Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/22/1995 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 February 22, 1995 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Represent Pete Kott, Chairman Representative Norman Rokeberg, Vice Chairman Representative Brian Porter Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Beverly Masek Representative Kim Elton MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Gene Kubina PREVIOUS ACTION COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HCR 3: Relating to correcting errors in a workers' compensation pamphlet published by the Department of Labor. HEARD AND HELD *HB 147: "An Act relating to the Alaska Sport Fishing Industry Marketing Council and a nonresident sport fishing license surcharge." HEARD AND HELD *HB 65: "An Act establishing a loan guarantee and interest rate subsidy program for assistive technology." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HL&C - 02/22/95 SB 55: "An Act repealing the sunset of the enhanced 911 emergency reporting systems." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First Public Hearing) WITNESS REGISTER ELIZABETH ROBERTS, Researcher for Representative Bettye Davis Capitol Building, Room 430 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3875 Position Statement: Provided sponsor statement for HCR 3 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant to the Commissioner Department of Labor P.O. Box 33922 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 465-2700 POSITION STATEMENT: Provide information on HCR 3. REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN State Capitol Building, Room 24 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor HB 147 JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green Capitol Building, Room 24 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 147 JOHN BURKE, Deputy Director Sport Fish Division Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Telephone: (907) 465-4180 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 147 JEFF BUSH, Deputy Commissioner Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110800 Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 147 as it was currently written GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward Street, Suite 409 Juneau, Alaska 99801-2105 Telephone: (907) 465-2450 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 147 BUD HODSON, Owner Tikchik Narrows Lodge Founding Member, Alaska Sport Fishing Industry Association 4852 Hunter Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 243-8450 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 147 DUKE BERTKE Chelatna Lake Lodge, Inc. Founding Member, Alaska Sport Fishing Industry Association 3941 Float Plane Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99502 Telephone: (907) 243-7767 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 147 MITCH GRAVO, Lobbyist, Alaska Sport Fishing Industry Association 170 Botanical Circle Anchorage, Alaska 99515 Telephone: (907) 244-2406 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 147 BEN ELLIS, Executive Director Kenai River Sport Fishing, Incorporated P.O. Box 1228 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-8588 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in tentative support of HB 147 PAUL DALE King Salmon Fund P.O. Box 701 Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 776-5342 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 147 MAX LOWE, General Manager Regal Alaskan Hotel 4800 Spenard Road Anchorage, Alaska 99517 Telephone: (907) 243-2300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 147. BILL SIMS, Owner Lake Illiamna Lodge 3851 Chiniak Bay Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99515 Telephone: (907) 522-3355 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 147. BARBARA BINGHAM, Member Sitka Charter Boat Operator's Association P.O. Box 6112 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-5777 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 147 JOSEPH JOLLY, Board Member United Cook Inlet Drift Association Commercial Fisherman HCO 2, Box 753 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 283-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 147 KEITH JOHNSON 3646 North Point Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99515 Telephone: (907) 243-5087 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 147 ROD BERG 266 Redmood Court Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-6064 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 422 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 4457 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor HB 65 NANCY ANDESON 9346 Parkview Court Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-2914 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified KEN DEAN 1136 Slim Williams Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-4309 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 ELENA KILBUCK 1621 Tongass Avenue Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 225-4735 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 PATRICK REINHART, Independent Living 701 East Tudor Road, Number 280 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 562-5613 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 JIM JANSEN Challenge Alaska P.O. Box 164 Girdwood Alaska 99587 Telephone: (907) 783-2453 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 GREG ALLISON Southeast Alaska Independent Living P.O. Box 35097 Juneau, Alaska 99803-5097 Telephone: (907) 789-5097 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 PAM GUY, State Employee, Deaf Advocate P.O. Box 20377 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 780-4551 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 STAN RIDGEWAY, Deputy Director Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Department of Education 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-6932 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 65 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HCR 3 SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMPENSATION PAMPHLET ERRORS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) B.DAVIS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/17/95 50 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/17/95 50 (H) LABOR AND COMMERCE 02/22/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 147 SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISHING MARKETING COUNCIL/SURCHARGE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN, Mulder JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/03/95 235 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/03/95 235 (H) LABOR AND COMMERCE, FINANCE 02/10/95 322 (H) COSPONSOR(S): MULDER 02/22/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 65 SHORT TITLE: ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LOAN GUARANTEES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER, Davies, Brice, Brown, Mackie, B.Davis, Finkelstein, Kubina, Kott, Elton, Foster, Ivan, Robinson, Nicholia JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 37 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 37 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 38 (H) L&C, HES, FIN 01/26/95 147 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BRICE, BROWN, MACKIE 01/26/95 147 (H) COSPONSOR(S): B.DAVIS, FINKELSTEIN 01/26/95 147 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KUBINA 01/27/95 162 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT, ELTON 01/30/95 180 (H) COSPONSOR(S): FOSTER, IVAN 02/06/95 256 (H) COSPONSOR(S): ROBINSON 02/10/95 321 (H) COSPONSOR(S): NICHOLIA 02/22/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: SB 55 SHORT TITLE: REPEALING SUNSET OF ENHANCED 911 SYSTEM SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TORGERSON; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Navarre, Phillips, Bunde JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/26/95 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/26/95 (S) LABOR & COMMERCE 02/02/95 (S) L&C AT 01:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 02/02/95 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 02/03/95 162 (S) L&C RPT 4DP 02/03/95 162 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DHSS, DPS, DCED) 02/07/95 (S) RLS AT 11:40 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 02/07/95 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 02/08/95 205 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 2/8/95 02/08/95 207 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 02/08/95 207 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 02/08/95 207 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 55 02/08/95 208 (S) PASSED Y17 N1 E2 02/08/95 208 (S) ADAMS NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 02/09/95 219 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 02/09/95 220 (S) RECONSIDERATION HELD TO END OF CALENDAR 02/09/95 223 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y19 N- E1 02/09/95 226 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 02/10/95 291 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 291 (H) L&C 02/10/95 323 (H) CROSS SPONSOR(S): NAVARRE 02/20/95 426 (H) CROSS SPONSOR(S): PHILLIPS 02/22/95 453 (H) FIN REFERRAL ADDED 02/22/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-8, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT called the meeting of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee to order at 3:00 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott, Rokeberg, Sanders, Masek, Porter and Elton. Representative Kubina was absent due to a family emergency. HL&C - 02/22/95 HCR 3 - WORKERS' COMPENSATION PAMPHLET ERRORS Number 049 ELIZABETH ROBERTS, RESEARCHER FOR REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS, Prime Sponsor of HCR 3, explained is resolution relates to correcting errors in a worker's compensation pamphlet published by the Department of Labor. MS. ROBERTS said the little blue pamphlet entitled "Workers' Compensation and You," is frequently the first information the injured worker receives. It is essential the information contained inside the pamphlet is accurate and up to date. Unfortunately, the new revised edition contains misleading and unconstitutional information. MS. ROBERTS said there are inconsistencies between statements made in the pamphlet and the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in that the pamphlet misstates what information may be requested of future employees. The correction of errors and inconsistencies may take the form of an erratum insert until the next formal revising of the pamphlet. MS. ROBERTS stated HCR 3 is a bill that they had hoped wouldn't have to become a bill. Ms. Roberts quoted from the pamphlet on page 3, under the heading "What If You Don't Tell The Truth," as follows: "There are strict penalties for not telling the truth. When you fill out applications for work, be sure to answer questions about your health truthfully. If you lie about your health when you apply for a job, you may not be able to get workers' compensation benefits if you get hurt." (AS 23.30022). Ms. Roberts stated according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is unconstitutional to ask anybody about their health until you actually employ them. She stated they would like to see this corrected, in the form of an erratum insert. The Department of Labor has assured her this will be taken care of. However, she said the pamphlet was published in August, and her office has had no formal notification that anything was actually going to happen. She stated Representative Bettye Davis wanted to be assured of a time line when the whole pamphlet itself will be checked for inconsistencies and misstatements and then corrected. Number 101 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if Ms. Roberts had noted any other inconsistencies in the pamphlet, or whether she was asking the department to review this to insure that there was nothing but accurate information provided in the pamphlet MS. ROBERTS stated at the beginning of last summer, the department had contracted out to have the pamphlet revised. However, the person had quit before the job was done. She stated that the department then advised Representative Davis' office that the director of the division had finished the job and, in fact, there are more inconsistencies. However that director was no longer with the department. Ms. Roberts stated that she did not have the background to know what else was misleading and that the pamphlet was very complicated, probably too complicated for the average working man. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. Roberts if the ADA statute specifically prohibits inquiring into health status. MS. ROBERTS read from the ADA as follows: "Except as permitted, it is unlawful for a covered entity to conduct a medical examination of an applicant or to make inquiries as to whether an applicant is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of such disability." She stated that after you hire someone, you may then ask anything you want, for insurance purposes, or to see if the employee is physically capable of doing the job. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that this was not asking about health specifically, it was asking about a persons able bodiedness. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS said when Ms. Roberts stated "except as permitted," this statement covers a large amount of territory. MS. ROBERTS continued to read, as follows: "Discrimination, general rule; no covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring advancement or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training and other terms conditions and privileges of employment." She stated that you're not allowed to discuss an applicant's health during a job interview, only after the hiring. This is so you're not prejudiced against people with disabilities. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated you can ask someone whether or not they can perform certain tasks associated with that job prior to the actual hiring. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated his understanding of the law was you may ask certain questions, and even go so far as to test, prior to hiring, for specifically qualified job requirements. But those requirements have to be related specifically to the job, not to some general condition. He further stated he could see where this paragraph might need to be reworded, but not to the extent that no questions regarding physical conditions may be asked. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated that he was in full support of this resolution. CHAIRMAN KOTT said he agreed, but the question he had was how to go about it. He stated that he felt a resolution was overkill. With the change in Administrations, there is some allowance to make sure things get caught up. He comment that, "it seems we're killing a fly with a nuclear bomb." MS. ROBERTS stated that she had been told it would take two to three weeks for the erratum insert, and two to three months for a reprint. Representative Davis just wants to be assured that these guidelines were met. DWIGHT PERKINS, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, stated he had been in contact with Representative Davis' office. He stated currently, they were going through a revision of the pamphlet. He explained that it was hard to read for the average person, and they were working to make it shorter and easier to read. He referred to what was mentioned earlier about AS 23.3022, if the committee didn't like the wording in the pamphlet, the pamphlet could quote the statue in total; but, as long as the statute exists, the board must apply it. He stated that they would have the erratum ready in two to three weeks, and they would forward a copy for the committee to review. Number 307 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Perkins if he agreed the statute cited in the booklet did not conform with the ADA standards. MR. PERKINS stated it could be a potential conflict. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if inconsistent state laws were preempted under the supremacy clause. MR. PERKINS stated he did not know, but would get back to the committee on that issue. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER stated that this question should be turned over to the Department of Law, which could come up with wording that would balance the existing statute and ADA. Number 321 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON agreed with Representative Porter. He stated in reading the pamphlet, it was like reading a legal ad. Number 335 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that it shouldn't be the responsibility of the committee to thoroughly analyze the pamphlet. He would ask the Department of Labor, through the Division of Workers' Compensation, to work on the pamphlet. He said the committee would hold the bill. HL&C - 02/22/95 HB 147 - SPORT FISHING MARKETING COUNCIL/SURCHARGE Number 379 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 147, stated he introduced the bill to establish, within the state, a proponent for encouraging non-resident sports fisherman to come to the state and enjoy what we can offer them. He said the bill would not be geared to bringing non-residents to places suffering from over use such as the Russian and Kenai Rivers. The purpose of this council would be to appeal to non-resident sports fisherman, the people who want to be in the "out back." The council would direct publicity and advertising towards that end. JEFF LOGAN, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT TO REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, stated Alaska was a maturing tourism market. He made reference to specialized marketing, such as eco-tourism, which focuses on environmental tourism, and senior citizen tourism, which brings senior citizens up during the off seasons. He stated that this market was ready for the Alaska sport fishing experience, as a specialized market. This bill does not create a new organization as much as it helps bring together the members of an existing industry to promote themselves. He stated in the committee member's packet was a page from the Governor's transition report, where the Governor's Task Force on Fisheries recognizes that an effort to market a sport fishing experience is something the state needs to do. HB 147 creates a marketing council, which is directed by a board, and managed jointly by the Commissioner of Commerce and a qualified trade association. As the bill was initially written, the board would have 19 members. Mr. Logan stated he had some proposed amendments for HB 147. He stated that they would amend the number of members to 11. The board then would be comprised of the director of the Division of Tourism, and the director of the Division of Sport Fish, in which both would be permanent positions. The sport fishing industry would nominate five members, and the Governor would nominate four. The board would be responsible for directing the efforts of the council in entering into agreements with private and public organizations to market Alaska as a sport fishing destination. The bill says that the board may not hire employees. It brings an existing industry together to promote itself. The board and the council would have the ability to enter into contracts to accomplish their duties, but it wouldn't be necessary to hire any new people to do this. Number 476 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated since the legislature was appropriating some money in the form of per diem, it would be creating another layer of bureaucracy. Whether this was essential or necessary is the issue. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said it was his understanding that the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council (ATMC) members pay their own way to board meetings, and that would be the case here as well. Number 493 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that the bill allows per diem expenses within the state but not outside the state. He stated that there would be a self generating extreme surplus of funding. The current fiscal note shows a large amount of money going to this council; however, that isn't the intent of the council. It would be less than $100,000 for the first couple years. He stated that it would never approach the $900,000 shown on the fiscal note. In essence, the added layer would be more of a kin to an advisory council. Number 511 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated that the fiscal note reflects over $1 million a year. He inquired as to how they estimated their expenditures at substantially less than that amount. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented that this was one of the items to which Mr. Logan referred to, in that the fiscal note should be down sized considerably. He stated that the misunderstanding in the preparation of the note was in thinking that all of the items were expenditures, with the balance of the fund being used by the council for advertising. He stated that in reality, the fiscal note would be 15 percent of that. MR. LOGAN added that in the preparation of the fiscal note, there were a number of assumptions the department utilized. There were a large number of unanswered questions in the preparation of the fiscal note. Now that they'd seen it, the note would be a working document. He acknowledged that it posed a number of questions, and that they would answer those questions. The fiscal note then would change. Number 528 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that some of the outstanding costs would be for travel. To accomplish the purposes of the council, he assumed there would be a substantial amount of contractual money. He inquire regarding the anticipated size of that expenditure. Number 538 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said the amount utilized would depend on what the Department of Fish and Game actually allocates. There's the possibility that once the funds are realized, Fish and Game wouldn't allocate anything. MR. LOGAN stated that a marketing program would take a lot of money. He referred to the difference is in the fiscal notes for FY 96 and 97 and said they don't expect to have too much income generated by that point, so those numbers will be reduced considerably. Number 559 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER surmised that there wouldn't be any net impact on the general fund. He stated that with the program receipts going back into the general fund from the sale of brochures and the $5 increase on the 220,000 out of state licenses, there was a chance that the receipts would never come back to the program. He stated that it was not inappropriate to dedicate them all to this program. Number 571 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated the proponents of this council were concerned in having money coming in then having to allocate back out, they were willing to take that chance. The more money available, the better the advertising. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated he had concerns with the memorandum sent by Mr. Bertke and Mr. Hodson, dated the February 21. He said the committee should be talking about whether they should continue considering the bill before the problems were cleared up. The point of the memorandum was that they could be guilty of diverting federal funding and be in jeopardy of losing $10 million of federal funds. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT pointed out to Jeff Logan that on page 4, line 30 of the bill, it suggests that the council shall deposit the money in the general fund, and on page 5, line 16, the money collected from the $5 surcharge will be deposited into the fish and game fund. He asked if the $5 surcharge goes to the fish and game fund, we don't have to divert monies from the general fund to the fish and game fund, which is currently being done. He asked if under federal law, the money that went to the fish and game fund would have to stay there. MR. LOGAN stated that in the committee member's packet, there is a memorandum from George Utermohle, Attorney, Legislative Affairs Agency, explaining the workings of the fish and game fund. He further stated that once the $5 surcharge went into the fund, it stayed there and could only be used for sport fish research or management. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if there was an anomaly between the two sections on pages 4 and 5. MR. LOGAN answered, "No." Number 619 JOHN BURKE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, SPORT FISH DIVISION, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME (ADF&G), AND FEDERAL AID COORDINATOR, explained he is in charge of federal aid to sport fish restoration for the ADF&G, and stated he had spoken several times with the Federal Aid Office in Anchorage and was told they would view this as a diversion of funds. Money collected for licenses must, in turn, be used to directly benefit sports fisherman. TAPE 95-8, SIDE B CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if the Sport Fish Division receives any money at this time. MR. BURKE replied no. They were asking for $200,000 next year, specifically to support the Earl West Cove project through the Crystal Lake Hatchery. Outside of this, they have no general funds. Number 013 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated there had to be a way to craft this legislation so that it didn't fall under the federal mandate. He was requesting those involved try to get around this. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG agreed with Representative Porter. He stated that he was conceptually in full support of the council, but at this stage, he would be uncomfortable moving on the bill. Number 041 JEFF BUSH, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, stated that his department favored any efforts to market Alaska in any form. However, he regretfully stated that the department would oppose this bill as it is currently written. His concern with the bill is that essentially the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council (ATMC) has always run a generic marketing campaign, but this bill sounds like the sponsors would like to essentially make marketing "target specific" for sport fish. The concern was that the state has a limited amount of marketing money available. If they start fragmenting those efforts, by taking out $1 million for sport fish, the next people at the table would be the hotel operators and other specialized groups. He stated that he didn't oppose these efforts. If the money is there for more marketing, then great. What he opposes was that they have a finite amount of money, and he didn't want it being fragmented. Another problem he had is that it was a state entity. If the state can raise $1 million and the legislature deems that they can use this for sport fish marketing, then they could do this through a grant. He doesn't want the Department of Commerce and Economic Development to be creating an association for this particular industry. He felt that this would end up having a snowball effect. Number 190 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if current marketing, in Alaska, within ATMC or the Division of Tourism, couldn't use its own staff to assist in this procurement or delineation of (indisc.). MR.BUSH answered, "certainly." But, what they would be asking them to do was to take on more work with an already overworked staff. This would be taking efforts away from what they do on a daily basis. Since they are working with program receipts, he didn't feel it would be unreasonable to add a Marketing Coordinator. The response he has received from the people supporting this legislation is that they don't want to create more bureaucracy. They feel they can contract out. They need to find a person who is a specialist in advertising or marketing. He said that what they need is an administrator. He stated that you need one state employee to administer this program. Number 160 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated that he was sympathetic to Mr. Bush's plight. GEORGE UTERMOHLE, ATTORNEY, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY, stated that the issues raised by the Department of Fish and Game, on behalf of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service, concerns the diversion of fish and game license fees. The state participates in the federal aid program for sport fisheries. As a result, the state gets a large sum of money from the federal government. The state has to dedicate its fish and game license fees to a particular fund that can only be used for sport fishing purposes. If participation in the federal program was to be suspended, we would lose the ability to be able to dedicate those funds. We cannot divert the fish and game license fees to a purpose other than the management of sport fisheries. The federal regulations relate only to the diversion of license fees, not to the diversion of any other state money that might go to the ADF&G or the Division of Sport Fisheries. It does not address the issue of general funds. Mr. Utermohle stated that HB 147 does not provide for any diversion from the fish and game fund. He felt there was no logic behind the position of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Number 283 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if there was a similar program where this problem had been addressed. He asked if we could have the existing license fee, with an additional $5 marketing surcharge directed to the general fund as opposed to this other dedicated fund. MR. UTERMOHLE replied that we can't, under the terms of the federal program. The fish and game license fee is any fee imposed upon a person which conveys the right to engage in sport fishing. If you can't go sport fishing without a sport fishing marketing fee, its considered a license fee for purposes of the federal program and must be dedicated to this program. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said if the Sport Fish Program does not receive general funds, are they taking general funds out of a different part of the ADF&G or another department's budget? MR. UTERMOHLE stated that would be the case, but he didn't see how that could come out of the Commercial Fisheries Division's budget. The loss to their budget in general fund dollars could not be offset by money taken by the Sport Fish Program because that money is restricted to sport fish purposes. Therefore, the commercial fisheries program would take a loss, and that would be out of the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service. BUD HODSON, OWNER, TIKCHIK NARROWS LODGE; FOUNDING MEMBER, ALASKA SPORT FISH INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, stated that he was a proponent of this bill. He stated that they had a mechanism to be self-funding, but they are running into some roadblocks. What they are trying to establish with the marketing council is not to bring more people into problem areas. He stated that they wanted to provide a vision for sport fishing and to target fisheries that were under utilized. It also is a goal to help the industry identify where it could expand or recuperate closed fisheries. Their intent is not to pump more anglers into the Kenai, it is to educate the public and the industry to look at what the options are for helping people survive closures. The industry and the state needs to look at where they are going to be in ten years. Number 373 DUKE BERTKE, CHELATNA LAKE LODGE; FOUNDING MEMBER, ALASKA SPORT FISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, stated that the sport fishing industry was in no way trying to fragment the ATMC. He felt they could operate under the umbrella, doing value-added marketing to help keep the tourists happy. They felt they could direct people out of problem areas out and into Western Alaska, Prince William Sound, or parts of the valley that haven't been utilized. The funding mechanism is in no way an assault on the ADF&G or the general fund. They felt they had something in mind to carry its own weight. They are willing to go back and do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. MITCH GRAVO, LOBBYIST, ALASKA SPORT FISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, stated with respect to fragmentation issue, they do not take any money from any marketing organization. If that happens, he stated, he would ask the House and the Senate to withdraw the bill. Number 373 BEN ELLIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KENAI RIVER SPORT FISHING INCORPORATED, testified via teleconference. He stated that he was speaking in tentative support of HB 147, providing that the funding mechanism can be addressed. He gave the following testimony: "Alaska contains some of the world's best sports fishing opportunities. It is only right that the state market this potential in a clear concise, accurate, and logical manner. We believe that it is fair to say that, regardless of whether you're a strong advocate of commercial fisheries or a staunch supporter of sport fishing, we all agree that the states fisheries have been a crucial part of Alaska's past and will be an important aspect of the state's future. I think we can also agree that Alaska's fishing footprint is changing. Depressed prices in commercially caught fish, overseas competition from pen reared salmon and the waste of hundreds of thousands of tons of incidental by-catch each year has sent commercial fishing not only in Alaska but across the United States in a tailspin. While the state's commercial fishing industry is facing its toughest decade ever, sport fishing has grown from a `wet behind the ears toe head,' to a `full blown adult' in the state's economic employable arena. Sport fishing continues to fuel a growing tourist economy that accounted for more than $1 billion. In a recent memo to the Governor's fisheries transition, former Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game, Chuck Meacham, underlined the potential for sport fishing across the state, and he quotes, `We have great challenge ahead in terms of how we promote and develop our fisheries he wrote under the section of sport fishing. Alaska contains more than 40 percent of the nation's surface water resources, while not all of our lakes and streams contain sport fish resources, there are over 12,000 known anadromous fish streams with 120,000 to 180,000 linear miles of fresh water. Alaska also has thousands and thousands of coastline and adjacent marine waters rich with sport fishing opportunities. With over half of the sport fishing effort presently concentrated in the Cook Inlet Region, there is substantial area into which this industry can be encouraged to expand." MR. ELLIS continued by stating that the need for marketing a quality sport fishing experience was noted in a recent report by the Governor's Fisheries Transition Team. For the state sport fishing industry to grow, it is imperative to advance the concept that is behind this bill. He stated that HB 147 will provide the tool to polish this jewel in the ruff, called Alaska's sport fishing. Number 467 PAUL DALE, representing THE KING SALMON FUND, testified via teleconference. Mr. Dale stated that The King Salmon Fund is a non-profit organization in the Kenai area interested in protecting the Kenai River habitat. He stated that he was pleased to hear that this legislation would not increase user activity on the Kenai River; but the bill does not specifically prohibit marketing increased sport fishing on the Kenny Peninsula or the Kenai River. He stated that people fishing for halibut off the coast, or fishing for salmon in Seward, would be in the area. He felt that would result in increased pressure on the Kenai River. He would feel much more comfortable with the legislation if it specifically precluded the Kenai Area from being marketed. There should be a consensus among agency people, or user participants, that we have addressed the habitat concerns and developed policies and infrastructure to handle the load that exists currently. Number 503 MAX LOWE, GENERAL MANAGER, REGAL ALASKAN HOTEL, testified via teleconference, that he has watched the continued positive impact of the Alaska sport fishing industry on individual tourism related businesses. He feels it imperative that tourism, sport fishing, and smaller businesses have a voice in their own future, especially as it relates to visitor preferred activity. The Alaska Sport Fishing Industry Marketing Council is a good idea, and it allows fair representation by all the individuals in Alaska who actually have invested in our state resources. He stated that, like any other marketing effort, it will create more jobs, more revenue, and it will bolster the state of Alaska, the sport fishing industry, and all related industries. Number 536 BILL SIMS, OWNER, LAKE ILLIAMNA LODGE, testified via teleconference that we need this council because the fisherman that normally would come to Alaska are now traveling to foreign countries that we are competing with. He stated many of his clients are traveling to Russia because of their advertising campaigns. He also pointed out when there are closures, we need to let people know that the whole state is not being closed. A closure in the Cook Inlet area doesn't mean that Bristol Bay and the Prince William Sound areas are also closed. BARBARA BINGHAM, MEMBER, SITKA CHARTER BOAT OPERATOR'S ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference that, in Sitka, the state marketing of sport fishing to non-residents will aggravate an already tense situation. Many resident anglers and charter operators are very concerned about local fish recourses. She explained that, in the Southeast king salmon are allocated between commercial and sport anglers. The proposed allocations of halibut between Alaska sport and commercial users is currently before the North Pacific Fisheries Management Counsel. She noted that the local Sitka's Visitor's Bureau and the private sector were doing a good job marketing in Sitka Number 580 JOSEPH JOLLY, BOARD MEMBER, UNITED COOK INLET DRIFT ASSOCIATION, and COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN, stated that there was nothing in HB 147, as it is currently written, to insure that only remote location promotion will be done. As it stands, the people who would benefit from this act would be the sport fish entities in the already overworked areas with habitat problems. He stated that the commercial fisheries industry would be harmed further by the reduction in raw fish taxes, jobs would be lost, and the trucking and support industries would suffer. This, he said, would keep snowballing and the taxpayer would end up paying the bill. Mr. Jolly stated he was against HB 147. Number 616 KEITH JOHNSON explained he was the owner and operator of a lodge in Southwest Alaska. He stated he was in favor of HB 147. It has the potential to start the organizational business of taking care of the sport fishing, guiding, and lodge activities throughout the state. He agreed that the Kenai, Russian, Deshka, et cetera, were over worked. The way to ease that pressure would be to build a road from Wasilla across the drainage ditches to Talkeetna Bay. He concluded that HB 147 would bring in money and let the people in the lower 48 know that there's is organized fishing all over the state. TAPE 95-9, SIDE A ROD BERG, testifying via teleconference, stated HB 147 has some merits; however, the ATMC, the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Council and other entities, were adequately promoting all angles of tourism within the state. He noted when the king salmon stamp was added onto licenses a few years ago, funds were suppose to go back into a king salmon enhancement fund. However, 60 percent to 70 percent of the funds are generated in Southcentral Alaska, but less the 50 percent is going back into that area. Being from the Kenai Peninsula area, he testified that he was totally opposed to any more governmental involvement in the promotion of the area. CHAIRMAN KOTT closed public testimony on HB 147, and pointed out that the basic problem with the bill was the funding mechanism He stated that he was hopeful that Representative Green would be able to work out the funding problems and, thereafter, bring the bill back before the committee. Number 119 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN noted that the funding problem had been brought to his attention only just prior to the meeting. Had he known about it sooner, he stated, he wouldn't have brought the bill before the committee. He pointed out though, that it had been a very beneficial meeting, addressing a wide cross section of ideas. He thanked the committee and said he would bring the bill back with changes. HL&C - 02/22/95 HB 65 - ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LOAN GUARANTEES CHAIRMAN KOTT asked for the sponsor of HB 65 to give an opening statement. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES read the following sponsor statement for HB 65, "An Act establishing a loan guarantee and interest rate subsidy programs for assistive technology." "According to a 1991 study, over 20,000 Alaskans experience at least one form of disability. Assistive technology, such as specialized keyboards, hearing aids, or wheelchairs make the difference to many disabled as to whether they keep a job or live independently. Of the disabled, approximately 63 percent need adaptive devices and are unable to purchase these items due to personal financial constraints. "HB 65 establishes a loan guarantee and interest rate subsidy program for those in need of assistive technology. It is a unique public-private sector partnership that enables persons with disabilities to obtain loans who would not otherwise qualify. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation administers the loan program with seed money from the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Technology-Related Assistance Program. Private lending institutions process the loan and arrange a loan guarantee and any interest rate subsidy with the applicant and the Division. "A study by the National Council of Disabilities has shown that over half of the disabled persons receiving assistive technology loans were able to reduce their dependence on public assistance. This bill establishes an assistive technology loan program for Alaskan residents." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated that the legislation will help people help themselves. The individual gains in self-sufficiency and self-respect, society wins because the individuals become more productive members of the work force. The state treasury benefits by the reduction in need for assistance payments. Number 201 CHAIRMAN KOTT was going to open testimony on the teleconference line, then learned that individuals in Juneau were being picked up at 5:00 p.m., so he opened public testimony in Juneau. NANCY ANDESON stated that this was a classic example of why independence was so important. The Care-A-Van was there to pick them up at the Capitol Building at 5:00 p.m. They must give the operators of the Care-A-Van 24 hours advance notice. She explained that she, herself, had a van waiting to get outfitted. Currently, she works at home, but if she could get a wheelchair and scooter that worked without duct tape she could go into the office and be independent. The bottom line she stated, was to make everyone taxpayers. The best way to do that was to allow people the independence and the ability to go to work, keeping in mind that just getting to and from work is not all that's involved. Having disabilities is very expensive. Even if you're fully insured, that doesn't cover buying light-weight comforters because your feet can't turn over in bed under a heavy wool blanket. She stated that she was in the range that did not qualify for any of the programs. She was either too rich, too poor, too young, too old, not mentally disabled, et cetera, to qualify. The Assistive Technology Council has had very good records in other states, the default rate is close to zero. It is something they really want, and they are not going to default. KEN DEAN explained that his chair cost $13,500, the van he normally uses cost another $26,000. He stated that he was the exception to the rule, as he was able to fund those things through insurance. For every one of him, he explained, there were at least five to ten others that fall through the cracks. He stated he had a full-time job. Half the day he works for Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), and the other half he is a paralegal at his home. One of the basic human tendencies is to be able to get out of the house, some of the disabled can't even leave their homes unless they have some assistance to be able to buy a van or whatever it takes to get them out. He stated that in the studies that he's done, from 5,000 to 10,000 people would become functional parts of society instead of being a "blob" in a room, kind of like in years past people with disabilities were pretty much locked in the closet. ELENA KILBUCK testified via teleconference. She read a letter from Brenda Spintz, which stated HB 65 was just what she needed. She is care giver, thus, the power of attorney, and is the daughter of Laura Roberts who, is disabled with progressive super-nuclear palsy, which is a neurological degeneration that effects muscle control and forms of communication with related dementia. She stated her goal was to keep her mother in a home setting for as long as possible. Assistive technology is a necessity to survive on a daily basis, income is strained at all times. If these loans were to become available with low interest, this would be the long term answer for them. She stated that with this loan, they could see a future in their home, and they could purchase needed handicapped equipment for the bathroom. She concluded that HB 65 would enable her mother, and other individuals, to live happier fuller lives in their family surroundings and outside of institutions. Number 341 PATRICK REINHART, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STATE INDEPENDENT LIVING COUNCIL (SILC), stated he was in support of HB 65. SILC believes that this legislation is a critical part of a whole array of independent living services. It is an enabling piece of legislation, allowing Alaskans with disabilities, or families with disabled members, to purchase needed adaptive equipment and devices for their needs. Contrary to current popular belief, not all persons in need want government help They want the opportunity to do it on their own. Number 360 JIM JANSEN, CHALLENGE ALASKA, testified via teleconference, in favor of HB 65. He stated that he designs and builds adaptive recreational equipment. He has seen a lot of improvement in people's attitudes and health because of their experiences with recreation. He felt it will be worth the money, in the long run, to give people with disabilities the opportunity to function in recreational settings as well as in employment, and by granting them independence. These loans can get people off welfare, thereby decreasing the cost of caring for persons. The loans will increase people's self-worth through doing more of their own things. Number 401 GREG ALLISON, SAIL, stated that he couldn't emphasize enough the importance of assistive technology, such as hearing aids, which cost $2,000 dollars each. He stated that there are many communities that require you to have hearing aids for their communication needs at home, at play, and during everyday use. He pointed out that the closed caption and TDD machines needed cost as much as $600 dollars and need to be replaced every five years. He stressed the importance of these types of equipment in the deaf community, and he reiterated his support for HB 65. Number 436 PAM GUY, STATE EMPLOYEE, DEAF ADVOCATE, stated how important HB 65 was to people in helping them to achieve their goals, with more independence. The 90 percent loan guarantee would help, especially those people whose benefits are cut. She stated that this would be great for their needs. Number 451 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated this was a bill that every legislator, regardless of their position in the spectrum of philosophy, could support. He stated that if you are a hard hearted conservative you can support it because this will get people who might otherwise be on welfare or general assistance back off of those roles. If you are a bleeding heart liberal, you are actually improving the quality of life for some citizens in the state. Representative Porter moved and asked unanimous consent to move HB 65 out of committee with individual recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked if they were talking about $100,000. STAN RIDGEWAY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, stated that there was a fiscal note of $300,000. This is $100,000 each year for the next three years, with the possibility of additional funding the fourth year. This is federal funding. This grant ends in five years, and in the fourth year gets cut to 75 percent. In the fifth year it gets cut 50 percent. However, they are not sure how much will be available those years. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked how many people they could help with only $100,000. MR. RIDGEWAY answered that most of the loans would be under $5,000. They were hoping to leverage the money by buying bonds or an insurance policy. Number 542 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS stated that this money would go much farther if it were possibly a 60 percent loan, instead of a 90 percent loan. MR. RIDGEWAY stated that the banking industry had been in support of this bill. It would help those people in the banking community to deal with their community reinvestment loans. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked at what point would they would oppose this. MR. RIDGEWAY answered that, at this point, he wouldn't make a recommendation without speaking with the Alaska Banker's Association. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated HB 65 had two other committee referrals and that he'd keep an eye on it. Number 554 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that there was a motion to move HB 65 out of committee. Hearing no objections, the motion passed. He then stated that SB 55, "An Act repealing the sunset of the enhanced 911 emergency reporting systems," would be heard on Monday, February 27, 1995. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Labor & Commerce Committee, Chairman Kott adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.