Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/20/1998 01:48 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 20, 1998 1:48 P.M. TAPE HFC 98 - 72, Side 1 TAPE HFC 98 - 72, Side 2 TAPE HFC 98 - 73, Side 1 CALL TO ORDER Co-Chair Gene Therriault called the House Finance Committee meeting to order at 1:48 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; Mary Gore, Staff, Senator Miller; Janice Seitz, Staff, Representative Rokeberg; Rick Harris, Senior Vice President, Sealaska Corporation, Juneau; James Eason, Forcenergy. The following testified via the teleconference network: Ken Freeman, Executive Director, Resource Development Council, Anchorage; Janice Adair, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation; Ken Boyd, Director, Division of Oil and Gas; Steve Borell, Executive Director, Alaska Miner's Association; SUMMARY HB 144 "An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation to charge certain fees relating to registration of pesticides and broadcast chemicals; and providing for an effective date." HB 144 was HELD in Committee for further consideration. HB 380 "An Act relating to a temporary reduction of royalty on oil and gas produced for sale from fields within the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin where production is commenced in fields that have been discovered and undeveloped or that have been shut in." HB 380 was HELD in Committee for further consideration. SB 261 "An Act relating to the Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held in Anchorage in the year 2001; establishing a reserve fund for the games; providing certain duties and authority for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority regarding financing for those games; and providing for an effective date." HCS CSSB 261 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, 2/6/98. HCR 9 Proposing amendments to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to committee meetings; and providing for an effective date. CSHCR 9 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the Legislative Affairs Agency. HOUSE BILL NO. 144 "An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation to charge certain fees relating to registration of pesticides and broadcast chemicals; and providing for an effective date." Co-Chair Therriault provided members with a proposed committee substitute, work draft 0-LS0573\L, dated 3/18/98 (copy on file). MIKE TIBBLES, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT observed that the legislation is not intended to be a solution for everyone. It attempts to address some of the serious concerns about how statutes, under AS 44.46, can be interpreted. An attempt was made to include interested parties in the discussions. Concerns by the Department of Environmental Conservation and industry were considered and incorporated into the proposed committee substitute where possible. Changes incorporated by the proposed committee substitute do not modify the intent. The legislation allows the Department of Environmental Conservation enough authority to ensure that users of the system pay for the actual direct costs of services being provided. The legislation has built in safeguards to prevent abuses and ensure that general governmental functions, which benefit the State, are paid for by the state. Inquiries for information and training of DEC staff are two examples where the State benefits and should therefore carry the cost. Mr. Tibbles reviewed the proposed committee substitute: * Section 1 still requires that the Department establish fixed fees for direct costs. A technical change has been made to make this section permissive and relocate all references to restrictions and limitations to another section of the bill. * Section 1(a)(1) gives DEC the authority to charge for other services relating to agriculture, animals, food, drugs, cosmetics, and public accommodations and facilities. Mr. Tibbles noted that Ms. Adair previously testified that the language "other services" was originally attached to these types of functions. By removing this language, the Department of Environmental Conservation's authority to charge for many legitimate direct costs was inadvertently removed. This amendment was added to correct that situation. * Section 1(a)(3) adds authority for the Department of Environmental Conservation to charge for "sanitary surveys, determinations, classifications, and monitoring waivers". * Section 2 (e) contains new language for the negotiated agreements. It requires the Department of Environmental Conservation, at the request of an applicant, to negotiate a fee for service that is based upon the actual hourly wage rate of the employees performing the service. In addition, it may include travel and third party inquiries. Mr. Tibbles observed that this subsection is a result of the realization that there are complex situations where a fixed fee is not appropriate. It is intended to provide the Department with the flexibility to deal with those complex situations while placing restrictions to limit the charge to an appropriate level. * Subsection (f) increases the restricted use pesticide fee from $25 to $30. Mr. Tibbles noted that this change is in response to Ms. Adair's concern that there may not be enough receipts to cover the required state match for the pesticide program. * Subsection (g) adds a new subsection clarifying that the Department of Environmental Conservation may not charge for conferring