Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/07/1994 03:00 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE APRIL 7, 1994 3:00 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Bill Hudson, Chairman Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman Representative Brian Porter Representative Eldon Mulder Representative Bill Williams Representative Joe Sitton Representative Jerry Mackie MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 539: "An Act extending the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and relating to regulation of public utilities and to regulatory cost charges." HEARD AND PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 534: "An Act relating to insurance, to the licensing, accreditation, examination, regulation, and solvency of persons engaged in the insurance business, including insurers, nonadmitted insurers, purchasing groups, risk retention groups, and United States branches of alien insurers; relating to the management of and the filing of reports by persons licensed or otherwise doing business under the insurance code; amending Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 45; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 458: "An Act relating to certain licenses and applications for licenses for persons who are not in compliance with orders, judgments, or payment schedules for child support." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE SB 64: "An Act relating to civil liability for workplace safety inspections." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE HB 241: "An Act relating to workers' compensation; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE WITNESS REGISTER BOB LOHR, Executive Director Alaska Public Utilities Commission 1016 West 6th Avenue, No. 400 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 276-6222 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 539 with an amendment DAVE HUTCHENS, Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative Association 703 W. Tudor, #200 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 561-6103 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 539 with an amendment. Supported moving both SB 64 and HB 241 DON SCHROER, Executive Director Alaska Public Utilities Association 1011 W. 6th, #400 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 276-6222 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 539 REED STOOPS, Lobbyist GCI 240 Main Street, #600 Juneau, Alaska 99801 463-3223 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 539 STEVE CONN Alaska Public Interest Research Group P.O. Box 101093 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 276-8366 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 539 JIM ROWE Alaska Telephone Association POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 539 DAVE WALSH, Director Division of Insurance P.O. Box 110805 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0805 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 534 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-4457 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 458 KENNETH KIRK 900 West 5th, #730 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 279-1659 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 458 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Drivers Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, Alaska 99802-0020 465-4335 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 458 KIT BALLENTINE, Acting Director Environmental Sanitation Section Division of Environmental Health Department of Environmental Conservation 410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 105 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1795 465-5280 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed concerns of HB 458 SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist Alaska Women's Lobby & Kidpac P.O. Box 22156 Juneau, Alaska 99802 463-6744 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 458 KARL LUCK, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed concerns of HB 458 LARAINE DERR, Deputy Commissioner Treasury Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110400 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0400 465-4880 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support HB 458 JIM ARNESON Alaska Family Support Group 1800 Shore Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99515 344-7707 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 458 JOSH FINK, Legislative Staff to Senator Tim Kelly Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 465-3819 POSITION STATEMENT: Gave sponsor statement for SB 64 KEVIN SMITH Alaska Municipal League Joint Insurance Association 217 2nd Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801 586-3222 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 64 PHIL FINKSTAD, Business Manager Carpenters Union 306 Willoughby Ave. Juneau, Alaska 99801 586-3675 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 64 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 539 SHORT TITLE: APUC EXTENSION AND RAGULATORY COST CHARGE SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/23/94 2935 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/23/94 2935 (H) L&C, FINANCE 03/29/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 03/29/94 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/07/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 534 SHORT TITLE: OMNIBUS INSURANCE REFORM SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/18/94 2868 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/18/94 2868 (H) L&C, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/29/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 03/29/94 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/06/94 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/07/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 458 SHORT TITLE: CHILD SUPPORT NONPAYMENT/LICENSING BAN SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) DAVIES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/09/94 2320 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/09/94 2321 (H) L&C, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 04/05/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 04/05/94 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/07/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: SB 64 SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR SAFETY INSPECTIONS SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/93 137 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/22/93 137 (S) LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY 02/04/93 (S) L&C AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/04/93 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 02/10/93 313 (S) L&C RPT 3DP 2NR 02/10/93 313 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED) 02/19/93 (S) JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/19/93 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 02/22/93 (S) JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/22/93 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 02/24/93 461 (S) JUD RPT CS 2DP 1NR 1DNP 1AM SAME TITLE 02/24/93 461 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (DCED) 03/03/93 (S) RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 03/03/93 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 03/05/93 614 (S) RULES RPT 3CAL 1DNP W/O AM 3/5/93 03/05/93 623 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/05/93 623 (S) JUD CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 03/05/93 625 (S) AM NO 1 FAILED Y7 N11 E2 03/05/93 626 (S) AM NO 2 FAILED Y8 N10 E2 03/05/93 627 (S) AM NO 3 FAILED Y7 N11 E2 03/05/93 629 (S) AM NO 4 FAILED Y8 N10 E2 03/05/93 630 (S) AM NO 5 FAILED Y8 N10 E2 03/05/93 630 (S) AM NO 6 FAILED Y7 N11 E2 03/05/93 631 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 03/05/93 631 (S) PASSED Y11 N7 E2 03/05/93 632 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE FAILED Y11 N7 E2 03/05/93 632 (S) DUNCAN NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 03/08/93 659 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 03/08/93 659 (S) PLACE AT BOTTOM OF CAL PASSED Y11 N8 E1 03/08/93 673 (S) RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 7 UNAN CONSENT 03/08/93 674 (S) AM NO 7 FAILED Y8 N11 E1 03/08/93 674 (S) AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING 03/08/93 674 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y11 N8 E1 03/08/93 675 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE FAILED Y12 N7 E1 03/08/93 677 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H)CSSB 64(JUD) (EFD FLD) 03/10/93 582 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/10/93 582 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY 03/30/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 03/30/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/01/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 04/01/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/07/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 241 SHORT TITLE: WORKERS COMP:REQD HEALTH SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MULDER JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/19/93 708 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/19/93 709 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY 03/30/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 03/30/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/01/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 04/01/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/07/94 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-34, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN HUDSON convened the meeting at 3:07 p.m. The first order of business was HB 539 - APUC EXTENSION AND REGULATORY COST CHARGE. Number 040 BOB LOHR, Executive Director, Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC), testified on HB 539 and proposed a conceptual amendment. The amendment would provide an exemption to the procurement act to allow the commission to procure expert witnesses directly. He said the amendment would alleviate the time crunch the commission often experiences when attempting to hire expert witnesses for a hearing. Number 122 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the amendment were adopted, would a title change be necessary since it affects another statute not listed in the title. Number 142 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated that he believes the committee could adopt the conceptual amendment with the intent that the bill drafters include a title change if necessary. Number 165 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE moved the conceptual amendment. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE noted that the Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative Association (ARECA) has provided the committee with an amendment regarding the language in the bill being "liberally construed". Number 195 CHAIRMAN HUDSON informed the committee that if the amendment from ARECA is adopted, the Department of Commerce will provide a new fiscal note which will reflect an increase of $121.4 thousand. If the amendment isn't adopted the fiscal note would be zero. Number 205 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE moved the ARECA amendment. CHAIRMAN HUDSON objected. Number 213 DAVE HUTCHENS, Executive Director, Alaska Rural Cooperative Association testified in favor of the amendment. He stated the reason the amendment was proposed was to, "Require the APUC to follow the law instead of making the law". MR. HUTCHENS noted that there was an example of the use of the language "liberally construed" by APUC in the letter he provided the committee. He stated he felt the present commission not likely to do anything wild and crazy but considers this amendment preventive maintenance. Number 241 DON SCHROER, Executive Director, APUC, testified in opposition to the ARECA amendment. He said he believes the deletion of the language "liberally construed" would restrict the commission's ability to make "decent level headed decisions" without having to go to the courts or the legislature. MR. SCHROER explained that the reason the legislature set up the APUC in the first place was so that the legislature wouldn't have to deal with the regulation of utilities. Number 276 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if there was any way to fashion language to address the concerns and to tighten up the language "liberally construed". Number 286 MR. SCHROER stated that it wasn't necessarily that the commission needed flexibility but that the term "liberally construed" allows the commission to better administer the statute they work under. Number 305 CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated that the committee had a heavy agenda today and because he felt everyone knew both sides of the issue he suggested a roll call vote be taken. Number 310 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this was a problem in other states and how they handled it. Number 320 MR. LOHR responded that it was his understanding that this language was common. Number 330 MR. HUTCHENS stated that he had provided a letter to the committee, from their attorney, that addressed what other regulatory agencies within Alaska do. The letter states in part that they could not find any other regulatory agencies within Alaska that use the liberally construed language. MR. HUTCHENS added that the amendment included an effective date more than a year away to allow the commission a transmission period to wrap up its current work under the present rules. Number 348 MR. SCHROER stated that the courts have used the language "liberally construed" in a number of cases. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE offered a amendment to the ARECA amendment to add the effective date of July 1, 1995, as the date and to delete the term "liberally construed" from the statute. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE stated that the fiscal note seemed high and that it was probably so to discourage the adoption of the amendment. He further stated that he felt there would probably be a savings if the amendment passed as there would most likely be less litigation not more. Number 390 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated he would be supporting the amendment. He said he believes the current commission would have no problem implementing this phrase but future commissions may not. Number 400 REED STOOPS, Lobbyist, GCI, testified against the amendment and supports the commission's view on it. He stated that there would be an increase in litigation if the amendment passed as the area of telecommunications is changing rapidly and the commission needs some flexibility to carry out its mission. Number 417 CHAIRMAN HUDSON declared a conflict of interest because his son is involved in a cellular telephone company and recently benefitted from the liberally construed language. Number 425 The committee members objected. Number 448 Roll call vote was taken on ARECA amendment as amended. Representatives Mulder, Green, Mackie, Sitton and Porter voted in favor of the amendment. Representatives Williams and Hudson voted against the amendment. So the amendment to HB 539 passed. Number 463 STEVE CONN, Executive Director, Alaska Public Interest Research Group, testified in opposition to HB 539. He pointed out that the committee has received a transcript of a hearing before the APUC which points out that the APUC has lost contact with their duties. The transcript summarizes how few consumers make complaints, how limited the resources are for them to make complaints, and how limited the staff is to take formal complaints. MR. CONN concluded by saying there is a problem with the fundamental principal that rate payers should underwrite APUC which, in turn, is indifferent to the needs to the consumer. Number 500 JIM ROWE, Alaska Telephone Association, testified in support of the amendment and HB 539. He stated he considers the amendment preventive and not something aimed at the present commission. Number 516 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER moved CSHB 539 (L&C), with the accompanying fiscal note, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. Number 520 The next order of business was HB 534 - OMNIBUS INSURANCE REFORM. Chairman Hudson invited Dave Walsh, Director of the Division of Insurance, Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED), to testify. Number 525 DAVE WALSH, Director, Division of Insurance, DCED, testified in support of Version E of HB 534. Mr. Walsh explained that the current committee substitute now includes all the amendments adopted at the last committee hearing. Number 540 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked Mr. Walsh if he has received any negative feedback from the insurance community. Number 547 MR. WALSH responded that the division's criteria for something to be included in the bill was that it be non controversial. Number 550 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated he appreciated the extra time Mr. Walsh spent with him in his office regarding HB 534. Number 565 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked that the record reflect that the vice chair carry it on the House floor. Number 573 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that CSHB 534 (L&C), with the accompanying zero fiscal note, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 578 CHAIRMAN HUDSON invited Representative Davies to the table to present HB 458 - CHILD SUPPORT NONPAYMENT/LICENSING BAN "An Act relating to certain licenses and applications for licenses for persons who are not in compliance with orders, judgments, or payment schedules for child support." Number 580 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES presented CSHB 458 (L&C). He reminded the committee that his staff had presented the bill at the last committee meeting so he would not go through it again except to discuss the issue raised by Representative Porter regarding substantial compliance. He stated there was a proposed amendment to address this concern. Number 592 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated the following amendment, Amendment #1, did take care of the concern that he had. On page 7, lines 19 - 20, delete "made at least one payment or partial payment in" and insert "cumulatively paid an amount equal to or greater than the amount due for one month during". REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that Amendment #1 be adopted. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 598 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS stated that it was his memory that the department was to work on strengthening the bill. Number 600 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated that he thought the amendment would satisfy the concerns of the committee. There was general discussion about amendment. Number 636 CHAIRMAN HUDSON summed up what the amendment would effect: "The trigger was when a self employed individual goes in to renew his license, the search would be made and if it was found that they were substantially out of compliance they would be held off for 150 days until they made the situation right". Number 650 KENNETH KIRK, testifying via teleconference from Anchorage, spoke against the bill. He stated that not all persons in arrearage are deserving of punishment. He asserted that there were a variety of reasons a person could get behind in payments without having done anything wrong. TAPE 94-34 SIDE B Number 001 MR. KIRK added that the second point was that the child support laws are extremely rigid. He noted that the bill brings the district attorneys into the scenario and shouldn't as they have virtually no jurisdiction over these types of case. MR. KIRK told the committee the bill did not seem to provide for any administrative appeal. Number 090 CHAIRMAN HUDSON interrupted Mr. Kirk to say that staff had informed him that he was testifying to the previous version of the bill and that the problems noted were taken care of in the version before the committee. MR. KIRK noted that he was indeed working off of the old version as that was the only one available and he assumed it was the one the committee was considering. Number 100 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, testified against the bill. She contended that the bill would be difficult for the division to implement and it would have significant fiscal impact. MS. HENSLEY asked for additional time to review the committee substitute for comment. Number 140 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if she could more fully respond to the bill if the committee were to carry it over to another meeting. Number 150 MS. HENSLEY responded that she would be out of town but the director could respond. Number 189 REPRESENTATIVE SITTON suggested the committee move the bill and let the next two committee's address some of the concerns. Number 206 KIT BALLENTINE, Acting Director, Environmental Sanitation Section, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, testified to concerns the division has regarding the reporting requirements needed to implement this legislation. Ms. Ballentine said she believes the bill would have a significant fiscal impact on the division. Number 218 SHERRIE GOLL, Alaska Women's Lobby and Kidpac, testified in support of HB 458. She stated her groups believe that anything the state can do to help collect the over $300 million that is owed to Alaska's children, they should do so. Number 242 KARL LUCK, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED), testified that there would be an impact on the division if this legislation were to pass, but believes it could be reversed if the Department of Revenue did a internal process to match deadbeats with applicants for licensure within his division. The division's impact would be significantly lessened. Number 262 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if Occupational Licensing would be able to delegate the authority to issue the licenses to the Department of Revenue. Number 270 MR. LUCK replied "no," but that it was not the issuance of a license that creates the impact but the matching of lists to identify those who are out of compliance and applicants for licensure. Number 308 LARAINE DERR, Deputy Commissioner, Treasury, Department of Revenue, testified that she supports HB 458, but that it would have some impact on at least ten different departments. MS. DERR explained that the federal government will share 66 percent of the costs of the fiscal impact on the state. She suggested that the money be deposited into the child support division and then RSA'd out to the various departments affected by the legislation. Number 345 CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if the agencies referenced in this hearing could take this concept and implement it without legislation. Number 350 MS. DERR answered that they could do it administratively but felt that the impact of the legislation would be preferable. JIM ARNESON, Alaska Family Support Group, stated that his group is opposed to the bill and believes it would be a return to the "debtors prison" mentality. MR. ARNESON noted that there is a good compliance rate when both parents have good visitation such as in the case of joint custody. MR. ARNESON stated that it would not be in any ones best interest to take away the license of an obligor and leave them with no way to make an income. Number 428 CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated that he would hold the bill over and asked the prime sponsor to get together with the agencies that would be affected by the bill and address the concerns they have. Number 460 CHAIRMAN HUDSON brought up CSSB 64(JUD)(efd fld) - IMMUNITY FOR SAFETY INSPECTIONS and invited the prime sponsor to present the bill. Number 480 JOSH FINK, Staff, Senator Kelly, read the following sponsor statement: "In 1988, the legislature passed a comprehensive revision of Alaska's workers' compensation laws. At that time it was considered model legislation and was built around a no fault system. Since taking effect, the new workers' compensation provisions have proven successful. "The safety inspection issue was brought to the forefront as a result of the 1989 Van Biene v. ERA Helicopters, Inc. decision our Supreme Court, which held that "workers' compensation carrier could be held liable to estates of deceased pilots for negligent performance of safety inspection if insurer actually inspected the working conditions of the employer prior to the incident. This ruling effectively ended the no fault system. "The unintended result is that carriers are unwilling to perform safety inspections and Alaskan workers are at greater risk of injury. SB 64 removes insurers, insurance service agents, self-insured employers, and trade associations from civil liability for damages resulting from the performance or failure to perform a workplace safety inspection or a safety advisory service unless the act is intentional or negligent. "SB 64 ensures workplace safety inspections will continue, that workers' compensation insurance will be available and affordable because of safety inspection, and that employees benefit from safety inspections." Number 525 DAVE HUTCHENS, Executive Director, Alaska Rural Cooperative Electric Association, testified in favor of SB 64. He explained to the committee that his organization created an insurance program which, in 1983, evolved into a reciprocal insurer which is a regulated insurance company chartered through the laws of the state. Mr.Hutchens said the Van Biene issue impacted his organization greatly in that prior to the decision, they operated an intensive safety program for their members, but cannot afford the liability now. MR. HUTCHENS noted that SB 64 would correct this problem as well as Section 2 in HB 241. Number 567 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the Van Biene decision applied only to the inspector or did it also apply to his employer as well. Number 574 MR. HUTCHENS replied that the decision affected the insurance company that had underwritten the employer. Number 580 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if safety inspectors needed a minimum amount of accreditation. MR. HUTCHENS replied that he didn't think there were any requirements for safety inspectors. Number 588 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated that it seemed logical that if the state were to require safety inspections, then there should be some sort of minimum requirements. MR. HUTCHENS agreed. Number 600 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE stated that he thought the last time the committee heard the two bills, the direction given was for the various interest groups to come to a compromise. He asked for an update on those talks. Number 605 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated that an ad hoc task force comprised of three groups, organized labor, insurance providers, and the employer groups, worked through the interim but did not come to a compromise. Number 635 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE stated that there was obviously a problem or there wouldn't be these two bills. He questioned what would happen if the legislature did nothing. Number 640 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER replied that from a policy standpoint, he thinks it is important to have workplace safety programs but also fells the health benefit extension is good public policy. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER added that if the legislature did nothing some groups would still have workplace safety inspections and would assume the risk as they do now and others won't. TAPE 94-35, SIDE B Number 001 KEVIN SMITH, representing the Alaska Municipal League and the Joint Insurance Association, testified in favor of SB 64. He said he believes a safe workplace is good for the workers regardless of the politics involved. Number 040 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if Mr. Smith was a certified safety professional and, if not, how long would it take to become one. Number 050 MR. SMITH said that he was not a certified safety professional, but noted within a year he could be. Number 060 PHIL FINKSTAD, Business Manager, Carpenters Union, testified that in 1988, a workers' compensation bill was passed and it was basically a management bill. He stated that labor supported it because it was a very lean time and they felt that by helping to lower the costs to the employers, there may be more work. He said over the last few years labor has tried to regain some of the lost ground. MR. FINKSTAD stated that almost every job site he has been on over the last twenty years has had a safety program. MR. FINKSTAD stated that the Van Biene, by itself, is only beneficial to the insurers and the other two groups want to see the bill passed. Number 125 CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated that he recognized that any solution would require the accommodation of all sides of the issue. He added that he hoped that by bringing the bills up side by side a solution could be found, but that did not appear to be happening. Number 141 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER referred to gross negligence occurring and asked if the no fault system under workers' compensation would apply. Number 144 MR FINKSTAD replied yes. Number 154 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated that he would go back to the parties involved one last time and try to come to a compromise. CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Mr. Finkstad to tell Senator Kelly that this committee is committed to move the bill quickly when a solution is offered that accommodates everyone. CHAIRMAN HUDSON told the committee that he would hold both SB 64 and HB 241 over. Number 181 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER explained that HB 241 is a mirror of SB 64 except that it includes a section for health benefits for workers and their families who have been injured for an additional 12 months. He explained that this legislation was passed by the legislature and made it to the governor in 1989, but was vetoed over some technical glitches. CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked who pays for the additional insurance. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER replied that it would be the responsibility of the employer. He added that the average number of months an employee is off the job is less than two months. Number 210 CHAIRMAN HUDSON restated that he was going to hold the bills over and adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.