Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/13/1993 08:30 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE April 13, 1993 8:30 a.m. TAPE HFC 93-102, Side 1, #000 - end. TAPE HFC 93-102, Side 2, #000 - 622. CALL TO ORDER Co-Chair Larson called the House Finance Committee to order at 8:30 a.m. PRESENT Co-Chair Larson Co-Chair MacLean Representative Martin Vice-Chair Hanley Representative Parnell Representative Brown Representative Foster Representative Grussendorf Representatives Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault were absent from the meeting. ALSO PRESENT Representative Hudson; Kim Elton, Executive Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Dean Paddock, Bristol Bay Driftnetters Association; Jerry McCune, United Fishermen of Alaska; Kate Troll, Southeast Alaska Seiners Association; Cindy Smith, Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Marcia McKenzie, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Paul Dick, Department of Revenue. SUMMARY INFORMATION HB 54 "An Act relating to eavesdropping, telephone caller identification, and telephone directory listings and solicitations." CSHB 54 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, dated 3/17/93. HB 212 "An Act relating to a factor in aggravation of the presumptive term of a criminal sentence, and prohibiting the referral of a sentence based on application of that factor to a three-judge sentencing panel as an extraordinary circumstance." CSHB 212 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with three zero fiscal notes by the Alaska Court System, dated 4/5/93; Department of Corrections, dated 4/5/93; Department of Law, dated 4/5/93; and with two zero fiscal notes by the Department of Administration, dated 4/5/93. HB 275 "An Act relating to salmon marketing, a salmon marketing tax, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; and providing for an effective date." HB 275 was HELD in Committee. HOUSE BILL NO. 212 "An Act relating to a factor in aggravation of the presumptive term of a criminal sentence, and prohibiting the referral of a sentence based on application of that factor to a three-judge sentencing panel as an extraordinary circumstance." Co-Chair MacLean explained that the intent of HB 212 is to insure offenders receive the most serious sentences for sexual abuse against a minor in cases where the offender is in a position of authority to the minor or the minor lives in the same household. Co-Chair MacLean pointed out that the bill adds an element of sexual abuse of a minor crimes to the list of aggravators considered at sentencing. In addition, section 2 of the bill furthers a similar effort of the 1992 legislature in adding this crime to the list of crimes not to be referred to the three judge panel. Co-Chair MacLean emphasized that an offender would be in an established trust relationship with a minor. She asserted that the most serious of sentencing provisions should apply in this situation. She noted that it is more difficult for a child to defend him or herself, both physically and verbally, from someone in a position of authority. She maintained that it is the vulnerable nature of the relationship that warrants more severe punishment. Co-Chair MacLean felt that it is more suitable to add this form of crime to the aggravator list rather than create an entirely different crime category. This would ensure that offenders receive the most severe sentence possible under the existing ranges for these crimes. Co-Chair MacLean noted that the Judiciary Committee made two technical changes to the bill on page 3. On line 16, they deleted a reference to 11.41. 440 which relates to sexual abuse of a minor in the 4th degree, a misdemeanor crime and not subject to felony sentencing. They also removed language on lines 17-18, which was redundant to other provisions of this section. Representative Brown MOVED to report CSHB 212 (JUD) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 212 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with three zero fiscal notes by the Alaska Court System, dated 4/5/93; Department of Corrections, dated 4/5/93; Department of Law, dated 4/5/93; and with two zero fiscal notes by the Department of Administration, dated 4/5/93. HOUSE BILL NO. 54 "An Act relating to eavesdropping, telephone caller identification, and telephone directory listings and solicitations." Representative Brown explained that telephone caller identification is a new service that will be offered in Alaska. House Bill 54 mandates that there must be a free opportunity for consumers that do not want to participate to block their line. She maintained that the new service raises privacy implications. She noted that unlisted numbers would be diverged. She noted that persons involved in domestic violence, police activities and physicians might need to have the caller identification blocked. Representative Brown noted that telephone companies desire that per call blocking be required. She explained that callers would be required to dial a series of additional numbers in order to block the caller identification. She felt that this process would be burdensome. Representative Brown emphasized that harassing phone calls would be better addressed through call trace. Call trace would alert the police department when a harassing phone call is made. She added that call reject, priority ring and call block could be used to prevent unwanted calls. Representative Brown felt the cost of the service should be born by those that want the service and not consumers as a whole. Representative Martin asked who would pay for blocking a number out. Representative Brown answered that the charge for blocking would be covered out of the cost of those that prescribe for the service. She stressed that knowing the phone number of the person calling would not necessarily indicate that the call will be harassing. Representative Hanley felt that there should be a charge for individuals that have opted into the service and later decides to opt out of the service. CINDY SMITH, DIRECTOR, ALASKA NETWORK ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT referred to problems associated with call identification. She stressed that Ms. Smith diverges the location of shelters, counselors and sexual assault victims. It also prevents contact by counselors and volunteers from contacting victims in their homes. It also affects "safe homes". She noted that many states that did not institute regulations have found it necessary to institute regulations. She stated that the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is greatly concerned that blocking be allowed for Ms. Smith. She clarified, for Representative Martin, that shelters do not collect numbers of those that call the shelters. MARCIA MCKENZIE, PROGRAM COORDINATOR, COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT stated that the Council is concern that volunteer safe homes would be placed in danger. She noted that problems have occurred in other states that have instituted caller identification without offering the ability to block the service. She did not support the per dial blocking. Representative Martin asked if the legislation is needed to have their number blocked. Ms. McKenzie stated that the legislation mandates that the service be offered without charge. Representative Martin expressed concern that the original intention of allowing consumers to know the number of harassing phone calls is being nullified. Ms. McKenzie reiterated that phone tracing would allow the police to identify harassing phone calls. Co-Chair MacLean MOVED to report CSHB 54 (L&C) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 54 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, dated 3/17/93. HOUSE BILL NO. 275 "An Act relating to salmon marketing, a salmon marketing tax, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; and providing for an effective date." REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON explained that HB 275 would impose a 1 percent salmon marketing tax on all salmon harvested in Alaskan waters. He emphasized that although the fishing community is not in complete support of the increased tax there seems to be a consensus that an increased, expanded and more aggressive marketing system is needed. He stressed that farmed salmon production has increased. He discussed salmon varieties. Representative Hudson noted that HB 275 changes the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Board's composition. Under HB 275 the Board would consist of 12 fishermen and 12 processors. He asserted that HB 275 creates a new emphasize on world marketing. Representative Hudson observed that there is a Raw Fish Tax assessment. He added that fishermen pay a Salmon Enhancement Tax of one to three percent. He noted that there has been a request by seiners to allow a reduction of their Salmon Enhancement Tax from 3 to 2 percent. Representative Hudson stated that the 1 percent tax on all permit holders would generate $5.7 million dollars. He provided members with Work Draft, 8-LSO341\R (Attachment 1). He discussed provisions of HB 275 as provided in a sectional analysis by Legal Counsel, dated April 8, 1993 (Attachment 2). He review changes by the work draft (Attachment 3). He reviewed back-up materials provided to members (copies on file). PAUL DICK, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE emphasized that the Department of Revenue anticipates that $5.75 million dollars will be collected from the 1 percent tax. He added that the collection program would be similar to the Salmon Enhancement Tax which the Department of Revenue already collects. Representative Martin asked why the Department of Revenue needs new positions. (Tape Change, HFC 93-102, Side 2) Mr. Dick explained that the Department has requested positions for data entry and preliminary examinations. He stated that no new audit positions are requested. Mr. Dick clarified, in response to a question from Representative Hanley, that the Salmon Enhancement Tax is provided for in AS 43.76. He added that HB 275 would add a new subsection. He explained that the Salmon Enhancement Tax is a self imposed tax by limited entry permit holders. Representative