Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/24/1994 03:00 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                    HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE                                   
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 24, 1994                                      
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Rep. Bill Hudson, Chairman                                                   
  Rep. Joe Green, Vice Chair                                                   
  Rep. Brian Porter                                                            
  Rep. Bill Williams                                                           
  Rep. Eldon Mulder                                                            
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Rep. Joe Sitton                                                              
  Rep. Jerry Mackie                                                            
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  *HB 302:  "An Act excluding certain recreational activities                  
            sponsored by an employer from coverage provided                    
            under workers' compensation, unless participation                  
            is required as a condition of employment; and                      
            providing for an effective date."                                  
                                                                               
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
                                                                               
  HB 309:   "An Act relating to disposals of state land within                 
            five miles of the right-of-way of the Dalton                       
            Highway to a licensed public utility or a licensed                 
            common carrier."                                                   
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE                                        
                                                                               
  *HB 300:  "An Act relating to civil liability for commercial                 
            recreational activities; and providing for an                      
            effective date."                                                   
                                                                               
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
                                                                               
  *HB 413:  "An Act increasing excise taxes on cigarettes,                     
            tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages; and                     
            providing for an effective date."                                  
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE                                        
                                                                               
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  REP. MIKE NAVARRE                                                            
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                   
  465-3779                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Sponsor of HB 300                                       
                                                                               
  REP. GENE THERRIAULT                                                         
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                   
  465-4797                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Sponsor of HB 309                                       
                                                                               
  JERRY GALLAGER, Director                                                     
  Division of Mining                                                           
  Department of Natural Resources                                              
  P.O. Box 107016                                                              
  Anchorage, Alaska  99510-7016                                                
  762-2165                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 309                                        
                                                                               
  MICHAEL WALLERI                                                              
  Tanana Chiefs Conference Inc.                                                
  122 First Ave.                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                     
  452-8251                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Opposed CSHB 309                                        
                                                                               
  KEITH QUINTAVELL                                                             
  North Slope Borough                                                          
  P.O. Box 69                                                                  
  Barrow, Alaska  99723                                                        
  852-0320                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 309                                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
                                                                               
  EARL FINKLER                                                                 
  City of Barrow                                                               
  P.O. Box 629                                                                 
  Barrow, Alaska  99723                                                        
  852-5211                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 309                                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
                                                                               
  BART HENDERSON                                                               
  Gastineau Guiding Co./Chilkat Guides Ltd.                                    
  P.O. Box 170                                                                 
  Haines, Alaska  99827                                                        
  766-2491                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                                                                               
  KAREN COWART                                                                 
  Alaska Visitors Association                                                  
  3201 C Street, Suite 403                                                     
  Anchorage, Alaska  99503                                                     
  561-5733                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                                                                               
  BOB ENGELBRECHT                                                              
  Temsco Helicopters                                                           
  1650 Mudlesden Way                                                           
  Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                        
  789-9501                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                                                                               
  NANCY LETHCOE                                                                
  Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association                         
  P.O. BOX 1353                                                                
  Valdez, Alaska  99686                                                        
  835-4300                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
                                                                               
  PETE BUIST                                                                   
  P.O. Box 71561                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                     
  457-7189                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
  ERUK WILLIAMSON                                                              
  Alaska Wilderness Society                                                    
  12720 Lupine                                                                 
  Anchorage, Alaska  99516                                                     
  345-7678                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
                                                                               
  JACK KREINHEDER                                                              
  9850 Nine Mile Creek Road                                                    
  Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                        
  586-2405                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                                                                               
  MICHAEL JOHNSON, Staff                                                       
  Rep. Joe Sitton                                                              
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                   
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 300                                        
                                                                               
  LOREN JONES, Director                                                        
  Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse                                        
  Department of Health and Social Services                                     
  P.O. Box 110607                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska  99811-0607                                                   
  465-2071                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 413                                        
                                                                               
  GLEN RAY, Director                                                           
  Division of Public Health                                                    
  Department of Health and Social Services                                     
  P.O. Box 110610                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska  99811-0610                                                   
  465-3140                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 413                                        
                                                                               
