Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/29/1997 02:00 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         April 29, 1997                                        
                            2:00 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 97-115, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 97-115, Side 2, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 97-116, Side 1, #000 - #352.                                        
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  called  the  House  Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault           Representative Kohring                         
  Representative Davies         Representative Martin                          
  Representative Davis          Representative Moses                           
  Representative Foster         Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Grussendorf                                                   
  Representative Kelly                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley was absent from the meeting.                                 
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Mark  Hodgins; Wilson  Condon, Commissioner,                 
  Department  of  Revenue;  Paul  Fuhs,  Yukon  Pacific;  Greg                 
  Erickson,  Juneau;  Tamar  Di   Franco,  Special  Assistant,                 
  Department of Revenue; Blain McCune, Public Defender Agency;                 
  Scott Calder, Fairbanks; Connie  Sipe, Director, Division of                 
  Senior Services; Keith Lauger, Alaska Industrial Development                 
  and  Export  Authority; Eric  Yould,  Rural  Alaska Electric                 
  Association;  Vayla  Colonell, Valley  Electric Association;                 
  Duane  Parlow,  Homer Electric  Association;  Marlyn Wilson,                 
  Staff, Senator Sharp.                                                        
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 127    "An Act relating  to the citizen review  board and                 
            panels   for   permanency  planning   for  certain                 
            children in state custody; renaming the  Citizens'                 
            Review  Panel  For   Permanency  Planning  as  the                 
            Citizens' Foster Care Review  Board; extending the                 
            termination date  of  the  Citizens'  Foster  Care                 
            Review  Board;  and  providing  for  an  effective                 
            date."                                                             
                                                                               
            HB   127  was  HELD   in  Committee   for  further                 
            consideration.                                                     
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HB 250    "An   Act   establishing   a   North   Slope   Gas                 
            Commercialization Team to  develop recommendations                 
            regarding a North Slope gas project; and providing                 
            for an effective date."                                            
                                                                               
            HB  250  was reported  out  of Committee  with "no                 
            recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the                 
            House  Finance  Committee  for the  Department  of                 
            Revenue.                                                           
                                                                               
  SB 175    "An Act relating  to revenue  bonds issued by  the                 
            Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority                 
            for interties  between  Healy  and  Fairbanks  and                 
            between  Anchorage and  the  Kenai Peninsula;  and                 
            providing for an effective date."                                  
                                                                               
            SB  175 was reported  out of Committee  with a "do                 
            pass"  recommendation  Department of  Commerce and                 
            Economic Development, 4/21/97.                                     
  HOUSE BILL NO. 250                                                           
                                                                               
       "An    Act    establishing    a   North    Slope    Gas                 
       Commercialization  Team   to  develop   recommendations                 
       regarding a North Slope gas  project; and providing for                 
       an effective date."                                                     
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS testified in support of CSHB 250                 
  (O&G).    He observed  that  HB  250 was  introduced  by the                 
  Governor.    He  discussed  changes  made by  the  committee                 
  substitute.      He   noted  that   the   North   Slope  Gas                 
  Commercialization   Team  (team)   was  consolidated.     He                 
  explained that the "confidentiality"  provision was retained                 
  in the bill at the advise of legislative legal  counsel.  He                 
  noted that the team was reduced to three members.  The  team                 
  would be comprised  of the commissioner of the Department of                 
  Natural  Resources, the  commissioner of  the Department  of                 
  Revenue and  the  Attorney General.    He stated  that  this                 
  change  would  allow the  fiscal  note  to be  reduced.   He                 
  recommended that the  fiscal note  be reduced to  zero.   He                 
  observed  that  the  Governor  has  a  contingency  fund  of                 
  approximately $400  thousand dollars.   He  stressed that  a                 
  zero  fiscal   note   would  facilitate   passage   of   the                 
  legislation.    He  acknowledged that  there  would  be some                 
  contractual and travel  needs.  He emphasized that the North                 
  Slope natural  gas project  is not  deemed to  be economical                 
  under  current  circumstances.   He  stressed that  the team                 
  would consider what  state and local  governments can do  to                 
  alleviate taxes and make the project economical.                             
                                                                               
