Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/05/2008 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 344 ADMINISTRATIVE CODE/REGISTER DISTRIBUTION TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 348 BOARD OF GAME REGULATIONS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
*+ HB 373 SCHOOL BOND DEBT REIMBURSEMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 336 SUSITNA HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 359 PROBATION AND MINOR CONSUMING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 5, 2008                                                                                            
                         1:41 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:41:27 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Mary Nelson                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Thomas Jr.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Jean  Ostnes,  Staff,  Representative  Craig  Johnson;  Steve                                                                   
Haagenson,  Energy  Coordinator,   Alaska  Energy  Authority;                                                                   
Representative  Craig   Johnson;  Sara  Fisher-Goad,   Deputy                                                                   
Director  of  Operations,  Alaska   Energy  Authority;  Emily                                                                   
Beatley,  Staff, Representative  Jay  Ramras; Doug  Wooliver,                                                                   
Administrative   Attorney,  Alaska   Court  System;   Michael                                                                   
Pawlowski, Staff,  Co-Chair Meyer; Sam Kito,  III, Facilities                                                                   
Engineer,  Department  of Education  and  Early  Development;                                                                   
Jason  Hooley, Special  Assistant, Office  of the  Lieutenant                                                                   
Governor.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jim  Hemsath,  Deputy Director,  Development,  Alaska  Energy                                                                   
Authority; Eric Yould, Energy  Consultant, Wood Canyon Group;                                                                   
Mike  Wright,   Golden  Valley   Electric  Association;   Tom                                                                   
Staudenmaier, Eagle River; Jerry  McCutcheon, Anchorage; Brad                                                                   
Evans,  Acting  Chief  Executive  Officer,  Chugach  Electric                                                                   
Association,    Inc.;   Uwe    Kalenka,   Chugach    Electric                                                                   
Association,  Inc.;  Paul D.  Kendall,  Anchorage;  Brigadier                                                                   
General  Thomas  Katkus, Commander,  Alaska  National  Guard;                                                                   
Quinlan   Steiner,   Director,    Public   Defender   Agency,                                                                   
Department of Administration.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 336    "An  Act directing the  Alaska Energy  Authority to                                                                   
          conduct  a study of and  to prepare a  proposal for                                                                   
          an appropriately sized  Susitna River hydroelectric                                                                   
          power  project;  and  providing  for  an  effective                                                                   
          date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          HB 336 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 344    "An  Act relating  to  distribution  of the  Alaska                                                                   
          Administrative   Code  and  Alaska   Administrative                                                                   
          Register; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          HB 344 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass" recommendation  and with zero fiscal  note by                                                                   
          the Office of the Governor.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HB 348    "An Act relating to  the adoption of regulations by                                                                   
          the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          HB 348 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 359    "An Act  relating to  probation and the  offense of                                                                   
          minor  consuming  or in  possession  or control  of                                                                   
          alcohol."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          HB 359 was HEARD and HELD in Committee for further                                                                    
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 373    "An  Act  extending  specified public  school  bond                                                                   
          debt reimbursement;  and providing for an effective                                                                   
          date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          HB 373 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                       
          pass"  recommendation  and with  new  indeterminate                                                                   
          fiscal  note  by the  Department  of Education  and                                                                   
          Early Development.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 336                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act  directing  the   Alaska  Energy  Authority  to                                                                   
     conduct  a study  of and  to prepare a  proposal for  an                                                                   
     appropriately  sized Susitna  River hydroelectric  power                                                                   
     project; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly introduced  Steve Haagenson,  the newly                                                                   
appointed  Energy  Coordinator  for Alaska  Energy  Authority                                                                   
(AEA).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JEAN OSTNES,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE CRAIG  JOHNSON (SPONSOR),                                                                   
explained HB 336, which authorizes  AEA to conduct a study of                                                                   
the Susitna  River hydroelectric power project.  She referred                                                                   
to  previous  studies done  in  1982  and 1983.  The  current                                                                   
fiscal note  for $1 million is  intended for the  first phase                                                                   
of the current study, Task Force 1.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:46:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  wanted to  know if AEA  was already  using an                                                                   
$880,000 allocation  to study  energy issues in  the Railbelt                                                                   
region. Ms.  Ostnes thought that  report would meld  with the                                                                   
study proposed  by HB  336. There  are engineers on  contract                                                                   
who can immediately  go to work. Co-Chair Meyer  asked if AEA                                                                   
would  still need  $1 million  in addition  to the nearly  $1                                                                   
million  already set  aside. He  asked if the  intent was  to                                                                   
also use  Railbelt energy fund  money for the  Susitna study.                                                                   
Ms. Ostnes replied that the Sponsor  wanted capital money but                                                                   
the source was not yet identified.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule supported  energy projects for  Alaska.                                                                   
His  concern about  the Railbelt  project is  that there  are                                                                   
other parts  of the  state that  need alternative energy.  He                                                                   
does not want the State to postpone  looking at other regions                                                                   
and  would prefer  to have  AEA look  at energy  alternatives                                                                   
that might impact places with higher energy costs.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:49:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Ostnes  believed  that  the  Sponsor  is  interested  in                                                                   
looking at  the issue state-wide  and hoped that  the project                                                                   
would affect the rest of the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Gara  voiced   concerns  about  building   a                                                                   
hydroelectric  project only  to  find out  later that  online                                                                   
energy  was cheaper.  He  referred  to the  five-phase  study                                                                   
("Estimate  for Susitna  Hydro-electric  Feasibility  Study,"                                                                   
Copy on  File), anticipated  to cost  a total of  $2,750.000.                                                                   
Ms. Ostnes  replied the  Sponsor felt  $1 million would  help                                                                   
the project move forward.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  wondered  how  much  of  the  work  done                                                                   
through past studies  is still relevant. Ms.  Ostnes referred                                                                   
to  a 1986  report by  Gordon  Harrison (Copy  on File)  that                                                                   
addresses  the financial  plan and  why it  didn't work.  She                                                                   
referred  to extensive  work that  had been  done that  needs                                                                   
updating. Vice-Chair Stoltze had  concerns about costs of the                                                                   
study.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:54:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE   HAAGENSON,   ENERGY    COORDINATOR,   ALASKA   ENERGY                                                                   
AUTHORITY,   spoke  in   support  of   HB  336.  He   defined                                                                   
hydroelectric  projects  as  stable-priced   power.  He  said                                                                   
sizing is critical and also having  the right water resources                                                                   
to  run  the  project.  He  thought  hydroelectric  would  be                                                                   
cleaner  and  cheaper.  The  bill will  allow  the  State  to                                                                   
evaluate the project to the next  level in order to determine                                                                   
whether to go  further. He felt the people  of Alaska deserve                                                                   
to  evaluate   hydroelectric  and   compare  it   with  other                                                                   
available technologies.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  asked what  percentage of the  population                                                                   
would  be  affected  by  the project.  Mr.  Hagensom  said  a                                                                   
significant portion of the population.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  asserted  the  need  to  look  at  all                                                                   
alternatives  for energy  in order  to strategically  develop                                                                   
Alaska's resources.  He wondered  if there were  alternatives                                                                   
outside the Railbelt.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Haagenson anticipated that  his general approach would be                                                                   
to meet  with all Alaskans and  ask them what they  think the                                                                   
solutions are  for technology and  fuel source. He  would try                                                                   
to  quantify the  demand for  power  that would  be used  for                                                                   
electricity, transportation  and heating, and  then determine                                                                   
the best options for each area of the state.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAIG JOHNSON,  SPONSOR, added that Susitna is                                                                   
not the  final answer, but one  of the pieces of  the puzzle.                                                                   
He has  been in  contact with  developers of mining  projects                                                                   
whose most glaring need is electricity.  He cited examples of                                                                   
plans the Susitna project would affect.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There  was  a  discussion  about  energy  rates  and  funding                                                                   
options.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  suggested  that  the  study  include  a                                                                   
comparison of  the price of  power under the  Susitna project                                                                   
with the  price of power under  a gas line project.  He asked                                                                   
about the  difference between  the $1  million on the  fiscal                                                                   
note  and   the  $2,750,000   cost  for   the  total   study.                                                                   
Representative Johnson clarified  that the study was meant to                                                                   
be  done  in  phases.  The  first  phase,  which  would  cost                                                                   
approximately $1 million, would  determine the feasibility of                                                                   
continuing the project.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:12:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA  FISHER-GOAD,  DEPUTY  DIRECTOR  OF  OPERATIONS,  ALASKA                                                                   
ENERGY  AUTHORITY,  viewed HB  336  as  a specific  study  of                                                                   
Susitna and explained  the costs of the phases  of the study.                                                                   
She referred  to Co-Chair  Meyer question  about the  earlier                                                                   
$800,000 study. She mentioned  alternative energy projects in                                                                   
rural Alaska.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:15:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara restated  his  question about  comparing                                                                   
the  prices of  different  types  of power.  Ms.  Fisher-Goad                                                                   
agreed those  comparisons need  to be done.  She said  the $1                                                                   
million fiscal  note responds to  the structure of HB  336. A                                                                   
Senate bill has a different approach.  If the Committee chose                                                                   
to amend  to include a broader  study, the fiscal  note would                                                                   
follow.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JIM  HEMSATH,  DEPUTY DIRECTOR,  DEVELOPMENT,  ALASKA  ENERGY                                                                   
AUTHORITY (Testified via teleconference),  explained that the                                                                   
$1 million  for Task  Force 1  would accomplish  a review  of                                                                   
existing information,  including  an engineering analysis  of                                                                   
what has  already been  done. This stage  of the  study would                                                                   
also look  for flaws,  update the  estimates, and update  the                                                                   
costs in  order to  understand what the  cost of  power would                                                                   
be. Task  Force 1 will  be able to  determine if  the Susitna                                                                   
project  is feasible.  If  the project  is  feasible, then  a                                                                   
comparative  study  of different  forms  of  energy would  be                                                                   
done. The  goal is to be  as focused as possible  to minimize                                                                   
capital expenditure.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  asked if part  of the goal of  the study                                                                   
is to update  past estimates to today's dollars.  Mr. Hemsath                                                                   
answered in the  affirmative, but added that  the study would                                                                   
also explore  changes in  technology and  code over  the last                                                                   
twenty years,  and take  a critical  look at the  engineering                                                                   
assumptions of the first studies.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  referred to the fiscal  note and asked                                                                   
for a budget  analysis of who  will be used in the  study and                                                                   
how much they would be paid.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:22:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hemsath  responded that  the million  dollar figure  is a                                                                   
cap.  His  experience leads  him  to  believe  a lot  can  be                                                                   
accomplished  for that amount  of money. At  AEA there  are a                                                                   
number  of  term  contracts put  in  place  specifically  for                                                                   
analysis  of  energy needs,  so  they  have the  capacity  to                                                                   
efficiently  develop the engineering  estimate in-house.  The                                                                   
million dollars would evaluate  what has been done and review                                                                   
it for changes in technology and  code that were not known in                                                                   
1983, including seismic activity.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Fisher-Goad assured  the Committee that in  the past, AEA                                                                   
has  used   appropriations  appropriately  and   with  fiscal                                                                   
responsibility.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:26:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  also  wanted   a  better  breakdown  of  the                                                                   
expenses and costs of the proposed project.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ERIC YOULD,  ENERGY CONSULTANT, WOOD CANYON  GROUP (Testified                                                                   
via  teleconference), spoke  in  support of  HB  336. He  had                                                                   
worked on the Susitna project  in the 1980s. He thought a new                                                                   
cost estimate is  important. In addition, the  State needs to                                                                   
look at  other energy projects  that could provide  energy to                                                                   
the   Railbelt,  specifically   coal,   natural  gas,   other                                                                   
hydropower projects,  geothermal, wind and tidal  options. In                                                                   
his opinion,  the alternative  assessment is critical  to the                                                                   
success  of the  Susitna  project. He  pointed  out that  the                                                                   
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  will require a study of                                                                   
alternatives  in  order  to  get   a  license.  The  National                                                                   
Environmental  Protection  Act   also  requires  a  study  of                                                                   
alternatives. Susitna  was withdrawn by the  governor in 1985                                                                   
because of the  costs of oil, which undermined  the economics                                                                   
of Susitna and  dried up excess revenue that  could have come                                                                   
to the State.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:32:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  wanted  information  on  the  fisheries                                                                   
impact  of the  project.  Mr.  Yould replied  that  extensive                                                                   
fisheries studies had been done.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:34:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE WRIGHT,  GOLDEN VALLEY  ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION  (Testified                                                                   
via teleconference),  spoke  in support  of HB 336.  Railbelt                                                                   
utilities  rely   heavily  on   fossil  fuels  for   electric                                                                   
generation.  The  volatile price  of  oil has  a  significant                                                                   
                                      2                                                                                         
impact on the cost of electricity.  COemissions  from burning                                                                   
fossil fuels are also a consideration.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TOM    STAUDENMAIER,     EAGLE    RIVER     (Testified    via                                                                   
teleconference),  advised  consolidating all  the  management                                                                   
systems, tying the grid together, and eliminating debt.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:39:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JERRY MCCUTCHEON,  ANCHORAGE (Testified via  teleconference),                                                                   
spoke  in  opposition  of  HB  336. He  listed  some  of  the                                                                   
problems with  past projects. He thought the  re-study should                                                                   
be done by the Army Corps of Engineers.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:45:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRADLEY  EVANS,  ACTING  CHIEF   EXECUTIVE  OFFICER,  CHUGACH                                                                   
ELECTRIC  ASSOCIATION, INC.  (Testified via  teleconference),                                                                   
testified  in  support of  HB  336.  He was  concerned  about                                                                   
dependence  on natural  gas and  thought  the current  system                                                                   
could not  continue to handle  energy needs in  the Railbelt.                                                                   
He supported  doing  a study to  find the  right answers  for                                                                   
diverse energy  sources. Chugach  has conducted many  studies                                                                   
regarding  alternative  energy that  they  would  be glad  to                                                                   
share with AEA.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
UWE KALENKA,  CHUGACH ELECTRIC  ASSOCIATION, INC.  (Testified                                                                   
via teleconference),  testified  in support  of the  bill. He                                                                   
was  concerned  about heavy  dependence  on natural  gas  for                                                                   
energy. He wanted  the range of energy  alternatives studied,                                                                   
including  the Susitna hydroelectric  project. He  maintained                                                                   
that the project is overdue.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:52:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL D.  KENDALL, ANCHORAGE  (Testified via  teleconference),                                                                   
spoke  in favor  of the  Susitna hydroelectric  project.   He                                                                   
suggested holding  a hearing to educate the  public on energy                                                                   
issues. Energy is a vitally important  issue. Leadership sets                                                                   
the tone. He recommended an incremental  expansion design for                                                                   
Susitna.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:01:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 336 was HEARD and HELD for further consideration.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 359                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to probation and the offense of minor                                                                     
     consuming or in possession or control of alcohol."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:02:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft for  HB 359 (25-                                                                   
LS1377\L, Luckhaupt,  2/22/08). There being NO  OBJECTION, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
EMILY BEATLEY,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE JAY  RAMRAS, (SPONSOR),                                                                   
explained HB 359. Under current  minor consuming statute, the                                                                   
Court is required to put a convicted  person on probation for                                                                   
one year  from the  date of conviction,  or until  the person                                                                   
reaches the age of 21, whichever  is later. Probation in this                                                                   
case is  automatic. House Bill  359 adds a new  section under                                                                   
statute  which gives the  courts the  authority to  terminate                                                                   
probation  of  those  convicted   of  minor  consuming  under                                                                   
certain conditions. Currently  minors under probation are not                                                                   
allowed  to enter  into the  military, which  has become  the                                                                   
largest issue  connected with HB 359. Other  individuals will                                                                   
benefit from the proposal.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara said the bill  terminates probation early                                                                   
but  does not  get  rid of  the  conviction.  He wanted  more                                                                   
information on how the military  views probation. Ms. Beatley                                                                   
said each  branch of the  military has different  issues with                                                                   
probation. A  person can't enlist  in the Marine Corps  as an                                                                   
alternative to probation, for example.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara asked how  long probation was for a minor                                                                   
consuming. Ms.  Beatley said minor consuming  does not become                                                                   
a class  B misdemeanor  until the third  offense, when  it is                                                                   
considered  habitual;  at  that   time  it  falls  under  the                                                                   
Division   of  Juvenile   Justice.  For   first  and   second                                                                   
consumers,  the probation  is mandatory  and lasts until  age                                                                   
21, which could be a very long  probation. The courts have no                                                                   
authority to terminate that probation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  pointed  out areas  that  he  thought                                                                   
needed amending  in the bill.  Of the criteria that  could be                                                                   
used to  lift the probation, he  had difficulty with  page 2,                                                                   
lines 14-15,  "continuance of  the probation which  interfere                                                                   
with  the  rehabilitation  and  growth  of  the  person."  He                                                                   
thought  the language  too  subjective  and indefinable.  Ms.                                                                   
Beatley replied that the language  intends to give discretion                                                                   
to the court in determining what  "rehabilitation and growth"                                                                   
would be.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  thought   the  line  preceding,  "The                                                                   
person has substantially  complied with the  other conditions                                                                   
of probation,"  would be sufficient.  If anything  was added,                                                                   
he  thought  it  should  be a  positive  statement,  such  as                                                                   
"Continuance of probation  would not be in the  best interest                                                                   
of the person."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  agreed  and asked  for  help  drafting  less                                                                   
subjective language.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:11:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  asked if the  bill applies to  repeat or                                                                   
also to  first offense. Ms.  Beatley replied that  it applies                                                                   
to first and second offenses.  The third offense is a class B                                                                   
misdemeanor and would fall under  Juvenile Justice; the first                                                                   
and second fall under district court.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  stated that he  also has a  problem with                                                                   
the language "rehabilitation" in the second to last line.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas  ruminated  over  how  young  soldiers                                                                   
should be dealt  with after coming home from a  tour of duty.                                                                   
He thought probation  on top of their other  difficulties was                                                                   
too much. Ms. Beatley  said that part of the  reason the bill                                                                   
came about was that good kids  make mistakes. The bill offers                                                                   
them a chance to apply for termination of probation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:14:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  THOMAS KATKUS, COMMANDER,  ALASKA NATIONAL                                                                   
GUARD (Testified  via teleconference), testified  in favor of                                                                   
HB 359.  Without the bill there  are no options for  a person                                                                   
with this history moving forward  into the military. A person                                                                   
on active  probation cannot join.  The bill gives  options to                                                                   
those who  may have made a  mistake early in life.  There are                                                                   
less people fully  qualified to join the military  because of                                                                   
early issues.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:17:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  wondered why the military  cares whether                                                                   
someone is  on probation for something  that is not  a crime,                                                                   
since first  and second offenses  are not criminal  offenses.                                                                   
Gen.  Katkus said  a  person cannot  be  on  probation for  a                                                                   
crime; the military reads this violation as a crime.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara wondered  if the  standard was  the same                                                                   
for all four  branches of the military. Gen.  Katkus said the                                                                   
National Guard abides by Army  standards. Representative Gara                                                                   
asked if there was any flexibility.  Gen. Katkus replied that                                                                   
the military  cannot waive regarding  probation. There  was a                                                                   
discussion about  conditions under which  criminal conviction                                                                   
could be waived.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN   STEINER,   DIRECTOR,    PUBLIC   DEFENDER   AGENCY,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION (Testified  via teleconference),                                                                   
spoke  in  favor  of  HB  359.   He  thought  it  would  have                                                                   
significant impact.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas  queried  what the  average  probation                                                                   
time was. Mr.  Steiner responded that probation  is automatic                                                                   
until  21   on  this  particular   offense.  If  it   were  a                                                                   
misdemeanor for  a juvenile for  some other kind  of offense,                                                                   
the probation could  vary. Co-Chair Meyer thought  this was a                                                                   
loophole  that needed  to be looked  at. Representative  Gara                                                                   
was amazed that  one drink could result in  a mandatory five-                                                                   
year probation.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:24:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker said  he  would work  on an  amendment                                                                   
with staff.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault referred to the fiscal notes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WOOLIVER, ADMINISTRATIVE  ATTORNEY, ALASKA COURT SYSTEM,                                                                   
said there was an error on one of the notes.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  wondered if there should be  a fiscal note                                                                   
from Department  of Health and Social Services  or Department                                                                   
of  Corrections.  Ms.  Beatley  said  the  bill  specifically                                                                   
targets first  and second offenders,  neither of  which falls                                                                   
under  Corrections  or Juvenile  Justice.  Co-Chair  Chenault                                                                   
wanted more information.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer said  fiscal note  #1 by  Judiciary could  be                                                                   
ignored.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  asked if  Public  Defenders  represents                                                                   
people  with first and  second minor  consuming charges.  Mr.                                                                   
Steiner answered that they do  not currently represent people                                                                   
because  the  statute  was  set  up that  way.  They  do  get                                                                   
inquiries.  Representative Gara  queried  whether any  public                                                                   
agency represents  the kids  if they do  not have  money. Mr.                                                                   
Steiner was not aware of any.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  questioned  the  legality  of  imposing                                                                   
probation  for something  that is  not a  crime. Mr.  Steiner                                                                   
replied that  it appears to be  legal. He referred to  a case                                                                   
where mandatory probations had been challenged.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB  359  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:29:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 348                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the adoption of regulations by the                                                                     
     Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 348 was SCHEDULED but not HEARD.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 373                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act extending specified public school bond debt                                                                        
     reimbursement; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:30:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI, STAFF, CO-CHAIR  KEVIN MEYER, explained HB                                                                   
373 as an extension of the existing  school bond debt program                                                                   
from November 2008 to November 2010.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  asked,  regarding  the  indeterminate                                                                   
fiscal note,  if there are other  bonds that might  require a                                                                   
similar  extension.  Mr.  Pawlowski said  several  bonds  are                                                                   
being modified at the local level.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer pointed out that  Anchorage district is unique                                                                   
in  that their  elections are  in  April, while  most are  in                                                                   
October.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SAM KITO, III,  FACILITIES ENGINEER, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION                                                                   
AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT, explained  that currently there are no                                                                   
pending  issues  impacted  by  not  extending  the  deadline.                                                                   
Anchorage  is the  only district  that  could potentially  be                                                                   
impacted if  the current  debt authorization extends  through                                                                   
November 2008.  If it  expired and  wasn't renewed  until the                                                                   
next Legislature, an April bond issue might be affected.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Thomas  asked   a  question  about  a  Juneau                                                                   
school.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:34:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker   MOVED  to  report  HB   373  out  of                                                                   
Committee  with individual recommendations  and attached  new                                                                   
indeterminate fiscal note by the  Department of Education and                                                                   
Early  Development.  There  being  NO OBJECTION,  it  was  so                                                                   
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB  373  was REPORTED  out  of  Committee  with a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation and with new indeterminate  fiscal note by the                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 344                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to distribution of the Alaska                                                                             
     Administrative Code and Alaska Administrative Register;                                                                    
     and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JASON  HOOLEY, SPECIAL  ASSISTANT, OFFICE  OF THE  LIEUTENANT                                                                   
GOVERNOR, explained  HB 344 as  an attempt to save  the State                                                                   
some money. The  bill allows local governments to  opt out of                                                                   
receiving  paper copies.  All the  material on  the paper  is                                                                   
available online;  that access is  not impacted by  the bill.                                                                   
The  Lt.  Governor's  Office currently  spends  over  $22,000                                                                   
annually  to  distribute  the   materials.  The  fiscal  note                                                                   
reflects uncertainty  regarding how many  municipalities will                                                                   
opt out.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:37:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer referred to the fiscal note.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault asked for clarity if SB 257 was the                                                                           
companion bill. Mr. Hooley replied that it was.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  Representative Hawker  MOVED to  report HB                                                                   
344  out of  Committee  with individual  recommendations  and                                                                   
with zero  fiscal note by the  Office of the  Governor. There                                                                   
being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 344 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                           
recommendation and with zero fiscal note by the Office of                                                                       
the Governor.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:38:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 3:39 PM.                                                                                           

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