  PAUL DICK                                                                    
  Income and Excise Audit Division                                             
  P.O. Box 110420                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska  99811-0420                                                   
  465-3691                                                                     
  Position Statement:  Provided information on HB 413                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 302                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: WORKERS COMP FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES                        
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) NAVARRE,Mulder                                 
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  05/06/93      1665    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  05/06/93      1665    (H)   L&C, STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                      
  02/24/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 309                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: DISPOSAL OF DALTON HWY RIGHT-OF-WAY LAND                        
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT,James                               
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/03/94      2007    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                 
  01/10/94      2007    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/10/94      2008    (H)   L&C, RESOURCES, FINANCE                          
  01/11/94      2034    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): JAMES                              
  02/22/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
  02/22/94              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                      
  02/24/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 300                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: LIABILITY: COMMERCIAL RECREATION ACTIVITY                       
  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                       
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB 413                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: INCREASE TOBACCO & ALCOHOL TAXES                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/28/94      2180    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/28/94      2180    (H)   L&C, STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                      
  01/28/94      2180    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (REV) 1/28/94                 
  01/28/94      2180    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/24/94              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                       
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-15, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON convened the meeting at 3:14 p.m.                            
  HB 302 - WORKERS COMP FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES                            
                                                                               
  Number 005                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE, Prime Sponsor of HB 302,                        
  offered the following sponsor statement for HB 302:                          
                                                                               
  House Bill 302 offers a solution to recreational sponsorship                 
  by saying that as long as the participation is voluntary and                 
  not a condition of employment, then no workers' compensation                 
  liability extends to the employer/sponsor.                                   
                                                                               
  Recent interpretations of law have placed generous Alaska                    
  employers in jeopardy concerning team sponsorships.                          
  Recreational activities funded by an employer, according to                  
  court interpretation, implies liability for injury that                      
  occur while the employee is participating in an optional                     
  recreational activity.  For example, an employer supplies                    
  uniforms, umpiring fees, field rental fees or other team                     
  related items.  The courts have treated that involvement as                  
  an employer-sanctioned activity.  The result has been that                   
  many employers are reluctant to increase their risk and                      
  legal exposure for a recreational activity and are less                      
  likely to support recreational leagues throughout Alaska.                    
                                                                               
  Number 059                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER moved HB 302 with individual recommendations and                 
  zero fiscal notes.  No objections were heard; it was so                      
  ordered.                                                                     
  HB 309 - DISPOSAL OF DALTON HWY RIGHT-OF-WAY LAND                            
                                                                               
  Number 076                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, Prime Sponsor of HB 309,                     
  read the following sponsor statement into the record:                        
                                                                               
  This legislation seeks to address a problem recently brought                 
  to my attention concerning land disposals along the Dalton                   
  Highway.  State statutes currently prohibit disposing of                     
  state land within five miles of the right of way of the                      
  Dalton Highway for anything other than oil and gas leases or                 
  for oil and gas exploration, development, productions or                     
  transportation north of 68 degrees north latitude.  Also                     
  prohibited are materials sales for anything other than oil                   
  and gas related activities or for reconstruction or                          
  maintenance of the highway north of 68 degrees north                         
  latitude.  The prohibition prevents a private telephone                      
  company, which is seeking land in order to expand services                   
  to Coldfoot, from obtaining the necessary acreage.  This                     
  legislation would solve the problem and authorize the                        
  Department of Natural Resources to dispose of land to a                      
  licensed public utility or a licensed common carrier.                        
                                                                               
  After proposing legislation to address the communications                    
  issue, I was made aware of larger problems concerning leases                 
  within the entire Dalton Highway corridor, which affect both                 
  the DNR and the Department of Transportation and Public                      
  Facilities.  Since August, 1992, more than 650,000 acres of                  
  land at selected sites along the corridor have been                          
  transferred to the state from BLM.  The land selections                      
  encompass several existing BLM leases.  Because DNR does not                 
  have the authority to renew these leases taken over from the                 
  federal government, the state's ability to manage the land                   
  in the future is at jeopardy.  DNR is also prohibited from                   
  removing or disposing of gravel, which is required for                       
  improving the airport at Deadhorse.  Also affected is the                    
  Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, which                    
  recommends that the bill be amended to allow disposal of                     
  state land and materials for construction, improvement and                   
  maintenance of public facilities.  Such an amendment would                   
  facilitate work on corridor airports, service roads, access                  
  roads and waysides, as well as the entire length of the                      
  Dalton Highway.                                                              
                                                                               