  Representative Davies asked what form tax relief would take.                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Hodgins observed  that the  North  Slope gas                 
  project is  an enormous  undertaking.   He noted  that there                 
  would be a ramp up period.  He stressed that a tax lessening                 
  at the front end could help the project.  He emphasized that                 
  if the project  is not  economical it will  not happen.   He                 
  stressed that the project represents $150 billion dollars in                 
  revenues.    Federal  revenues  would be  approximately  $26                 
  billion dollars.  He noted that the message must be  sent to                 
  the  federal  government  that  there  will  be  no  federal                 
  revenues if the project does not go forward.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies expressed  concern  that  all of  the                 
  taxes and royalties  could be eliminated without  making the                 
  project economical.                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins responded that the team will identify                 
  the  level  of  taxation  needed  for  the  project   to  be                 
  profitable.  He asserted that no one wants to be involved in                 
  the project unless there is going to be a profit.                            
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  observed  that  the  project  will  be                 
  subject  to  legislative approval.    Representative Hodgins                 
  noted that the House Oil and  Gas Committee will meet during                 
  the interim.  He stressed that  the Committee will provide a                 
  public forum for discussions.                                                
                                                                               
  WILSON  CONDON, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE spoke in                 
  support of the  legislation.   He noted that  the team  will                 
  look  at what is  needed to take North  Slope natural gas to                 
  Asian markets.   The  legislation addresses  how the  Public                 
  Records Act  and the  Public  Meetings Act  will govern  the                 
  operations of the team.                                                      
                                                                               
  Commissioner Condon  discussed the  Department of  Revenue's                 
  fiscal note.   He stated that  the fiscal note contains  $75                 
  thousand dollars in the contractual line for continuation of                 
  a contract with Dr. van Meurs.  Dr. van Meurs will work with                 
  the Administration and Legislature.   There is an additional                 
  $75  thousand  dollars   in  the  contractual  line   for  a                 
  socioeconomic study.  He emphasized that the study will help                 
  the Legislature to judge if fiscal terms should be modified.                 
  The fiscal note  also includes $50 thousand  dollars for the                 
  continuation of a  temporary position  in the Department  of                 
  Revenue.  He observed that the position is currently working                 
  on the  project  full-time.    He  stated  that  funding  is                 
  necessary for travel between Anchorage and Juneau.                           
                                                                               
  Commissioner Condon stressed that the federal government can                 
  have a large influence  on the economics of the project.  He                 
  maintained that, if the project is  not built in Alaska, the                 
  market will be supplied  by a project outside of  the United                 
  States.  He  added that there  will be some travel  costs to                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Washington D.C.                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies observed that  page 5, lines  12 - 24                 
  was  deleted from  HB  250.    This language  addressed  the                 
  State's  participation  in  a North  Slope  gas  project and                 
  further   actions  needed  to  ascertain  or  alleviate  the                 
  anticipated   socioeconomic   impacts   of    the   project.                 
  Commissioner   Condon  reiterated   the   importance  of   a                 
  socioeconomic study.   He stressed that the study  will help                 
  with  legislative  decisions  regarding  the  project.    He                 
  recommended that State  participation not  be proposed.   He                 
  stated that any  proposals should  be analyzed to  determine                 
  its value to the State of Alaska.                                            
                                                                               
  PAUL FUHS,  YUKON PACIFIC testified  in support of  CSHB 250                 
  (O&G).    He discussed  subsection  (10)  on page  two.   He                 
  observed  that  this  section   expresses  the  intent  that                 
  negotiations take place with all potential project sponsors,                 
  with the goal  that a  contract be signed  with the  project                 
  sponsor group.                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Fuhs stressed that  the project must be backed  by long-                 
  term gas sales.   He emphasized the difficulty of  obtaining                 
  contracts or financing if there  is an unstable tax climate.                 
  He disagreed with the  statement that the project  would not                 
  be economical even  if all of  the State's taxes were  given                 
  away.  He  stated that  an analysis, by  Credit Swiss  First                 
  Boston,  showed  positive  economics for  the  project.   He                 
  maintained that the  goal is  for a unified  proposal to  be                 
  made  to  the  Asian  markets.    He  stated  that  permits,                 
  participation  of producers,  and state  and federal  fiscal                 
  terms are needed to assess the  economics.  He observed that                 
  the analysis differed  in their  estimations of how  quickly                 
  full production is achieved.  He stated that they anticipate                 
  placing 5 to 6 million tons the first year and 2 - 3 million                 
  tons every additional year.   He argued that the  project is                 
  in the "ball  park".  He  maintained that the Asian  markets                 
  are patiently waiting for a proposal from Alaska.                            
                                                                               
