                                                                          
LS1090\B.1, Bullard, 2/13/12, [text  provided previously].  There                                                               
being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:18:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK  moved  on to  [Amendment  2]  labeled  27-LS1090\B.2,                                                               
Bullard, 2/13/12,  with the attached  explanation, which  read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "the municipality grants a building permit                                                                     
     for all or a portion of"                                                                                                   
          Insert "a residential or commercial building is                                                                       
     constructed on"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "the municipality grants a building permit                                                                     
     for a portion of"                                                                                                          
          Insert "a residential or commercial building is                                                                       
     constructed on"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                  Explanation of Amendment B.2                                                                                
     Prepared by Christopher Clark, Aide, Rep. Cathy Munoz                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     This  amendment is  aided at  fulfilling the  intent of                                                                    
     the  bill  to  end  a  property  tax  deferral  when  a                                                                    
     property is  improved and a building  is constructed on                                                                    
     it - so long as that happens within five years.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The   current  language   ends   a   deferral  when   a                                                                    
     municipality  grants a  building  permit for  all or  a                                                                    
     portion  of  a  subdivided   parcel.    There  are  two                                                                    
     concerns with this:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          1. Some municipalities don't issue building                                                                           
     permits; and,                                                                                                              
       2. No improvements may have been done at the time                                                                        
     a permit is issued.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This amendment would end the deferral when a building                                                                      
     is constructed on the property.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:19:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  pointed out  that  there  is a  dangling                                                               
modifier in the language being inserted by [Amendment 2].                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:20:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN   moved  to  adopt  Amendment   2,  27-                                                               
LS1090\B.2, Bullard, 2/13/12, [text provided previously].                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:20:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  then  moved  to adopt  an  amendment  to                                                               
Amendment 2  such that the  language being inserted  by Amendment                                                               
2:   "a residential  or commercial  building is  constructed on",                                                               
would  be replaced  with the  following  language:   "on which  a                                                               
residential or commercial building  is constructed".  There being                                                               
no objection, the amendment to Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[The  committee   then  treated  Amendment  2,   as  amended,  as                                                               
adopted.]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:20:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN moved to report  HB 264, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB                                                               
264(CRA)  was  reported from  the  House  Community and  Regional                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:21:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:21 a.m. to 8:25 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^Presentation:  YK Village  Cluster  Consolidated Services  Model                                                               
Plan                                                                                                                            
  Presentation: YK Village Cluster Consolidated Services Model                                                              
                              Plan                                                                                          
                                                                                                                              
8:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ announced that the next  order of business would be a                                                               
presentation of the Yukon  Kuskokwim Village Cluster Consolidated                                                               
Services Model Plan.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:25:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE  KLEIN, Chief  Operating Officer,  Calista Corporation,                                                               
explained  that  she  would  discuss the  concept  of  a  village                                                               
clustering  model in  Southwest  Alaska that  would help  sustain                                                               
some  of the  rural  economy  and some  of  the Southwest  Alaska                                                               
villages.   She told the  committee that over the  years, Calista                                                               
has noticed throughout Alaska  that transportation and affordable                                                               
energy  are  critical  to  the   survival  of  communities.    In                                                               
reviewing U.S.  history, over 2,700 communities  have disappeared                                                               
with most  of them being located  in the Western U.S.   Since the                                                               
1800s, 22 communities  in Alaska have disappeared.   The question                                                               
for many Western Alaska communities  is how to survive as funding                                                               
decreases.  Growing  up in Southeast Alaska,  she recalled living                                                               
through five cycles  of boom and bust in Ketchikan.   Some of the                                                               
stabilizing  factors  in   [Ketchikan]  were  transportation  and                                                               
energy.  In 1903 one of  the first hydroelectric power plants was                                                               
constructed  in  Ketchikan.     Ketchikan  also  had  the  Alaska                                                               
steamships and  was located on a  main [transportation] corridor.                                                               
The aforementioned factors lead to  the creation of a sustainable                                                               
economy in  Ketchikan.  In fact,  today Ketchikan has one  of the                                                               
highest per capita  resident incomes in the state.   Upon review,                                                               