with or providing information to third parties. ? Subsection (h) permits the Department of Environmental Conservation to charge an hourly rate for the solid waste program and is set out to be repealed in the year 2000 by section 3 of the bill. Mr. Tibbles explained that since the Department is currently charging an hourly fee for the industrial solid waste program, this change would authorize them to continue to do so under the direct cost restrictions. It also gives them time to establish by regulation reasonable fixed fees and to offer negotiated fee arrangements. * Subsection (i) adds a definition of "actual direct costs" to the bill. This subsection is intended to place restrictions on what can and cannot be included as part of the fixed fee. In response to a question by Representative Kelly, Co-Chair Therriault explained that subsection (g) clarifies that if the Department spends time answering questions about an application for a third person, the applicant will not be automatically billed for the Department's time. The Department would be serving the public's interest. Representative Davies asked if third party would exclude consultants, engineers, hydrologists, or attorneys that are representing the permittee. Mr. Tibbles recounted that conversations with the Alaska Legal Services indicated that persons acting as an agent or a legal representative of a permittee would be included as consideration of that permittee or applicant; however, the language could be changed to clarify the intent. STEVE BORELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA MINER'S ASSOCIATION suggested that the proposed committee substitute be amended to included a new section under AS 44.46.025(a)(7). (7) Certification of federal permits or authorizations under 33 U.S.C. 1341 (sec. 401 Clean Water Act) provided there will be only one paid inspection per year for items covered by this subsection; Mr. Borell noted that several miners have expressed concern that if the Department of Environmental Conservation were to charge per inspection, that this could be used by third parties for harassment. The Department of Environmental Conservation follows-up on complaints regarding discharge violations. Without a limitation on the numbers of inspections that could be charged against a miner, opponents of mining could make spurious complaints. Representative Davies acknowledged the intent of proposed subsection (7). He questioned if complaints resulting in violations should result in a charge. Mr. Borell observed that operators do all they can to correct violations. Mr. Borell observed that meetings with the Department of Environmental Conservation indicated that there was a $450 thousand dollar shortfall in the Division of Water's budget that needed to be covered by fees. Industry worked with the Department on the concept of fees. At the last meeting it became clear that the Department was attempting to raise $1.5 million dollars through fees. At that time industry brought the issue to the Legislature to define the relationship between general fund and fees. Mr. Borell referred to language deleted on page 1, line 10, "and other services provided by the department." He maintained that this would have allowed the agency to charge for anything, anytime. JANICE ADAIR, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION commended the work by Mike Tibbles, staff, Representative Therriault. Ms. Adair reviewed remaining areas of concern. 1. Training is limited to permittees and applicants. Ms. Adair observed that most of the training is not for permittees or applicants. Most of the training is for waste water and water system operators or installers. In addition, training of food service employees, pool spa operators and sanitary surveyors would not be covered. 2. Fees are limited to activities surrounding (a)(2), (6) and (7): - certifications; - inspections; - training; - permit preparations and administration; and - plan review and approval. Ms. Adair pointed out that registering pesticides allowed under (a)(8) does not involve any of the above activities. 3. (g) Does not allow the Department to charge a fee for conferring with 3rd parties. Ms. Adair did not interpret the language in subsection (g) in the same manner as Mr. Tibbles. She asked for further clarification that agents of the applicant are not included under (g). She pointed out that statutes require that certain permits be publicly noticed. She observed that these notices have been charged to the applicants. 4. Actual Direct Cost Ms. Adair observed that "actual direct cost" refers to the actual hourly rate of employees directly engaged in providing the service. The Department currently establishes a flat fee for most of their programs. Annual costs of the employees involved in the activity are added. This is divided by the number of works each employee provides per year to determine an hourly rate for each employee. She stated that it would be difficult to determine the actual cost of the employees involved. Employees in the same job class are paid different amounts due to longevity. She observed that the newest employee would be the cheapest. She expressed concern with the exclusion of support staff. She stressed that clerical staff is involved in permit preparations. Flat fees include a factor for clerical services. She observed that seafood inspections include 15 minutes of clerical staff for every hour of technical staff. There is approximately 30 minutes of clerical support for every hour of technical staff for the solid waste program. Ms. Adair noted that some employees included in the flat rate are responsible for supervising other employees. She observed that her involvement is not charged. Ms. Adair maintained that actual direct cost would affect local governmental involvement. She stressed that local governments are waiting for fees to cover the cost of programs. If fees do not cover costs it will be difficult to get local governments to take on certain programs that they could better administer. Ms. Adair noted that federal and state laws require sanitary surveys. There are areas that where private surveys are not available. 