  GREGG  ERICKSON,  ECONOMIC CONSULTANT,  ERICKSON ASSOCIATES,                 
  JUNEAU spoke in regards to the public information provisions                 
  in the bill.  He maintained that provisions of public access                 
  will hurt the  prospects of the  project and are bad  public                 
  policy.  He referred to page 4, line 14.   He noted that the                 
  provision states that the  North Slope Gas Commercialization                 
  Team is not a governmental body for the purposes of the Open                 
  Meetings Act.  The legislation also provides that the Public                 
  Records  Act  does  not  apply  to  documents  that  contain                 
  sensitive,  proprietary,  or  privileged  information.    He                 
  stressed that  the determination of "sensitive" is up to the                 
  administrative decision  maker.   He noted  that all  of the                 
  material could  be kept  secretive forever.   He  maintained                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  that there is no  reason for the secrecy.  He  observed that                 
  the team  has been functioning  for a year  and that  he has                 
  already obtained  documents from the Department  of Revenue.                 
  He stated that  the Department of  Revenue and the  Attorney                 
  General have  produced 95 percent  of the documents  that he                 
  has requested.   He  acknowledged that  some documents  were                 
  withheld on the grounds that  they contained proprietary and                 
  privileged information.  He observed that he did  not appeal                 
  the decision to withhold these documents.                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Erickson  noted that  the Attorney  General advised  him                 
  that the  team is not covered by the  Open Meetings Act.  He                 
  emphasized  that  the Governor  did  not request  provisions                 
  regarding the Open  Meeting Act or  Public Records Act.   He                 
  stressed that  these provisions are  not needed to  put into                 
  statute  practices  that have  already  been going  on.   He                 
  maintained that these provisions represent  change to a long                 
  standing  public  policy  that  includes  the  public.    He                 
  maintained that public participation is an important part of                 
  doing governmental business.  He stated that gas sales could                 
  be the dominate  public policy issue of the next decade.  He                 
  stressed  that  it  is  not  an  "auspicious  start  for the                 
  process,  of getting  a gas  pipeline built, ...to  have the                 
  public  cut  out  of the  beginning  of  the  process."   He                 
  observed that there  was discussion in the  1970's regarding                 
  the "deal" between the State and oil companies.  He stressed                 
  that if the  Administration has  the ability to  selectively                 
  decided  what documents are available  to the public and the                 
  legislature,  that  the  public  will  question  legislative                 
  decisions.                                                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Davies, Mr.                 
  Erickson   did  not   dispute  that  meetings   between  the                 
  commissioners  and a  third  party are  not  under the  Open                 
  Meetings Act.  He clarified that his concerns are in regards                 
  to documentation.   He added that provisions relating to the                 
  Open Meetings  Act are  unnecessary.   He stated  that draft                 
  documents are part of the public record.                                     
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Davis, Mr.                 
  Erickson stated that  documents have already been  submitted                 
  to the team  by oil companies involved  in the project.   He                 
  stated  that   Commissioner  Condon  indicated   that  these                 
  documents  contained  market  projections.   He  noted  that                 
  documents  containing  commercial  information  can be  kept                 
  confidential.  He  clarified that he is  more concerned with                 
  provisions  relating  to   the  Public  Records  Act.     He                 
  emphasized  that   "sensitive"  could   be  interpreted   as                 
  something that is embarrassing.                                              
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  stated that  objections  by detractors                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  could  result  in  industry withholding  information  to the                 
  detriment of the project.                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Erickson stressed  that discussions  have been going  on                 
  for a year without litigation.  He maintained that "if it is                 
  not broken don't  fix it".  He  acknowledged that litigation                 
  could be brought  forth.  He  emphasized that under  current                 
  practices it  would be difficult to substantiate accusations                 
  of  a secret conspiracy to  give away the  tax resource.  He                 
  stressed  that  it   would  be   difficult  to  charge   the                 
  Administration of withholding information.  He observed that                 
  future legislatures  cannot  be bound.   He  added that  the                 
  State's  taxing  power or  its  sovereignty cannot  be given                 
  away.  He  maintained that  the result would  be a  contract                 
  that has no legal authority,  but which has moral authority.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 97-115, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Davies, Mr.                 
  Erickson acknowledged that  there will  be a public  process                 
  before  anything  becomes   law.    He  stressed   that  the                 
  Legislature does  not stand any different than the public in                 
  regards to access.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Davies  noted that  legislators may  view oil                 
  and gas tax  records in confidentially.  Mr.  Erickson noted                 
  that  there  are  no  statutes  that  would  parallel  these                 
  provisions in regards to the gas  project.  He observed that                 
  if legislators view documents in confidentiality  they could                 
  not talk about what they discover.                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins noted that  the legislation speaks to                 
  the  definition  of  proprietary  interests.    He  provided                 
  members with a  memorandum from Jack Chenoweth,  Legislative                 
  Counsel, dated 4/18/97 (copy  on file).  He stated  that the                 
  legislation  allows negotiations of  sensitive material in a                 
  private  setting   before  a   proposal  is   made  to   the                 
  Legislature.  He observed that the Legislature is the public                 
  forum.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies  questioned why  it  is  necessary to                 
  include   the  Public   Meetings  Act   provisions   in  the                 
  legislation.   Representative  Hodgins  observed that  Legal                 
  Services  indicated that  the provisions  on confidentiality                 
  need to be  included.   Representative Davies observed  that                 
  confidentiality  pertains  more  to   the  records  than  to                 
  meetings.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Davies expressed concern that the legislation                 
  extends  to notice  of a  meeting that  would not  prejudice                 
  confidential information.  He observed that the principle of                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  the Open  Meetings Act  is that  the public  can follow  the                 
  deliberations or reasoning of a body.                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins  stressed that if  a commissioner  is                 
  meeting with  agents of the  project that they  are probably                 
  exempt from any  public records.  Written  material would be                 
  part of the  public record.   He emphasized  that the  three                 
  major  resource  holders on  the  North Slope  would provide                 
  proprietary  information they do not wish to be available on                 
  a public forum.                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Davies clarified that he  is referring to the                 
  remaining intermediate documents  that may  be created.   He                 
  asked  if  it is  the intent  that  documents, that  are not                 
  proprietary, be  held confidential.   Representative Hodgins                 
  stated  that  it is  the intent  that  the document  that is                 
  produced would come before the Legislature.                                  
                                                                               