  In response, I have respectfully submitted a sponsor                         
  substitute that would allow for nonresidential development                   
  within "development nodes" such as Coldfoot and Happy                        
  Valley.  It would also allow for land and materials disposal                 
  for reconstruction or maintenance of state highways and                      
  construction or maintenance of airports.                                     
                                                                               
  I urge your favorable vote on this very important                            
  legislation.  Thank you.                                                     
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT stated that he has worked with the                           
  department to define what is a development node and how much                 
  land is being discussed.  The result was to put into statute                 
  specific property descriptions to allay any concerns that                    
  this bill was designed to open up the whole Dalton highway.                  
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT added that currently, for example, in                        
  Coldfoot the Department of Natural Resources can allow the                   
  Department of Transportation to take gravel by simply                        
  maintaining the section of the road around Coldfoot.                         
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER moved adoption of the CS for HB 309.  No                         
  objections were heard; it was so ordered.                                    
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT noted that his intent with HB 309 is to                      
  address the communications question.  He stated that there                   
  is a private communication provider that would like to                       
  expand services.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 200                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked the sponsor to run through the                         
  differences between the original bill and the CS.                            
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT said that initially HB 309 only dealt with                   
  the communications issue and the CS expands to the                           
  description of the development nodes, which clearly outlines                 
  what property development could take place in.  The CS also                  
  clarifies the access to materials.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 212                                                                   
                                                                               
  JERRY GALLAGER, Director, Division of Mines, Department of                   
  Natural Resources, testified in support of HB 309.  Mr.                      
  Gallager stated that the department does not believe the                     
  language of HB 309 is not a broad opening of activities on                   
  the Haul road; it simply recognizes generally what is                        
  currently happening.  It will allow the department to                        
  provide for the continuation of these activities.                            
                                                                               
  MR. GALLAGER said that the BLM has given very limited land                   
  along the haul road.  They have given certain permits and                    
  leases that the state is prohibited from renewing in most                    
  cases under AS 19.  This bill would allow for renewals or                    
  grant new authorizations for maintenance of airports and                     
  some other activities.                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 242                                                                   
                                                                               
  MIKE WALLERI, General Council, Tanana Chiefs Conference,                     
  testified against CSHB 309.  The conference did not oppose                   
  the original bill and did not have any problems with the                     
  majority of the sponsor's intentions.  The conference                        
  believes there are needs for telecommunications, a need for                  
  the department to manage its existing leases its inherited,                  
  a need for gravel on the road, and a strong need for safety.                 
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI stated that the Chiefs' concern is that the CS                   
  is overly broad and that it would open up the haul road to a                 
  unregulated amount of development.                                           
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI stated that the corridor is a critical part of                   
  the state of Alaska.  The current laws are a product of past                 
  legislatures balancing environmental issues, subsistence                     
  issues and industrial development of the North Slope.                        
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI explained that the development node concept                      
  comes out of a BLM plan that was adopted by the prior                        
  federal administration.  This invoked litigation against the                 
  BLM.  The BLM adopted the Resource Management Plan, RMP,                     
  which identified the development of development nodes and                    
  encouraged them.                                                             
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI noted that due to the litigation referenced                      
  above and its subsequent settlement, the BLM has undertaken                  
  a comprehensive review of the RMP.  Mr. Walleri believes if                  
  the state relies on the prior plan, which may not be valid,                  
  the state may find itself in another controversy creating                    
  inholdings in federal enclaves.                                              
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI stated the major problem with the committee                      
  substitute is nonresidential disposals.  He added that the                   
  history of nonresidential settlement in Alaska has been                      
  residential in effect.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI suggested deletion of that section of the                        
  committee substitute.  He added that everything the                          
  department said it wanted to do in that area could be done                   
  without this section.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 353                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT asked Mr. Walleri if that would allow the                    
  department to renew or renegotiate BLM leases.                               
                                                                               
  Number 363                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WALLERI said it may be necessary to amend the bill to                    
  cover that issue, but he added that the bill is much broader                 
  than that.  It does not address existing nonresidential                      
  uses.  He added that the Chiefs do not have any problem with                 
  what is going on in the corridor now, but they don't want to                 
  see a massive land disposal that would cause additional                      
  problems.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 373                                                                   
                                                                               