it was  apparent that  Ketchikan was  sustainable because  of the                                                               
available  transportation, accessibility,  stable and  affordable                                                               
energy, as well as some  resource availability, and residents who                                                               
were adaptable and  flexible.  Referring to the map  on the slide                                                               
entitled "Sustainability: Access", she  pointed out that although                                                               
rural areas  have some of  the greatest resource  potential, most                                                               
of those communities  and resources are located  off the Railbelt                                                               
and off the  grid.  Therefore, one of the  greatest challenges is                                                               
transportation and energy.  She  then informed the committee that                                                               
the  Fraser Institute  surveyed mining  companies worldwide,  the                                                               
results of which ranked Alaska  number 1 in mineral potential but                                                               
57th due  to lacking  infrastructure and  development challenges.                                                               
Again,  the greatest  challenges are  transportation and  energy.                                                               
In reviewing old and new  plans, she discovered the map presented                                                               
on  the  slide  entitled  "Sustainability:  Affordable  Access  &                                                               
Energy".    This  map  specifies  some  of  the  areas  that  the                                                               
Department  of   Transportation  &  Public   Facilities  (DOT&PF)                                                               
investigated in  2008 in terms  of possible economic  value hubs.                                                               
The  map   highlights  access  and  energy   corridors  that  are                                                               
necessary  for  both  community  and  commerce  survival.    Some                                                               
communities,  particularly in  Southwest  Alaska,  would be  good                                                               
models of  demonstration for  improving the  economy and  cost of                                                               
living.  Southwest Alaska has  nearly 30,000 citizens and has the                                                               
largest number  of communities of  any region in the  state, with                                                               
56  communities  and  villages.   As  budgets  tighten,  [Western                                                               
Alaska] seems to be a perfect  area where resources can be shared                                                               
and villages clustered.  She noted  that some of the villages are                                                               
within  five  miles of  one  another.    Referring to  the  slide                                                               
entitled  "Sustainability: Access",  she  informed the  committee                                                               
that  currently, the  region  is 58,000  square  miles with  very                                                               
little infrastructure and  has the highest cost of  living in the                                                               
state.    Furthermore, 75 percent  of the region is  isolated due                                                               
to  federal ownership  of lands  and 20  percent of  the land  is                                                               
owned   by   Alaska   Native  Claims   Settlement   Act   (ANCSA)                                                               
corporations, with less  than 5 percent privately owned.   With a                                                               
population of  close to 30,000  people and growing by  6 percent,                                                               
it's  a   great  resource   for  future   workforce  development.                                                               
Although there is one interconnecting  road in Western Alaska, it                                                               
isn't passable.  Nearly every village  in Western Alaska has a K-                                                               
12 school,  an independent diesel powered  generator, an airport,                                                               
sometimes a  health clinic,  and sometimes water  and sewer.   As                                                               
illustrated by  the chart on the  slide entitled "Sustainability:                                                               
Energy, Lowest  Energy Costs:   Hydropower  & Gas",  rural Alaska                                                               
has the  highest cost of energy  in comparison to other  areas of                                                               
the state.   The areas of the state doing  best are Southeast and                                                               
Southcentral Alaska, both of which  have hydropower whereas other                                                               
areas of  the state  use diesel for  their heat  and electricity.                                                               
Last year, the cost for diesel  ranged from $6-$10 per gallon and                                                               
this year  it's projected to  be $7-$12 per gallon.   Electricity                                                               
is generated  by small diesel  generators, many of which  are old                                                               
and unreliable.  She highlighted  that citizens [in rural Alaska]                                                               
tend to use  less than half [the energy] a  normal average family                                                               
would consume, simply  because of the cost.   Therefore, they are                                                               
already conserving.   She then  related that the average  cost of                                                               
electricity in  rural communities is  $.83 per kilowatt  hour and                                                               
ranges  from $.58-$1.05  per  kilowatt hour.    Referring to  the                                                               
charts  on  the  slide  entitled  "Sustainability:  Energy  Rural                                                               
Citizens'  Disproportionately  High   Costs",  she  informed  the                                                               
committee  that  over  the  last  5 years  the  percentage  of  a                                                               
household's income that goes to  energy has risen from 20 percent                                                               
to 65-70 percent,  even with power cost equalization  (PCE).  She                                                               
then  directed  attention  to  the  map  on  the  slide  entitled                                                               
"Village  Cluster Model:  Group  Closely Located  Villages".   As                                                               
mentioned  earlier,  the  areas  doing  best  are  Southeast  and                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska,  where 24  percent  of  the electricity  is                                                               
provided  by hydropower.   In  fact,  Southeast and  Southcentral                                                               
Alaska already  have 37 power  facilities based on hydro  and, on                                                               
average, are the lowest energy  cost areas ranging from $.10-$.15                                                               
per  kilowatt hour.   The  map  also specifies  areas the  Alaska                                                               
