Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/09/1994 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                          March 9, 1994                                        
                            1:15 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Brian Porter, Chairman                                                  
  Rep. Jeannette James, Vice Chair                                             
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Gail Phillips                                                           
  Rep. Joe Green                                                               
  Rep. Cliff Davidson                                                          
  Rep. Jim Nordlund                                                            
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  Confirmation of Attorney General appointee, Bruce Botelho                    
  HB 300:   "An Act relating to civil liability for commercial                 
            recreational activities; and providing for an                      
            effective date."                                                   
            CSHB 300(JUD) AMENDED AND MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                   
            WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS                                    
  HB 349:   "An Act providing for the civil commitment of                      
            sexually violent predators."                                       
            NOT HEARD                                                          
  HB 340:   "An Act prohibiting the furlough of sex                            
            NOT HEARD                                                          
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  BRUCE BOTELHO                                                                
  Attorney General Appointee                                                   
  Department of Law                                                            
  P.O. Box 110300                                                              
  Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                       
  Position Statement:  Addressed the committee                                 
  NANCY LETHCOE                                                                
  Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association                         
  P.O. Box 1353                                                                
  Valdez, AK  99686                                                            
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
  KAREN COWART                                                                 
  Executive Director                                                           
  Alaska Visitors Association                                                  
  3201 C St., Suite 403                                                        
  Anchorage, Ak  99503                                                         
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
  REP. BILL HUDSON                                                             
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol, Room 108                                                      
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  Position Statement:  Chair of Labor & Commerce Committee,                    
                       sponsor of HB 300                                       
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 300                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  05/06/93      1665    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  05/06/93      1665    (H)   L&C, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  09/10/93              (H)   L&C AT 09:00 AM CAPITOL 17                       
  02/24/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  02/24/94              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                      
  02/28/94      2544    (H)   L&C RPT  CS(L&C) 4DP                             
  02/28/94      2544    (H)   DP:  PORTER, GREEN, MULDER,                      
  02/28/94      2544    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM) 2/28/94                  
  03/09/94              (H)   JUD AT 01:15 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB 349                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PARNELL,Toohey,Olberg,Sanders,                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/07/94      2019    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                 
  01/10/94      2019    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/10/94      2019    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/13/94      2056    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  OLBERG                            
  01/26/94      2160    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  SANDERS                           
  02/07/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/07/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/09/94      2310    (H)   HES RPT  CS(HES)  5DP 2NR 2AM                    
  02/09/94      2310    (H)   DP:  KOTT, BUNDE, TOOHEY,                        
                              B.DAVIS, BRICE                                   
  02/09/94      2310    (H)   NR:  OLBERG, NICHOLIA                            
  02/09/94      2310    (H)   AM:  VEZEY, G. DAVIS                             
  02/09/94      2311    (H)   -3 FISCAL NOTES (DHSS, LAW,                      
                              ADM) 2/9/94                                      
  02/09/94      2311    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM) 2/9/94                   
  02/09/94      2328    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  BUNDE                             
  02/14/94              (H)   JUD AT 01:15 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  02/16/94              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                      
  03/09/94              (H)   JUD AT 01:15 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB 340                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PARNELL,Phillips,Toohey,                       
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/03/94      2016    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                 
  01/10/94      2016    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/10/94      2016    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/12/94      2043    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY, SANDERS                    
  01/13/94      2055    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  OLBERG                            
  03/02/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  03/02/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  03/04/94      2603    (H)   HES RPT  3DP 4NR 1AM                             
  03/04/94      2603    (H)   DP:  BUNDE, TOOHEY, BRICE                        
  03/04/94      2603    (H)   NR:  G.DAVIS, OLBERG, NICHOLIA,                  
  03/04/94      2604    (H)   AM:  VEZEY                                       
  03/04/94      2604    (H)   -FISCAL NOTE (CORR) 3/4/94                       
  03/04/94      2604    (H)   -3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DPS,                       
                              2-ADM) 3/4/94                                    
  03/04/94      2604    (H)   REFERRED TO JUDICIARY                            
  03/09/94              (H)   JUD AT 01:15 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 94-35, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order                   
  at 1:30 p.m., on March 9, 1994.  A quorum was present.                       