Hanley asked if members can vote to decrease the tax. Mr. Dick thought that they could vote to increase or decrease the tax. KATE TROLL, SOUTHEAST ALASKA SEINERS (SEAS) stated that SEAS does not support the one percent tax. She felt that seiners cannot afford an additional 1 percent. She observed that an average seiner skipper nets $11,000. She maintained that the tax represents 8 - 10 percent of the net. She asserted that the seiner fleet is struggling. She stressed that some boats could be tied up if the tax is added. Ms. Troll was in support of the marketing aspect of HB 275. She discussed the possibility of decreasing their Salmon Enhancement Tax. She maintained that permit holders would have to be a vote to terminate the tax and then hold a new vote to establish a tax at the lower level. She stressed that if marketing works for the fishermen that it will also work for the aquaculture associations. She asserted that hatchery programs will recoup their immediate loss in revenues. Ms. Troll suggested an amendment to allow the Commissioner of Department of Commerce and Economic Development to guarantee loan collateration (Attachment 4). Representative Martin noted that other tax increases to fishermen will result in an over all tax increase of 16 percent. Ms. Troll added that the tax paid by processors is passed on to the fishermen. Ms. Troll clarified, in response to a question from Representative Martin, parity of the Board is the primary concern of fishermen, in regards to the Board's make-up. KIM ELTON, DIRECTOR, ALASKA SEAFOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE (ASMI) spoke in support of HB 275. He anticipated that the bill would have resulted in revenues of: * $3.1 million dollars in 1991 and; * $5.75 million dollars in 1992. Mr. Elton estimated 1993 revenues at $3 - $5.5 million dollars. He noted that an average of $400 hundred dollars would be paid by a harvester grossing $40,000 thousand dollar. Revenues will be used to supplement processing revenue. The 1 percent tax will be used in the domestic market exclusively for salmon. He noted that section 5 provides that marketing data will be provided to fishermen groups. He added that ASMI will provide information to all groups. Representative Brown asked if the 1 percent tax would displace currently used general fund dollars or be an increase of the current level of state support. Mr. Elton stated that he envisioned that general fund dollars would be supplemented rather than supplanted. He stressed that the fishery resource is owned and managed by the state. He felt that there is a state obligation to participate in the joint marketing of the common resources. Representative Brown noted that there is no insurance that additional funds will be appropriated. She asked if the tax would be collected once. Mr. Elton thought that it would be collected only once. Representative Brown expressed concern that that processors would have to pay the tax when fish are transferred a second time. Mr. Dick stated that the tax would only be collected once. He felt that the legislation would be clear as to the collection of the tax. Members further discussed the tax collection process. JERRY MCCUNE, PRESIDENT, UNITED FISHERMEN OF ALASKA (UFA) clarified that only individuals can own a permit. He stated that floaters that freeze fish on board and leave the state would still be responsible to pay the tax. He observed that the Enhancement Tax is collected the same way. DEAN PADDOCK, BRISTOL BAY DRIFTNETTERS ASSOCIATION spoke in of HB 275. He stressed that fishermen are willing to put money in support of marketing. He reviewed taxes paid by Bristol Bay fishermen. He concluded that they pay 10 percent in tax. He felt that the 1 percent tax for marketing would do more good than all the other taxes. He noted the affect of Russian and farmed salmon on the market. He emphasized that the Raw Fish Tax is collected from the processors but paid by the fishermen. He indicated that markets need to be expanded. He stressed that if fishermen are going to pay they want to play an important role in deciding how the money they contribute will be spent. Mr. McCune stressed that UFA is split on the legislation. Representative Hudson recommended that the amendment suggested by SEAS be considered. Representative Hudson added that the effective dates of section 8 and 9 of the work draft should be changed to 1998 and 1999 respectively. Representative Hanley MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft, 8-LSO341\R. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Hanley MOVED to delete "1999" on page 6, line 3 and insert "1998"; and to delete "2000" on page 6, line 7 and insert "1999". There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Hanley discussed the amendment proposed by SEAS. He felt that further drafting was needed. Representative Brown MOVED to insert "to the public" on page 3, line 30. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 275 (FIN) was held in committee. Representative Hanley noted that he is a fishermen. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.