Energy Authority (AEA)  identified where rural PCE  is already in                                                               
place and there is potential hydropower.   There are at least 131                                                               
priority  sites  and  in  Southwest   Alaska  there  is  not  one                                                               
hydropower plant.   Therefore, it  appears that  Southwest Alaska                                                               
would be  a good  area to  consider for  improvement in  terms of                                                               
energy  as well  as transportation.   She  then highlighted  that                                                               
energy  costs have  more than  doubled  over the  last couple  of                                                               
years  and  it   continues  to  increase,  which   results  in  a                                                               
disproportionate living cost  in rural Alaska versus  some of the                                                               
state's  larger communities.    Ms. Klein  then  referred to  the                                                               
slide  entitled "Village  Cluster Model:   Group  Closely Located                                                               
Villages" and said that the  time is ripe for clustering villages                                                               
and some  villages have already  "bought into" the concept.   The                                                               
map  circles feasible  clusters of  communities that  could be  a                                                               
demonstration model  of linking communities to  share some public                                                               
infrastructure assets.   There  are three  sets of  villages that                                                               
consist  of  12   communities  and  over  6,000   people.    Some                                                               
communities  have  asked   to  join  this  effort   and  for  the                                                               
assistance of the  regional corporation and the state.   She told                                                               
the   committee  that   Calista  Corporation   has  briefed   the                                                               
governor's office,  which has expressed interest  in implementing                                                               
something  like   village  clustering.     The  first   group  of                                                               
communities  is  Nelson  Island and  consists  of  the  following                                                               
communities:     Toksook,  Tununak,  Nightmute,   and  Umkumiate.                                                               
Another   group  of   communities  consists   of  the   following                                                               
communities:   Hooper Bay,  Chevak, and Scammon  Bay.   The third                                                               
group  of  communities  consists of  the  following  communities:                                                               
Emmonak,  Alakaknuk,  and Sheldon  Point  along  with some  other                                                               
smaller communities that may be linked  into this group.  Some of                                                               
these  areas  have existing  needs  for  basic services,  whereas                                                               
others already have infrastructure in place.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
[8:39:54]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA highlighted that  through the Alaska Native                                                               
Tribal   Health   Consortium   Chevak   had   cooperation   [with                                                               
surrounding]  communities for  safe water.   However,  because of                                                               
the  cost  of fuel,  the  arrangement  is  falling apart.    This                                                               
proposal, on the  other hand, meets the needs  of the communities                                                               
and  needs to  be  understood statewide.   Representative  Cissna                                                               
related  her  understanding   that  the  cost  of   energy  is  a                                                               
difficulty not  only in terms  of heating  the home but  also for                                                               
obtaining food.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KLEIN  noted her  agreement,  and  added that  by  necessity                                                               
families are  sharing their resources, including  their homes and                                                               
hunting trips.   With respect to the village  safe water program,                                                               
in the  past there has  been difficulty obtaining  agreement with                                                               
nearby villages.   However,  the increased  cost of  living along                                                               
with  regional leadership  has helped  work through  some of  the                                                               
difficulties   with  consolidation.      She   opined  that   the                                                               
aforementioned as  well as the  cooperation of state  agencies is                                                               
key for  the success of clustering.   The primary item  that will                                                               
make village  clustering work  is a road  and energy  link, which                                                               
doesn't exist in this area of Alaska.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:43:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA commented on  the difficulty of maintaining                                                               
roads in these areas, and asked if rail has been considered.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KLEIN, speaking  as  an  engineer, said  rail  is much  more                                                               
expensive to  construct [than a  road] and  the area needs  to be                                                               
flat.   Usually,  rail is  most  effective when  there are  large                                                               
volumes  of heavy  industrial material  being  transported.   She                                                               
acknowledged that this  area has lots of  permafrost and wetlands                                                               
and  it would  be  difficult  to maintain  roads.   However,  she                                                               
reminded  the committee  that these  don't have  to be  four-lane                                                               
roads, rather trails  can suffice.  Ms. Klein  clarified that she                                                               
is  trying  to highlight  areas  where  there have  been  studies                                                               
regarding   whether  the   [village   cluster   model  would   be                                                               
successful]  and  where  some  roads  could  be  constructed  and                                                               
developed.   Nelson Island has  been studied numerous  times over                                                               
the last 20 years, including  some Department of Transportation &                                                               
Public   Facilities   studies    indicating   that   constructing                                                               
infrastructure   would  be   feasible  and   provide  significant                                                               
economic benefits and savings to the state.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:45:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DICK commented  that the cost of  energy is passed                                                               
