Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/04/2001 01:52 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 04, 2001                                                                                           
                          1:52 PM                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 01 - 72, Side A                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 1:52 PM.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Con Bunde, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative John Davies                                                                                                      
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Donald  Olson;  Mary Jackson,  Staff,  Senator  John                                                                   
Torgerson;   Catherine   Reardon,   Director,   Division   of                                                                   
Occupational Licensing, Department  of Community and Economic                                                                   
Development; Gerald Luckhaupt,  Attorney, Legislative Legal &                                                                   
Research  Services; Dean  Guaneli,  Chief Assistant  Attorney                                                                   
General,   Department   of   Law;   Roger   Wortman,   Staff,                                                                   
Representative Pete Kott.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Lt. Steve Dunnagan, Anchorage; Fred Esposito, Seward.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 102    An   Act  relating  to   the  theft  of   propelled                                                                   
          vehicles.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          HB  102 was reported  out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
          pass" recommendation  and with fiscal  notes by the                                                                   
          Alaska  Court System  dated 2/23/01 and  Department                                                                   
          of Corrections dated 2/23/01.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 58     An Act relating to the membership and quorum                                                                          
          requirements of the State Medical Board.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          SB  58 was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
          pass"  recommendation  and with  a  fiscal note  by                                                                   
          Department  of  Community  &  Economic  Development                                                                   
          dated 2/07/01.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 137(FIN) An  Act relating  to the  allocation of  money                                                                   
          appropriated to the Alaska Human Resource                                                                             
          Investment Council; and providing for an effective                                                                    
          date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          CSSB 137 (FIN) was HEARD and HELD in Committee for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 58                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the membership and quorum                                                                               
     requirements of the State Medical Board.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DONALD  OLSON  explained  that  SB 58  would  add  a                                                                   
physician  assistant to  the membership  of the Alaska  State                                                                   
Medical Board.  As a consequence,  the quorum requirement for                                                                   
meetings would  also be adjusted.   Under current  law, there                                                                   
are  seven  members on  the  Medical  Board.   However,  only                                                                   
physicians and  public members  with no financial  connection                                                                   
to the health care industry may serve.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson commented that it  is important for the work of                                                                   
the board that  a physician assistant be added.   Having such                                                                   
representation   would  facilitate   the  deliberations   and                                                                   
broaden  the experience  of the  board.   He  stated that  it                                                                   
would increase  the board's effectiveness in  maintaining the                                                                   
quality of health care services and issues in Alaska.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde  voiced  concern  that  by  adding  another                                                                   
member  would  create an  even  number membership.    Senator                                                                   
Olson  explained  that  often  times  all  attendees  of  the                                                                   
Medical Board  are not present,  thus making the vote  an odd                                                                   
number.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde  referenced nurse  practioners and  asked if                                                                   
they  would  have   a  role  in  the   proposed  legislation.                                                                   
Senator  Olson  explained that  they  were listed  under  the                                                                   
Alaska State Nursing  Board.  He acknowledged  that there has                                                                   
been  a recommendation  that  they  be  on the  Alaska  State                                                                   
Medical Board, hoping that it would streamline some issues.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harris  inquired how the Board  would handle a                                                                   
four-four  split.  Senator  Olson advised  that rarely  has a                                                                   
polarization occurred  on the Board.  He reiterated  that the                                                                   
chances were rare.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative    Harris    questioned    the    geographical                                                                   
representation  of  the  Board.   Senator  Olson  noted  that                                                                   
during  the time  he was  on the  board, there  was only  one                                                                   
doctor  from Bush  Alaska.   He  noted  that  there are  five                                                                   
hospitals  in those areas.   Most  commonly, the majority  of                                                                   
the physicians come from the Anchorage area.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CATHERINE   REARDON,  DIRECTOR,   DIVISION  OF   OCCUPATIONAL                                                                   
LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,                                                                   
testified  that  the  Alaska  State  Medical  Board  and  the                                                                   
Department  does  support  the  proposed  legislation.    She                                                                   
stated  that  the Department  does  not  object to  the  even                                                                   
number of physicians on the Board.   She pointed out that the                                                                   
membership  of the Legislature  consists  of an even  number.                                                                   
Additionally, there is another  board that has an even number                                                                   
and that they have had no problems.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  report SB 58 out of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB  58  was  reported  out of  Committee  with  a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and  with  a fiscal  note  by  Department  of                                                                   
Community & Economic Development dated 2/07/01.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
#HB102                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
    An Act relating to the theft of propelled vehicles.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ROGER WORTMAN,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  PETE KOTT,  noted that                                                                   
the legislation  focuses on  the crime  of vehicle  theft and                                                                   
equal  penalties  associated  with the  taking  of  propelled                                                                   
vehicles without the owners' permission.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wortman added that HB 102  would provide a new element in                                                                   
the commission  of taking  the propelled  vehicle of  another                                                                   
when the owner  is deprived of  the use of the vehicle  for a                                                                   
specific period  of time and incurs  expenses as a  result of                                                                   
the loss of  use of that vehicle.   The bill would  amend the                                                                   
definition  for  "all  terrain  vehicles"  as  well  as,  the                                                                   
definition for "watercraft".                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  asked  why the  definition  of  "water                                                                   
craft"  in  Section  3  had  been   narrowed.    Mr.  Wortman                                                                   
explained that  as it  stands now, "water  craft" could  be a                                                                   
Class C  felony; "Jet  Ski" has  been placed under  propelled                                                                   
vehicles and it would not constitute an immediate crime.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft referenced Section  1, which  added the                                                                   
"seven days or  more" concept.  Mr. Wortman  stated the House                                                                   
Judiciary Committee  had determined  that amount; it  was not                                                                   
in the  original bill.   He  noted that  Mr. Luckhaupt  could                                                                   
answer  any  legal  questions   pertaining  to  the  bill  or                                                                   
statutes involved.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Wortman explained  that if  an  owner of  a vehicle  was                                                                   
deprived from  using the  vehicle for any  period of  time, a                                                                   
dollar  amount  was  inserted  into  the  bill,  which  would                                                                   
reimburse that individual.  The  drafter chose the seven days                                                                   
or more  as an  arbitrary figure  for determining the  rental                                                                   
fee.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  inquired the current caliber  that this                                                                   
crime  was rated at.   Mr.  Wortman explained  that it  would                                                                   
raise  the  theft   of  a  snow  machine  from   the  current                                                                   
misdemeanor, and lower the Jet  Ski theft from a felony down.                                                                   
It  would remove  the  "Jet Ski"  out  of the  definition  of                                                                   
watercraft and place  it under propelled vehicles.   He noted                                                                   
that at this time, the theft of  a Jet Ski is recognized as a                                                                   
Class C felony.   In Section 1,  the theft of a  vehicle must                                                                   
meet criteria of worth $1,000 dollars or more.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harris asked if  an owner were deprived of use                                                                   
of  the vehicle  for less  than  seven days,  what would  the                                                                   
repercussions be.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
GERALD  LUCKHAUPT,  ATTORNEY,  LEGISLATIVE LEGAL  &  RESEARCH                                                                   
SERVICES, advised  that if a person is deprived  from the use                                                                   
of  the vehicle  for  less than  seven days,  it  would be  a                                                                   
violation  of a  Class A  misdemeanor, vehicle  theft in  the                                                                   
second degree.  The judgment associated  with that could be a                                                                   
maximum of  1 year in  jail and with  a fine imposed  between                                                                   
$1,000 and $5,000 dollars.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies inquired  penalties  associated for  a                                                                   
Class C felony.   Mr. Luckhaupt stated that  penalty would be                                                                   
up  to five  years in  jail and  with  a fine  up to  $50,000                                                                   
dollars maximum.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies  ascertained that  the  five years  in                                                                   
jail with a  maximum fine of $50,000 dollars  was extreme for                                                                   
stealing a  Jet Ski for seven  days.  He asked  Mr. Luckhaupt                                                                   
if the characterization  would "balance out"  the misdemeanor                                                                   
and  felony  statutes.     Mr.  Luckhaupt  replied  that  the                                                                   
severity  of  the  recourse  depends   on  the  "eye  of  the                                                                   
beholder".  He commented that  if he were a Jet Ski owner, he                                                                   
would be upset  that the abuse was dropped  from an automatic                                                                   
felony.   The bill is  dropping Jet Skis  down and  would add                                                                   
another way  for all propelled vehicles  to be moved  up to a                                                                   
felony.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies  asked if  it  was possible  that  the                                                                   
owner could  be deprived  of use of  the vehicle  because the                                                                   
Court impounded  it for  other uses.   Mr. Luckhaupt  advised                                                                   
that  if the  vehicle had  been abandoned  outside the  owned                                                                   
area,  while it was  not available  to the  owner, the  owner                                                                   
would still be deprived of its use.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies countered  that with  a scenario  that                                                                   
the police  kept the  vehicle  and the vehicle  could not  be                                                                   
used.  Mr. Luckhaupt noted that  provisions had been added in                                                                   
the past couple  years that would address search  and warrant                                                                   
of properties.   He  advised that the  police no  longer kept                                                                   
cars that were stolen from the  owner for evidence during the                                                                   
trial.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  J.  Davies asked  if  the same  action  would                                                                   
happen  with snow  machines  and other  such  vehicles.   Mr.                                                                   
Luckhaupt replied  that he did not know why  the police would                                                                   
hold on to a snow machine, unless  they planned to use it for                                                                   
evidence.   However, if any  other major offense  occurs with                                                                   
the  snow machine,  then the  police would  have recourse  to                                                                   
hold on to that vehicle.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Mulder  MOVED  to report  CS HB  102  (JUD) out  of                                                                   
 Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                                                                   
 accompanying fiscal  notes.   There being  NO OBJECTION,  it                                                                   
 was so ordered.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 CS HB 102  (JUD) was  reported out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
 pass" recommendation  and with  fiscal notes  by the  Alaska                                                                   
 Court  System   dated   2/23/01   and  the   Department   of                                                                   
 Corrections dated 2/23/01.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 137(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the allocation of money appropriated                                                                    
     to the Alaska Human Resource Investment Council; and                                                                       
     providing for an effective date.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARY JACKSON,  STAFF, SENATOR  JOHN TORGERSON, noted  that SB
137 would  extend the first  year allocation provisions  of a                                                                   
new  program  enacted in  the  21st  Legislature via  SB  289                                                                   
(Chapter 132 SLA 00).                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Jackson  added that  because the  program established  in                                                                   
2000 was  new and time  consuming development  of regulations                                                                   
regarding its administration were  necessary, funds collected                                                                   
the first year of the program  were directly allocated to the                                                                   
University  of Alaska,  the Alaska  Vocational and  Technical                                                                   
Center,  and  the  Kotzebue Technical  Center.    The  public                                                                   
funded   institutions   provide  technical   and   vocational                                                                   
programs for Alaskans in urban  and rural areas.  A review of                                                                   
the  uses   of  the   first  year   funds  by  these   public                                                                   
institutions clearly shows how necessary those funds are.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Jackson  stated that after  a review of the  expenditures                                                                   
from the first year's collection,  SB 137 extends the date of                                                                   
direct allocation  to the named  public institutions  for two                                                                   
more years.  The  purpose of the extension is  to allow those                                                                   
institutions to properly prepare  their respective facilities                                                                   
for the influx of new students into the system.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde noted that half  of the money would be going                                                                   
to the  University and he  asked if  it would be  included in                                                                   
their  operating budget  request  of $18.4  million  dollars.                                                                   
Ms.  Jackson replied  that all  the funds  would be  "meshed"                                                                   
together and  would be  counted as  part of the  University's                                                                   
request.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  asked how much the  University received                                                                   
in  the Alaska  Human  Resources Investment  Council  (AHRIC)                                                                   
grants per year.   Ms. Jackson noted that the  University has                                                                   
never  received   money  from   that  grant  program.     The                                                                   
University has  received some  money from the  State Training                                                                   
Employment  Program (STEP) program.   She  noted that  it was                                                                   
intended that  accredited institutions would  receive funding                                                                   
from that program.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft asked  if this  was "new  money".   Ms.                                                                   
Jackson acknowledged that it was.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harris noted for  the record that last year he                                                                   
initially opposed  similar legislation,  however, in  the end                                                                   
he  did  support   it  if  the  University   was  willing  to                                                                   
distribute  the money  to a  number of  institutions that  do                                                                   
vocational educational training.   He pointed out that one of                                                                   
the  institutions in  his district  had not  received any  of                                                                   
those funds for services.  He  reiterated that he did support                                                                   
the effort to put money toward vocational education.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams  stated  that  SB  137 would  be  HELD  in                                                                   
Committee for further consideration.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
#                                                                                                                             
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:35 P.M.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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