5. Employee Training Ms. Adair emphasized that a well-trained employee saves private companies money. Untrained state employees are at a disadvantage when negotiating with well-trained industry representatives. She maintained that the public interest is not served when state employees are not well trained. 6. Ban on Hourly fees Ms. Adair acknowledged that the ban does not apply to the Air Program. She observed that the Solid Waste Program has an hourly fee structure. Other flat rate programs have hourly fees. After hour inspections are offered to meat processing plants for an hourly fee. Hourly inspections are only done at the request of the processor. Applications, which are withdrawn during the review process, are charged an hourly rate for work completed. 7. Low Pesticide Levels Ms. Adair maintained that pesticide levels are too low. She observed that 2,000 to 3,000 pesticides are sold in the state of Alaska. The Department of Environmental Conservation estimated that 95 percent are unrestricted use pesticides. Based on this amount the Department estimates that it will be $15.5 thousand dollars short of what is needed to run the program. She spoke in support of retaining the Department's ability to set registration fees by regulations. Representative Davies questioned if users could initiate hourly fees. Ms. Adair noted that after hour inspections are currently at the request of processors. The Department also initiates hourly fees when applications are withdrawn during the review process. She suggested that hourly fees be excluded for water permits only. In response to a question by Representative Kohring, Ms. Adair explained that the Environmental Protection Agency registers pesticides based on the chemical makeup of the pesticide product. The Department of Environmental Conservation registers pesticides used in the State. The primary reason pesticides are registered is for the issuance of monitoring waivers for drinking water systems. If a pesticide has not been used in the State, public water systems can be issued monitoring water waivers for that pesticide. KEN FREEMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, (RDC) ANCHORAGE spoke in support of HB 28. He thanked the sponsor and staff for their work on HB 28. He observed that RDC supports fixed costs and cooperative funding agreements. He spoke in support of fixed fees. He maintained that standardized fees should be established for the most common permits. He proposed an aggressive general permits program. Mr. Freeman also provided the Committee with further written remarks (Copy on file.) RICK HARRIS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SEALASKA CORPORATION, JUNEAU expressed frustration with various aspects of the permitting system. He expressed concern that the goal of the permitting system is to raise money, not to serve the public. He observed that the permitting agency has a monopoly. He asserted that built in protections should exist. He spoke in support of a general permit for routine classes of activities. He maintained that permittees should be charged for actual direct costs. He stressed that permittees should not be burdened with a lot of indirect or agency overhead costs. Mr. Harris observed that the legislation limits fees to the actual direct costs and allows flexibility. He acknowledged the need for fees, but emphasized the need for protections to keep the system in control. Representative Davies suggested that the clearest way to charge actual direct costs would be through hourly fees. In response to a question by Representative Davies, Mr. Harris emphasized that agencies perform public services. He stressed that agencies should help pay for overhead costs. He proposed that actual employee time spent on a project should be charged to the applicant. Lights, power and other overhead and administrative costs should be paid by the agency. The cost of employees directly engaged in providing the service should be charged. He felt that clerical staff working directly on permits should be included. General support staff in the Department, such as the commissioner's administrative assistant, should not be included. He maintained that broader overall costs are the role of the government. HB 144 was HELD in Committee for further consideration. (Tape Change, HFC 98 -72, Side 2) HOUSE BILL NO. 380 "An Act relating to a temporary reduction of royalty on oil and gas produced for sale from fields within the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin where production is commenced in fields that have been discovered and undeveloped or that have been shut in." REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS, SPONSOR, spoke in support of HB 380. He explained that HB 380 would offer royalty reductions on six oil and gas fields, in Cook Inlet region, that have been shut in for more than twenty years. The fields have been worked on and proven to be uneconomic. He observed that the House Special Committee on Oil and Gas put limits of 35 million barrels of oil or 35 billion cubic feet of gas produced. Tyonek Deep would not be included. He observed that the oil industry in Cook Inlet is declining. There are several oil field service companies that are no longer in operation. Royalty would be reduced from 12.5 percent to 5 percent. He observed that there is no royalty if the oil is not removed. In response to a question by Co-Chair Therriault, Representative Hodgins clarified that the legislation pertains to delineated fields. Pools underlying the fields would not be included. Representative Hodgins noted that Falls Creek, Nicolai Creek, North Fork, Point Starichkof, Redoubt Shoal, and West Foreland fields were specifically identified. Royalty reductions would be included on any "sweet spots" found on the above named fields. He observed that seismic studies do not indicate the existence of sweet spots. KEN BOYD, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF OIL AND GAS, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES spoke against the legislation. He disagreed that the fields are delineated. He maintained that the Point Starichkof field is not delineated. He observed that the fields are recently leased. He maintained that old fields are being developed using new technology. He noted that discovery royalty legislation was confined to the pool of discovery. House Bill 380 would apply to the whole field. He stressed that oil and gas activity will increase due to 3D seismic, other new technologies and recent legislation. He observed that there is more oil and gas activity in Cook Inlet now then during the previous five years. He asserted that the relief is not based on any economic evaluation of need and does not protect the State's upside interest if economic conditions change. Both of these conditions were included in HB 207. He stressed the need for more information. Fields have proven, probable and high side potential. He observed that the potential of the fields is unknown. Representative Kohring spoke in support of the legislation. He maintained that every advantage should be taken to reduce taxes on the industry. Co-Chair Therriault observed that revenues to the state of Alaska from resources and the amount that industry must pay must be balanced. Representative Hodgins clarified that no royalties have been received from the six fields. Mr. Boyd agreed that the fields have not been developed, but emphasized that they have recently been leased. He noted new technology might bring them on line. Representative Davies questioned how the state of Alaska's upside could be protected. Mr. Boyd observed that the actual shape of the field is unknown. He suggested that volume and price structure overtime should be determined. He maintained that once the company recoups its cost to develop the field the State should be able to recapture the money provided at the front end. A combination of value and price is needed. JAMES EASON, FORCENERGY testified in support of the legislation. He referred to a letter to Senator Halford, dated 3/11/98. The letter contained an estimate of reserves. He observed that the fields are not delineated. House Bill 207 requires a set of standards that an applicant must make. The commissioner makes a definitive set of findings based on a standard of delineation, which the fields in HB 380 do not have. Royalty relief is not available to these fields under HB 207, since they are not delineated. Mr. Eason observed that royalty relief would be exchanged for guaranteed development before January 1, 2004. Royalty would only be reduced if development occurs prior to January 1, 2004. He emphasized that the fields have not been developed in 30 years. The state of Alaska would receive 5% instead of 12.5% under the lease. Infrastructure would occur as a result of development. There is no infrastructure in the fields to encourage development. Pipelines and platforms would have to be built. The bill is narrowly crafted to affect defined fields that meet the criteria and are brought under production by 2004. He noted that the primary focus of previous hearings has been the value of the legislation to the leasee and the cost and value to the State. Mr. Eason observed that the accompanying fiscal note assumes that there will be large impacts from the legislation. He pointed out that the fiscal note is based on estimations. He stressed that revenue would be generated on fields that would not otherwise be developed. He questioned why the fiscal note on HB 380 is so different from HB 207. Representative Grussendorf observed that marginal fields are being shut in due to low oil prices. Representative Davies noted that reserves at Redoubt Shoals were estimated at 8.9 million barrels. Mr. Eason clarified that the estimate should be adjusted to 11.0 million barrels of oil. He did not think that there was an oil price based upon the known proven reserves that would make development economic. He did not think that there was an oil price that would justify the development of the field, given the expected cost, based on the reserves that are known to exist, under the current royalty structure, at Redoubt Shoals. Representative Hodgins pointed out that Redoubt Shoals is an