through  everything, including  groceries and  schools.   He then                                                               
indicated  that [a  village cluster  model] could  help with  the                                                               
out-migration  from the  villages  and make  regional schools  in                                                               
this area possible.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:46:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FOSTER   expressed  interest  in   obtaining  the                                                               
studies,  particularly  the  portions related  to  economics,  in                                                               
order to determine the extent of the savings.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KLEIN agreed  to provide the information.   She then informed                                                               
the  committee  that  under   the  Murkowski  Administration  the                                                               
Department  of Community  & Regional  Affairs did  a report  that                                                               
quantified  some of  the cost  savings and  benefits [of  village                                                               
clustering].  Nelson  Island was used as a good  example of where                                                               
to use  this model in the  Southwest region.  She  explained that                                                               
one  of the  reasons  to bring  forward this  model  is that  the                                                               
existing schools,  energy plants,  and fuel  farms are  aging and                                                               
need to be replaced.  As  illustrated by a recent court case, the                                                               
state  has  been very  behind  in  its responsibilities  in  this                                                               
region.   Therefore,  it seems  that it  would be  an appropriate                                                               
time to consolidate  schools in these areas.  She  noted that she                                                               
is  an example  of  a  successful individual  who  left her  home                                                               
community to attend a regional high school.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:49:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KLEIN told the committee that  Nelson Island is an example of                                                               
a population that's  growing and yet it has  three schools within                                                               
25  miles of  one  another.   On the  other  hand, students  from                                                               
Girdwood  are  bused  35  miles  through  an  avalanche  zone  to                                                               
Anchorage.   She explained that the  goal is to find  areas where                                                               
there   would  be   economies  of   scale  as   well  as   future                                                               
infrastructure   and   capital   savings.     Furthermore,   this                                                               
consolidation  could improve  the dismal  high school  graduation                                                               
rate  and  very few  elective  classes  in the  Southwest  Alaska                                                               
region.    Referring  to the  slide  entitled  "Proposed  Village                                                               
Cluster  Model:   Shared  Services  Consolidation", she  stressed                                                               
that it's critical to start  now on an infrastructure master plan                                                               
for these  village clusters in  order for savings to  even occur.                                                               
There  would have  to be  great work  with regard  to the  equity                                                               
state each village would have, which  is what some of the village                                                               
leadership has requested Calista Corporation perform.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:51:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  asked if  the  expectation  is that  the                                                               
facilities  would  have to  be  balanced  throughout the  village                                                               
cluster.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KLEIN  replied yes,  and  added  that  is what  takes  time,                                                               
intimate knowledge  of the  region/communities, ability  to speak                                                               
the language, and state agencies working together.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:52:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.   KLEIN,  returning   to  the   presentation,  directed   the                                                               
committee's  attention to  the slide  entitled "Proposed  Village                                                               
Cluster Model:  Planning Project Request  = $1.5M".   The request                                                               
would entail putting  together task forces of  the state agencies                                                               
as well  as public  meetings to  determine the  available assets,                                                               
available infrastructure, and what would  need to be done to link                                                               
these communities.  She noted  that some communities have already                                                               
started the process.  For  instance, transmission lines have been                                                               
built  from Emmonak  to Alakanuk.   Still,  the goal  is to  move                                                               
forward   faster,  particularly   when   reviewing  the   funding                                                               
projections in  the future.   From the state's  perspective, this                                                               
consolidation would  reduce some of the  duplication.  Currently,                                                               
in  each cluster  there are  at  least three  airports that  were                                                               
constructed with federal  funds that will decrease.   She further                                                               
highlighted  that the  state  would benefit  from  this model  by                                                               
sharing of  resources, centralizing  facilities such  as schools,                                                               
increasing reliability, and reducing costs  of energy.  The local                                                               
benefits  of  this model  include  providing  cheaper energy  and                                                               
transportation  and improving  emergency services.   She  pointed                                                               
out that  some of these  communities don't have a  village public                                                               
safety officer  (VPSO) and thus  pooling resources  would provide                                                               
more leveraging of the available funds  such that a VPSO could be                                                               
placed in  these communities.   She  reminded the  committee that                                                               
[Calista Corporation]  is requesting  capital funds  to undertake                                                               
this effort and informed it that  they have a commitment from the                                                               
regional   corporations,    Association   of    Village   Council                                                               
Presidents,  Yukon Kuskokwim  Health  Consortium (YKHC),  Calista                                                               