  TAMAR DI  FRANCO, SPECIAL  ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT  OF REVENUE                 
  explained that there was a joint federal/state working group                 
  on the 1979  Beaufort Sea lease sale.  She observed that the                 
  group was doing  work that is very similar to  what the team                 
  will be doing.  The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the 1979                 
  Beaufort  Sea  working  group   should  have  noticed  their                 
  meetings.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault observed  that the  notice requirements                 
  could be problematic.  Ms. di  Franco noted that it has been                 
  the Department's position  to release  as many documents  as                 
  possible.    She indicated  that  the Department  of Revenue                 
  would continue to  release documents that are  not sensitive                 
  in nature.  She maintained that the Department will continue                 
  to  be as  open as  they are  able to,  per agreements  with                 
  negotiating parties.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed  concern with the delegation                 
  of  authority  to  a  "secret  team".   Co-Chair  Therriault                 
  pointed  out  that  the   Legislature  will  participate  in                 
  decision making.                                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf observed that the commissioner of                 
  the Department of Labor  would not be included on  the team.                 
  He  emphasized  the  role  that   the  commissioner  of  the                 
  Department of  Labor could play  in relation to  Alaska hire                 
  and Alaskan businesses.   He asked why the  commissioners of                 
  the  Department of Labor and  the Department of Commerce and                 
  Economic Development were dropped off.                                       
                                                                               