  KEITH QUINTAVELL, North Slope Borough, testified via                         
  teleconference on HB 309.  Mr. Quintavell stated that he                     
  understood the committee to be looking at the committee                      
  substitute for SB 210.  Mr. Quintavell stated that the                       
  section of the bill that provided for disposal of land under                 
  38.05.810(e) was supported by the borough.  That section                     
  clearly states that when public utilities or common carriers                 
  demonstrate need for land can obtain land in this manner.                    
  This serves the public interest.                                             
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL further stated that the section providing for                 
  the maintenance and construction of airports and highways is                 
  also in the public interest.                                                 
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL, North Slope Borough, testified against the                   
  inclusion of developmental nodes.                                            
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL stated that the North Slope Borough has                       
  municipal land selections under Title 29 at Deadhorse,                       
  Franklin Bluffs and Happy Valley.  The North Slope Borough                   
  interprets the prohibitions on 19.40.200 to exclude Title 38                 
  types of disposals.  Mr. Quintavell said the borough feels                   
  that if there is a desire to allow development at these                      
  areas, the simplest way to accomplish it would be to convey                  
  the land selections noted above to the North Slope Borough.                  
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL noted that the Department of Natural                          
  Resources in Fairbanks has told the borough that they cannot                 
  convey the land along the haul road that have been selected                  
  under Title 29 because of the prohibition in 19.40.200.  The                 
  department has asked for the borough's support in lifting                    
  the prohibitions on all Title 38 types of disposals.  In                     
  January, the borough asked the commissioner of Natural                       
  Resources for clarification on 19.40.200.  The borough feels                 
  that this provision clearly states that the state is not to                  
  dispose of land under Title 38 not Title 29.  Therefore,                     
  they do not understand why the state does not convey to the                  
  borough their land selections.                                               
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL said that the State of Alaska has not                         
  produced a land use plan required under 38.04.065.  The                      
  borough supported a plan before and land disposals.                          
                                                                               
  Number 433                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT asked Mr. Quintavell, if those selections                    
  went through, would the North Slope want to sell gravel                      
  products from your land?                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 440                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL responded that the North Slope would be                       
  interested in selling gravel, as well as providing other                     
  facilities; i.e., a truck stop, etc.                                         
                                                                               
  MR. QUINTAVELL added that the North Slope Borough does not                   
  believe that enacting new legislation was necessary for this                 
  type of development to take place.  This development could                   
  take place under existing laws by conveying lands to the                     
  North Slope Borough under Title 29 and allowing the                          
  development to proceed in that fashion.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 455                                                                   
                                                                               
  EARL FINKLER, City of Barrow, testified via teleconference                   
  against HB 309.  Mr. Finkler stated the city supports the                    
  borough in opposition to the opening of the road, and stated                 
  concerns about the comprehensive planning regarding the road                 
  by all parties involved.                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. FINKLER stated that he asked, at the last hearing, if                    
  there would be any impacts of this legislation on the                        
  original purpose of the restrictions.  He stated that his                    
  understanding was that those restrictions were put in to                     
  preserve maximum opportunity for the efficient                               
  transportation and support of oil and gas development.                       
                                                                               
  MR. FINKLER added that the City of Barrow has long been                      
  concerned about some other state disposals, in particular,                   
  the Barrow airport and adjacent construction sites for the                   
  airports.  The city would like to see the state get back to                  
  these issues before they deal with too many other land                       
  disposal issues.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 475                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated that the whole issue of land disposal                 
  currently tied up in the mental health trust litigation is                   
  gaining attention by the administration and he is hopeful                    
  some of these issues will be settled.                                        
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if Mr. Quintavell would put together a                 
  short position paper with suggestions on how the legislation                 
  can accommodate those points not in dispute and satisfy the                  
  concerns he brought up.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 495                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked the sponsor if the committee should                    
  look for an amendment that would accommodate the concerns                    
  presented.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT responded that he did not have a problem                     
  with changing the language, as long as the end result is the                 
  same.  He noted that Mr. Walleri suggested that a section                    
  could be deleted and still achieve all the goals, and he                     
  would like further information on this.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 509                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GALLAGER disagreed that Mr. Walleri's assessment.  Mr.                   
  Gallager believed that the language on page, 1, line 13, was                 
  needed in order to dispose of gravel; and to issue longer                    
  term leases and whatever is necessary for development along                  
  the haul road.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 515                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked that Rep. Therriault and Mr. Gallager                  
  obtain the necessary information from the City of Barrow and                 
  the North Slope Borough and put together a revised draft                     
  that satisfies the interests and concerns.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 532                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. THERRIAULT noted that SB 210 is a similar bill and he                   
  thought it had passed the Senate and was being transmitted                   
  to the House.  He stated it was his intent to use SB 210 as                  
  a vehicle and work with the sponsor, Sen. Sharp to seek                      
  passage.                                                                     
  HB 300 - LIABILITY: COMMERCIAL RECREATION ACTIVITY                           
                                                                               
  Number 542                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON brought up HB 300, sponsored by the House                    
  Labor & Commerce Committee, read the following sponsor                       
  statement for the record:                                                    
                                                                               
  The Adventure Travel Society estimates that adventure travel                 
  and ecotourism segments of the travel industry are growing                   
  at a rate of 20% a year.  The economic contributions of                      
  Alaska's wilderness based tourism, while undocumented, are                   
  undoubtedly important.  AWRTA estimates that there are over                  
  2,000 natural resource dependent tourism businesses in                       
  Alaska.  Although few of these businesses employ upwards of                  
  50 people, many are small, supporting or contributing to the                 
  income of only a few families.  They are, however, Alaskan-                  
  based and vital to local employment.  Unlike larger                          
  recreational outfits, these businesses keep their dollars in                 
  Alaska.  They purchase their goods here, employ local                        
  residents, remain in-state, and spend the dollars they make                  
  here, thus providing both economic  diversity and stability                  
  to many communities.                                                         
                                                                               
  Many of these small businesses, however, are facing an                       
  uncertain future due to the high costs associated with                       
  insurance premiums and operation of such businesses.  In                     
  order to encourage the continuance and survival of                           
  increasingly popular outdoor recreational activities, some                   
  kind of structure is needed to assure that both operators                    
  and participants become knowledgeable of, and assume                         
  responsibility for inherent risks.  House Bill 300 was                       
  introduced to establish the responsibilities of persons who                  
  operate and participate in commercial recreational                           
  activities.  HB 300 in no way relieves recreational                          
  businesses/operators from liability.  It simply establishes                  
  a framework that may help in the litigation process by                       
  stating that the state has recognized your responsibilities                  
  and sends the message that steps have been taken to educate                  
  both the operator and participant as to these                                
  responsibilities.  While insurance premiums are based on                     
  many factors, including one's history of claims, similar                     
  legislation in Colorado has had the effect of lowering                       
  insurance premiums 15 to 20 percent.                                         
                                                                               
  HB 300 establishes a balance of responsibility between                       
  operators and participants, without diminishing the                          
  responsibility of wither party.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 572                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated there are three amendments to HB 300                  
  for consideration:                                                           
                                                                               
  1) Page 2, line 13, adds that participants are responsible                   
  for their children who are under the age of 18.  This                        
  amendment was is in response to concerns that there                          
  sometimes the assumption  on the part of parents that they                   
  are off duty because they are on vacation.  It would also                    
  clarify that operators responsible for ensuring the safety                   
  of all their clients does not absolve parents from their                     
  responsibilities as parents.                                                 
                                                                               
  2) Page 2, line 24, requires employees who are in contact                    
  with participants to be trained in CPR as a minimum standard                 
  of first aid which operators will be responsible.                            
                                                                               
  3) Page 3, lines 2 to 4, deletes the definition of premises.                 
                                                                               
  Number 594                                                                   
                                                                               
  BART HENDERSON, Chilkat Guides of Haines, testified in                       
  support of HB 300.  Mr. Henderson stated that not only are                   
  insurance premiums going up, but the number of carriers is                   
  decreasing rapidly.  He noted that his business is mostly                    
  rafting and there are only two choices in the United States                  
  of insurance carriers.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. HENDERSON added that many of the ecotourism businesses                   
  rely on the cruise ships to pre-sell the trips.  Many of the                 
  frivolous cases brought against his type of business also                    
  name as many of the deep pockets they can find, like the                     
  cruise lines.  When this happens, the cruise line industry                   
  becomes hesitant to sell any trips on board that have                        
  inherent risk involved.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 624                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Henderson if HB 300 passed did he have                  
  any information that would imply that insurance rates would                  
  come down.                                                                   
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-15, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
  KAREN COWART, Alaska Visitors Association (AVA), testified                   
  in support of HB 300.  Ms. Cowart stated that the                            
  association is extremely concerned regarding the rising cost                 
  of liability insurance.  The AVA believes HB 300 is a win-                   
  win situation because it protects both client and business.                  
                                                                               
  Number 050                                                                   
                                                                               
  BOB ENGELBRECHT, Temsco Helicopters, testified in support of                 
  HB 300.  He stated HB 300 basically clarifies what the                       
  responsibilities are for participants and operators.  Mr.                    
  Engelbrecht dittoed Mr. Henderson's testimony regarding the                  
  inherent risk in the ecotourism business.                                    
                                                                               
  MR. ENGELBRECHT noted that sometimes a claim against his                     
  company is not high enough for the insurance industry to                     
  fight, so they settle and raise premiums.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 103                                                                   
                                                                               
  NANCY LETHCOE, President, Alaska Wilderness Recreation and                   
  Tourism Association (AWRTA), testified via teleconference in                 
  support HB 300.  She said HB 300 establishes the                             
  responsibilities of tour operators and participants.  It                     
  increases the safety of commercial recreational activities                   
  through better preparedness on the part of tour operators to                 
  respond to a medical situation and increased awareness by                    
  trip participants of the inherent risks.  The bill reduces                   
  the likelihood of frivolous suits, which are becoming a                      
  significant problem in the industry elsewhere.  At AWRTA's                   
  annual meeting last year, a representative from AWRTA's                      
  group insurance company gave several examples of insurance                   
  scams that "tourists" are running in other states.                           
                                                                               
  MS. LETHCOE said other states, including Wisconsin and                       
  Colorado, have passed similar legislation.  It has resulted                  
  in significant reductions in insurance premiums.  Insurance                  
  premiums in Alaska are extremely high for small tour                         
  operators.  Alaska Wilderness Sailing Safaris pays about $10                 
  a day per person in insurance costs for guests to walk in                    
  the Chugach National Forest.  This is in addition to                         
  insurance for the time they spend sailing.  For Alaskan                      
  commercial recreation businesses to remain competitive                       
  price-wise with other states, they must have comparable                      
  insurance rates.                                                             
                                                                               
  MS. LETHCOE added that her organization advocates an                         
  amendment to the bill on page 3, Section 3, that the                         
  definition of recreational activity be expanded to include                   
  hunting, dog sledding and long trips.                                        
                                                                               
  On behalf of their 230 business members, MS. LETHCOE                         
  encouraged the committee to pass this bill out of committee                  
  as soon as possible.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 207                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON advised that the staff attorney has informed                 
  the committee that they should resist the temptation of                      
  expanding the definition.  He noted that it may be better to                 
  not list anyone so as not to preclude anyone.                                
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON added that he had received a suggestion that                 
  the committee amend the section to read, "a supervised                       
  commercial outdoor activity, undertaken for the purpose of                   
  exercise, relaxation or pleasure."                                           
                                                                               
  Number 237                                                                   
                                                                               
  PETE BUIST, professional member of the Big Game Commercial                   
  Services Board, representing himself, testified via                          
  teleconference in support of HB 300.  He thought the new                     
  definition suggested above would include hunting.  Mr. Buist                 
  added that the hunting/guiding business has had relatively                   
  few accidents, but the legislature in 1988 required the                      
  hunting guides to carry a relatively high and expensive                      
  level of liability insurance.  Mr. Buist noted that at that                  
  time his insurance went from $800 a season to over $2,500 a                  
  season while guiding three or four clients and not using an                  
  airplane.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 290                                                                   
                                                                               
  ERUK WILLIAMSON, a registered guide/outfitter, represents                    
  hunting and sport fishing on the board of directors of the                   
  Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association,                        
  addressed the committee via teleconference and strongly                      
  urged passage of HB 300.                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. WILLIAMSON believed HB 300 would clarify what the                        
  responsibilities are between client and operator and would                   
  result in insurance companies lowering liability premiums.                   
                                                                               
  MR. WILLIAMSON added that he also supports the deletion of                   
  specifically naming the types of recreational activities                     
  mentioned by the chairman earlier.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 311                                                                   
                                                                               
  JACK KREINHEDER, representing himself as a consumer,                         
  testified in support of HB 300.  He noted the amount of                      
  insurance the providers of recreational opportunities have                   
  to pay ultimately gets passed on to the consumer.  He said                   
  HB 300 would be beneficial to both consumer and provider.                    
                                                                               
  Number 335                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked the committee to consider adoption of                  
  the three amendments he mentioned earlier:                                   
                                                                               
  Amendment 1:  on page 2, line 13, after "person" insert                      
  "participants children;" and on page 2, line 31, insert a                    
  new paragraph to read, "Children means persons under 18                      
  years of age" and renumber the paragraphs.                                   
                                                                               
  No objections were heard, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  Amendment 2:  on page 2, lines 24 and 25, delete "basic                      
  first aid" and insert "CPR."                                                 
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER suggested that the committee add the requirement                 
  of CPR to the requirement of basic first aid not in lieu of.                 
                                                                               
  Number 370                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. LETHCOE stated that her group would like to keep the                     
  basic first aid requirement, but understood the importance                   
  of CPR for certain types of activities.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 390                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. HENDERSON stated that "basic first aid" should really be                 
  called Red Cross Basic First Aid as that was a title that                    
  you could be certified in.  He said these programs have a                    
  required number of hours of study to receive certification.                  
                                                                               
  Number 425                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER suggested that the committee add CPR to basic                    
  first aid or define it further.  If the committee does not                   
  define it further, then the issue will get litigated.                        
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON suggested a modification to the amendment to                 
  just add CPR to the requirement of basic first aid.                          
                                                                               
  Number 446                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER stated that requiring all employees to have this                 
  kind of training might be overkill.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 453                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER believed that the language "first aid training"                  
  and "CPR" training would give a general background and a                     
  specific background that would cover most circumstances.                     
                                                                               
  Number 486                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER suggested using "basic first aid" as a minimum,                  
  because it is definable as a minimum.  He expressed concern                  
  that by taking the word "basic" out it might be expected                     
  that a more advanced level of training is necessary                          
  depending on the circumstances.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 495                                                                   
                                                                               
  MICHAEL JOHNSON, staff to Rep. Sitton, stated that a working                 
  group on HB 300 met and had trouble with this issue as well.                 
  He stated that one particular standard you set may not be                    
  available or appropriate in all areas.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER suggested that the committee leave the language                  
  at "basic first aid" and work it out in the Judiciary                        
  Committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 505                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER moved Amendment 2 as amended.  No objections                     
  were heard, it was so ordered.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 510                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER moved Amendment 3, page 3, lines 2 to 4, and                     
  delete all the material in between.  No objections were                      
  heard, it was so ordered.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 522                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked the committee to consider Amendment 4:                 
  on page 3, line 6, after the word "pleasure" delete language                 
  until line 9.  The concern is that by listing the activities                 
  as it is in the current bill the legislation might                           
  inadvertently exclude something.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 531                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER expressed concern that the language in this                      
  section might not include hunting and fishing.                               
                                                                               
  Number 564                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. PORTER expressed concern with the term "supervised"                     
  that appears on line 5.  He felt that if a client is not                     
  under immediate observation by the guides and something                      
  happens, it could be litigated.                                              
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON read Amendment 4 as amended - "recreational                  
  activities means a commercial outdoor activity undertaken                    
  for the purpose of hunting, sport fishing, exercise,                         
  relaxation or pleasure."  No objections were heard, it was                   
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 590                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER moved HB 300 as amended, with fiscal notes and                   
  individual recommendations.  No objections were heard, it                    
  was so ordered.                                                              
  HB 413 - INCREASE TOBACCO & ALCOHOL TAXES                                    
                                                                               
  Number 619                                                                   
                                                                               
  LOREN JONES, Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse,                          
  Department of Health and Social Services, testified in                       
  support of HB 413.  Mr. Jones stated that HB 413 does raise                  
  the alcohol tax significantly.  The Division of Alcoholism                   
  is interested in HB 413 and its potential effect on the                      
  consumption of alcohol.  Alaska currently ranks currently                    
  ranks fourth in the nation in the consumption of alcohol.                    
                                                                               
  MR. JONES noted that the last time the tax was raised was                    
  1983 and consumption has gone down from that year until this                 
  year when consumption went back up.  Mr. Jones stated that                   
  the tax increase of 1983 had a significant influence on the                  
  decrease of consumption, and that inflation may be coming                    
  into play with the increase we are seeing now.                               
                                                                               
  MR. JONES told the committee that the increase tax may have                  
  some affect on the consumption of alcohol by youth.                          
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-16, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. JONES concluded by saying it was the Division of                         
  Alcohol's belief that HB 413 will decrease consumption and                   
  combat some of the impacts of alcohol abuse.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 010                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Mr. Jones what the Division's annual                   
  budget was at this time.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 013                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. JONES replied 21 million -- 12% general fund money, 85%                  
  mental health trust land money, and the rest from the                        
  federal government.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 015                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER asked if there was any statistical information                   
  that would verify the supposition that increased price would                 
  decrease usage.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 020                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. JONES showed the committee a graph that tracked usage                    
  from 1981 to present.  The graph clearly showed a decrease                   
  in consumption after the tax increase in 1983.                               
                                                                               
  Number 025                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked how that corresponded to population                    
  growth.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 031                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. JONES replied that the population has increased.                         
                                                                               
  Number 036                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER asked if there were other influences around that                 
  time that may have affected the consumption of alcohol.                      
                                                                               
  Number 050                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. JONES replied that in the 1980's tougher legislation on                  
  drunk driving was passed; there was increased prevention in                  
  the schools; drug free school money came from the federal                    
  government; and prevention among youth and education for                     
  adults were a priority.  Mr. Jones added that the increased                  
  tax on alcohol in 1983 was not the only factor in the                        
  decrease in consumption, but he believed it was an important                 
  one.                                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 070                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER stated that if the point of the legislation was                  
  to raise revenue, this was a good way; but if it was to                      
  deter alcohol use, he didn't believe it was effective.                       
                                                                               
  REP. MULDER added for the record, if this tax was approved,                  
  it would make Alaska the highest rate of alcohol tax in the                  
  nation.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 081                                                                   
                                                                               
  GLEN RAY, Division of Public Health, testified in support of                 
  HB 413.  Mr. Ray stated that the Division supports HB 413                    
  for the purpose of reducing the burden of disease caused by                  
  tobacco use.  Casual links exist between tobacco use and                     
  many chronic diseases.  Mr. Ray stated that tobacco is a                     
  drug that when used as directed will kill one out of three                   
  long term users, and disable many more.  He said tobacco is                  
  as addictive as heroin and cocaine.                                          
                                                                               
  MR. RAY provided the committee with a position paper                         
  supporting HB 413 that included statistics regarding smoking                 
  and its related costs.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. RAY sated that affordability of tobacco appears to be                    
  the most important determinant of the number of children who                 
  will start smoking.  An increase in the cigarette excise tax                 
  may be the most effective approach to reducing tobacco use.                  
  He added that teenagers are much more responsive than adults                 
  to increases in the price of cigarettes because they have                    
  less disposable income and may be three times more sensitive                 
  to price increases than adults' consumption.  Also, children                 
  and teenagers are usually less addicted than many adult                      
  smokers and, therefore, more likely to be able to stop                       
  smoking when prices increase.                                                
                                                                               
  MR. RAY concluded by saying that an increased tobacco tax                    
  will immediately show a drop in consumption by youth and                     
  decrease in the number of youth who begin to use tobacco                     
  products.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 120                                                                   
  PAUL DICK, Department of Revenue, testified regarding the                    
  fiscal note to HB 413.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. DICK stated that HB 413 would increase excise taxes on                   
  liquor, wine and beer by 50% and it would double the current                 
  excise tax on tobacco.  The additional revenues this bill                    
  would generate based on this year's consumption level would                  
  be just under $15 million.                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects