Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/27/1995 03:02 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE LABOR & COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE February 27, 1995 3:02 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Pete Kott, Chairman Representative Kim Elton MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Norman Rokeberg, Vice Chairman Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Beverly Masek Representative Gene Kubina Representative Brian Porter COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 116: "An Act exempting the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute from the State Procurement Code." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE SB 55: "An Act repealing the sunset of the enhanced 911 emergency reporting systems." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 146: "An Act relating to sled dog race classics." HEARD AND HELD WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 434 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone (907) 465-2487 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HB 116 JERRY MCCUNE, President United Fishermen of Alaska 211 4th St., Ste. 211 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-2820 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 116 DEAN WILDER, Chairman of the Board Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute 3323 Dry Cook Port Alsworth, AK 99653 Telephone: Not Available POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 116 ART SCHHEUNEMANN, Executive Director Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute 1111 W. 8th St., Ste. 100 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone (907) 465-2250 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 116 SENATOR JOHN TORGERSON Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 427 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone (907) 465-2828 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of SB 55 MARK JOHNSON, Chief Emergency Medical Section Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 240249 Anchorage, AK 99524-0249 Telephone (907) 561-4406 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 55 KEVIN O'LEARY, Chief of Police Anchorage Police Department 4501 S. Bragaw Anchorage, AK 99507 Telephone: (907) 786-8595 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 55 JEFF MORRISON, Director Administrative Services Division Legislative Liaison Department of Military & Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 110900 Juneau, AK 99801-0900 Telephone (907) 564-4600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 55 KEVIN KOCHLEIN, Emergency Services Coordinator Mat-Su Borough Cottonwood Public Safety Building 680 N. Seward Meridian Pkwy Wasilla, AK 99654 Telephone (907) 373-8800 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 55 LARRY TEAGUE, Building Inspector & Zoning Officer City of Palmer 231 W. Evergreen Palmer, AK 99645 Telephone (907) 745-3271 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of SB 55 BRYCE EDGMON, Legislative Assistant Representative Richard Foster Capitol Building, Room 410 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone (907) 465-3789 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 146 SAM HOOLEY, Executive Director Iditarod Trail Committee P.O. Box 870800 Wasilla, AK 99687-0800 Telephone (907) 376-5155 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 146 DAVE LAMBERT, President Alaska Dog Musher's Association P.O. Box 1243 Fairbanks, AK 99707 Telephone: Not Available POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 146 JOHN K. HANDELAND, Mayor City of Nome; and Vice President, Iditarod Trail Committee P.O. Box 291 Nome, AK 99762 Telephone (907) 443-6663 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 146 EARL NORRIS P.O. Box 33 Willow, AK 99688 Telephone: (907) 495-6346 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 146 NATALIE NORRIS P.O. Box 33 Willow, AK 99688 Telephone (907) 495-6346 POSITIONS STATEMENT: Testified against HB 146 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 116 SHORT TITLE: EXEMPT ASMI FROM PROCUREMENT CODE SPONSOR(S): SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/25/95 131 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/25/95 131 (H) FSH, L&C, FIN 02/13/95 (H) FSH AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/13/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/15/95 367 (H) FSH RPT 2DP 3NR 02/15/95 367 (H) DP: MOSES, ELTON 02/15/95 367 (H) NR: G.DAVIS, OGAN, AUSTERMAN 02/15/95 367 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, DCED) 02/27/95 (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 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 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/22/95 453 (H) FIN REFERRAL ADDED 02/27/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 146 SHORT TITLE: SLED DOG RACE CLASSIC SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) FOSTER,Phillips,Mulder,Navarre,Brice Grussendorf,Toohey,Ivan JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/03/95 235 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/03/95 235 (H) CRA, L&C 02/13/95 343 (H) COSPONSOR(S): IVAN 02/14/95 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/14/95 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 02/15/95 365 (H) CRA RPT 4DP 1NR 02/15/95 366 (H) DP: MACKIE, ELTON, IVAN, NICHOLIA 02/15/95 366 (H) NR: AUSTERMAN 02/15/95 366 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (REV) 2/15/95 02/27/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-10, SIDE A Number 000 The House Labor & Commerce Standing Committee was called to order by Chairman Pete Kott at 3:02 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott and Elton. Members absent were Representatives Rokeberg, Porter, Kubina, Masek and Sanders. CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT stated there was not a quorum present. He announced that the meeting was on teleconference with Anchorage and Fairbanks. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK arrived at 3:03 p.m. HL&C - 02/27/95 HB 116 - EXEMPT ASMI FROM PROCUREMENT CODE Number 021 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN, Prime Sponsor of HB 116, stated that this bill was introduced to exempt the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) from the procurement codes. It seeks to eliminate the restrictive requirements of the state procurement code in marketing Alaskan products in the United States. He pointed out there was also an amendment to add to the original bill. REPRESENTATIVES ROKEBERG, KUBINA & SANDERS arrived at 3:05 p.m. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked if they had any communications with other entities that were exempt under this statute. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN pointed out that if they were exempt, they wouldn't have any problems. CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that ASMI had been operating since 1981. He asked how, up until this time, they had been able to operate under the confines of this statute as it currently exists. Number 100 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON stated that changing this procurement code had been a priority of the ASMI board for the past several years. The problem was that the ASMI board had received a significant amount of money from the state, especially in the domestic market place, but within the last two years there has been a transition away from this funding. He stated that ASMI domestic marketing is now completely funded by the industry. The board recognized that there might have been a problem asking to get rid of state procurement, when state general fund dollars were going into it at that time. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the funding for ASMI was entirely self-generated and whether there is anything on the horizon for which they expect to ask for additional funding. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN replied that he wasn't aware of anything of that nature. He explained that the amendment to HB 116 directs the ASMI board to create within themselves a procurement policy of their own. Number 149 JERRY McCUNE, PRESIDENT, UNITED FISHERMEN OF ALASKA (UFA), stated they support HB 116. Most of the members pay their taxes to the domestic market and feel it very cumbersome to have this code restricting the way they do business. He stated the procurement code restricts actions ASMI can do under contracts. Number 173 DAVE WILDER, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, ASMI, explained that the situation at ASMI had changed over the past two years. It went from an 18-member board to a 25-member board, made up of 12 fishermen, 12 processors and 1 member of the public. Their committee structure, which was put in place by the legislature, includes a salmon marketing committee designated by the legislature to oversee the moneys collected from the salmon fisheries and make recommendations to the board on their behalf. He stated the salmon industry in Alaska was in a crisis. The encroachment on sales both domestically and internationally, by farmed salmon, foreign seafood production, and by other protein markets, has caused them to lose market share and reduces the price they receive. He stated the board directed ASMI to change their status to seek relief from the state procurement code. MR. WILDER added they had developed a comprehensive domestic marketing plan that has brought more staff into the Lower 48 operation and has brought a much greater need to have the flexibility they were seeking. He explained several of the issues that were involved as the basis for seeking this relief: Fishermen and processors finance ASMI domestic operations; they have offices in Juneau and Seattle, and the majority of activities are carried out in Seattle. Many of these activities require immediate response and flexibility. Going through the procurement code process eliminates the possibility of taking advantage of situations that would benefit the industry and allow them to sell more product at higher prices. He stated that the board was committed to a cost efficient structure to promote quality in marketing Alaskan seafood products. Roughly 33,000 people depend on the industry for full-time jobs. He concluded that it would be in the best interest of the state and the industry to get relief from the procurement code. Number 250 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked for a recent example of how the procurement code had adversely affected ASMI. MR. WILDER said that recently, they had hired two people under contract to represent ASMI in their domestic retail program. They were not able to go out and hire them when they needed them because it was over the $25,000 limit, and it took a substantial amount of time. He also said this has been the same issue in procurement of office supplies, and slows up their process in dealing with out-of-state issues. Number 274 ART SCHHEUNEMANN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASMI, related that ASMI had taken a new course with a new marketing plan. The marketing plan is regional in nature, targeting the Lower 48 as the newest opportunity for Alaska's seafood expansion. He explained that it was an area that had not been evangelized in the past to the degree that the seafood industry, fishermen and processors want it to be in the future. Part of the plan, based on extensive research, strongly suggested that they focus on the central core of the United States, where 25 percent of the U.S. population resides above average in disposable income. The marketing strategy also provided that as they become successful in those regional areas, they would roll out in other regions placing five individuals for a total of five regions to represent Alaska's seafood interests. MR. SCHHEUNEMANN followed up on Mr. Wilder's example of the two field marketing representatives that were put in place in September. He stated that it took three and one-half months to place them in the field. Because the contract for the individual was over $25,000, they couldn't advertise in the Lower 48 or do normal recruitment. These people weren't treated like potential employees applying for a job. They had to accommodate the procurement process by becoming licensed contractors in the state. Instead of having those people in the field setting up contacts, building relationships, and developing what needs to be done in the retail marketplace, food service and consumer advertising areas, they were behind the curve. The season had been upon them for some time. He stated this would be a very cumbersome and costly process when they hire the other regional representatives. He pointed out that as the organization becomes more aggressive in terms of marketing strategy, his retail director might want to work with multiple contractors to provide different services at any one time. He indicated that they did not want to have to go through this lengthy process. MR. SCHHEUNEMANN pointed out that this system was designed for state bureaucratic agencies to protect themselves and to make sure all vendors from "outside" had equal access to state services that were being contracted out. Number 402 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if ASMI advertises within the state. MR. SCHHEUNEMANN replied that virtually all advertising is done outside the state, although there is an instate awareness communications program. Number 428 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON added that many of the instate efforts of ASMI have been in quality working with fishermen and processors. He expounded that you could sell a fish once, but if it's bad quality, you have a tough time selling it a second time. Number 440 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated there was an amendment before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt amendment 1 to HB 116 as presented. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was objection. Hearing none, the amendment was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG offered amendment 2, page 1, line 12, to delete subsection 3, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), and to adjust the following numbers of the underlying subsections. REPRESENTATIVES ELTON & KUBINA objected. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated that he could not support this amendment. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG offered that this bill was an exemption to the procurement code to the state of Alaska. He suggested that perhaps they should be looking at changing the procurement code and not the exemptions. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN agreed with that position. He stated he would be happy to sign on if someone was willing to redraft the procurement codes of the state of Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated he would be intrigued and possibly a Co-sponsor if there was another bill that discussed the different things that AHFC was doing. He related that the major difference between AHFC and ASMI was that ASMI was using industry dollars and needs the latitude that industry has in their private marketing. Number 504 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Representative Elton if industry dollars refer to a fish tax. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON answered that there were three primary income streams into ASMI. The first was the .03 percent tax on seafood processed in state, the second was created by the last legislature when they passed a 1 percent assessment on the value of salmon product in the state, and the last income stream is federal, which last year was over $5,000,000. The later is used exclusively in overseas marketing and is secured with a 15 percent cash match by the state general fund. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG withdrew his amendment. Number 542 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON made a motion to move CSHB 116(L&C) out of committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was any objection. Hearing none, the motion passed. HL&C - 02/27/95 SB 55 - REPEALING SUNSET OF ENHANCED 911 SYSTEM Number 552 SENATOR JOHN TORGERSON, PRIME SPONSOR OF SB 55, stated this bill repeals the sunset clause authorizing local governments that have the enhanced 911 system to continue the surcharge against local phone cooperatives. He explained that local governments did not want to lose this revenue stream. It is a shared cost throughout the municipality based upon this surcharge. It was their request to remove this sunset provision and let the municipalities continue to collect the surcharge. Number 575 MARK JOHNSON, CHIEF, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SECTION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH and SOCIAL SERVICES, told the committee that they support this bill. Most of the communities and municipalities around the state have or are in the process of implementing this system which provides the dispatcher with the automatic number and location identification of the caller. He acknowledged that some of the rural communities, particularly smaller areas that have dispatch capabilities or rural highway areas outside major cities and boroughs, should somehow find a way to benefit from enhanced 911 systems. He said this mechanism doesn't seem to be the way to do that. He offered that some other type of legislation may be needed to address those areas of the state. He said they would be willing to work on that. Number 594 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what the surcharge was. MR. JOHNSON answered that for communities over 100,000 people, the charge was 50 cents per phone line; for those under 100,000 people, the charge would be 75 cents. Number 602 KEVIN O'LEARY, ANCHORAGE CHIEF OF POLICE, also responsible for the Enhanced 911 System in the municipality of Anchorage (MOA), testified via teleconference in support of SB 55. He stated the cost in the MOA is a little in excess of $3,000,000 per year to operate this system, they collect $883,000 year through the 50 cent charges. The system that rural areas have in place, does have the capabilities of handling statewide enhanced 911. If the state chooses to do so, the cost would be for installation of additional capacity in the computer and the tracking system. This system has been installed in some of the major municipalities in the Lower 48 that are larger than the population of the entire state of Alaska. Number 618 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS asked how many phone calls were handled each year. CHIEF O'LEARY replied that the Anchorage Police Department handled in excess of 700,000 calls to their dispatch center, of which 230,000 resulted in some type of police action. The fire department handled between 12,000 to 15,000 runs and there were approximately 26,000 emergency medical technician (EMT) runs. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated the system was costing the municipality of Anchorage $3,000,000 per year and they were collecting approximately $883,000. He asked Chief O'Leary what the charge per phone line was, and what the 911 enhanced portion of the $3,000,000 is. CHIEF O'LEARY answered that it was 50 cents per line, but he didn't have information on the cost for the equipment at this time. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG (Indisc.--end of tape) TAPE 95-10, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked again what the totality of the enhanced 911 cost was. CHIEF O'LEARY stated that it was hard to separate the enhanced section, because it is part of the computer system that brings the name and location of the caller into the computer at dispatch. He explained there was one finite cost for all three functions with police, fire and EMT. Number 018 CHAIRMAN KOTT pointed out that since 911 benefits the city as a whole, and fire and police protection are the central function of government, why not pay for this system from the city's general funds. CHIEF O'LEARY stated this was the best way to pay for a system that was ongoing in terms of expenditures. He added that they had researched the laws in other states and discovered that Alaska was one of the last states not to have this type of system in place for a collection of a small fee to pay for the enhancement. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if they were raising more money than what the system was costing. CHIEF O'LEARY answered that the money raised pays for approximately one-third of the total cost of running the system. This includes the cost of the enhanced 911 equipment, the emergency operators and dispatchers in various public safety access points hooked up to this system. Number 096 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked if there were actually 2,000 calls per day coming in to the system in Anchorage. CHIEF O'LEARY answered yes, but of that number, perhaps 25 percent of those calls actually require some sort of police action. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS replied that $3,000,000 divided by 780,000 calls equals $4.00 per call. He was astounded that 1 percent of the people in Anchorage called 911 every day. CHIEF O'LEARY stated those calls were not just 911 calls. The 911 systems track and trace phone calls coming into any telephone in the dispatch center. In the event that an individual calls into a business line and has some type of difficulty, the system would still be able to trace that call. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER commented that the initial estimate of what the fee should be was at best, arbitrary. He stated he had not heard anything indicating that this hasn't been a benefit to communities. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked if there was any reference to this when they put the bill through a few years ago. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated that part of the ability of this system is that a computer can display who is making the call. For instance, the child who doesn't know where they live or the person whose house is burning and they just forget they're at home as opposed to the job. Sometimes these people forget to call 911, or they sometimes call in on other numbers. Number 111 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked about the anonymous informant that is trying to help the police without getting himself in trouble. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER answered that it could apply to that. Number 150 JEFF MORRISON, DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS, testified in order to clear up a letter sent by General Lestenkof dated February 2, 1995, to Representative Kay Brown. The purpose of the letter was simply to raise issues, not to take any stand or make recommendations on the bill. There are some issues concerning statewide 911 systems. The nature of the letter was to raise those issues and that was all. He said he will be drafting a letter to be signed by General Lestenkof and forwarded to Senator Torgerson stating this and clarifying the issue. CHAIRMAN KOTT pointed out that he had spoken to Mr. Harpring on the matter, and he had stated the same. Number 195 KEVIN KOCHLEIN, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY, MAT-SU BOROUGH, also the Enhanced 911 Project Manager, testified via teleconference and reiterated Chief O'Leary's comments that the borough was very much in support of SB 55. The surcharge had allowed them to initiate the process to get enhanced 911 services in the Mat-Su Borough. He explained they have had a basic 911 system over the last few years. The surcharge uses the additional funding over and above what is locally generated from tax revenues to purchase the equipment and the software and staffing to actually place enhanced systems on line. He stated their enhanced system should be on line late summer or early fall of next year. He stated that with Palmer's contract for dispatch services, the entire cost of the system should run approximately $850,000 this year. The surcharge would generate approximately $190,000 from the surcharge. In closing, MR. KOCHLEIN encouraged the movement of SB 55 through the House. LARRY TEAGUE, BUILDING INSPECTOR AND ZONING OFFICER, CITY OF PALMER, testified that they were in support of SB 55. His only comment was that they might consider Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC) or some agency oversight if there was a concern over the use of the 911 money. Number 242 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER clarified that this system does not display every incoming call to the police department. If a call comes in directly to a detective's phone and it is determined that call is a 911 call, it would be rerouted to the 911 Center. There is not a display by every phone in the police department that calls up the subscriber of the number. CHAIRMAN KOTT submitted that they should place this with APUC. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked why the sponsor does not delete the language, rather than extend the date. SENATOR TORGERSON stated he did not see the state ever going back and funding this amount of money being collected now. He stated it was a good system working well and helps offset the costs of the enhanced 911 systems, and just extending the date out would mean repeating this again in a couple of years. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON commented that this bill allows municipalities to make their own decisions. Number 297 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out that he supports Enhanced 911, but as a legislator he objects to voting on something for which the cost is not determined. SENATOR TORGERSON commented that the enhanced system was part of the mapping system. When called, the system would trace that call. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough they took even the utilities, so they were all using the same mapping system. Number 320 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Chief O'Leary if the Eagle River area is complete and on line with the enhanced systems. CHIEF O'LEARY stated there was a small lag time where they had a problem with the specific address correction information, but this had been corrected. If you live in Eagle River, Chugiak or Eklutna it does come into their dispatch center. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON made a motion to move SB 55 with attached zero fiscal notes and individual recommendations out of committee. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was any objection. Hearing none, the motion was passed. HL&C - 02/27/95 HB 146 - SLED DOG RACE CLASSIC BRYCE EDGMON, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT to REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER, stated that HB 146 was intended to give the Iditarod Race an alternative method to raising funds. He stated that the siege by animal rights activists has caused many corporate sponsorships to withdraw their financial support. This, combined with the removal of legislative funds has put the Iditarod in a precarious position and threatens the future of the race. MR. EDGMON stated that HB 146 creates a separate category in the charitable gaming statutes that devises the sled dog classic enabling the Iditarod Trail Committee to conduct a statewide sweepstakes. The trail committee would sell raffle tickets to contestants, both in Alaska and outside, for wagering on arrival times both at the check points and into the finishing line in Nome. He added, there is a minor change to tighten the title to make the language exclusive to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Number 378 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked why the sponsor felt it necessary to change the title. MR. EDGMON stated this was a technical change. The Senate version has that same title, and they felt that the vote could go through in its original form. Tightening this would make further assurance that this was specifically for the Iditarod Race. Number 388 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA disagreed with Mr. Edgmon. He felt that the language within the legislation should be changed if they wanted to tighten it. MR. EDGMON explained that the category of sled dog race classics is supported by Section 4. It defines sled dog race classic pertaining to Iditarod Sweepstakes, operated and administered by the Iditarod Trail Committee. Number 420 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK asked why this should be just for the Iditarod when there are two major sled dog races in the state of Alaska; the Yukon Quest being one of them. She explained that many races in the state were in financial trouble, and that is why the language should be changed so as not to focus on just one race. MR. EDGMON commented that the charitable gaming issues are a sensitive subject, and that many bills have not made it through the legislature. He explained that Representative Foster's position in introducing this bill is that the Iditarod Race represents the state of Alaska. Certainly there are many regional races that could stand to benefit from using this kind of mechanism, but if they open this legislation up to other races, then they may as well open it up to gaming activities for other organizations. He stated the Iditarod Race is "The Last Great Race" and benefits the entire state. Number 452 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS observed that dog mushing is like baseball; if you eliminate the smaller races, wouldn't you be left with a hollow Iditarod Race. He stated that he would be more comfortable supporting this if it covered sled racing as a whole and not just the Iditarod. MR. EDGMON brought up the Nenana Ice Classic which has raised a large amount of money for worthwhile organizations. He stated the Iditarod Race means a lot to the state of Alaska, and without a mechanism to raise money, the future of the Iditarod is in peril. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked if he felt that broadening the legislation would hurt the Iditarod. MR. EDGMON stated that broadening this legislation would hurt the chances of this bill getting through. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK stressed that accountability should be kept in mind with any type of organization. She felt they shouldn't just focus on the Iditarod, but they should look beyond that. Number 489 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA noted there had been mention of the Nenana Ice Classic, and its restrictiveness because it existed before 1959. He didn't feel that you would want to have an Ice Classic in every river. He summarized that he was sympathetic to this bill and wouldn't want to expand it. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG recalled that there had been a Tanana Ice Classic. Number 509 STAN HOOLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IDITAROD TRAIL COMMITTEE (ITC), testified in favor of HB 146. He stated the Iditarod and its large national sponsors had been the target of an ever-increasing amount of negative and harmful publicity by various radical (indisc.--coughing). He said they needed a way to diversify their funding base. This past spring, the two remaining outside sponsors announced that they wouldn't be renewing their sponsorship due to various pressures. As a result, $300,900 disappeared from the race budget this year, and an additional $190,000 will disappear next year. He stated for the past six months, they have worked hard to recoup those lost revenues. These revenues had made it possible for the ITC to stage the caliber of race that Alaskans have come to expect. Through international and national coverage, ITC has been able to help the visitor industry. He concluded that the ITC believes it vitally important to put a mechanism in place to insure the long term financial stability of the race, and HB 146 does just that. In a game of chance for prices, money would be awarded to the closest guess of the winning time of the Iditarod. He stated this measure is not a way to wager on the race, but a way to predict the winning time. They felt that would do away with any mischief or potential fraud. The economic impact report of 1992 indicated that the Iditarod attracted 16 percent of out-of-state visitors during the fall, winter and spring seasons. Today, the percentage is much higher than this. He mentioned that the television coverage of the race has significantly benefitted the visitor industry. Approximately half of the broadcast time accentuated issues and images support tourism. He pointed out they weren't saying that the Iditarod was a better race than the others. The Iditarod has borne the brunt of these groups because it's so visible. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked if the Iditarod was supposed to be the Last Great Race, the greatest in the United States, the world, why were they undergoing so many financial problems. She further stated the Humane Society issues had been brought up many years ago. She asked why the committee doesn't work with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). She also asked what the relationship was with the villages along the trail. MR. HOOLEY responded that as an organization, the ITC is forced by large national sponsors to work with animal rights groups to insulate them from being publicly attacked by these groups as well. In their opinion, the various animal rights groups want to use this event and the visibility that surrounds this event to more effectively compete for a larger share of that multi-million dollar pie that is donated to these groups annually. The HSUS manipulated certain facts, arranged for exclusive interviews on Good Morning America and were not dealing with the ITC in good faith. The ITC didn't see the benefit of working with People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)., International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR), and HSUS. He stated this legislation is an attempt to return the control of the race to Alaska. MR. HOOLEY responded to the question of relationships with the villages. He said that more of an effort would be put into enhancing those relationships in the years to come. He stated they were sensitive to the need of making this race more accessible to the Native community. He said that this year there was only one Native participating. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK interjected that there weren't any. MR. HOOLEY stated that Ramy Brooks is a Native and he strongly objected to the media reporting that there weren't any Natives participating. The ITC and the media heard about it. He explained that as this race becomes more competitive, it becomes more expensive to participate. People off the road system, be it in the Native community or otherwise, find it very difficult to be a part of this race. TAPE 95-11, SIDE A Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK noted that in the past few years she had received correspondence and phone calls from villagers that were negative towards the ITC. She clarified that the children playing along the trail were finding discarded syringes from vaccinations and garbage, and this was very disturbing to the villagers. She asked what level of funding goes out to the cleanup effort. Also, she said she hasn't seen much effort in putting any type of education out to the Native communities. MR. HOOLEY stated that an advisory council of leaders from around the state was formed specifically to address key issues. One of those was village relationships. He noted that this takes some time to work through what specific actions should be taken. He stated they had discussed trail cleanup some time ago. He asked whether those complaints came subsequent to the 1994 race, and he recalled that this was an issue in the 1993 race. He did not think those were issues this past year. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK stated that being a participant from 1990 to 1993, going through the check points and meeting the people, that she still hears from them today. Number 067 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked what kind of revenue would be brought in, and how the moneys would be disseminated. MR. HOOLEY said his organization would look at all the important issues. Their ability to do all they should do, such as sweeping the trail, is limited by the amount of money they have at this point. They do have a line item plugged in this year specifically for trail cleanup. They expect to make even more progress this year than they did last year. He explained that they had not worked out a specific plan for the sharing of the proceeds yet. They are going to work with the Department of Revenue, Division of Charitable Gaming, to establish something that makes sense. If the Nenana Ice Classic sells over 250,000 tickets, the ITC feels that it's not unreasonable to think that they couldn't sell 1 million tickets given the right effort. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked for a copy of the articles of incorporation for the ITC. REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS asked if any members on the board of directors were past or present mushers. MR. HOOLEY indicated that of the ten member board, five of the members were mushers. He didn't have the exact list in front of him. He stated the board had been dominated by active members of the mushing community. The current board has recognized the need to balance this; as organization has become more of a business, it is important that it be run like a business. Number 196 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS compared the smaller races to farm teams in baseball. He asked if most of the mushers in the Iditarod come from these smaller races and work their way up. He stated that if this is true, and they fail, won't the Iditarod run out of young people working their way into the system. MR. HOOLEY stated that the Iditarod certainly isn't the first race that is run. There are specific qualifying procedures in which individuals need to complete 500 miles to compete, and they do this through the other races. He stated they had a great interest in insuring that dog mushing, particularly mid to long distance mushing, remain viable and healthy. The overall health of the Iditarod translates directly back into how much interest people are going to have in mushing. Number 286 DAVE LAMBERT, PRESIDENT OF THE ALASKA DOG MUSHER'S ASSOCIATION (ADMA), testified via teleconference that he was against HB 146. He stated the gaming laws currently allow for sled dog classics. The ADMA has a yearly classic on the Open North American Sled Dog Race. The law allows for betting on finishing places and finishing time. He said that at this time, it was legal to do parimutuel betting in the state just as if you were doing it on horses. He said the ADMA had talked about having a sled dog classic on the Iditarod, but decided they didn't want to be associated with the Iditarod. He stated that the last paragraph of the legislation would bar any organization from having a sled dog classic, and the Iditarod would be the one and only. He said the classics were a viable fund raising tool for many organizations and villages. In conclusion, he stated that if the trail committee wanted to have a classic, they could do that legally now. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if he was opposed to having any betting on dog racing now or would he agree to allow betting on other races. MR. LAMBERT reiterated that it currently is legal to bet on finishing places and finishing times in all dog sled races under dog sled contests. He stated that this legislation would simply bar anyone else from having a classic. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated it was his understanding that this bill wouldn't change the kind of betting described by Mr. Lambert. MR. LAMBERT stated that the parimutuel betting was a separate issue. The sled dog classic and betting on finishing times, under the regulation states "sweepstakes offered and administered by the Iditarod Trail Committee." REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated this was under definition of sled dog race classic. He assumed there was also a definition in the statute of dog musher's contests. He stated this definition does not seek to limit or expand that definition; therefore, if it were legal it would continue to be legal. MR. LAMBERT explained it covers that you can bet on the finishing time, and the sled dog classic is betting on the finishing time. Therefore, if you limit betting on the finishing time to the sled dog classic through the Iditarod Sweepstakes, how does that allow anyone else. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied that you could still do it under dog musher's contests. MR. LAMBERT then asked what was the purpose was of this legislation. Number 318 JOHN HANDELAND, MAYOR, CITY OF NOME, and MEMBER OF THE ITC, testified via teleconference in support of HB 146. He commented that during the last couple years, the attack by special interest groups has resulted in severe financial hardship. He stated that the board has been reviewing their operations and is making ongoing operational change. As a short term solution for their crisis, they've turned to state sponsors. With the elimination of the controlling animal rights groups, many of the old sponsors in the state increased their sponsorship. He didn't see how they could continue to milk the instate sponsors. They feel that this legislation is an opportunity to increase revenue. He stated this wouldn't change the particular item with dog musher's classic. As a separate provision under the definition of Alaska Statute 05.15.690, Subsection 11, this would be in addition to the statute, similar to the Nenana Ice Classic. They believe that the Iditarod has a year-round impact on the economy in Nome, as well as around the state as a whole. Media coverage exports Alaska's name to the world, which generates interest and intrigue; translating into tourism throughout the state. He stated being the city at the end of the trail, they have seen changes to the race organization. The board made amendments for funding the cleanup of the villages. They made rules requiring the mushers to take with them many of the items previously disposed of in the villages. He stated they were committed, as a board, to work on any problems that do exist and, once again, to make this an event that all Alaskans can be proud of. They would like to stand on their own without having people from the Lower 48 dictate how they're going to operate. EARL NORRIS testified via teleconference that he has been mushing since 1946. He is considered the founder of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and is a charter member of the Alaska Dog Musher's Association in Fairbanks. He stated he was against HB 146. Dog racing as a whole needs support. It shouldn't be limited to one organization. He pointed out that he wasn't against the Iditarod; he had competed in it. Number 421 NATALIE NORRIS concurred with her husband, that the sport of sled dog racing in Alaska does need help. All the races contribute; therefore, she would like to have the last paragraph of the bill changed to include other races. CHAIRMAN KOTT stated that HB 146 would be held over until the next committee meeting. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Labor & Commerce Committee, Chairman Kott adjourned the meeting at 5:15 p.m.