Regional Corporation,  and Nelson  Island and Hooper  Bay groups.                                                               
Ms. Klein  said that if  Calista Corporation isn't  successful in                                                               
obtaining   funding,   it   would   consider   bringing   forward                                                               
legislation  for  a  pilot  project  to  start  this  process  in                                                               
Southwest Alaska.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:55:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA related her  understanding that in a number                                                               
of communities there is an  energy plan that identifies what they                                                               
believe can be done  in their areas.  She opined  that to make it                                                               
renewable  so that  it's  in perpetuity  and  cheap would  create                                                               
sustainability.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KLEIN  replied  yes,  Calista   Corporation  is  pursuing  a                                                               
hydropower project  in Southwest Alaska  as well as  a regionwide                                                               
energy  program that  would integrate  many types  of alternative                                                               
energy in this  region.  However, the area, which  is larger than                                                               
the State  of New York,  has many  things that work  in different                                                               
areas.   A  situation in  which  various energy  types are  being                                                               
combined makes it more difficult  to integrate the various plans.                                                               
Therefore,  it  takes a  concerted  effort  to make  things  work                                                               
together, which takes time, energy, and resources to accomplish.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:57:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  highlighted that  renewable energy  has to                                                               
be local.   She then highlighted the fact that  these people have                                                               
been in  Southwest Alaska for a  thousand years or more  and kept                                                               
themselves warm.   Therefore,  she opined  that the  knowledge is                                                               
present [to  utilize the appropriate  alternative energy  for the                                                               
area] in conjunction with today's technology.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:58:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
           HB 219-FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:59:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  219, "An Act exempting  certain emergency medical                                                               
and fire department services from regulation as insurance."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:59:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC FEIGE, Alaska  State Legislature, speaking as                                                               
the sponsor  of HB  219, paraphrased  from the  following written                                                               
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     HB  219   allows  local  fire  and   emergency  medical                                                                    
     agencies  to solicit  funding as  a form  of prepayment                                                                    
     for services. This type of  program has been successful                                                                    
     in   allowing  such   organizations  to   raise  needed                                                                    
     operating funds while limiting  financial risk to those                                                                    
     that may need the agency's services.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In a typical  scenario, an individual or  family pays a                                                                    
     set fee  to the local  emergency medical service  on an                                                                    
         annual basis. The agency then will respond and                                                                         
       transport the individual or family member without                                                                        
     additional charge to the individual.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Under  current  statute,  it  is  the  opinion  of  the                                                                    
     Division  of Insurance  that this  type of  activity is                                                                    
     deemed insurance and is regulated  by that division. HB                                                                    
     219  will clarify  that  this type  of  program is  not                                                                    
     insurance and is not regulated by the division.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:02:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  requested   the  sponsor   explain  the                                                               
reference in  the sponsor statement  to "limiting  financial risk                                                               
to those that may need the agency's services."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:02:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL PASCHALL, Staff, Representative  Eric Feige, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, began  by clarifying that medical  and fire services                                                               
are interchangeable  in the scenarios  presented.   Basically, an                                                               
individual who pays a fee  upfront for fire and emergency medical                                                               
services and who  requests those services may see a  bill for the                                                               
services, but won't have to pay it.   To be clear, he pointed out                                                               
that the  individual's insurance company  may be billed,  but the                                                               
individual  wouldn't   be  held   responsible  for  any   of  the                                                               
additional charges beyond the fee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE highlighted that it  takes funds in order to                                                               
have  a fire  department, staff,  and equipment  ready and  warm.                                                               
Therefore, there has  to be a mechanism to raise  the funds ahead                                                               
of time  to pay  its bills,  training costs,  and insurance.   He                                                               
related  that even  with an  upfront  fee, the  service is  still                                                               
dependent upon volunteer  staff.  The benefit of  the upfront fee                                                               
for the community  is that the insurance rates  for the community                                                               
can be lowered  if the fire department can reach  a certain level                                                               
of  proficiency, equipment,  and staff.   Therefore,  there is  a                                                               
financial benefit to  the community to have a  fire department as                                                               
well as an  emotional benefit in terms of potential  fires in the                                                               
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:06:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  acknowledged that the current  sources of                                                               
funding  for   fire  and  emergency   medical  services   may  be                                                               
inadequate to  meet the needs  or maintain the level  of response                                                               
capability desired.   She then inquired as to  the proportions of                                                               
the funding  for fire and  emergency medical agencies,  which she                                                               
assumed  included  some  state   funds,  federal  funds,  grants,                                                               
donations, and insurance payments.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. PASCHALL answered that it  varies per department.  Therefore,                                                               
there  are departments  that are  funded through  tax levies  and                                                               
departments that are funded totally  from voluntary funds [and in                                                               
between].   In  the case  of the  fire department  with which  he                                                               
works, over  the last year  about 20  percent of its  funding was                                                               
generated from  donations, about  40 percent  of its  funding was                                                               
from the community  corporation, and the remaining  40 percent of                                                               
its funding  was from the  department's contract with  the Alaska                                                               
Division of  Forestry to provide  additional assistance  for wild                                                               
land fire protection.  The  contract funds are the single largest                                                               
source of revenue because they can  earn enough money in one year                                                               
that it can be spread out over years when it doesn't earn money.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:08:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER   surmised   that  although   the   fire                                                               
department  has  made a  contract  with  the Alaska  Division  of                                                               
Forestry and has  an obligation to respond,  the department still                                                               
has  to  rely on  volunteers.    She  asked  if that  places  the                                                               
department in a difficult position.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PASCHALL  noted  that his  fire  department  has  additional                                                               
equipment  available specifically  for the  contract services  in                                                               
order  to  avoid  depleting  the  response  capabilities  to  the                                                               
community  as a  whole.   Furthermore,  volunteers  are hired  to                                                               
standby for the Alaska Division  of Forestry contract.  Since any                                                               
fire during  high fire season is  a risk to wild  land fires, the                                                               
division allows  the fire  department to  respond to  a structure                                                               
fire because  they respond as well.   The only time  the contract                                                               
services  would  take  away  from the  local  resources  is  when                                                               
equipment is moved to the location of a fire.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE clarified that  the contract with the Alaska                                                               
Division  of Forestry  isn't very  specific as  it's basically  a                                                               
contingency  situation in  which the  division agrees  to pay  so                                                               
many dollars  per hour  per day  when it  uses the  department to                                                               
fight  a state  fire.   He  emphasized that  it's not  guaranteed                                                               
ahead of time, and thus that element of funding isn't steady.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:10:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   AUSTERMAN  inquired   as  to   how  many   local                                                               
organizations currently have a fee  for service arrangement [such                                                               
that it's a fundraising method].                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. PASCHALL  related that he  knew of two fire  departments that                                                               
operate  under the  subscription  arrangement  and one  ambulance                                                               
service that's part  of a fire department that waives  the fee if                                                               
they  provide  services.   The  City  of  Delta Junction  had  an                                                               
ordinance  to do  this, but  discontinued it  because the  city's                                                               
attorney  and the  Division of  Insurance told  them it  would be                                                               
regulated as insurance.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  related the assumption  that additional                                                               
cost  would be  the only  reason to  not offer  [the subscription                                                               
arrangement].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. PASCHALL agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   FEIGE  interjected   that  essentially   it's  a                                                               
hindrance for  communities that aren't  a municipality  and don't                                                               
have the ability to raise funds through taxation on their own.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  said   he  understands  the  principle                                                               
behind the [subscription arrangement].                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:13:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ directed  attention to the committee  packet in which                                                               
documents relate that there may  be only 20 percent participation                                                               
in the  subscription fee  arrangement.  She  inquired as  to what                                                               
happens to  those who don't subscribe  when they have a  fire and                                                               
there  is a  reluctance  to respond.   She  also  inquired as  to                                                               
whether the funds  from 20 percent of the  population would cover                                                               
the true costs of the service being provided.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  reminded the committee that  HB 219 doesn't                                                               
mandate anything; rather  it just allows such  a subscription fee                                                               
to be charged.  Each community  will be different in terms of the                                                               
basic limitations  on cost.   He informed  the committee  that it                                                               
costs about  $6,000 per  year to run  his local  fire department,                                                               
which he  characterized "as very bare  bones."  He noted  that in                                                               
the past  his fire  department has  received capital  grants from                                                               
the legislature in  the amount of about $250,000  and those funds                                                               
have been used to purchase equipment.   He further noted that his                                                               
fire department  is heated mainly  with waste oil  heaters, which                                                               
doesn't  cost  anything.    He  stated  that  the  cost  will  be                                                               
dependent upon  how much  each community will  be willing  to pay                                                               
and how many in the community  pay.  Generally, about 35 folks in                                                               
his community sign up [and  pay] for service, which when combined                                                               
with  other funding  sources covers  his fire  department's basic                                                               
cost of providing the service.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:16:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MUNOZ  then   asked  whether  those  who   don't  pay  the                                                               
subscription fee receive service.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE acknowledged  that there  is the  desire to                                                               
take care  of as many people  as possible.  However,  the reality                                                               
is that  money is necessary  to pay  the insurance and  the money                                                               
has to  come from  somewhere.   In his  community, the  policy is                                                               
that the  fire department will  respond to every wild  land fire,                                                               
but will only respond to structure  fires of subscribers.  From a                                                               
legal  perspective  when  the  fire   department  responds  to  a                                                               
structure  fire  of a  nonsubscriber  and  doesn't respond  to  a                                                               
subsequent  nonsubscriber,  the  fire  department is  open  to  a                                                               
lawsuit.  Therefore,  the fire department has to  commit to those                                                               
who subscribe to the service and no one else.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:18:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  related her  understanding that  doing due                                                               
diligence in terms of safety would hold water in court.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:20:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA  HALL,  Director,  Division  of  Insurance,  Department  of                                                               
Commerce,  Community  &  Economic  Development,  noted  that  the                                                               
committee packet  should include  a letter  from the  Division of                                                               
Insurance  that  relates  the   division's  belief,  after  legal                                                               
research, that  these subscription programs would  fall under the                                                               
definition of  insurance, as statute  is currently written.   She                                                               
clarified  that  she's really  speaking  to  the fire  department                                                               
portion of  the legislation, and  opined that this is  strictly a                                                               
policy call of the legislature.   She noted that other things are                                                               
exempted  from  the broad  definition  of  insurance.   To  offer                                                               
insurance  [a fire  department]  can either  become an  insurance                                                               
company, which is an expensive  and impractical route, or find an                                                               
insurance  company that's  willing to  provide a  backstop.   The                                                               
latter has  been utilized in  the state with  medical transports.                                                               
She explained that the membership  group still has to be licensed                                                               
to  sell the  product,  which is  a  fairly inexpensive  process.                                                               
Although the  aforementioned isn't  difficult, there may  be some                                                               
difficulty  finding  the  backstop.   As  HB  219  proposes,  the                                                               
subscription  program can  be exempted  from the  title requiring                                                               
insurance.    She  then expressed  concern  with  subsection  (f)                                                               
located  on page  1, line  6 regarding  "ambulance and  emergency                                                               
services".  The division's title,  AS 21.87.010, already provides                                                               
almost the  identical language  and considers  the transportation                                                               
for medical services to be part  of health insurance, and thus is                                                               
covered in the  definition of health insurance.   She pointed out                                                               
that AS 21.87.010(5)  says:  "(5) ambulance  or emergency medical                                                               
services provided  by a  municipality, nonprofit  medical service                                                               
corporation,  or nonprofit  association if  the person  providing                                                               
the services is certified under  AS 18.08.082."  The reference to                                                               
AS 18.08.082 is part of  the health and social services' statutes                                                               
that  require  the  individual providing  the  emergency  medical                                                               
services   to  obtain   a  certificate   that  is   granted  upon                                                               
[completion]  of training.   The  language in  subsection (f)  of                                                               
Section  1  of HB  219  is  very  open  and doesn't  require  any                                                               
certification,  and  therefore  would   allow  any  nonprofit  or                                                               
municipality  to start  an ambulance  service.   The  regulations                                                               
under  health and  social  services already  cover  this type  of                                                               
circumstance.  Ms. Hall informed  the committee that she has been                                                               
involved in  the medical  transport area  in the  fire department                                                               
service charges.   There  is one membership  program that  has an                                                               
insurance backdrop and another that  would qualify as a nonprofit                                                               
and  have   been  exempted  under  the   aforementioned  statute.                                                               
Therefore, she opined that the  ability to provide these services                                                               
as a membership program is  available for the nonprofits and thus                                                               
she expressed  her preference to  not enact subsection (f)  of HB                                                               
219 because  it seems to be  covered in the division's  title and                                                               
has  worked.   The actual  exclusion of  air ambulance  services,                                                               
which HB  219 proposes, was  proposed about  five years ago.   At                                                               
the time she  said she supported the legislation  while the House                                                               
Health and  Social Services Standing Committee  didn't want those                                                               
services exempted  from the  Division of  Insurance's title.   In                                                               
closing, Ms.  Hall urged  the committee to  consider that  HB 219                                                               
would allow services that don't meet any criteria.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:27:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN asked  if  HB 219  is  broad enough  to                                                               
include the air ambulance service for which [one can subscribe].                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HALL  answered that the  legislation is broad enough  that it                                                               
would take away  any of the Division of  Insurance's oversight of                                                               
that type of an entity.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said that is of concern.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:28:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked whether  the sponsor would be willing                                                               
to specify a size of community in the legislation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:30:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  surmised then  that the  division doesn't                                                               
have much  concern with the  subscription service, but  does have                                                               
concern about the ambulance carrier portion of the legislation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL replied yes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:31:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  whether the  sponsor would  oppose                                                               
language  that   would  allow  a   fire  department   to  require                                                               
subscription service  for communities  where property  owners are                                                               
already  paying   property  taxes   to  help  support   the  fire                                                               
department.       She  indicated  the  need  to   make  sure  the                                                               
aforementioned isn't possible.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:32:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SEBASTIAN  SAARLOOS,   Member,  City   Council,  City   of  Delta                                                               
Junction, related support for HB 219.   He also related that when                                                               
the City  of Delta Junction  had a subscription service  the City                                                               
of  Delta   Junction  fire  department  and   the  rural  Deltana                                                               
volunteer fire department  would respond to all  calls, no matter                                                               
whether it  was the  property of  a subscriber  or nonsubscriber.                                                               
Since  the Division  of Insurance  deemed  the subscription  plan                                                               
would be regulated  as insurance, it was ended  and the donations                                                               
from the community have decreased significantly.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:33:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ reviewed  the points raised today for  the sponsor to                                                               
consider.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:34:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PASCHALL returned  to the  Division  of Insurance's  concern                                                               
regarding certification  of ambulance services.   He related that                                                               
after pointing  out that  statute does  not require  an ambulance                                                               
service to be certified in  the state, Legislative Legal Services                                                               
agreed  that there  is only  a provision  for being  certified in                                                               
order to collect  insurance.  He also noted that  in Alaska there                                                               
is no requirement  to have an emergency  medical technician (EMT)                                                               
in the ambulance.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:35:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  surmised then  that an  ambulance service                                                               
without certification  can't obtain  insurance for  the transport                                                               
from that service.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. PASCHALL replied yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:36:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PASCHALL  then returned  to  the  type of  organization  and                                                               
informed  the  committee  that the  air  service  businesses  are                                                               
typically for profit.   The sponsor doesn't intend for  HB 219 to                                                               
apply  to for-profit  businesses  and doesn't  believe that  it's                                                               
written  to apply  to a  for-profit business.   The  goal was  to                                                               
primarily   target  smaller   communities.      In  response   to                                                               
Representative  Cissna's  comment  regarding   the  size  of  the                                                               
community, such  a provision could  be inserted.  With  regard to                                                               
Representative  Gardner's concerns  about  fire departments  that                                                               
obtain funding  from property taxes also  charging a subscription                                                               
fee, Mr. Paschall related that  currently almost all EMS services                                                               
charge, even if  they receive tax funding.   Fire departments are                                                               
also going  to that model,  particularly when there  are multiple                                                               
calls [to the  same location] for fire alarms.   He recalled that                                                               
the City of Fairbanks charges  for [fire and EMS services] called                                                               
to a motor vehicle accident.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:37:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MUNOZ  announced that the  committee will continue  to work                                                               
on HB 219, and thus HB 219 was held over.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:38:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Community  and Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 9:38 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 219 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 2/16/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 219
HB219 Div of Insurance.pdf HCRA 2/16/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 219
HB219 Tri Valley Support News miner.pdf HCRA 2/16/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 219
HB219-DCCED-INS-02-10-12.pdf HCRA 2/16/2012 8:00:00 AM
HB 219