Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/19/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 216 PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE REGULATION TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 216(L&C) Out of Committee
+ HB 94 ELECTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 94(FIN) Out of Committee
+ SB 63 USE SEAT BELT ROAD SIGNS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= SB 93 FISHING PERMIT AND VESSEL LICENSE FEES
Moved HCS CSSB 93(FIN) Out of Committee
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 19, 2005                                                                                           
                         1:50 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:50:42 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Paul   Seaton;  Laura   Glasier,   Director,                                                                   
Division  of Elections,  Office of  the Lieutenant  Governor;                                                                   
Jon Bittner, Staff, Representative  Tom Anderson; Linda Hall,                                                                   
Director, Division of Insurance,  Department of Community and                                                                   
Economic    Development;    Suzanne     Cunningham,    Staff,                                                                   
Representative  Kevin Meyer;  Cheryl  Sutton, Staff,  Senator                                                                   
Ben Stevens; Nora Wilson, Legislative  Liaison, Department of                                                                   
Transportation  & Public  Facilities;  Mark Neidhold,  Design                                                                   
and  Construction Engineer,  Department  of Transportation  &                                                                   
Public  Facilities;  Frank  Homan,  Commissioner,  Commercial                                                                   
Fisheries  Entry Commission; John  George, Property  Casualty                                                                   
Insurance  Association   of  America;  Myrl   Thompson,  Self                                                                   
Juneau; Dr. Joe  Sonneman, Self, Juneau; Louie  Flora, Staff,                                                                   
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jim Sykes, Green Party of Alaska, Anchorage                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 94     An Act relating to qualifications of voters,                                                                          
          requirements and procedures regarding independent                                                                     
          candidates for President and Vice-President of the                                                                    
          United   States,  voter   registration  and   voter                                                                   
          registration records,  voter registration through a                                                                   
          power   of  attorney,   voter  registration   using                                                                   
          scanned   documents,   voter  residence,   precinct                                                                   
          boundary   and   polling  place   designation   and                                                                   
          modification, recognized  political parties, voters                                                                   
          unaffiliated with a  political party, early voting,                                                                   
          absentee  voting, application for  absentee ballots                                                                   
          through  a   power  of  attorney,  or   by  scanned                                                                   
          documents,  ballot design, ballot  counting, voting                                                                   
          by  mail,  voting  machines,  vote  tally  systems,                                                                   
          initiative, referendum,  recall, and definitions in                                                                   
          the    Alaska    Election   Code;    relating    to                                                                   
          incorporation  elections;   and  providing  for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 94 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                     
          a "no  recommendation" and  with a new  fiscal note                                                                   
          by the Office of the Lt. Governor.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 216    An Act  relating to insurance rate-making  and form                                                                   
          filing.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          CS HB 216 (L&C) was reported out of Committee with                                                                    
          a "do  pass" recommendation  and with zero  note #1                                                                   
          by  the  Department   of  Commerce,  Community  and                                                                   
          Economic Development.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 63(TRA)  An Act relating  to road signs encouraging the                                                                   
          use of safety belts.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          SB 63 was reported out of Committee with a "do                                                                        
          pass"  recommendation and  with indeterminate  note                                                                   
          #1  by the  Department of  Transportation &  Public                                                                   
          Facilities.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS SB 93(FIN)  An Act  relating to commercial  fishing permit                                                                   
          and  vessel  license  fees; and  providing  for  an                                                                   
          effective date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HCS CS SB 93 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                                                                      
          with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and  with a  new                                                                   
          fiscal  note  by  the  Commercial  Fisheries  Entry                                                                   
          Commission.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:51:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 216                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to insurance ratemaking and form                                                                           
     filing.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JON BITTNER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  TOM ANDERSON, pointed out                                                                   
that  under existing  law property/casualty  insurance  rates                                                                   
and forms are  subject to the insurance  commissioner's prior                                                                   
approval before they may be put  in place.  While maintaining                                                                   
the  insurance  commissioner's   authority  to  oversee  rate                                                                   
changes,  a  key component  of  the  bill  is creation  of  a                                                                   
percentage "flex  band."   HB 216 allows  an insurer  to make                                                                   
rate increases  and decreases  within  the flex band  without                                                                   
having   to  obtain   the  insurance   commissioner's   prior                                                                   
approval.   Rate changes  outside  of the flex  band must  be                                                                   
filed with the  insurance commissioner for review  before put                                                                   
into effect.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bittner highlighted the purpose of HB 216.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   · Create an environment where insurers compete more                                                                          
        vigorously on rates and products offered to                                                                             
        consumers.                                                                                                              
   · Encourage insurers who are in the Alaska market to stay                                                                    
        and would attract new insurers to Alaska, which                                                                         
        would result in more competition.                                                                                       
   · The bill is in line with the national movement away                                                                        
        from strict government price controls toward a more                                                                     
        flexible and competitively oriented system for                                                                          
        regulation of insurance rates and forms.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bittner  commented  that HB  216 had been  the result  of                                                                   
discussions  among   insurance  companies,  agents   and  the                                                                   
Director of Insurance  and their staff.  The  participants in                                                                   
the  effort used  the flex-rating  model law  adopted by  the                                                                   
National Conference  of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL)  as the                                                                   
starting point.   Some elements  of that model  were adopted.                                                                   
HB 216  is consistent  with NCOIL's  goal of modernizing  the                                                                   
state insurance regulation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:54:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA HALL,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF INSURANCE, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                   
COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  acknowledged that  the                                                                   
legislation was a combined effort.   Last year, when the bill                                                                   
was up  before the Legislature,  the Division  requested that                                                                   
it remain  in Committee  until more work  could be  done with                                                                   
the industry.  The bill is a compromise  of various positions                                                                   
while meeting  the needs of  the industry, the  Division, and                                                                   
consumer protection.  She urged support of the bill.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Hall   identified  the  changes   in  the  bill.     The                                                                   
legislation  promotes flexibility  for  products coming  into                                                                   
the  market  more quickly.    It  provides the  Division  the                                                                   
protection necessary to have rates  meet standards.  Ms. Hall                                                                   
requested support for the bill,  as it will bring Alaska more                                                                   
in line with what is happening nationally.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:57:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  asked the problem for  using a complete                                                                   
number.  Ms. Hall  responded that 10% was chosen  as it meets                                                                   
statutory provisions.   Discussion followed between  Ms. Hall                                                                   
and Representative  Croft regarding filing proceedings.   Ms.                                                                   
Hall pointed  out that worker's  compensation is  exempt from                                                                   
the rate  filing procedure.  She  felt it could be  too broad                                                                   
of a band to put in place without  other types of oversights.                                                                   
The change is a "big step".  Representative Croft agreed.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:59:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  GEORGE,  PROPERTY  CASUALTY  INSURANCE  ASSOCIATION  OF                                                                   
AMERICA, advised that the industry  has been working for many                                                                   
months  to  create  something  acceptable  and  supported  by                                                                   
everyone.     It  provides   public  safety  while   allowing                                                                   
insurance  companies to  compete.   He urged  support of  the                                                                   
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:00:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  MOVED to  REPORT CS HB  216 (FIN)  out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS HB  216 (L&C)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
pass" and  with zero note #1  by the Department  of Commerce,                                                                   
Community and Economic Development.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 94                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     An   Act   relating   to   qualifications   of   voters,                                                                   
     requirements   and  procedures   regarding   independent                                                                   
     candidates  for  President  and  Vice-President  of  the                                                                   
     United    States,   voter    registration   and    voter                                                                   
     registration  records,  voter   registration  through  a                                                                   
     power  of  attorney, voter  registration  using  scanned                                                                   
     documents,  voter   residence,  precinct   boundary  and                                                                   
     polling place  designation and modification,  recognized                                                                   
     political parties, voters  unaffiliated with a political                                                                   
     party,  early voting, absentee  voting, application  for                                                                   
     absentee  ballots through  a  power of  attorney, or  by                                                                   
     scanned  documents,  ballot   design,  ballot  counting,                                                                   
     voting  by mail,  voting machines,  vote tally  systems,                                                                   
     initiative, referendum,  recall, and definitions  in the                                                                   
     Alaska   Election   Code;  relating   to   incorporation                                                                   
     elections; and providing for an effective date.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
LAURA  GLASIER, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF  ELECTIONS, OFFICE  OF                                                                   
THE  LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR,  stated  that many  of the  changes                                                                   
could  be categorized  as "housekeeping"  efforts,  modifying                                                                   
current  statutory  language   to  more  clearly  define  the                                                                   
Division's policy and procedure:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
· Changing work sites versus construction sites.                                                                                
     ·  Presumptive evidence  of  a  voter's address  as  the                                                                   
        record, not the voter card;                                                                                             
     · Defining non-partisan and undeclared voters;                                                                             
     ·  Protecting  voter information  of  domestic  violence                                                                   
        victims in accord with confidentiality laws improved                                                                    
        last year;                                                                                                              
     ·  Defining  process  for  Independent   candidates  for                                                                   
        President/Vice President elections;                                                                                     
     ·  Ensuring consistency in  the definition  of "overseas                                                                   
        voter";                                                                                                                 
     ·  Makes  clear  age   requirements  for   serving  once                                                                   
        elected;                                                                                                                
     ·  Clearly outlines "recognized political  party status"                                                                   
        and the qualification standards for parties;                                                                            
     ·  Changes to  Title  29  to clearly  define  "qualified                                                                   
        voter", regarding who is registered to vote within                                                                      
        the proposed borough/municipality at least 30 days                                                                      
        prior to an election;                                                                                                   
     · Defines re-registration; and                                                                                             
     ·  Repeals  duplicative   language  regarding   Regional                                                                   
        Supervisor's offices as Absentee Voting Stations.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier continued  that the  legislation  would allow  a                                                                   
voter,  through  power  of  attorney,  to  allow  another  to                                                                   
register to vote or make changes  to their registration or to                                                                   
fill  out an  application by  a  mail ballot  in the  voter's                                                                   
behalf.    Additionally,  the legislation  would  reduce  the                                                                   
witnessing  requirement  for   an  absentee  by  mail  or  by                                                                   
electronic transmission from two to one witness.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier  continued,  HB  94  would  add,  "scanning"  as                                                                   
another  means  to transmit  voter  registration  or by  mail                                                                   
absentee  ballot  request  to  the Division.    The  Division                                                                   
currently accepts  the forms  in person, by  mail or  by fax.                                                                   
The  proposed  legislation  would  require  the  Division  to                                                                   
implement   "ballot  rotation"   for  the   names  of   those                                                                   
candidates running for governor,  lieutenant governor, United                                                                   
States  senator,  United  States  representative,  and  State                                                                   
senator  on the  ballots  printed  for each  house  district.                                                                   
Placement of names of candidates  for State House races would                                                                   
appear in random  order as determined by the  Director, as is                                                                   
the current practice.   Current law requires  the Director to                                                                   
determine  a  random  order  for  all  candidates  placed  on                                                                   
ballots used in each house district.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
INTEGRITY OF ELECTIONS                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Glasier noted  that the legislation would  improve ballot                                                                   
security  by adding  that ballots  would not  be mailed  to a                                                                   
voter   whose   address   has  been   identified   as   being                                                                   
undeliverable.   The election  boards must report  the number                                                                   
of ballots destroyed  to increase accountability  of ballots.                                                                   
It  would also  add standards  for voting  machines and  vote                                                                   
tally systems.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PETITIONS, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Glasier pointed  out that improvements to  those sections                                                                   
were suggested to  make the process more "user  friendly" for                                                                   
Alaskans and to make the act of  "petitioning the government"                                                                   
more  consistent.      It  would  add   "printed  name"   and                                                                   
"numerical  identifier"  for a  petition  signer.   It  would                                                                   
remove   language   requiring   the  circulator's   name   be                                                                   
prominently displayed  on the  petition.  While  not enforced                                                                   
by  the  Division   since  the  Buckley  decision   in  2000,                                                                   
statutory changes had not been made to date.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier   commented  that   it  would  remove   language                                                                   
concerning an additional 100 signatures  when filing a recall                                                                   
petition.   Current law  requires 10% of  those who  voted in                                                                   
the preceding general  election and it is unclear  if the 100                                                                   
signatures were to be part of the 10% total.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier   pointed  out  that  in  the   House  Judiciary                                                                   
Committee, there  were no witness  and/or absentee  voters on                                                                   
absentee ballot envelope that  false statement are punishable                                                                   
by law.  It would reduce the percentage  of votes required by                                                                   
the  party candidates  to remain  as  a recognized  political                                                                   
party.  The deposit amounts for recounts would be raised:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
· Per precinct from $300 dollars to $1,000 dollars                                                                              
· Per house district from $750 dollars to $2,000 dollars                                                                        
· Statewide from $10,000 dollars to $15,000 dollars                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:09:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Holm pointed out  that the amount of statewide                                                                   
dollars changed from  $10 to $15 thousand dollars.   He asked                                                                   
the cost  of a statewide recount.   Ms. Glasier  replied that                                                                   
the last  statewide recount  cost approximately  $38 thousand                                                                   
dollars.  The initial proposal  was for $50 thousand dollars.                                                                   
It  is anticipated  that  with the  new  touch screen  voting                                                                   
equipment, it is  going to cost more to conduct  a recount of                                                                   
that nature.   She admitted  it is a  "high bar" and  that it                                                                   
would be a Legislative policy decision.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:10:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft referenced  candidate rotation and asked                                                                   
if there  was evidence that the  order of candidates  made an                                                                   
election  difference.   Ms. Glasier replied  that there  have                                                                   
been studies  done regarding the  placement of  a candidate's                                                                   
name on  the ballot.   Some studies  have indicated  it could                                                                   
make between  2% and  3% difference.   She  pointed out  that                                                                   
Alaska  uses the  ballot rotation.   A  full ballot  rotation                                                                   
will cost more if House members are included.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft questioned  the proposed  way of  doing                                                                   
business.   Ms.  Glasier explained  that  the rotation  takes                                                                   
place from presidential  elections through the  State Senate.                                                                   
Representative  Croft thought  it  was "odd"  not to  include                                                                   
House members in the rotation.   Ms. Glasier pointed out that                                                                   
action  happened  this  year   in  the  House  State  Affairs                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer inquired  if the  Division currently  rotates                                                                   
the names.   Ms. Glasier explained that current  law requires                                                                   
that  the  director  of the  Division  randomly  draw  names,                                                                   
creating placement on the ballot.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer agreed  with  Representative  Croft that  was                                                                   
"weird"  and  asked what  the  additional  cost would  be  to                                                                   
include House.   Ms.  Glasier advised that  to do  a complete                                                                   
ballot rotation,  it would cost between $70  and $80 thousand                                                                   
dollars.   She noted  additional concerns  when ordering  the                                                                   
ballots.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer asked  if  the Division  of  Elections had  a                                                                   
preference.    Ms.  Glasier  responded  that it  would  be  a                                                                   
legislative policy  call; the  Division believes  that random                                                                   
printing would be the candidate's preference.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:14:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze commented on  various factors occurring in                                                                   
his own elections  and did not think that  ballot positioning                                                                   
really mattered.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to ADOPT work  draft version  #24-                                                                   
GH1048\C, Kurtz,  4/18/05, as the version of  the bill before                                                                   
the Committee.   Representative  Croft  OBJECTED to hear  the                                                                   
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE  CUNNINGHAM,   STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE   KEVIN  MEYER,                                                                   
highlighted the  changes made to committee substitute  © from                                                                   
the previous version of the bill (X):                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   ·    Section 18; Page 12, Lines 26-28                                                                                        
   ·    Section 14; Page 10, Line 29-31 & Page 11, Line 1-12                                                                    
   ·    Section 34; Page 21 Lines 15-31 & Page 22, Lines 1-5                                                                    
   ·    Section 31; Page 20, Lines 24-29                                                                                        
   ·    Section 55; Page 31                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft asked if  "alternatives" remained in the                                                                   
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:19:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Cunningham replied they did.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:19:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft WITHDREW  his OBJECTION.  There being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, the committee substitute was adopted.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:19:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  pointed   out  Sections  40  and  48  in                                                                   
referenced to the dollar limit  for collecting signatures; he                                                                   
asked if there were constitutional  limits.  He noted that he                                                                   
did not  like the  idea of paying  for gathering  signatures.                                                                   
Ms. Glasier  advised that there  had been a discussion  about                                                                   
zeroing that out in the House  State Affairs Committee and it                                                                   
was determined unconstitutional.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  referenced Section 55 and  asked if there                                                                   
had been discussion  regarding lowering the threshold  to 1%.                                                                   
Ms. Glasier noted that there had  been a discussion, however,                                                                   
the Division realized that it  should be a legislative policy                                                                   
call.  There  has been a recent court decision  regarding Mr.                                                                   
Metcalf's  challenge regarding  the 3%  and if  he should  be                                                                   
allowed on the ballot.  She did not know the result.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze asked if it  were reduced to 1%, would the                                                                   
Division still not comment.  Ms. Glasier agreed.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:22:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM   SYKES,  (TESTIFIED   VIA   TELECONFERENCE),   ELECTIONS                                                                   
ADVISORY,  GREEN  PARTY  OF  ALASKA,  stated that  HB  94  is                                                                   
basically  a  good bill  that  addresses  some  long-standing                                                                   
problems.  He pointed  out one concern, which is  out of line                                                                   
from requirements within the bill  and those of other states,                                                                   
regarding  the  recognition  of  political  parties  using  a                                                                   
registration test.  (Sec. 55. AS 15.60.010(23)(D)).                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sykes pointed  out that the current bill  indicates 2% of                                                                   
registered  voters,   which  would  be  an   extremely  tough                                                                   
requirement   and  out   of  balance   for  recognizing   the                                                                   
difficulty of meeting such a registration  test.  The goal of                                                                   
the  legislation  needs  to provide  clarity,  fairness,  and                                                                   
openness.    Committee  members have  the  responsibility  to                                                                   
protect  the  rights of  all  political  parties and  all  of                                                                   
voters,  including the  51% not registered  to any  political                                                                   
party.   Mr.  Sykes  thought that  a reasonable  and  legally                                                                   
defensible  requirement would  be ½ of  1% of  registrations.                                                                   
The current proposal represents  a 27% increase over 2002 law                                                                   
and  would not  be in  line with  the  Alaska Supreme  Court,                                                                   
which  has   repeatedly  favored   openness  over   increased                                                                   
restrictiveness.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sykes added  that there are two minor parties  in all the                                                                   
United States  that exceed a 2%  voter registration.   One is                                                                   
the Alaska  Independence Party  and the  2% was not  exceeded                                                                   
until the election  of Walter Hickel and John  Coghill Sr. in                                                                   
1990.  Primary laws currently  favor non-affiliated voters by                                                                   
allowing  them  more  choices  than anyone  registered  to  a                                                                   
political   party,   which  increases   the   reluctance   of                                                                   
independent  voters to  register  to a  particular  political                                                                   
party if they perceive they are  limited to choosing only one                                                                   
party's ballot.  National trends  have seen independent voter                                                                   
registrations reach  new heights.  He stressed that  the ½ of                                                                   
1% would better protect the rights  of all Alaskan voters and                                                                   
would  be  more  legally  defensible  and  in-line  with  the                                                                   
State's requirements for a "modicum of support".                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sykes  noted that  it was  not right  that Alaska  have a                                                                   
test 4x  times greater  than the  average of other  similarly                                                                   
situated  registration states.    He added  that the  Supreme                                                                   
Court of Alaska  has ruled that Alaska's voters  are entitled                                                                   
to the least restrictive mechanisms  possible consistent with                                                                   
the  State's  need to  achieve  its  legitimate goals.    The                                                                   
Supreme Court  of Alaska has  also ruled that  the difficulty                                                                   
of qualifying  through one route  cannot be justified  by the                                                                   
openness of  the other.   In effect,  at a minimum,  Alaska's                                                                   
parties and voters  are entitled to the least  restrictive of                                                                   
the  most common  mechanisms of  qualifying  for full  ballot                                                                   
access in both the primary and in the general elections.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sykes offered to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:29:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MYRL  THOMPSON,  SELF,  SUSITNA VALLEY,  commented  that  the                                                                   
committee  substitute   was  a   "fairly  good"  bill.     He                                                                   
identified  changes  made  during  the  legislative  process.                                                                   
Regarding the  number proposed,  as an independent,  it would                                                                   
be difficult  to pay $10 thousand  dollars and would  place a                                                                   
small party at a distinct disadvantage.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Thompson  mentioned the  dollar indicated for  collecting                                                                   
signatures and  worried about out-of-state hires.   Regarding                                                                   
the percentage, Mr. Thompson recommended  that 1% could be an                                                                   
"okay"  amount for  the  parties  as it  was  fair and  could                                                                   
enhance the voting process.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:33:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer MOVED  to ADOPT Amendment #1  for the Division                                                                   
of Elections.  (Copy on File).   Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Glasier  advised that the  House Judiciary  Committee had                                                                   
added that  section to  the bill and  it was then  determined                                                                   
that there  were structural  problems within the  paragraphs.                                                                   
The intent of the House Judiciary  Committee was to require a                                                                   
mandatory hand count of one precinct  per House district that                                                                   
could be counted  for 5% of the votes cast  in that election.                                                                   
Amendment  #1  clarifies  the  language  and  intent  of  the                                                                   
process to be followed by the Division.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault pointed out  that Section © states that the                                                                   
director  "may" count  the ballots  from that  precinct.   He                                                                   
suggested  changing it  to "shall".   Ms. Glasier  emphasized                                                                   
that  it needs  to be  "may".   Co-Chair Chenault  disagreed.                                                                   
Ms.  Glasier advised  that "may"  is in  current law,  noting                                                                   
Page 10, Line 20, highlights current law.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault pointed  out that  Line 23, indicates  the                                                                   
discrepancy of hand counts under  A (3) and that the director                                                                   
"shall" conduct  a ballot  hand count.   Ms. Glasier  replied                                                                   
that there  are instances  where a  mandatory handout  is not                                                                   
necessary.  If there is a difference  between a machine count                                                                   
and a hand count, then "shall"  would be used.  She stressed,                                                                   
it is important to determine the degree of the discrepancy.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:38:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  inquired if there was  enough flexibility                                                                   
in the language  to request a recount for a  single precinct.                                                                   
Ms. Glasier explained  that was found in two  different areas                                                                   
of the  law.   In the  law regarding  recounts, citizens  can                                                                   
request only:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   ·    A precinct,                                                                                                             
   ·    House district, or                                                                                                      
   ·    Statewide recount.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  asked about the "cherry  pick" precincts.                                                                   
Ms. Glasier replied  that a person or group  could go through                                                                   
and have  a particular  precinct recounted  under the  Alaska                                                                   
recount  statute.   The version  before  the Committee  could                                                                   
allow that.   Vice-Chair  Stoltze asked  if the Division  had                                                                   
policy comments regarding the  practice.  Ms. Glasier replied                                                                   
that it has been  State law for years and to  do precinct-by-                                                                   
precinct would cost substantially more.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:40:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm asked if  there was  a request  to audit                                                                   
seven House  districts, would  the Division audit  only those                                                                   
seven  or would they  audit the  entire State.   Ms.  Glasier                                                                   
replied    they   would    audit    the   seven    districts.                                                                   
Representative  Holm asked  how it  would be  handled if  the                                                                   
cost was $38 thousand  dollars and there were a  case with no                                                                   
bearing  on the  House districts  but instead  on the  entire                                                                   
state.  Ms. Glasier did not understand the question.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm  reiterated  the  query.    Ms.  Glasier                                                                   
stated  that in  the  House  Judiciary Committee,  there  was                                                                   
language added  that requires a  mandatory hand count  by the                                                                   
Division's State  Review Board.  After the  election has been                                                                   
certified and the group requested  a recount, the Board would                                                                   
determine how the recount was to be conducted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:43:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In response  to concerns  voiced by  Vice Chair Stoltze,  Ms.                                                                   
Glasier   explained  that   the   ballots   are  pulled   and                                                                   
administratively,  the Division is ready  to "step up  to the                                                                   
plate".  As a precinct choice,  there is no proof that anyone                                                                   
would choose that option.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTIONS, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:46:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOE SONNEMAN,  SELF, JUNEAU, voiced concern  with various                                                                   
changes that have  occurred in Alaskan politics.   HB 94 does                                                                   
add some name rotation  back in, which he thought  was a good                                                                   
move.   The bill provides a  provision to guarantee  that any                                                                   
new vote counting equipment or  machine specifically requires                                                                   
a paper trail or receipt, which is also good.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  Sonneman  addressed  the financial  aspects  and  fiscal                                                                   
impact and concerns  with the automatic hand count  of one 5%                                                                   
precinct  per district.   He noted  that he  had chaired  the                                                                   
2004 Recount Committee.  Some  members of that Committee were                                                                   
concerned  that  in this  computerized  age,  problems  could                                                                   
occur.   The  function of  the  hand count  provides a  cross                                                                   
check.   The State  has only  one programmer  for all  of the                                                                   
ballots, which  is of  concern.  Even  though to  date, there                                                                   
have been no problems, now is a different age.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  Sonneman addressed  the deposit  required for  recounts.                                                                   
He noted that  the Alaskans for Fair Elections  were required                                                                   
to come up with $10 thousand dollars  in five days, which was                                                                   
difficult.   There has  been no  abuse of  the system  at the                                                                   
current  financial level.   Recounts  have an audit  function                                                                   
and if the amount is raised to  a higher level, vote-counting                                                                   
audits would rarely  occur.  If it is necessary  to raise the                                                                   
amount, he  requested that  it not be  raised beyond  the $15                                                                   
thousand dollars set by the previous Committee.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:51:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer inquired the amount  spent on the last recall.                                                                   
Ms.  Glasier  replied  it  was  $38  thousand  dollars.    In                                                                   
response  to comments  by Dr. Sonneman,  Ms. Glasier  pointed                                                                   
out  that  there  is no  statutory  provision  indicating  an                                                                   
amount of time required to raise  money to conduct a recount.                                                                   
She  pointed  out  that  the   Alaskans  for  Fair  Elections                                                                   
requested  a   recount  because  exit  polling   indicated  a                                                                   
different  number than  was measured.    She reiterated  that                                                                   
there is no statutory limitation in State law.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:53:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment  #2 as proposed  by                                                                   
Representative  Paul Seaton.    (Copy on  File).   Vice-Chair                                                                   
Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:54:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOUIE FLORA,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  PAUL SEATON,  noted that                                                                   
the  State Affairs  Committee rewrote  the "political  party"                                                                   
section of the  bill to accomplish a fair process  that would                                                                   
prevent cross party tampering  with party status.  A multiple                                                                   
section  technical   amendment  was  offered  in   the  House                                                                   
Judiciary Committee,  however, an amendment to  the amendment                                                                   
unintentionally  changed  the  application of  that  section.                                                                   
Amendment #2 would reinsert the  original language, "at which                                                                   
a governor was elected".                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze did  not think that  the amendment  could                                                                   
fit in the  adopted committee substitute.   Co-Chair Chenault                                                                   
stated that it would fit into the House Judiciary version.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PAUL SEATON  pointed  out  that Amendment  #2                                                                   
fits into Section  (E), House Judiciary version  and Page 31,                                                                   
Line 16, of the work draft before  the Committee.  The effect                                                                   
of Amendment  #2 is that the  Division could not  terminate a                                                                   
party status until after the general election.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:59:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  inquired about discussion in  the House State                                                                   
Affairs Committee.   Representative Seaton noted  that it had                                                                   
been carefully  crafted to accomplish  the intended  goal and                                                                   
that it would not go beyond the gubernatorial election.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Chenault  asked  if there  had  to  be a  party  to                                                                   
nominate.   (Inaudible).   Representative Seaton  replied the                                                                   
person could  be nominated if  there existed a  party status.                                                                   
If beyond  the required percentage  was received,  the person                                                                   
could  maintain   political  status,  determined   after  the                                                                   
political  election.   The status  would  remain through  the                                                                   
next   gubernatorial  election.      Co-Chair  Chenault   was                                                                   
concerned with  situations in which  a person decided  to run                                                                   
in a party that  did not want him to represent  their ballot;                                                                   
he asked  what would happen and  would the party  loose their                                                                   
status.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:02:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier acknowledged  that parties  have that  influence                                                                   
now  by  their  party  rules.    There  are  letters  in  the                                                                   
Division's  file, which  indicate that  there are  candidates                                                                   
that  are not  supported by  their  party.   The Division  of                                                                   
Elections   cannot   keep   the  person   off   the   ballot.                                                                   
Representative Seaton  added that Amendment #2  would prevent                                                                   
that from  happening.   Party status  would not be  withdrawn                                                                   
through the next  gubernatorial election.  If  a person files                                                                   
as a  candidate, they can  file for the  party they  want and                                                                   
that is what is placed on the ballot.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  understood it could limit who  ran under a                                                                   
party  banner.   Representative Seaton  did not  know of  any                                                                   
mechanism  in which the  party could  remove the person  from                                                                   
running.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Glasier clarified that was  true unless the person failed                                                                   
to meet the rules of the party.   It is not legal to "tip the                                                                   
race".    A  party  does  have   some  influence  over  their                                                                   
candidates.   The proposed changes  open up different  levels                                                                   
where candidates can successfully obtain the 2%.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:07:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  asked if the Division of  Elections supported                                                                   
Amendment #2.  Ms. Glasier replied  it would be a policy call                                                                   
by the Legislature.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTIONS, Amendment #2 was adopted.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:08:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to ADOPT Amendment  #3 to  Section                                                                   
55, reducing  the three references  of "two percent  (2%)" to                                                                   
"one percent (1%)".  Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  thought that the change would  be in line                                                                   
with what  the courts  have ruled on  the status  of emerging                                                                   
parties.   He  thought  1%  was still  in  line  and that  he                                                                   
respects  the role of  the other  party in  the process.   It                                                                   
would be a policy call.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker argued that  there are merit  benefits                                                                   
to a  political party  and that the  change should  raise the                                                                   
amount rather than lower it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  questioned if it  had been changed  from "3%"                                                                   
to "2%" upon  recommendation from the Division.   Ms. Glasier                                                                   
replied that  change had  been made  in a Committee  hearing;                                                                   
the House Judiciary Committee  then changed it to "2%" in the                                                                   
other sections.  She highlighted  a state-by-state percentage                                                                   
requirement  of  registered  voters.     Those  numbers  vary                                                                   
between 1% and 5%.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft spoke to  the change recommended by Vice                                                                   
Chair Stoltze,  pointing out  the distinction within  Section                                                                   
(D).  He recommended that only  Section (D) be reduced to 1%,                                                                   
on Page 32, Line 14.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:14:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze restated  his motion;  Page 31,  Line 22;                                                                   
Page 31, Line 30; and Page 32,  Line 9, deleting "two percent                                                                   
(2%)" and inserting "one percent (1%)".                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:15:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In response  to  Co-Chair Meyer,  Vice-Chair Stoltze  pointed                                                                   
out that those areas are only "election" areas.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:        Stoltze, Croft, Moses                                                                                          
OPPOSED:         Hawker, Kelly, Meyer, Chenault                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster, Representative  Holm,  Representative                                                                   
Joule and Representative  Weyhrauch were not  present for the                                                                   
vote.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (3-4).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment #4,  Page 32,                                                                   
Line  14,  change the  "two  percent  (2%)" to  "one  percent                                                                   
(1%)".  Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:17:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  addressed the right to be  on a ballot,                                                                   
regardless of party affiliation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:18:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze questioned  the concept.   Representative                                                                   
Croft preferred that  the State establish a  standard that is                                                                   
defensible and "stop playing games with that section".                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:        Stoltze, Croft                                                                                                 
OPPOSED:         Kelly, Moses, Hawker, Meyer, Chenault                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster, Representative  Holm,  Representative                                                                   
Joule and Representative  Weyhrauch were not  present for the                                                                   
vote.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (2-5).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:19:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Hawker   addressed  the   compensation   for                                                                   
circulators  of petitions.   He mentioned  that there  was no                                                                   
indication  that  the  circulators be  Alaska  residents  and                                                                   
questioned if there would be legal  concerns if that language                                                                   
was  added.   Ms.  Glasier understood  that  they  had to  be                                                                   
residents.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  pointed   out  language  on  Page  21,                                                                   
Section  32,   which  indicates  the  qualifications   for  a                                                                   
circulator.  Representative Hawker was assured.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:21:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment  #5,  which                                                                   
would delete  Sections 24  & 25,  beginning on  Page 15.   He                                                                   
stated that deletion would address  concerns with someone too                                                                   
young  at the  time  of the  election,  being  elected.   Ms.                                                                   
Glasier pointed  out that was actually addressed  in Sections                                                                   
23, 24, &  25; a change was  made in the House  State Affairs                                                                   
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  asked if the age requirements  were being                                                                   
removed.   Representative Croft explained  those requirements                                                                   
are constitutional.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly inquired  how the deletion could improve                                                                   
current  policy.    Representative  Croft  advised  that  the                                                                   
constitution  clarifies the  age requirement.   The  question                                                                   
becomes what happens  with someone running, who  did not make                                                                   
the age requirement by the first day of session.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:25:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  inquired  the intended  time  allotment.                                                                   
Representative Croft  thought that the State  citizens should                                                                   
choose, not the Legislature.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:        Moses, Croft                                                                                                   
OPPOSED:         Stoltze, Foster, Hawker, Kelly, Chenault,                                                                      
                 Meyer                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Holm, Representative  Joule and Representative                                                                   
Weyhrauch were not present for the vote.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (2-6).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:27:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Glasier referenced  Page 13,  Line 29,  noting a  change                                                                   
made  in the  House Judiciary  Committee.   She thought  that                                                                   
there  should be  a "the"  on Page 14,  Line 3  or perhaps  a                                                                   
"the" added  to Line 31, Page  13.  She thought  the sentence                                                                   
was grammatically incorrect.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  MOVED   Amendment  #6,  a  conforming                                                                   
conceptual amendment  to make  sure that the language  "falls                                                                   
together".  Co-Chair Meyer OBJECTED  in order to conceptually                                                                   
prepare the amendment.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  thought  that passage  of  the  bill,                                                                   
could authorize legal staff to  make the necessary changes to                                                                   
Section  21 to  address  the  grammatical change.    Co-Chair                                                                   
Meyer  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.    There  being  NO  further                                                                   
OBJECTION, conceptual Amendment #6 was adopted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster  MOVED to REPORT CS HB 94  (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  HB 94  (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "no                                                                   
recommendation" and  with a new fiscal note by  the Office of                                                                   
the Lt. Governor.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:30:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 63(TRA)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to road signs encouraging the use of                                                                       
     safety belts.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:31:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL SUTTON, STAFF, SENATOR  BEN STEVENS, explained that SB
63 would encourage posting signs  promoting the use of safety                                                                   
belts.      The  legislation   allows   the   Department   of                                                                   
Transportation  & Public  Facilities  to  erect and  maintain                                                                   
signs  at  the site  of  a  motor vehicle  accident  where  a                                                                   
fatality  occurred as  a result  of failure  to use a  safety                                                                   
belt.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft asked if  the Department needed the bill                                                                   
to  grant such  authority.   Ms.  Sutton  responded that  the                                                                   
Department does  not have  the authority to  add the  name to                                                                   
the signage.  She explained the story of Nathan Kampen.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer asked the cost per sign.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
NORA    WILSON,    LEGISLATIVE   LIAISON,    DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                   
TRANSPORTATION  & PUBLIC FACILITIES,  introduced herself  and                                                                   
said it would cost $500 per sign.   Ms. Sutton noted that the                                                                   
number of  deaths last  year in  Alaska was approximately  39                                                                   
from not wearing seat belts.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer asked  about  the fiscal  note.   Ms.  Sutton                                                                   
pointed out that  posting would only occur for  those persons                                                                   
requesting the signs.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  noted that Representative Croft  had asked if                                                                   
it could be done through regulation  rather than legislation.                                                                   
Ms. Wilson replied that the legislation  had been the vehicle                                                                   
presented and that the Department  supports a statute change.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:35:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  referenced Page 1, Lines 11 &  12 and the                                                                   
types  of signs  that  could be  put in  place.   Ms.  Wilson                                                                   
responded   that  language   maintains  the   right  of   the                                                                   
Department  to guarantee  once the  sign is  placed, that  it                                                                   
abides with sign posting criteria.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARK  NEIDHOLD,  CHIEF, DESIGN  AND  CONSTRUCTION  STANDARDS,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF  TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC FACILITIES,  agreed it                                                                   
is important  to follow  standards when  erecting the  signs,                                                                   
while  not infringing  on the  Department's  right to  manage                                                                   
those standards.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:37:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  opined  that   the  scope  of  the  bill                                                                   
appeared  too broad.   Mr.  Neidhold noted  that the  current                                                                   
Alaska Administrative  Code language for the  Alaska Memorial                                                                   
Program specifies the sign information  and requirements.  It                                                                   
is the Department's expectation  that there would only be one                                                                   
additional sign.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:39:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly referenced  Page 1, Line 9, and asked if                                                                   
the  verbiage  should  instead  say  "likely".    Ms.  Sutton                                                                   
acknowledged  the  concern  had  been  raised  in  the  House                                                                   
Transportation Committee  and referred to the  "Public Safety                                                                   
on Traffic Accident Statistics" handout.  (Copy on File).                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker was  appalled that  a grieving  family                                                                   
could not be accommodated within  the regulatory authority of                                                                   
the Department  and that  such a request  had to  come before                                                                   
the Legislature.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  suggested that it be  addressed through                                                                   
regulation.    Ms.  Wilson  reported that  she  has  had  the                                                                   
conversation with  the sponsor's  office and that  they would                                                                   
support  the bill  either way.   Some have  indicated that  a                                                                   
statute change might be faster.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  asked if  the Department  would  issue                                                                   
regulations to  implement the bill.  Ms.  Wilson acknowledged                                                                   
that they  would have  to.  She  reiterated the  Department's                                                                   
support of the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  asked if Nathan  Kampen was a  constituent of                                                                   
Senator Stevens.  Ms. Sutton replied yes.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT SB 63 out of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SB  63  was  reported  out of  Committee  with  a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and   with  indeterminate  note   #1  by  the                                                                   
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:45:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 93(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     An Act relating to commercial fishing permit and vessel                                                                    
     license fees; and providing for an effective date.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  noted that at  a previous meeting  (4/18/05),                                                                   
Amendment #1,  #24-LS0504\Y.2, Utermohle, 4/15/04,  was MOVED                                                                   
and  that Vice  Chair Stoltze  had OBJECTED.   The  amendment                                                                   
remained on the table.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON explained  Amendment #1.  He noted                                                                   
that that having large groupings,  the fee structure does not                                                                   
recognize the  vast difference  between the fishing  power of                                                                   
vessels at the  lower and upper end of the class.   Thus, the                                                                   
fee on a 76' vessel  is the same as a 149' vessel  and a 151'                                                                   
vessel  is charged  the  same  fee as  a  249' vessel.    The                                                                   
Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission (CFEC) prepared  a fee                                                                   
schedule  based  on  25'  increments,  which  would  generate                                                                   
approximately  the same revenue  but would  be fairer  to the                                                                   
diversity of the vessels.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
FRANK   HOMAN,  COMMISSIONER,   COMMERCIAL  FISHERIES   ENTRY                                                                   
COMMISSION (CFEC),  reported that the draft presented  to the                                                                   
Committee was a  result of several groups coming  together in                                                                   
consensus  regarding the fees.   He  voiced concern  that the                                                                   
bill  would  "get  lost"  because  of  those  changes.    The                                                                   
Commission needs  the recommended  revenues.  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                   
asked  his opinion  on  the  amendment.   Commissioner  Homan                                                                   
replied   that  if   it  could   move   through,  adding   no                                                                   
resistance,  the  amendment  could generate  about  the  same                                                                   
amount.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:50:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL  SUTTON, STAFF,  SENATOR  BEN STEVENS,  explained  the                                                                   
vessel  fees, noting that  Senator Stevens  does not  support                                                                   
either amendment.   The bill  attempts to balance  the vessel                                                                   
fee  and the  license fee  to raise  sufficient revenues  for                                                                   
CFEC.  The vessel fees are operational  licenses for vessels.                                                                   
What  gives  the  vessel  fishing capacity  is  a  permit,  a                                                                   
separate license, also raised in the bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
In response to  an analogy given by Vice-Chair  Stoltze,  Ms.                                                                   
Sutton  pointed  out  that not  all  vessels  are  harvesting                                                                   
vessels.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:52:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault referred to  an earlier statement regarding                                                                   
the amount  of fish that could  be caught; he  questioned how                                                                   
many have limits.   Ms. Sutton responded that  there are many                                                                   
limits  to  people's  capacity   to  fish  in  the  industry,                                                                   
including time and size of the  vessel.  She pointed out that                                                                   
the bill  is not  a tax.   Fishermen pay a  tax on  what they                                                                   
harvest and a raw fish tax to  the State.  The request is for                                                                   
fees generated to run CFEC.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  REMOVED his OBJECTION to  adopt Amendment                                                                   
#1.  Representative Hawker OBJECTED.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Croft, Foster, Kelly, Stoltze, Meyer                                                                             
OPPOSED:       Hawker, Moses, Chenault                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative    Weyhrauch,    Representative   Holm,    and                                                                   
Representative Joule were not present for the vote.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (5-3).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:56:57 PM,                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to ADOPT Amendment  #2, #24-LS0504\Y.1,                                                                   
Utermohle, 4/15/05.  Vice-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton explained  Amendment #2.  He noted that                                                                   
the amendment would significantly  raise fees; he was willing                                                                   
to WITHDRAW Amendment #2.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer WITHDREW the MOTION to adopt Amendment #2.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT HCS CS SB 93 (FIN) out                                                                   
of Committee  with  individual recommendations  and with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal  note.  There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HCS CS SB 93  (FIN) was reported out of Committee  with a "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation  and with  a  new  fiscal note  by  the                                                                   
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:59 P.M.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects