Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/15/2003 08:39 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 15, 2003                                                                                            
                         8:39 A.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 03 - 95, Side A                                                                                                        
TAPE HFC 03 - 95, Side B                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 8:39 A.M.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Harris, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                                  
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                     
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft                                                                                                            
Representative Joule                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Tom  Anderson;   Deborah  Grundman,   Staff,                                                                   
Senator  Ben   Stevens;  Deborah  Behr,   Assistant  Attorney                                                                   
General, Legislation  and Regulations Section,  Department of                                                                   
Law;  Greg O'Claray,  Commissioner, Department  of Labor  and                                                                   
Workforce  Development;  John   Brown,  President,  Fairbanks                                                                   
Central Labor Council, Fairbanks;  Don Etheridge, Alaska AFL-                                                                   
CIO, Juneau;  Jeff Acherman, Operating Engineers  & Anchorage                                                                   
Central Council,  Anchorage; Pam  LaBolle, President,  Alaska                                                                   
State  Chamber of  Commerce, Juneau;  Barbara Huff  Tuckness,                                                                   
Director  of  Legislative  and  Government  Affairs,  General                                                                   
Teamsters,  Local   959,  Anchorage;  Landa   Baily,  Special                                                                   
Assistant,  Department  of Revenue;  John  MacKinnon,  Deputy                                                                   
Commissioner,   Department   of   Transportation   &   Public                                                                   
Facilities                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Royce  Rock, Carpenters  Union,  Anchorage;  Rich La  Henach,                                                                   
Association   of   General   Contractors,   Anchorage;   Dick                                                                   
Cattanaugh,    Executive   Director,    Associated    General                                                                   
Contractors, Anchorage; Craig Tillery, Assistant Attorney                                                                       
General, Department of Law                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 244    An Act relating to the Code of Criminal Procedure;                                                                    
          relating  to  defenses, affirmative  defenses,  and                                                                   
          justifications  to certain criminal  acts; relating                                                                   
          to  rights of prisoners  after arrest;  relating to                                                                   
          discovery,  immunity  from prosecution,  notice  of                                                                   
          defenses,  admissibility of  certain evidence,  and                                                                   
          right  to representation  in criminal  proceedings;                                                                   
          relating    to    sentencing,     probation,    and                                                                   
          discretionary  parole;  amending  Rule  16,  Alaska                                                                   
          Rules  of Criminal Procedure,  and Rules  404, 412,                                                                   
          609,  and  803,  Alaska   Rules  of  Evidence;  and                                                                   
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 244 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with                                                                    
          "individual  recommendations" and with  zero fiscal                                                                   
          note #1  by the Department  of Law, fiscal  note #2                                                                   
          by  the Department of  Corrections and  fiscal note                                                                   
          #3 by the Department of Administration.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HB 295    An Act relating to the publishing and furnishing                                                                      
          of certain public notices  regarding regulations or                                                                   
          rules  of  certain   state  agencies;  relating  to                                                                   
          distribution  of  the Alaska  Administrative  Code,                                                                   
          Alaska Administrative  Register, and supplements to                                                                   
          the  code   or  register;  and  providing   for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 295 (STA) was  reported out of Committee with                                                                   
          "individual      recommendations"     and      with                                                                   
          indeterminate  note #1 by the Office  of Management                                                                   
          and Budget  (OMB) and fiscal note #2  by the Office                                                                   
          of Management and Budget.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 305    An Act relating to the calculation and payment of                                                                     
          unemployment  compensation benefits;  and providing                                                                   
          for an effective date.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          HB 305 was reported out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation  and with zero note  #1 by the                                                                   
          Department of Labor & Workforce Development.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 106(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An  Act relating  to  tires; and  providing for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HCS CS  SB 106 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee                                                                   
          with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and with  fiscal                                                                   
          note #2 by the Department of Revenue.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SB 177    An  Act  relating to  cost-of-living  benefits  for                                                                   
          retired   members    in   the   public   employees'                                                                   
          retirement  system  and  the  teachers'  retirement                                                                   
          system who are called  to active military duty; and                                                                   
          providing for an effective date.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
          SB 177 was reported out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation and with zero note #1 by the                                                                     
          Department of Administration.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 177                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     An Act  relating to cost-of-living benefits  for retired                                                                   
     members in  the public employees' retirement  system and                                                                   
     the  teachers'  retirement  system  who  are  called  to                                                                   
     active  military duty;  and providing  for an  effective                                                                   
     date.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH GRUNDMAN, STAFF, SENATOR  BEN STEVENS, stated that an                                                                   
Alaska Cost-of-Living Allowance  (COLA) is payable to benefit                                                                   
recipients  of the  public  employees'  (PERS) and  teachers'                                                                   
retirement  system  (TERS)  who remain  domiciled  in  Alaska                                                                   
after  retirement.   The allowance  amounts to  10% of  their                                                                   
base pay.  A  person receiving a COLA is not  entitled to the                                                                   
allowance if absent from the State  for a period in excess of                                                                   
90 days,  except that a person  may be absent from  State for                                                                   
not more  than six  months if  the absence  is the  result of                                                                   
illness and required by order of a licensed physician.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Grundman  added  that  upon  return  to  the  State  and                                                                   
notification to the Department  of Administration, the person                                                                   
would  be  entitled to  receive  the  monthly  cost-of-living                                                                   
allowance,   commencing  with   the  first  monthly   benefit                                                                   
payment.  Retired  public employees currently  receiving COLA                                                                   
in  the State  and  who  are called  to  active  duty in  the                                                                   
military would  not be  eligible for  the COLA payment  while                                                                   
serving  under  existing  statute.    SB  177  rectifies  the                                                                   
situation and allows the retired  employees to be eligible to                                                                   
continue receiving their COLA  while on active military duty.                                                                   
She  noted  that  the  legislation  would  affect  about  ten                                                                   
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris asked  why this issue had not  been discussed                                                                   
before.  Ms.  Grundman replied that a situation  had not come                                                                   
up before in which  there is a PERS or TERS  member called up                                                                   
for active duty.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster   MOVED  to  report  SB   177  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB  177  was reported  out  of  Committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with zero  note #1  by the Department  of                                                                   
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 305                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to the calculation and payment of                                                                          
     unemployment compensation benefits; and providing for                                                                      
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TOM  ANDERSON  explained  that HB  305  would                                                                 
provide  for   an  8.2%  increase   to  the  maximum   weekly                                                                   
unemployment benefit amount.   The increase, phased in over a                                                                   
three-year  period,   minimizes  the  impact   to  employers,                                                                   
employees, and  the Unemployment  Insurance (UI)  Trust Fund.                                                                   
                           th                                                                                                   
Alaska  currently ranks  47   in the  nation  with a  maximum                                                                   
weekly  benefit of  $248 dollars.   Alaska  would rank  at an                                                                   
            th                                                                                                                  
estimated 28  in  the nation when the maximum  weekly benefit                                                                   
is increased  to $308 in 2006.   The fully  increased maximum                                                                   
benefit  amount  would  be  available  to  claimants  earning                                                                   
$34,250 or more per year.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Anderson  pointed out that the  full impact of                                                                   
the increase in  benefit costs would not be  reflected in the                                                                   
employer tax  rates until 2010.   When the cumulative  impact                                                                   
of the  increased benefit costs  is included in the  tax rate                                                                   
calculation  by 2010,  the average  employer  tax rate  would                                                                   
increase by  0.17% and  the average  employee tax rate  would                                                                   
only increase by 0.04%.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Alaska's  unemployment  benefits  assist  Alaskans  who  find                                                                   
themselves  temporarily  without  work.    The  benefits  are                                                                   
distributed  back  into  the local  economy,  which  in  turn                                                                   
maintains economic  stability for communities,  business, and                                                                   
workers.   HB  305  will enable  Alaskan  workers to  weather                                                                   
periods of economic  downturn and alleviates  skill shortages                                                                   
by keeping trained workers in State.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GREG  O'CLARAY,   COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR   AND                                                                   
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT,  spoke to  the legislation.   He noted                                                                   
that the bill  before the Committee was identical  to the one                                                                   
that overwhelmingly  passed  the House  two years ago  except                                                                   
for the  effective date.  The  last increase had been  cut in                                                                   
half.   The  Governor requested  a compromise.   The  handout                                                                   
outlines  the amount of  dollars that  would potentially  re-                                                                   
enter the economy from the unemployment program.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He referenced  the handout.   (Copy  on File).   Unemployment                                                                   
payments  total $40  million dollars  per year  for only  the                                                                   
Anchorage municipality; in Mat-Su  Borough that number totals                                                                   
nearly $50 million  dollars.  He pointed out  that nearly $28                                                                   
million  dollars goes  out  of  State.   Much  of that  money                                                                   
results from  skilled workers  who cannot  afford to  stay in                                                                   
Alaska  because  of high  costs.    One of  the  Department's                                                                   
directives from  the Governor was  to focus on  creating good                                                                   
jobs with good  pay for the Alaskan workforce.   Commissioner                                                                   
O'Claray advised  that over the  next five years, 30%  of the                                                                   
skilled workforce  would be  retiring.   The new Division  of                                                                   
Business  Partnerships  was  created   to  help  address  the                                                                   
concerns for training workers in Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 350  was crafted by a  coalition of labor  and management.                                                                   
He pointed out that two sectors  choose not to attend because                                                                   
of conflict.   Those  are the  parties that  are holding  the                                                                   
legislation  up in  the "other  body".  The  bill proposes  a                                                                   
                                                         th                                                                     
modest increase.  The State of  Alaska currently ranks 47  of                                                                   
the 50 states in  the amount paying toward UI  benefits.  The                                                                   
proposed amounts  do not include  a "dependant  allowance" of                                                                   
$24 dollars per dependant with  a maximum of 3.  Commissioner                                                                   
O'Claray emphasized  that the  proposed legislation  was part                                                                   
of the economic plan to retain skilled workers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris  noted that he  supports the bill.   He asked                                                                   
for a breakdown  of who pays for the benefits.   Commissioner                                                                   
O'Claray explained  that the employer  pays 80% of  the costs                                                                   
while  the employees  contribute  20%.   The  first  increase                                                                   
would not  take affect  until 2005;  the maximum an  employer                                                                   
pays with  the increase  would be about  $5 dollars  per year                                                                   
per employee.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris  pointed  out  that  the  sponsor  statement                                                                   
indicates that  Alaska ranks 47th  in the nation in  the rate                                                                   
paid  for UI  benefits and  that  with passage  of the  bill,                                                                   
                            th                                                                                                  
Alaska could rank  around 27.   The estimated  cost-of-living                                                                   
differential in the State of Alaska  ranges around 22.5%.  He                                                                   
admitted that  there is speculation  regarding the  number as                                                                   
it differs throughout the country.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  BROWN,  PRESIDENT,  FAIRBANKS  CENTRAL  LABOR  COUNCIL,                                                                   
FAIRBANKS, testified  that the  Labor Council is  in "strong"                                                                   
support of HB 305.   He noted that it is important  to have a                                                                   
viable unemployment system to  help retain qualified workers.                                                                   
It  is very  important  to  have  people trained  in  running                                                                   
equipment.  Without a viable UI  system, the State will loose                                                                   
qualified workers.  Mr. Brown  urged passage of the bill from                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DON ETHERIDGE, ALASKA AFL-CIO,  JUNEAU, voiced strong support                                                                   
for  the  proposed  legislation.    He  reiterated  that  all                                                                   
interested parties  had an opportunity  to come to  the table                                                                   
to work out concerns.  Everyone  that participated reached an                                                                   
agreement.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris asked when the  last unemployment benefit had                                                                   
been raised.  Mr.  Etheridge thought that it was  five or six                                                                   
years ago.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze  asked   who  had  not  come  to  the                                                                   
negotiating  table. Mr.  Etheridge  replied  that the  Alaska                                                                   
State Chamber did not participate.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JEFF  ACHERMAN,  OPERATING  ENGINEERS   &  ANCHORAGE  CENTRAL                                                                   
COUNCIL, ANCHORAGE,  testified that  they do support  passage                                                                   
of the bill.  Construction work  is seasonal employment.  The                                                                   
legislation will  help people throughout the  State that work                                                                   
in construction, fishing and tourism  industry by providing a                                                                   
much-needed increase.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PAM  LABOLLE, PRESIDENT,  ALASKA STATE  CHAMBER OF  COMMERCE,                                                                   
JUNEAU, clarified  that the State  Chamber had  not boycotted                                                                   
the meetings.  The meetings were  scheduled at the same times                                                                   
that  the House  Judiciary  and Senate  Judiciary  committees                                                                   
met.   Ms. LaBolle indicated  that the Chamber  would support                                                                   
an  increase;   however,  on  the  third  step,   they  would                                                                   
recommend that it only be increased ½ way.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. LaBolle identified  the increase costs to  the employers.                                                                   
At the  current tax  rate, the  increase would  be 8%,  which                                                                   
would  be $44  dollars  per employee  by  the  time the  full                                                                   
increase was  in effect.  She  understood that the  State was                                                                   
self insured  for unemployment  insurance costs.   The Alaska                                                                   
Railroad has indicated that the  proposed increase would cost                                                                   
them around $550 thousand dollars.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. LaBolle spoke to the dependent  benefit amount.  The goal                                                                   
of  the UI  program nationally  is that  50% of  the wage  be                                                                   
replaced  by the  benefit amount.   With  the benefit  amount                                                                   
included for  three dependents, Alaska  would be at  the $320                                                                   
per week amount.  With the increase,  Alaska will rank in the                                                                   
top 25%.  She pointed out that  44% of the dependents claimed                                                                   
received benefits this  past year.  Alaska is one  of only 12                                                                   
states that  offer dependant coverage.   She stated  that the                                                                   
lower amount  would be  adequate since Alaska  is one  of the                                                                   
easiest State's to  get UI benefits from, which  differs from                                                                   
other  State's I  which  claimants must  show  that they  are                                                                   
actively seeking employment.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. LaBolle stated that the State  Chamber would support some                                                                   
increase,  however, the  proposed amount  places a burden  on                                                                   
the employer.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Berkowitz pointed out  that at one  time, the                                                                   
Chamber supported  the $320 maximum.   Ms. LaBolle  explained                                                                   
that was the  amount proposed last year and  that the Chamber                                                                   
did  not support  it, but  instead would  have supported  the                                                                   
first step around $273 dollars.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Berkowitz  questioned  why  no one  from  the                                                                   
Chamber  had participated  in any  of the  discussions.   Ms.                                                                   
LaBolle reiterated  that she was  the only staff  person that                                                                   
the State Chamber has that could  address this type of issue.                                                                   
A  new  employee  was  hired   at  the  end  of  session  for                                                                   
specifically attending these types  of activities.  The State                                                                   
Chamber has a small staff.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze  questioned   which  issue  was  more                                                                   
important  to the  State Chamber,  the  Consumer Price  Index                                                                   
(CPI)  increase or  HB 305.    Ms. LaBolle  listed issues  of                                                                   
importance:   the  UI   increase,   the  CPI   and  HB   255.                                                                   
Representative  Stoltze  asked if  there  were concerns  that                                                                   
would affect  the membership more  drastically.   Ms. LaBolle                                                                   
responded that the impact for  the proposed increase would be                                                                   
felt within 2 to 6 years; the  more immediate impact would be                                                                   
the CPI.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris  inquired  when  the CPI  index  would  take                                                                   
                                                   st                                                                           
effect. Commissioner O'Claray replied on January 1, 2004.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  asked what the State  Chamber believes                                                                   
the appropriate  increment  should be.   Ms. LaBolle  advised                                                                   
that last  year, they had agreed  to go ½ through  the second                                                                   
step.  The proposed  bill would take the State  ½ through the                                                                   
 rd                                                                                                                             
3  step.   Ms. LaBolle  added that there  has been  no fiscal                                                                   
note prepared to indicate the impact on the State.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker acknowledged  that the level  proposed                                                                   
by the  State Chamber  was substantially  less than  proposed                                                                   
through the  legislation.  He  noted his concern that  if the                                                                   
Chamber had  felt so strongly  on the issue, why  hadn't they                                                                   
rearranged their  priority schedule to be able  to attend the                                                                   
meetings.  Ms. LaBolle explained  that only three people from                                                                   
management  had been  invited  to participate.   Those  areas                                                                   
were construction,  tourism services  and the State  Chamber.                                                                   
The first two have the greatest  turnover in employment.  She                                                                   
did not  know the  ultimate plan  and noted  that she  had no                                                                   
input for scheduling the meetings.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA   HUFF   TUCKNESS,  DIRECTOR   OF   LEGISLATIVE   AND                                                                   
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, GENERAL TEAMSTERS,  LOCAL 959, ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
advised that she had been present  for the discussions on the                                                                   
bill.   The  meetings attempted  to attain  a compromise  for                                                                   
unemployed  workers.   She pointed  out that  the bill  was a                                                                   
compromise.   It has received  full support from  the general                                                                   
teamsters.   She added that she  had participated in  some of                                                                   
the  meetings   via  teleconference.     Ms.  Huff   Tuckness                                                                   
acknowledged that everyone was  busy at that time of year but                                                                   
realized that  the message from  the Department of  Labor was                                                                   
one of compromise.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The unemployment insurance program  offers an economic buffer                                                                   
against the  ripple effect of  unemployment.  In  Alaska, the                                                                   
maximum  weekly benefits  have  increased four  times in  the                                                                   
last  20 years.    The  last increase  was  in  1997 and  the                                                                   
payments  are  made  to eligible  participants.    There  are                                                                   
specific  eligibility  requirements   that  must  be  met  to                                                                   
qualify for  the benefits.   The benefit  is not  intended to                                                                   
replace the wage  but does act as a partial  benefit intended                                                                   
to cover shelter,  food and clothing for those  workers.  She                                                                   
addressed the economic benefits to the State.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze  asked if the Alaska UI  program had a                                                                   
requirement  to show that  people were  actively looking  for                                                                   
work.    Ms.  Huff Tuckness  understood  that  there  was  an                                                                   
eligibility requirement  both by the State and  federal.  She                                                                   
deferred the question to the Department  of Labor & Workforce                                                                   
Development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROYCE  ROCK,   (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   CARPENTERS                                                                   
UNION, ANCHORAGE,  spoke in support of the bill.   He advised                                                                   
that Alaska is  one of the few states in which  the employees                                                                   
pay a part of their UI benefit.   He urged that the bill pass                                                                   
from Committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DICK CATTANAUGH,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  EXECTUTIVE                                                                   
DIRECTOR,  ASSOCIATION  OF  GENERAL  CONTRACTORS,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
noted that  he was part of  the committee that worked  on the                                                                   
legislation  and that the  process had been  fair.   The cost                                                                   
will amount to  about a 1% increase per year.   He encouraged                                                                   
the Committee to support the bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Meyer  noted that he  did support the  UI program,                                                                   
however,  voiced concern  with  the combination  to  increase                                                                   
minimum wage,  a potential sales  tax, alcohol  tax, increase                                                                   
to  business  license  fees  and  with  this  legislation  an                                                                   
increase  to the  unemployment  compensation.   He warned  it                                                                   
could  create  an unbalanced  situation,  shifting  too  much                                                                   
economic burden to the small business.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner  O'Claray  advised  that it  is  the  Governor's                                                                   
intent to  grow the  State's economy  by producing  good jobs                                                                   
with good  pay.  HB  305 does not  register much  to employer                                                                   
costs.   The first increment of  cost on average would  be $5                                                                   
dollars per employee per year.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Meyer MOVED  to report  HB 305  out of  Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB  305  was reported  out  of  Committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation and  with zero note #1 by Department  of Labor                                                                   
& Workforce Development.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 03 - 95, Side B                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 295                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act relating  to the  publishing  and furnishing  of                                                                   
     certain  public notices regarding  regulations  or rules                                                                   
     of certain  state agencies; relating to  distribution of                                                                   
     the  Alaska Administrative  Code, Alaska  Administrative                                                                   
     Register, and  supplements to the code or  register; and                                                                   
     providing for an effective date.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  BEHR, ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGISLATION  AND                                                                   
REGULATIONS SECTION, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW, noted that Assistant                                                                   
Attorney  General  Tillery  from  Anchorage was  on  line  to                                                                   
address the Committee's technical questions.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Behr explained  that  the  legislation would  deal  with                                                                   
legal notices for regulations  that appear in newspapers.  It                                                                   
would change  the legal adds  for adopting regulations.   The                                                                   
goal of the legislation would  allow the State to move toward                                                                   
an abbreviated  notice with  more user-friendly  information.                                                                   
The legal notice  in the paper would refer  to on-line public                                                                   
notice where  more detailed information  could be found.   If                                                                   
someone does  not have a computer,  they could make  a public                                                                   
records request  in order  to receive a  hard copy or  get on                                                                   
the Department's mailing list.   The goal is to make it "user                                                                   
friendly" and is  anticipated to cost the State  75% less for                                                                   
the notices with less information.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Behr highlighted  the second change, which  would furnish                                                                   
notices   to   agencies  that   are   not  covered   by   the                                                                   
Administrative  Procedures Act  (APA).   She understood  that                                                                   
most people  prefer to get information  by email or  have the                                                                   
option  to request written  copy.   The legislation  broadens                                                                   
that language to non-APA agencies not covered by the Act.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Behr  continued, there  could be a  minor change  as some                                                                   
agencies  have   a  requirement   that  the  information   be                                                                   
published  in three  newspapers.   The language  of the  bill                                                                   
reduces  that to  one.   If the  agency thought  that it  was                                                                   
appropriate to  put it in more  papers, they would  have that                                                                   
option.    Additionally,  the   bill  moves  toward  web-only                                                                   
notices for appropriate sets of  regulations.  The Department                                                                   
was  careful  as to  which  programs  were selected  for  web                                                                   
notices, making  sure that there  was access to  computers or                                                                   
ready access to the Internet.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Behr pointed out that historically,  the Executive Branch                                                                   
provided municipalities hard copies  of regulations.  Some of                                                                   
the  smaller  municipalities   prefer  to  use  the  Internet                                                                   
notice.   The final  change in  the bill  allows the  smaller                                                                   
areas to  request information.    If  they want hard  copy, a                                                                   
cost of  no more  than $600  dollars would  be charged.   Ms.                                                                   
Behr referenced the cost savings to the State.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  voiced concern with Section  11, the                                                                   
Oil  and  Gas leasing  section.    She  asked if  there  were                                                                   
sections  throughout  the bill  in  which all  public  notice                                                                   
would  be  deleted.    Ms.  Behr  advised  that  the  program                                                                   
selection had been done carefully  in order to make sure that                                                                   
there were  computers or  access to them.   Section  11 deals                                                                   
with the  Department of  Natural Resources,  the Oil  and Gas                                                                   
section.  She understood that  section had be chosen as if it                                                                   
was a  full blown  leasing process, not  changing any  of the                                                                   
Title 38  numbers and that it  would only affect  the notices                                                                   
related  to the  underline rate  process.   The public  would                                                                   
still  receive   the  same  information  either   through  an                                                                   
Internet  notice  or  the  Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                                   
website.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams  requested that  Representative  Berkowitz                                                                   
move his amendment.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Berkowitz MOVED  to ADOPT  new Amendment  #1.                                                                   
(Copy on File).  Co-Chair Williams OBJECTED.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Berkowitz  explained that the  amendment would                                                                   
strip  out the  provisions  in the  bill  indicating that  no                                                                   
notices  would  be  required   for  certain  agencies.    The                                                                   
agencies that are exempted from  newspaper notice requirement                                                                   
include  the   oil  and   gas,  conservation,  pipeline   act                                                                   
regulations, and insurance regulations.   The primary savings                                                                   
in  the bill  comes  from  the  reduced amount  of  newspaper                                                                   
print.   He stressed that to  exempt these items  from public                                                                   
notice would make  the public think that government  does not                                                                   
want people  to know  what is  going on.   He added  that the                                                                   
amendment would  preserve most of the cost  savings contained                                                                   
in the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams  suggested that people that  know what they                                                                   
are  looking  for  are  the ones  that  usually  read  public                                                                   
notices.   He did  not believe  that most  people read  them.                                                                   
Ms. Behr commented  that her experience has  proven that most                                                                   
people  get their  info through  emails  or mailing  notices.                                                                   
She was not  aware that newspaper notices were  a primary way                                                                   
to   receive  information   concerning   regulations.     The                                                                   
newspaper  ads are mostly  used for  legal notice versus  the                                                                   
actual notice.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams  asked  if the  regular  newspaper  reader                                                                   
would be  able to get all  the information that they  need by                                                                   
reading  the add  in  the paper.   Ms.  Behr  replied that  a                                                                   
professional   person  would   probably  get  all   pertinent                                                                   
information  mailed   to  them.    Representative   Berkowitz                                                                   
appreciated  that could  be true  if that person  lived  in a                                                                   
place that was  connected by wire.  There are  large parts of                                                                   
the  State  that are  not  wired  and  do not  have  computer                                                                   
access.  For those rural parts  of the State, it is important                                                                   
to retain the  legal notice that is available  in newspapers.                                                                   
He   emphasized   that   the   newspaper   requirement   gets                                                                   
information to those people living  in rural Alaska.  Keeping                                                                   
the notice  in the  newspaper retains  the ability  to inform                                                                   
the  public about  what is  happening with  government.   The                                                                   
amendment would provide a transitional measure.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze   asked  Representative   Foster  and                                                                   
Representative Moses  if their constituents  read newspapers.                                                                   
Representative Foster  replied that in his 27  villages, most                                                                   
of  them do  not get  newspapers.   Representative  Berkowitz                                                                   
asked if  all those  villages had  Internet.   Representative                                                                   
Foster responded that  most of the villagers live  day to day                                                                   
and that  he doubted that few  had access to the  Internet or                                                                   
computers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams  argued that  there  are  other means  for                                                                   
disseminating information.  He  questioned how information is                                                                   
relayed in  the rural communities.   Ms. Behr  commented that                                                                   
the on  line public  notice was a  major mode of  information                                                                   
dissemination and  that the federal registry was  a great way                                                                   
to get  information.  The  federal government is  moving more                                                                   
toward computer information.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula pointed  out that  Section 11  would                                                                   
omit newspaper publication completely.   She agreed that some                                                                   
of the listings  in Section 11 were pretty  specific however,                                                                   
to  omit   all  newspaper  publications,   particularly  when                                                                   
dealing  with oil  and gas  leases would  not be  good.   She                                                                   
asked if the  Department of Natural Resources  had an opinion                                                                   
regarding  the concern.   Ms. Behr  recommended consulting  a                                                                   
representative  from  Department   of  Natural  Resources  to                                                                   
discuss that concern.  She emphasized  that extensive leasing                                                                   
process  under  Title  38  would not  be  diminished.    Each                                                                   
leasing policy is separate and  distinct and each should be a                                                                   
policy call made by the Legislature.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula noted  that Section 16 related to the                                                                   
Regulatory Commission  of Alaska (RCA) and asked  if they had                                                                   
input regarding  elimination of their newspaper  information.                                                                   
Ms.  Behr noted  that the  drafting attorney  had checked  in                                                                   
with the  RCA to determine if  it was appropriate  to include                                                                   
that   language.     The  legislation   only  addresses   the                                                                   
regulations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Berkowitz   advised   that  there   was   an                                                                   
administrative  order from  the Governor  that if any  agency                                                                   
wanted  to  exceed  the  minimal   amount  of  public  notice                                                                   
required by  law, they  would need to  get approval  from the                                                                   
Governor's office.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote  was taken on the motion to  adopt Amendment                                                                   
#1.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Moses, Berkowitz, Kerttula                                                                                       
OPPOSED:       Stoltze, Chenault, Foster, Hawker, Meyer,                                                                        
               Williams                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris and Representative  Whitaker were not present                                                                   
for the vote.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  MOVED to DELETE Sections  11 and 16.                                                                   
Co-Chair Williams  OBJECTED noting  that he would  not accept                                                                   
the   motion,  as   it  was   the  same   as  Amendment   #1.                                                                   
Representative  Kerttula  stated that  she  would speak  with                                                                   
representatives from the Department  of Natural Resources and                                                                   
offer the amendment on the House Floor.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  report CS HB 295 (STA) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying   fiscal   notes.     Representative   Berkowitz                                                                   
OBJECTED.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Berkowitz noted  that he does not like it when                                                                   
the  government does  away with  public notice  requirements.                                                                   
He stated  that it  goes against the  direction and  that the                                                                   
public should know what is occurring with government.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze noted that  he would support the bill.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Meyer  commented that the  bill was a step  in the                                                                   
right  direction  in  getting   the  State  to  use  Internet                                                                   
services   more  extensively.      Representative   Berkowitz                                                                   
countered that the  State of Alaska has won  awards for being                                                                   
on the cutting  edge of technology.  The State  is not behind                                                                   
in the area of technology.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula pointed  out that four years ago, her                                                                   
first  piece   of  legislation   was  the  Internet   notice.                                                                   
Nevertheless,  for  the  areas  that  do  not  have  computer                                                                   
access, this legislation will be detrimental.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Stoltze, Chenault, Foster, Hawker, Meyer,                                                                        
               Moses, Williams                                                                                                  
OPPOSED:       Berkowitz, Kerttula                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris and Representative  Whitaker were not present                                                                   
for the vote.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (7-2).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CS  HB  295   (STA)  was  reported  out  of   Committee  with                                                                   
"individual recommendations"  and with indeterminate  note #1                                                                   
by the Office of Management and  Budget (OMB) and fiscal note                                                                   
#2 by the Office of Management and Budget.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 244                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act relating  to  the  Code of  Criminal  Procedure;                                                                   
     relating   to   defenses,  affirmative   defenses,   and                                                                   
     justifications  to certain  criminal  acts; relating  to                                                                   
     rights   of   prisoners   after  arrest;   relating   to                                                                   
     discovery,   immunity   from  prosecution,   notice   of                                                                   
     defenses, admissibility  of certain evidence,  and right                                                                   
     to representation  in criminal proceedings;  relating to                                                                   
     sentencing,   probation,   and   discretionary   parole;                                                                   
     amending  Rule 16, Alaska  Rules of Criminal  Procedure,                                                                   
     and  Rules  404, 412,  609,  and  803, Alaska  Rules  of                                                                   
     Evidence; and providing for an effective date.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris MOVED  to  report  CS HB  244  (JUD) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying   fiscal   notes.      Representative   Kerttula                                                                   
OBJECTED.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Kerttula  stated   that   there  are   major                                                                   
constitutional  questions  about the  right  to  trial.   She                                                                   
spoke  about  concerns  with the  "here  say  testimony"  and                                                                   
pointed out  that in the  disclosure of information  section,                                                                   
the bill precludes some case witnesses.   She warned that the                                                                   
constitutional issues were very "heavy" in the bill.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CS  HB  244   (JUD)  was  reported  out  of   Committee  with                                                                   
"individual recommendations" and  with zero fiscal note #1 by                                                                   
the Department  of Law, fiscal  note #2 by the  Department of                                                                   
Corrections  and   fiscal  note  #3  by  the   Department  of                                                                   
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 106(FIN)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act   relating  to  tires;  and  providing   for  an                                                                   
     effective date.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
LANDA   BAILY,  SPECIAL   ASSISTANT   TO  THE   COMMISSIONER,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF  REVENUE, explained the  bill.  According  to a                                                                   
1996  report by  the Department  of  Transportation &  Public                                                                   
Facilities,  the  use  of  studded  tires  in  Alaska  causes                                                                   
approximately  $5 million  dollars  damage to  the roads  per                                                                   
year.  Most  of the damage  occurs in the high  traffic urban                                                                   
centers  where  rutting is  often  severe and  causes  unsafe                                                                   
driving conditions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The Department of Transportation  & Public Facilities repairs                                                                   
the  worst  of  the  damage.    Due  to  limited  maintenance                                                                   
funding,  much  of  it  is  added  to  the  State's  deferred                                                                   
maintenance  backlog.   The bill  would impose  a fee of  $10                                                                   
dollars for each  studded tire sold, resulting  in $2 million                                                                   
dollars in increased revenue.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Baily continued,  new tire technology has  been developed                                                                   
in  the last  ten  years to  create stud-less  winter  tires.                                                                   
Those tires  use softer rubber  compounds and  specific tread                                                                   
patterns  to  improve  their  performance  in  snow  and  ice                                                                   
conditions.  The  technology has continued to  improve and is                                                                   
widely available as an alternative to studded winter tire.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Berkowitz questioned  why a flat rate had been                                                                   
established  rather  than  a percentage  cost.    Ms.  Bailey                                                                   
replied  that it was  easier to  access a  flat rate  for the                                                                   
retailer than a percentage tire cost.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Harris inquired if the  sales tax becomes law, would                                                                   
the sales  tax be charged  on the cost  of the tire  or would                                                                   
the fee  be added to  that number.   Ms. Bailey did  not know                                                                   
how that would work but offered  to find out the answer.  She                                                                   
recommended that the Department be consulted.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula asked what  percentage of  the money                                                                   
raised would actually be used for maintaining the highways.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   MACKINNON,   DEPUTY   COMMISSIONER,    DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                   
TRANSPORTATION  &  PUBLIC  FACILITIES,   responded  that  the                                                                   
Department currently  spends $60  millions dollars a  year to                                                                   
maintain the highways  and that studded tires  alone cause an                                                                   
estimated $5 million dollars damage per year.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze  MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment  #1,  23-                                                                   
GS1127\WA.1,  Crawford/Kurtz,  5/14/03.    Co-Chair  Williams                                                                   
OBJECTED.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze explained  that  the amendment  would                                                                   
guarantee that the tax was not being taxed.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Bailey  noted that there is  no formal opposition  to the                                                                   
amendment.  She cautioned that  it could cause some confusion                                                                   
for  businesses.   Representative  Stoltze  pointed out  that                                                                   
Subsection  ©  indicates  that  the fees  would  be  itemized                                                                   
separately  on   the  sales  receipt.     He   proposed  that                                                                   
Subsection  © be  removed.   Mr.  MacKinnon interjected  that                                                                   
sometimes when there  are fees, the other fees  and sales tax                                                                   
is not cumulative.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker did not  believe that as  written, the                                                                   
current sales  tax proposal  would be  cumulative.   He added                                                                   
that  he  supported  the amendment  as  a  clarification  for                                                                   
anyone reading the bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Berkowitz   voiced   his  support   of   the                                                                   
amendment, advising that it is  not a good public policy when                                                                   
government "boot straps" a tax on the top of a fee.  Co-                                                                        
Chair Williams  agreed.   Co-Chair Harris  added his  support                                                                   
for the amendment.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Whitaker,    Chenault,   Berkowitz,    Foster,                                                                   
               Hawker, Kerttula, Stoltze, Harris, Williams                                                                      
OPPOSED:       none                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair  Meyer and Representative  Moses were  not present                                                                   
for the vote.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (9-0).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment #2.   Co-                                                                   
Chair Harris OBJECTED.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula explained  that  Amendment #2  would                                                                   
add a new section to repeal of  the prohibition for dedicated                                                                   
funds  and then  dedicate these  funds for  road and  highway                                                                   
maintenance.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris spoke  to his  objection,  claiming that  it                                                                   
would eliminate the fee.  Representative  Kerttula apologized                                                                   
that she had misstated the information  and that it would not                                                                   
take effect until passage of the dedicated fund.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Bailey  stressed that  the proposed  legislation  was one                                                                   
element put  forward by the  Governor to address  the current                                                                   
fiscal problems of  the State.  If the amendment  is adopted,                                                                   
those elements could "fall out" of the overall plan.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze  pointed out that the  amendment fails                                                                   
to change the title and the effective date.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Moses                                                                                                            
OPPOSED:       Chenault,    Berkowitz,     Foster,    Hawker,                                                                   
               Kerttula, Stoltze, Whitaker, Harris, Williams                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Meyer was not present for the vote.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (1-9).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster MOVED to  report HCS  CS SB  106 (FIN)                                                                   
out  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with                                                                   
the  accompanying  fiscal  note.    Representative  Berkowitz                                                                   
OBJECTED.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Foster, Hawker, Meyer, Stoltze, Whitaker,                                                                        
               Chenault, Williams, Harris                                                                                       
OPPOSED:       Berkowitz, Kerttula, Moses                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (8-3).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HCS CS SB 106 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and with fiscal note #2 by the                                                                             
Department of Revenue.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 10:17 A.M.                                                                                         

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