offshore field and would need additional infrastructure. Representative Martin stated that the royalty structure should be left alone and the severance tax should be adjusted. Mr. Boyd responded that he supports changing royalty to encourage production when it is supported by analysis. Representative Davies observed that Article VIII, Section 2, Alaska State Constitution requires that the State provide for the utilization and development of all natural resources for the maximum benefit of its people. He asked if the bill provides for the maximum benefit of the people. Mr. Boyd did not think that the bill provides for the maximum benefit of the people. Representative Grussendorf observed that 50% of all royalties on new fields go into the Permanent Fund. Representative Hodgins observed that current royalties on the fields are zero. Representative Kelly questioned if there are other ways of finding out the extent of the reserves, short of development. Representative Hodgins emphasized that the fields are isolated and require infrastructure to be developed. Redoubt Shoals would require an offshore platform and pipeline. A pipeline would also be needed for development of North Fork. It would be uneconomical for a pipeline to go north. The best utilization of North Fork gas would be for use in Homer. In response to a question by Representative Kelly, Representative Hodgins noted that the federal government goes to five percent when they give royalty reductions. Mr. Eason observed that Redoubt Shoals has had 6 wells drilled. He reviewed the drilling history of Redoubt Shoals as contained in his letter to Senator Halford, dated 3/11/98. He pointed out that it is the only field in the State's history where the State told the owners that they had to go into production or lose their leases. The lease was returned to the State and the unit was disbanded. When Forcenergy assumed the interest in those leases it committed to the State, as part of the unit agreement, to conduct a 3D seismic survey and to evaluate all the options available to drill further delineation wells to determine if there are enough reserves to develop the field. Forcenergy agreed to release the lease if they did not proceed. Forcenergy has done the 3D seismic survey and commissioned an independent assessment of options for building a platform. It is impossible to develop a field offshore in conditions at Redoubt Shoals for the amount of reserves. More reserves will have to be identified or the field will not be developed regardless of the passage of HB 380. Representative Hodgins pointed out that the state of Alaska would receive 9 mils in tax platforms or a pipeline built at Redoubt Shoal. He emphasized that jobs would be created in the area. He observed that the legislation would open up possibilities to smaller operators. A two-person operation is interested in developing the North Fork field. He emphasized that the essence of the legislation is to try to put people to work. Representative Davies questioned what is the sensitivity of the development of these fields to price and volume estimates. He asked if the generic form of Mr. Boyd's calculations is the correct exercise for the state of Alaska to go through. Mr. Eason acknowledged that it would be the correct exercise to go through in circumstances where there is a reasonable amount of information to make a legitimate calculation. He stated that he has no objections to the process of HB 207, but emphasized that it is a high standard. He stressed that there are obvious indicators for royalty relief for fields that have been discovered but remain undeveloped after 30 years. He pointed out that there are prospects that are not profitable regardless of price. He observed that Cook Inlet production is declining. He estimated that Cook Inlet is 90 percent depleted of oil. He maintained that the ability to deliver the resource would be absent major new discoveries or development. He noted that it has been almost 30 years since there has been a major oil or gas discovery in Cook Inlet. A point will be reached when the infrastructure cannot be maintained, due to rising cost, to complete the existing reserves efficiently. (Tape Change, HFC 98 -73, Side 1) Mr. Eason stated that the time is right for legislation to see if these fields can be produced for the benefits described. He asserted that a time would come when the opportunity will be lost. Representative Davies stated that there has to be a change in dollar value of the resource that goes beyond the value. Why would the State not want to structure the legislation in the event that the price goes above the threshold value that makes development sensible or the volume estimates go beyond the threshold estimates. The state would then participate in the upside potential. Mr. Eason observed that companies look at expectations. Oil prices, development costs, costs for wells that are not drilled due to mechanical problems, frequency and magnitude of work over wells that are required to replace defective and deteriorating equipment and a host of other factors including needed permits for platforms are included in estimates before making investments. Oil prices, royalties and taxes are all important factors. He cautioned against over engineering one factor as the cut off point. He noted that a decision to produce based on the assumption that the legislation is in place and royalties are 5 percent could influence the assumption or risks about other things in order to proceed. He observed that price spikes could affect more of the business then the price itself. Representative Davies stressed that uncertainties will exist in any calculation. He maintained that sensitivity to royalty reduction is usually small compared to oil price and production volume. He suggested that the royalty reduction could be different for each field. He asserted that more information could be obtained in a confidential manner. Representative Mulder observed that the Division has implied that the legislation is premature and not necessary. He asked if Forcenergy worked with the Division to justify the need for the legislation. Mr. Eason observed that Forcenergy has not approached the Department to talk about royalty relief under HB 207 because the fields are not delineated. He discussed the terms of the legislation with the Department. He explained that the commissioner makes a determination, on undeveloped fields that have not produced, based on upon a showing of delineation that have not. The only recourse is to ask the legislature for relief. HB 380 was HELD in Committee for further consideration. SENATE BILL NO. 261 "An Act relating to the Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held in Anchorage in the year 2001; establishing a reserve fund for the games; providing certain duties and authority for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority regarding financing for those games; and providing for an effective date." Co-Chair Therriault noted that the Committee adopted a conceptual amendment on 3/19/98 that was incorporated into work draft 0-LS1354\F, dated 3/19/98. The amendment was incorporated on page 3, lines 8 - 10 and page 4, lines 1 - 3, and 5 - 6. The amendment clarifies that the State's obligation is on an accumulative total of $4 million dollars of the cost limitation of $8 million dollars as referenced in the Special Olympics International Charter. Representative Mulder MOVED to ADOPT work draft 0-LS1354\F, dated 3/19/98. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Co-Chair Therriault stated that he would have been more comfortable if specific language could have been added to guarantee the first $4 million dollars of hard dollars raised and extended. Representative Martin noted that the intent is well expressed. Representative Mulder disclosed that he is on the Board of Governor's of the Special Olympics. Representative Kohring asked what is being done to raise money in the private sector. MARY GORE, STAFF, SENATOR MILLER discussed fund raising events. She observed that the fund raising position does not begin until July 1, 1998. She explained that Special Olympics International required the guarantee. She stated that she is confident that the money can be raised by the private sector. Representative Kohring stated that he supports the event, but expressed concern regarding governmental involvement. Ms. Gore noted that the legislature would only have a moral obligation because future legislatures cannot be committed. The money would have to be requested and appropriated in the year 2001. She noted that the state of Connecticut guaranteed funding for the games through an agency similar to AIDEA. The Province of Ontario guaranteed the Toronto games. Representative Foster MOVED to report CSHB 261 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. HCS CSSB 261 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, 2/6/98. HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 9 Proposing amendments to the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature relating to committee meetings; and providing for an effective date. Co-Chair Therriault provided members with a proposed committee substitute for HCR 9, work draft 0-LS0579\B, dated 3/18/98 (copy on file). JANICE SEITZ, STAFF, ROKEBERG spoke in support of the proposed committee substitute. She explained that the proposed committee substitute would allow a member who is not physically present at a committee meeting to participate and vote via teleconference. The chair of the committee would sign for the person participating via teleconference. Co-Chair Therriault recounted that he participated in a teleconferenced committee meeting from Fairbanks. He was able to vote on amendments but could not sign the committee report. In response to a question by Representative Mulder, Co-Chair Therriault expressed concern with interim committee meetings. He noted that a number of legislators have jobs that monopolize a portion of their time. He stressed that legislation could move through the process when legislators are not present to participate. Representative Grussendorf observed that it would be more difficult for the public to be involved in interim meetings. Representative Davies agreed with comments regarding the ability of legislators and the public to participate during interim meetings. Representative Mulder maintained that concern for public input and participation could be addressed by moving the legislative session to Anchorage. Representative Foster MOVED to ADOPT work draft 0-LS0579\B, dated 3/18/98. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Foster MOVED to report CSHCR 9 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHCR 9 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the Legislative Affairs Agency. ADJOURNMENT The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m. House Finance Committee 8 3/20/98 p.m.