  Representative   Hodgins   explained  that,   due   to  time                 
  constraints, the Committee  decided to focus on  tax issues.                 
  He noted that Commissioner Condon's testimony indicated that                 
  the other commissioners would  be involved in an  ex officio                 
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  manner.  He emphasized the intent to keep the team small.                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault observed  that  the  reduction of  size                 
  influenced the reduction  of the fiscal  note.  He  stressed                 
  that the Legislature can address local hire issues.                          
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf referred to the  fiscal note.  He                 
  did not think that the fiscal note should be zero.  Co-Chair                 
  Therriault  reiterated  that  the  intent   is  to  use  the                 
  Governor's contingency fund.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Martin asked why the team was declared a non-                 
  governmental body.   Representative Hodgins emphasized  that                 
  there  were  problems  with codifying  a  task  force.   The                 
  legislation allows confidentiality.  The team will produce a                 
  contract.    The  contract  will  be   turned  over  to  the                 
  Legislature for consideration.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed concern  that the Department                 
  of Law  will be  required to  provide assistance  to a  non-                 
  governmental body.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Davies suggested the addition of  language on                 
  page 4,  line 20  after "working  documents."   He suggested                 
  "would reveal proprietary or privileged information that the                 
  potential sponsor  requested be kept confidential"  be added                 
  and   "contain   sensitive,   proprietary,   or   privileged                 
  information  and  the potential  sponsor  requests  that the                 
  records  or  working  documents  be  kept  confidential"  be                 
  deleted.  He explained that the potential  sponsor would not                 
  be  able  to   request  that   working  documents  be   kept                 
  confidential.  The  Department of  Revenue would decide  the                 
  status of working  documents.   The potential sponsor  would                 
  request  that information they provide be kept confidential.                 
  Any  working  document   that  did   not  reveal   sensitive                 
  information could be released.                                               
                                                                               
  Ms. di Franco stated that  the legislation as written allows                 
  the Department  of Revenue  to do  what is  intended by  the                 
  proposed amendment.  She stated that working  documents that                 
  were   summary  documents  or  more  broadly  analytical  of                 
  specific   information   would  not   be   covered   by  the                 
  confidentiality provision.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies interpreted  the language  to mean  a                 
  document  that  simply  analyzes  records  that  have   been                 
  requested   to  be   kept   confidential,   could  be   kept                 
  confidential.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins  observed that  the opinion by  Legal                 
  Services  would  go  against  the  proposed amendment.    He                 
  observed that the  definition of proprietary is  included in                 
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  the  legislation.     He  emphasized  that  there   will  be                 
  proprietary information in  the course of negotiations.   He                 
  maintained that the  team could  not negotiate with  private                 
  entities if everything  was going to  be part of the  public                 
  record.  He assumed that the public will have the ability to                 
  receive information that is not sensitive.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies  stated  that   he  would  like   the                 
  legislation to clarify that only  those documents that would                 
  reveal confidential information would  be held confidential.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins observed that the lines that would be                 
  deleted by the proposed amendment give the person who brings                 
  forward the information the right to declare if the material                 
  is confidential.    Co-Chair Therriault  suggested that  the                 
  language  is clear  that documents  must contain  sensitive,                 
  proprietary    or    privileged   information    to   remain                 
  confidential.                                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Hodgins explained  that the sponsor would  be                 
  allowed  to determine  the nature of  the material  in their                 
  request for confidentiality.   He  noted that gas  companies                 
  would have proprietary information they would not want to be                 
  public.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies  did  not  move  the amendment.    He                 
  observed  that  the  Department of  Revenue's  intent  is to                 
  release information that is not proprietary.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  provided  members with  a  zero  House                 
  Finance Committee fiscal note for  the Department of Revenue                 
  (copy  on  file).     Representative  Grussendorf  expressed                 
  concern with the zero fiscal note.                                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies  emphasized  that  the  proposal  may                 
  request that the  Legislature change the fiscal terms of the                 
  State  to  the  tune of  millions  of  dollars a  year.   He                 
  stressed  that  an  appropriate amount  of  money  should be                 
  appropriated to ensure that the  Legislature receives a good                 
  proposal that has been fully considered.  He maintained that                 
  contingency funds are for unanticipated contingencies.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Foster MOVED to report CSHB 250 (O&G)  out of                 
  Committee with individual  recommendations.   Representative                 
  Davies OBJECTED.                                                             
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION.                                    
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Davis, Foster, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Therriault                  
  OPPOSED:  Grussendorf, Davies                                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                9                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  and Representatives  Moses and Mulder  were                 
  absent for the vote.                                                         
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (6-2).                                                     
                                                                               
  Co-Chair   Therriault  MOVED  to  adopt  the  House  Finance                 
  Committee zero fiscal  note.  There  being NO OBJECTION,  it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Davies  MOVED to  Amend fiscal  note of  $150                 
  thousand dollars in the contractual line.                                    
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION.                                    
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Grussendorf, Davies                                                
  OPPOSED:  Davis, Foster, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Therriault                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  and Representatives Moses  and Mulder  were                 
  absent for the vote.                                                         
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (2-6).                                                     
                                                                               
  HB   250   was   reported   out   of  Committee   with   "no                 
  recommendation" and  with a  zero fiscal  note by  the House                 
  Finance Committee for the Department of Revenue.                             
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 97-116, Side 1)                                            
  HOUSE BILL NO. 127                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the citizen review board and panels                 
       for permanency  planning for certain  children in state                 
       custody;  renaming  the   Citizens'  Review  Panel  For                 
       Permanency Planning as the Citizens' Foster Care Review                 
       Board; extending the termination date  of the Citizens'                 
       Foster  Care  Review  Board;   and  providing  for   an                 
       effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
  BLAIR  MCCUNE,  DEPUTY  DIRECTOR,  ALASKA  PUBLIC  DEFENDERS                 
  AGENCY  testified  via  the   teleconference  network.    He                 
  observed that section  20 provides that the  Public Defender                 
  Agency  "shall"  cooperate with  the  Citizen's  Foster Care                 
  Review Board.  Section  23 says that the Board  shall submit                 
  reports to the  court.   He observed that  section 23  would                 
  strengthen the Board.   He stated  that there would be  some                 
  financial  impact  to  the  Public   Defender  Agency.    He                 
  expressed concern that there is a duplication of effort.  He                 
  observed  that the Board  is about permanency  planning.  He                 
  added that there  are other entities  involved in the  court                 
  process.   He suggested that  the Public Defender  Agency be                 
  taken off the Board.  He noted that conflicts could arise if                 
  the Agency was representing parents in criminal proceedings.                 
                                                                               
                               10                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  He  noted  that   the  Public   Defender  Agency  would   be                 
  represented on panels.                                                       
                                                                               
  SCOTT  CALDER,  FAIRBANKS testified  via  the teleconference                 
  network.  He  maintained  that  the  bill is  premature  and                 
  excessive.    He   stressed  that  the  State   has  delayed                 
  implementation for six and  a half years.  He  asserted that                 
  arguments  that  the  lack  of  funding  for  administrative                 
  functions  obscure  the  fact  that  the  Governor  has  not                 
  appointed members to  the local  panel, under AS  47.14.220.                 
  He  observed that  approximately  $500 thousand  dollars has                 
  been  appropriated  to  fund  a local  and  special  act for                 
  Anchorage.  He stressed that it is inappropriate to consider                 
  reshaping existing laws  for a statewide program  based upon                 
  one local experience.  He  emphasized that the provisions of                 
  AS 47.14.200 would  be eliminated  by the  legislation.   He                 
  pointed  out  that   the  duties  of  cooperation   for  the                 
  Department of Health  & Social Services, Department  of Law,                 
  Public Defender Agency,  Office of  Public Advocacy and  the                 
  Alaska  Court  System is  contained  in existing  statute AS                 
  47.14.250.    He  expressed  concern that  there  will  be a                 
  duplication of effort.   He  referred to AS  47.14.210.   He                 
  asserted that the reason  the law exists is to make  a basic                 
  factual report  to the  Legislature about  what is  going on                 
  with the system.  He stressed that nonvoting representatives                 
  of  these  agencies   need  to  be  present   to  facilitate                 
  cooperation.  He  maintained that the sunset date  should be                 
  extended and the  Governor should appoint members in each of                 
  the  judicial  districts  and  implement   the  panel.    He                 
  acknowledged the work of the Anchorage panel, but emphasized                 
  that other areas should  not be excluded.  He  cited Article                 
  II, Section 19 or the Alaska Constitution.                                   
                                                                               
  CONNIE  SIPES,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF  SENIOR   SERVICES,                 
  ANCHORAGE  testified  via the  teleconference network.   She                 
  observed that the panel is placed  in the Division of Senior                 
  Services  for administrative purposes.   She maintained that                 
  it is an  appropriate time to revitalize  the citizen foster                 
  care  review experience.   She maintained that  it should be                 
  more than an Anchorage pilot project.   She observed that it                 
  is a complex system.  The legal rights of parents, children,                 
  families,  and  foster  care providers  are  involved.   She                 
  asserted that guidance is  needed from a state panel  to set                 
  policies and procedures, coordinate between agencies, and to                 
  set standards for training, handling and management of cases                 
  at local levels.   She stressed that the bill  benefits from                 
  the pilot  experience.   She noted  that the  Administration                 
  supports the bill.                                                           
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault observed that the Committee will look at                 
  the fiscal impact and other issues.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               11                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HB 127 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                      
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 175                                                          
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to revenue  bonds issued by the Alaska                 
       Industrial   Development   and  Export   Authority  for                 
       interties  between  Healy  and  Fairbanks  and  between                 
       Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula; and providing for an                 
       effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
  KEITH  LAUGER,  ALASKA  INDUSTRIAL  DEVELOPMENT  AND  EXPORT                 
  AUTHORITY (AIDEA) testified  via the teleconference  network                 
  in support of  SB 175.  He  observed that SB 175  provides a                 
  technical  fix for  legislative bonding  Authority  to issue                 
  revenue   bonds  relating  to   the  Northern  and  Southern                 
  interties.  The  original bond authorization was  enacted in                 
  1993, for AIDEA to issue up to $60  million dollars in bonds                 
  for each  intertie.   The authorizing  legislation contained                 
  specific  provisions relating to ownership of the interties.                 
  Since the passage  of the legislation utilities  have worked                 
  out  agreements  that  provide  for  a  different  ownership                 
  structure.  The Bond  Counsel has determined that under  the                 
  existing  statute  the Authority  would  be unable  to issue                 
  bonds for the new ownership  structure that is contemplated.                 
  Senate  Bill  175  would  clarify   that  ownership  is  not                 
  important, who  is going  to benefit from  the interties  is                 
  important.  He observed that AIDEA supports the legislation.                 
                                                                               
  ERIC  YOULD,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  RURAL  ALASKA  ELECTRIC                 
  COOPERATIVE  ASSOCIATION  testified  via the  teleconference                 
  network in support of SB 175.   He noted that he  represents                 
  the six utilities that would be affected by the legislation.                 
  He stated that the legislation would authorize revenue bonds                 
  to  be  sold  on  behalf  of  AIDEA  for  the  participating                 
  communities and  utilities.   The legislation also  provides                 
  for joint ownership by the utilities.                                        
                                                                               
  VAYLA  COLONELL, VALLEY  ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION  testified via                 
  the teleconference network in support of SB 175.                             
                                                                               
  DUANE PARLOW, HOMER  ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION testified via  the                 
  teleconference network in support of SB 175.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  MOVED  to  report   SB  175  out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  SB  175  was reported  out  of  Committee with  a  "do pass"                 
  recommendation   Department   of   Commerce   and   Economic                 
  Development, 4/21/97.                                                        
                                                                               
                               12                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               13                                              

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