  Chair Porter announced there would not be a joint session of                 
  the House and Senate Judiciary Committee as the Senate was                   
  still in floor session.                                                      
  Number 014                                                                   
  BRUCE BOTELHO, Governor Hickel's designee for the Office of                  
  Attorney General, gave opening statements regarding what he                  
  felt was the responsibility of the attorney general, as well                 
  as what his personal priorities would be as attorney                         
  general.  His opening statements were as follows:                            
  I am honored to be appearing before you as Governor Hickel's                 
  designee for the Office of Attorney General.                                 
  It is the highest office to which a lawyer can aspire.  I                    
  have worked with or for seven other Alaska attorneys                         
  general.  Each have had different priorities.  Collectively                  
  they have had dramatically different personalities.  All                     
  have had different styles of doing business.  Yet, all of                    
  them shared these characteristics:                                           
       (1) high moral integrity;                                               
       (2) strong personal and professional judgments;                         
       (3) competence in their chosen profession;                              
       (4) an abiding love for their state: and                                
       (5) a strong allegiance to the rule of law.                             
  I hope I measure up.                                                         
  MR. BOTELHO went on to say the Office of Attorney General                    
  has statutory powers and outlined them as follows:                           
       The duty to appear for and to defend the state and its                  
       The right to control litigation and appeals.                            
       The right to intervene in legal proceedings on behalf                   
       of the public interest.                                                 
       The power to determine the state's legal policy.                        
       The authority to prosecute criminal activity.                           
  Number 203                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO noted that Alaska is one of only a few states                    
  with an appointed attorney general.  He said he supported                    
  that because it lessens the risk of politicizing the                         
  Department of Law and avoids duplication of services.  He                    
  went on to say that in addition to the Office of Attorney                    
  General, each department maintains its own counsel, and this                 
  system best guarantees a single legal policy of the state.                   
  MR. BOTELHO'S testimony continued as follows:                                
  I serve the governor - as his chief legal officer.                           
  Institutionally, I owe him, as the elected representative of                 
  the people, my loyalty.  Loyalty means to provide him the                    
  best legal advice that I and my department can render and to                 
  support his agenda in all ways consistent with the laws of                   
  this state and this nation.                                                  
  I regard this high office as a public trust to faithfully                    
  execute the laws, both prosecute and defend and, when                        
  exercising discretionary powers, to do so with impartiality.                 
  The governor has identified these priorities for our                         
       1. Resolution of the back taxes claimed against                         
  Alaska's petroleum industry.  In my mind these cases are the                 
  major single impediment to healthy relations between the                     
  industry and the state.                                                      
       2. Resolution of the mental health trust litigation                     
  that truly brings finality to this longstanding controversy.                 
       3. Continue to strengthen internal management with the                  
  Department of Law, a department made up of professionals                     
  dedicated to serving the justice.                                            
  In conclusion, MR. BOTELHO told the committee there were two                 
  questions he was most commonly asked regarding his political                 
  affiliation and how that may effect his relationship with                    
  the governor.                                                                
  MR. BOTELHO said he spoke to the governor and expressed two                  
  reservations regarding subject matters on which he and the                   
  governor disagreed.  He also spoke to the governor about                     
  potential political problems having a Democrat in his                        
  MR. BOTELHO said the governor responded by saying that he                    
  expected some disagreement and was not concerned about                       
  political affiliation.                                                       
  MR. BOTELHO went on to say that the way of dealing with any                  
  disagreements that may come up between himself and the                       
  governor are first the obligation of the attorney general to                 
  support the governor and secondly provide the best legal                     
  advice possible.  He went on to say that when working on a                   
  particular issue or case, there is a great deal of input                     
  from other attorneys within the department.                                  
  Number 444                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Botelho where his responsibility to his                 
  position would lie regarding opinion versus obligation.                      
  Number 465                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying that the attorney general                    
  and the attorney general's staff at times serve in two                       
  capacities, one being the objective purveyor of the best                     
  judgement about what the meaning of law to serve in the role                 
  of advocate.  He said the department provides information to                 
  the policy-makers and the role of the department is to allow                 
  the policy-maker to make the call, and when the call is                      
  made, advocate that position.  He reiterated the                             
  responsibility of the attorney general to the governor, as                   
  the embodiment of the people.                                                
  Number 489                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND congratulated Mr. Botelho on being appointed                   
  and said he supported his appointment.  He also pointed out                  
  to the committee that whatever disagreements may exist                       
  between the governor and the attorney general, do not                        
  necessarily reflect party affiliation.                                       
  REP. NORDLUND asked Mr. Botelho if he thought the mental                     
  health lands trust issue would be resolved this year.                        
  Number 517                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said that he was hopeful that the department                     
  would supply the legislature with legislation, that if                       
  enacted, would have closure on the issue.                                    
  Number 536                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS referenced the five characteristics that Mr.                   
  Botelho discussed in his opening comments and asked him to                   
  state his feelings about the philosophical and political                     
  differences between himself and the governor and how he                      
  would deal with this when presenting a defense.                              
  Number 554                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO restated his obligation to the governor and                      
  provided an example of these differences by noting the                       
  planned parenthood case suing the state of Alaska regarding                  
  certain abortion regulations.  Mr. Botelho said the                          
  department requested that those with any interest in                         
  defending the state participate in the defense of those                      
  regulations.  As a result of that request, a task force was                  
  established to deal with the issue.  He provided this as an                  
  example of how an attorney general can be most responsive                    
  regardless of personal views that may differ from the                        
  MR. BOTELHO further stated that he had not found a great                     
  many areas in which he disagreed with the governor.                          
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if Mr. Botelho would be joining a                        
  campaign effort for another gubernatorial candidate.                         
  MR. BOTELHO said he would not, that it would be                              
  REP. GREEN asked about oil export ban litigation regarding                   
  breach of contract.                                                          
  Number 610                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded as follows:                                            
  Mr. Chairman, the oil export ban, in terms of the arguments                  
  made on behalf of the state, certainly are "near the edge of                 
  the envelope" in terms of the arguments being made to the                    
  court.  I think the point Rep. Green is making is that there                 
  was a consideration for allowing TAPS (Trans Alaska Pipeline                 
  Service) to go forward promised that the national                            
  environmental policy be waived for the right-of-way.  The                    
  agreement was made provided there would be no exporting of                   
  North Slope oil.  I think it was a compelling argument and                   
  one that implicitly directed the court, although there are                   
  other very specific legal arguments that we made with regard                 
  to the discrimination of one state versus another.                           
  Certainly, the state was not a party to the agreement per                    
  se, although it participated in that result; so, it does                     
  pose some problems in terms of the state advancing the                       
  argument that it is going to hold the federal government to                  
  the contract with the state and yet we may not hold to ours.                 
  There is a degree of inconsistency.  We are advancing a                      
  legal theory which we think is an honest one and one which                   
  the court should consider.                                                   
  Number 648                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO concluded by saying he did not think it was an                   
  abuse of power to proceed with these lawsuits.                               
  Number 646                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Botelho who he would be working for                  
  outside the Department of Law.                                               
  Number 652                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying all negotiations have been a                 
  joint effort by the Department of Natural Resources and by                   
  the Department of Law in addition to three lawyers in-house,                 
  two lawyers on contract, as well as the staffs of various                    
  divisions within the Department of Natural Resources.                        
  MR. BOTELHO went on to say Commissioner Noah and himself                     
  have been keeping the governor and the chief of staff up-to-                 
  date with what is happening.  There is no person                             
  specifically assigned within the governor's office and no                    
  desire to as the governor has confidence in those handling                   
  the issue.                                                                   
  Number 669                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if Mr. Botelho would be running for                      
  legislative office next session.                                             
  Number 671                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded no.                                                    
  Number 685                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked Mr. Botelho, if he were asked to provide an                 
  opinion, as attorney general, that was very important to the                 
  administration and found that the position was not a good                    
  one to take, how would he deal with that?                                    
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying that the lawyer is not the                   
  policy-maker.  The job of the department is to provide good                  
  advice to indicate what the relative risks are in one course                 
  of action or an another.                                                     
  MR. BOTELHO said the responsibility of the Department of Law                 
  is to defend the position of an agency as long as it is                      
  within the reasonable boundaries of law.                                     
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Botelho what his opinion was regarding                  
  the back taxes received by the state from the industry.  In                  
  addition, he said there is an impression among the public                    
  that the alleged amount of money owed is the same as                         
  potential money available to the state rather than the fact                  
  that it being an amount of money in dispute.                                 
  Number 772                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying that currently the $5.5                      
  billion represents claimed taxes as well as interest.  He                    
  clarified that the 5.5 billion is a claim, not a debt owed.                  
  The job of the department is to pursue litigation, if                        
  necessary, and collect on what is, if deemed by the courts,                  
  owed to the state.                                                           
  Number 816                                                                   
  REP. JAMES aired a concern about settling tax disputes and                   
  said that she felt the claims should be settled without                      
  public scrutiny.  She asked Mr. Botelho if there was any                     
  reason that the state had to report the large amounts of                     
  potential awards to the public.                                              
  Number 834                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said there are competing policy interests.  The                  
  legislature has a policy stating that taxpayers, corporate                   
  or individual, have a qualified right to file and have those                 
  returns be treated as confidential, as well as any matter                    
  that arises from them.                                                       
  MR. BOTELHO also said he felt it was important that the                      
  public have a sense of the extent of the alleged obligation.                 
  He went on to say that the role the legislature is to                        
  provide in oversight as auditors of the executive branch as                  
  representatives of the public, and he felt that when dealing                 
  with tax matters they should be done in executive session.                   
  MR. BOTELHO further commented on Rep. James' concern of the                  
  policy issue of a taxpayer to have some reasonable certainty                 
  what the tax liability is.                                                   
  Number 885                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Mr. Botelho to describe his fiscal                       
  philosophy and his development philosophy regarding the                      
  development of Alaska's resources.                                           
  Number 889                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO described himself as a fiscal conservative and                   
  said he supported a reimposition of the personal income tax                  
  because he feels that those who pay for government will be                   
  more concerned about what the government does.  When                         
  describing the Department of Law budget he pointed out that                  
  their budget is larger, primarily as a result of the oil and                 
  gas component, which is directly targeted at bringing to                     
  conclusion some of the largest outstanding tax cases.  In                    
  other respects there is not much growth except in the                        
  criminal division, which is simply a maintenance budget.  If                 
  the legislature directs the department to cut expenses, it                   
  will do so.  He went on to say that he felt the                              
  responsibility of the department is to prioritize its                        
  TAPE 94-35, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO went on to say that over the years there has                     
  been an increasing focus on the retention of paralegals as                   
  opposed to lawyers and being able to separate out tasks that                 
  have been done by lawyers but which have been successfully                   
  undertaken by paralegals.  He also added that the department                 
  hired a person to be a full-time auditor on billings from                    
  outside counsel to make sure there is good management in                     
  that area.  With respect to the matter of development, MR.                   
  BOTELHO said Alaska has been and always will be a state                      
  whose well-being is directed by natural resources, some                      
  renewable, some nonrenewable.  In that regard he believes                    
  that development not only is necessary but one that can be                   
  done in great compatibility and sensitivity towards the                      
  Number 114                                                                   
  REP. GREEN, having referenced the issue of the death                         
  penalty, asked Mr. Botelho, if he had a position in one                      
  court, would that have any influence on prosecutorial                        
  decisions in another?                                                        
  Number 140                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said the attorney general does not interfere                     
  with the criminal justice system and the discretion which is                 
  permitted to the district attorneys to prosecute cases.  He                  
  went on to say that as a policy matter and as a personal                     
  religious conviction he opposed the death penalty, but if                    
  the legislature enacts the law the department had a                          
  responsibility to defend that.  If legislation were enacted,                 
  the district attorney would determine the course to take.                    
  He continued by saying he would not issue a directive that                   
  the state of Alaska would not seek the death penalty in any                  
  Number 180                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Botelho to discuss the effects of                    
  the suggested budget cuts made by the governor coupled with                  
  the potential passage of a package of crime bills.  He also                  
  asked for Mr. Botelho's personal priority and the governor's                 
  priority and other mandates and priorities.                                  
  Number 226                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying that any cuts the department                 
  would make would affect the civil division before the                        
  criminal division.  The department would look first at                       
  programs that should be cut in terms of laying off lawyers.                  
  He added that the cuts in the Department of Law are                          
  personnel cuts.                                                              
  MR. BOTELHO continued by saying the priorities of the                        
  department are dealing with health and safety issues, child                  
  proceedings and emergency situations.  In addition, Mr.                      
  Botelho stated that natural resource litigation is a                         
  priority of the department because of the impact both                        
  legally and financially to the state.                                        
  MR. BOTELHO further stated that cuts to the department would                 
  mean a delay in response to requests for opinions and/or                     
  projects.  In addition, the department would need to                         
  exercise more discretion when considering litigation.  As a                  
  result, the department would only be dealing with the most                   
  serious cases concerning health and safety issues.                           
  Number 322                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked what the trade-off would be using                        
  paralegals instead of lawyers.                                               
  Number 330                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO commented that paralegals do not appear in                       
  court.  The advantage of having paralegals is their ability                  
  to take on research responsibilities, thereby freeing up                     
  time for the attorneys so they can be in court.  He said                     
  there is time when there just is not enough support and                      
  though the department has not reached that level, it is                      
  possible considering the projected budget difficulties.                      
  REP. DAVIDSON aired a concern that the department is putting                 
  too much off on the deputy attorney general and asked if                     
  there was any way to compare the caseload of the deputy                      
  attorney general with an attorney in the private sector.                     
  Number 365                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said he could not answer that specifically but                   
  commented that in some sections of the department there are                  
  higher levels of stress and work load than in others.  He                    
  further commented that the human services area and the                       
  criminal division are the most stressful.                                    
  Number 405                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked what Mr. Botelho's opinion was about                     
  issuing opinions from the attorney general's office that may                 
  not be well received by the legislature and thereby                          
  presenting the potential of retribution in the form of                       
  budget cuts.                                                                 
  Number 420                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said that the department is expected to provide                  
  honest legal advise and though there are consequences of                     
  that, he had never experienced that type of coercion.  He                    
  further noted that the effectiveness of the attorney                         
  general's office is directly related to its integrity and                    
  the ability of its staff to give honest advice.                              
  Number 480                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER asked which of the pending cases involving the                  
  federal government did the state have a chance of prevailing                 
  Number 490                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO responded by saying the case involving the                       
  federal compact which provides for the 90/10 split from                      
  which the federal government has attempted to take out of                    
  our 90; their administrative costs would likely prevail.                     
  Number 500                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER asked Mr. Botelho if he thought that the oil                    
  and gas tax settlements would be resolved so that the state                  
  and industry will know what track they are on and so they                    
  can accurately predict what their tax obligation will be.                    
  Number 509                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said he felt there was a good likelihood of that                 
  happening and provided the example of the resolution of the                  
  oil royalty disputes with the industry.  He went on to say                   
  that Commissioner Rexwinkel, himself, and representatives of                 
  the industry were meeting in an attempt to resolve some                      
  problems and come to some common agreement on how the                        
  state's tax program should be structured.                                    
  Number 583                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER asked if the attorneys providing testimony to                   
  the legislature on behalf of the department reflect the                      
  opinion of that particular attorney.                                         
  Number 590                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO said that it depends on the issue and if it is a                 
  controversial issue or a priority of the governor, the issue                 
  will have been reviewed by the department and the governor's                 
  office and staff.  If the department was involved in the                     
  drafting of a particular piece of legislation, then the                      
  department provides a great deal of latitude for the                         
  attorneys who worked on that legislation to provide advice                   
  to the respective committees without having prior clearance                  
  from the attorney general, especially regarding areas of                     
  subject matter expertise.                                                    
  Number 634                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER commented that the committee should not then                    
  assume that the opinion of a particular attorney is                          
  necessarily that of the department or the administration.                    
  Number 638                                                                   
  MR. BOTELHO agreed with Chair Porter's comment.                              
  Number 643                                                                   
  REP. GREEN moved to confirm Mr. Botelho and pass with                        
  individual recommendation.  With no objection, it was so                     
  Number 660                                                                   
  HB 300 -  LIABILITY: COMMERCIAL RECREATION ACTIVITY                          
  CHAIR PORTER stated that HB 300 would be taken up next.                      
  Number 665                                                                   
  REP. BILL HUDSON, Chair of the House Labor & Commerce                        
  Committee, sponsor of HB 300, said the bill was developed                    
  upon the request of small tourism based businesses and other                 
  recreational organizations/businesses.                                       
  REP. HUDSON said that HB 300 would establish a balance of                    
  responsibility of those operating the activities, as well as                 
  those who participate in commercial recreational facilities.                 
  (Rep. Hudson read from a sponsor statement.)  For further                    
  clarification he quoted Section 2 from the sectional                         
  REP. HUDSON said that passage of this bill would reduce                      
  insurance premiums as well as reduce accidents.                              
  REP. HUDSON added that he had four amendments for the                        
  committee's consideration.                                                   
  Number 785                                                                   
  KAREN COWART, Alaska Visitors Association, testified in                      
  support of HB 300.  She said it is imperative for the                        
  recreational industry to allow growth and development.                       
  Currently, she said costs are rising greatly because of                      
  nuisance litigation, inhibiting the growth and expansion of                  
  businesses.  The passage of HB 300, by clarifying                            
  responsibility of the individual as well as business, would                  
  alleviate the high cost of liability insurance.                              
  Number 800                                                                   
  NANCY LETHCOE, President, Alaska Wilderness Recreation and                   
  Tourism Association, testified in support of HB 300 and the                  
  additional amendments offered by Rep. Hudson.                                
  MS. LETHCOE said that adventure travel and ecotourism                        
  businesses are growing at a rate of twenty percent a year.                   
  She went on to say that passage of HB 300 would guarantee a                  
  basic standard and professional expertise when working with                  
  REP. NORDLUND said he supported HB 300 because he felt that                  
  it would help make operations safer and help clarify the                     
  inherent risk involved in some of the stated recreational                    
  activities.  He asked if passage of HB 300 will help                         
  decrease insurance cost.                                                     
  Number 866                                                                   
  MS. LETHCOE responded yes and further stated that it was                     
  requested by the insurance company that her organization                     
  pursue legislation with regard to liability.  She went on to                 
  say that in other states with similar legislation studies                    
  show a decrease of 15-20% in insurance rates.                                
  TAPE 94-36, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 010                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked Ms. Lethcoe if she would follow up with                  
  him in the next year to see if passage of HB 300 did Affect                  
  insurance rates.                                                             
  REP. PHILLIPS commented on the high insurance rates she                      
  experienced as a private business owner.                                     
  Number 028                                                                   
  MS. LETHCOE added that many entrepreneurs have researched a                  
  potential business, have the professional training and                       
  financial capabilities to open and operate a business, but                   
  the cost of insurance is prohibitive.                                        
  CHAIR PORTER asked for a motion to adopt CSHB 300(JUD).                      
  Rep. James moved the motion.  CSHB 300(JUD) was adopted.                     
  REP. HUDSON discussed the amendments as follows:  on page 2,                 
  line 10, after "learn about" add "and expressly accepts"  to                 
  more specifically state that someone not only learns about                   
  but accepts.                                                                 
  Number 129                                                                   
  The committee discussed whether the wording should be                        
  "accept" rather than "accepts."  It was decided that                         
  "accept" was acceptable.                                                     
  Number 184                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked what the exact meaning of "expressly                     
  accept" and aired a concern that perhaps this wording would                  
  create more litigation than it would discourage.  He asked                   
  if it meant a written statement.                                             
  Number 202                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON said it was state of the art expression.                         
  With no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                  
  REP. HUDSON continued with Amendment 2, page 2, line 24,                     
  insert after (A) "fundamental."  This was a recommendation                   
  from outfitters and guide associations, the two underwriters                 
  of liability.                                                                
  Rep. Hudson said that line 2 would read "fundamental and                     
  inherent risks."  It would be impossible to explain all the                  
  inherent risks and by inserting fundamental would recognize                  
  that fact.                                                                   
  Number 216                                                                   
  Amendment 2 was moved and adopted without objection.                         
  Number 229                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON offered Amendment 3, page 2, line 25, delete                     
  "safely."  He said that it was brought to his attention that                 
  though an organization may make every effort to make a                       
  particular activity safe, safety can not be guaranteed.                      
  With Amendment 2 it clarifies the language in case of                        
  Number 250                                                                   
  REP. GREEN objected to the amendment for purposes of                         
  discussion.  He aired a concern regarding the potential                      
  shifting of responsibility to the operator.                                  
  Number 270                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND shared Rep. Green's concern.  He commented                     
  that removing "safely" did not really change anything.                       
  Number 294                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON said there is inherent risk involved in the type                 
  of activities addressed in HB 300.  A business or                            
  organization can educate and inform participants but cannot                  
  guarantee that the individual could "safely" participate.                    
  He further noted that if "safely" were left in, it may                       
  encourage litigation rather than discourage it.                              
  REP. JAMES supported the amendment and said that an                          
  individual could have all the appropriate equipment and                      
  skill but the activity could still be unsafe.                                
  Number 312                                                                   
  REP. GREEN noted that in the bill it says that an                            
  organization or business only has to "explain" the risks,                    
  not guarantee safety.                                                        
  Number 320                                                                   
  REP. JAMES, CHAIR PORTER and DANIELLA LOPER agreed with the                  
  concerns of Rep. Hudson.                                                     
  REP. GREEN maintained his objection to Amendment 3.  A roll                  
  call vote was taken.  Amendment 3 was adopted.                               
  Number 360                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON introduced Amendment 4, which lists types of                     
  activities that pertain to HB 300.                                           
  Number 396                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked if "adventure" could be included to cover                   
  types of activities.                                                         
  Number 405                                                                   
  MS. LETHCOE requested that "llama trips" be added to the                     
  Number 419                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND pointed out that the statement "...but not                     
  limited to" does not remove the legal problem.  He further                   
  noted that by establishing a listing, that listing elevates                  
  those activities to a greater level of validity and that by                  
  having a listing, it invites more potential litigation than                  
  it deters.                                                                   
  Number 432                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON asked the committee to address the amendment as                  
  written including the requests by Nancy Lethcoe to add                       
  "llama treks and dog sledding."                                              
  REP. GREEN commented that the amendment was getting into                     
  specifics and when doing that it creates exclusion.  He                      
  suggested the committee leave the listing out.                               
  REP. KOTT agreed with Rep. Green's comments.                                 
  MS. COWART asked if those participating in unsupervised                      
  activities would be included in the bill.                                    
  CHAIR PORTER said they would be included.                                    
  MS. COWART agreed that exclusion is better because of the                    
  fact that there are a growing number of new businesses with                  
  varying kinds of activities that may not be included in the                  
  list and thereby potentially forcing them to pay higher                      
  insurance rates because they would not be included in this                   
  REP. PHILLIPS reiterated that the bill states "...includes                   
  but not limited to."                                                         
  Number 504                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER said he felt there was enough on record                         
  describing the kinds of activities the bill addresses.  He                   
  further suggested the committee not adopt Amendment 4.                       
  Number 510                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER asked if there was further discussion.  Hearing                 
  none, he asked if there were objections.                                     
  Number 520                                                                   
  REP. GREEN maintained his objection.  A roll call vote was                   
  taken and Amendment 4 failed.                                                
  Number 526                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER asked if Rep. Hudson had any further comments                   
  on HB 300.                                                                   
  Number 528                                                                   
  REP. HUDSON said he was satisfied with the work the                          
  committee had done with HB 300.                                              
  Number 537                                                                   
  REP. JAMES motioned to move CSHB 300(JUD) with individual                    
  recommendations and zero fiscal note.  Without objection, it                 
  was so moved.                                                                
  Number 565                                                                   
  CHAIR PORTER announced that the committee would take up the                  
  continuation of HB 292 on Friday; and on Saturday, March 12,                 
  the committee would continue with the Friday schedule.                       
  CHAIR PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:40 p.m.                              
  HB 349 - NOT HEARD TODAY                                                     
  HB 340 - NOT HEARD TODAY                                                     

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