Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/08/1995 03:10 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE March 8, 1995 3:10 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Pete Kott, Chairman Representative Norman Rokeberg, Vice Chairman Representative Beverly Masek Representative Kim Elton Representative Gene Kubina Representative Brian Porter MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Jerry Sanders COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 46: "An Act relating to the practice of architecture, engineering, and land surveying." HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 24 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor HB 46 JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 24 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 46 GRAHAM ROLSTAD, Interim CEO Matanuska Telephone Association 1740 South Chugach Street Palmer, AK 99645 Telephone: (907) 745-5412 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 JIM ROWE, Executive Director Alaska Telephone Association 4341 B Street Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 563-4000 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 NANCY SCHOEPHOESTER ARCO Alaska P.O. Box 100360 Anchorage, AK 99508 Telephone: (907) 263-4655 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 CATHERINE REARDON, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-25388 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 46 PAULA ELLER Yukon Telephone P.O. Box 873809 Wasilla, AK 99687 Telephone: (907) 373-6007 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 BLAINE BROWN, Division Manager Network Planning Anchorage Telephone Utility 600 Telephone Avenue, Mail Station 12 Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 564-1216 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 MIKE TAURIAINEN, Professional Engineer Mike Tauriainen Consulting Engineers 35186 Spur Highway Soldotna, AK 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-4624 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 46 ALAN SEE Alaska Power and Telephone Co. Skagway, AK Telephone: (907) 983-2800 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 DAN GORDON Tel Alaska, Incorporated 2121 Abbott Rd. Anchorage, Alaska 99507 Telephone: (907) 349-2400 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 RANDY NELSON GTE Alaska Incorporated 4300 B Street Suite 303 Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 563-2199 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 TOM CRAFFORD, Manager Minerals and Coal Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated 2525 C Street Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 274-8638 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 BYRON HAYNES 4830 Ridge Top Circle Anchorage, AK 99508 Telephone: (907) 338-9373 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 AL DICKENS Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative 4300 B Street, Suite 501 Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 563-3989 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 46 COLIN MAYNARD 1400 West Benson, Suite 500 Anchorage, AK 99503-3690 Telephone: (907) 274-3660 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 46 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 46 SHORT TITLE: ARCHITECT, ENGINEER & SURVEYOR REGULATION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 32 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 32 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 33 (H) LABOR AND COMMERCE, STATE AFFAIRS 03/08/95 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-16, SIDE A Number 000 The House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was called to order by Chairman Pete Kott at 3:10 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott, Rokeberg, Masek, Elton, and Kubina. Representatives absent were Porter and Sanders. HL&C - 03/08/95 HB 46 - ARCHITECT, ENGINEER & SURVEYOR REGULATION CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT stated that there was one matter before the committee, HB 46, but that it was not his intent to move this bill. Number 025 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN, Prime Sponsor of HB 46, stated that Sections 1 and 2 of the bill were new. He said, there are additional ramifications dealing with registration. JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green, explained the reasons for the changes to HB 46. He said Section 1 is a rewrite, not a change in the intent of the bill. It states that when a registrant (registered engineer) issues final documents or drawings, they shall sign the documents and affix their seal. He stated that it was an attempt to clarify that it is the responsibility of the board to maintain the integrity of the seal. It is not the responsibility of the board to require that the seal be on a document. He continued that Section 2 contains language from the original bill, which is statutorily ambiguous. The change, taking out "a registered", clarifies and conforms the section so that it is clear that the legislature's intent is that, when a person says "an engineer," that this means they are an engineer. He said that Section 3 is an exemption section that adds subsection ten. This subsection was in the law until 1990; it was taken out in HB 182. Mr. Logan stated that he has reviewed the entire public record for that bill, and he has listened to the tapes of every hearing. He said that the deletion of this subsection has had enormous impact on a number of Alaskans and Alaskan businesses. He continued by saying that during the hearing on HB 182, there was no public testimony, except for that given by the board. He stated that the public clearly did not have their say. Number 131 CHAIRMAN KOTT entertained a motion to adopt the CS for HB 46. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt CSHB 46(L&C). CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the motion carried. The F version dated February 17, 1995, was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER joined the meeting at 3:20 p.m. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Logan if during those meetings there had been any discussion by the board, as to why this section had been removed. MR. LOGAN responded that at that time Randall Burns, Director of the Division of Occupational Licensing, had given a very good presentation on the bill. The reason they removed the exemption was that they believed it was too broad. The example given was that of a bank that went to the division and said that they had an engineer who was not a professional engineer (PE), but, that he was going to design a building, and in essence, there was nothing the board could do about it. He said it was felt by the people who testified that the exemption was too broad. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if they further realized the consequences of that exemption. MR. LOGAN responded that there was no discussion of that. Number 178 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON asked if the zero fiscal note would remain the same. MR. LOGAN answered that it would. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON queried whether Section 1 clarified that the plans shall be signed by the registrant. He asked if that was all they were trying to accomplish. MR. LOGAN stated that was correct. Number 205 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the language in Section 1 would clarify certain circumstances that had occurred in the Anchorage jurisdiction in the previous year. MR. LOGAN replied no. Number 225 GRAHAM ROLSTAD, INTERIM CEO, MATANUSKA TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION (MTA), indicated he is also a registered engineer in the state of Alaska as well as the state of Washington. He testified in favor of HB 46. Mr. Rolstad stated that he was also the Chair of the Alaska Telephone Association's Engineering and Planning Committee and was testifying on behalf of the member companies. He stated that in the telephone business, engineers are required to follow specifications that have been established over the years. These specifications are used universally, keeping in mind public safety and the requirements for maintenance and protection of the plant. He did not believe that this should require a PE to stamp the specifications if the individual worked for the company. He stated that the company takes responsibility for any plants they put in the field. He said if there was a problem that occurred regarding public safety, there is an avenue for redress, both financial as well as administrative. He stated that they had tried to work through the regulations last year to make this issue less onerous. He stated that this exemption is in the public interest. Number 345 JIM ROWE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Alaska Telephone Association (ATA), testified in support of HB 46. He said that it allows the local exchange carriers to build telephone infrastructure. It allows them to have access to a service and does not burden them with an extra cost of paying for a service that has no use to them, such as the sealing of documents. He stated that at least 36 states totally exempt utility engineers from the requirements of licensure. He commented that by restricting the number of people entering the profession, licensure can result in increased cost to consumers and a shortage of licensed professional services in certain geographic areas, such as Alaska. Number 393 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if the ATA supported the extension of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC). MR. ROWE stated that the ATA does advocate the reauthorization of a regulatory body. CHAIRMAN KOTT inquired if the APUC were not extended, what protection would the consumer have. MR. ROWE responded that the administrative code would offer that protection, regardless of the APUC. Number 409 NANCY SCHOEPHOESTER, ARCO ALASKA, testified in support of CSHB 46. She stated that the Occupational Licensing Program offers parameters for testing the requirements of those people qualified to serve in the public sector and hold the seal for registered documents. She commented that they support Section 1 of the bill because it clarifies ambiguous language with respect to the use of the seal. She said that in Section 2, they would prefer language that would state a person may not declare he/she is a registered engineer unless he/she is, in fact, a registered engineer. Ms. Schoephoester continued that 36 other states have an in house exemption. She pointed out that there are parties from both sides of this issue that want to sit down and look at some compromise language. She said that ARCO supports and encourages this. Number 430 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA asked how this legislation would affect ARCO. MS. SCHOEPHOESTER replied that ARCO currently employees a number of in-house engineers; some of these engineers are registered, some are not. She explained that without the exemption, they would be required to have registered engineers seal final drawings and final specifications, which with an in-house exemption could by-pass registered engineer. She reiterated that this is strictly in-house work. She stated that a number of state and federal agencies regulate their work, and in those cases where a seal is required by a registered engineer, they comply. Number 450 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the North Slope Borough had any type of building codes, or did the state building codes affect the operation of ARCO in the outlying areas. MS. SCHOEPHOESTER replied yes, but she would have to check on that for certain. CATHERINE REARDON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, stated that administrative implementation of this bill is not difficult. She anticipated the CS would be a zero fiscal note. She stated that the department has a neutral position on the legislation at this time; however, the Board of Occupational Engineers and Land Surveyors is in opposition. She said that her concern was that the oil industry may use highly qualified employees for their design work and have state and federal agencies oversee their design work, but there are other businesses or individuals who choose to construct structures, using their own employees, without any engineering or design background in areas without building codes. Therefore, she said that it was possible that structures might go up that can't with-stand snow loads or earthquakes. She concluded that it was her hope that the committee could come up with a way to protect health and safety while not obstructing industries that are already adequately regulated. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON inquired if there had been public safety problems before this exemption was removed. MS. REARDON responded that she did not have any facts on that issue. Number 503 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the board did or did not oppose this legislation. MS. REARDON answered that they do oppose it. CHAIRMAN KOTT commented that the board's position was to retain the use of the term registered in reference to architects, engineers, and land surveyors. He asked if she knew the rationale behind this. MS. REARDON stated that they had taken the position on the original HB 46, when it was a more limited issue. Their letter to her stated that their position was to retain the use of the word "registered" in reference to architects, engineers and land surveyors in Section 2. She felt their concern was that within the same firms, there were people who were not registered engineers, and perhaps it was overly restrictive to limit the term architect or engineer only to themselves. Number 532 PAULA ELLER, YUKON TELEPHONE, testified via teleconference that she supported HB 46. She stated that they were an electric, telephone and cable T.V. company in business since 1960. She stated that they had never had any problems and didn't think they needed a PE to stamp their records. She stated that customers rates are higher because of the area they serve and asked the committee to take that into consideration. BLAINE BROWN, DIVISION MANAGER, NETWORK PLANNING, ANCHORAGE TELEPHONE UTILITIES (ATU), testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated they had been trying for several months to find a PE outside the plant supervisor to no avail. He stated that they use their joint use agreements and build their plant in accordance with various specifications. He referenced the Alaska Administrative Code, under the APUC AAC 52.260, and said that ATU does comply with specifications under the Bell System Standards, OSHA and the National Electric Safety Code. He stated that all of their engineers are trained in these practices and refer to them when designing jobs. Number 570 MIKE TAURIAINEN, PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER, MIKE TAURIAINEN CONSULTING ENGINEERS, testified via teleconference that he has been a registered professional engineer since 1972, and has been on the Architects, Land Surveyors and Engineers Board (ALSE) since 1991. In referring to Section 1, he stated that the original language required final documents covered by AS 08.48 to be sealed and signed by a registered architect, engineer and/or land surveyor. The proposed language does not restrict an unlicensed person from issuing final drawings, specifications and surveys. In Section 3, he said the new paragraph would enable entities, whether they be developers, builders contractors, or hotels, to employ anyone they want to design structures as long as they are not offering engineering services to the public. He explained that national hotel chains could retain an in-house designer to design a hotel and the law wouldn't, under the proposed language, be required to be registered, yet the public would be using that facility. He said that ALSE Board has supported some exemptions for electrical utilities and realizes the need to do the same for telephone and cable T.V. He said that he believed the ALSE Board should be charged with defining and implementing appropriate exemptions via the regulatory process. He finished by saying that this would relieve the legislature from having to address technical issues of relative risks to the public. He feels that section two of the original bill was overly restrictive and confusing to the public. TAPE 95-16, SIDE B Number 000 MR. TAURIAINEN continued that people needing a registered engineer will be less confused if that term is used instead of the generic term engineer. Number 020 ALAN SEE, ALASKA POWER AND TELEPHONE COMPANY, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated that the telephone utilities follow many standards and are fully regulated by the APUC. They feel that additional regulations are not necessary. Number 040 DAN GORDON, TEL ALASKA, INCORPORATED, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated that they didn't want the added cost of the construction being passed on to the consumers, and construction would require time with the limited number of PE within the state. He stated that they are certified and deemed fit and able. Number 061 RANDY NELSON, GTE ALASKA, INCORPORATED, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated that they had a commitment to the state of Alaska and their customers. They have millions of dollars invested in the state and it was not in their interest to build substandard plants. Number 088 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if there was any organization that oversees the quality of the workmanship that his people produce. MR. NELSON responded that to his knowledge, there was not a specific agency; however, they do have requirements through the permitting process with the Department of Transportation. This would also fall under the federal regulations and they also have the National Electric Safety Code Standards. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if Mr. Nelson felt any necessity for further review. MR. NELSON stated that they had adequate internal review. Number 121 TOM CRAFFORD, MANAGER, MINERALS AND COAL, COOK INLET REGION, INCORPORATED, speaking on behalf the Alaska Producers Council, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated that it is standard industry practice to not have a PE status for mine design or mine planning documents. He said that he didn't see any problem existing within the mining industry regarding certification of engineers, and felt that a requirement of that sort would only add additional complexity and cost. Number 142 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired if there was any oversight that provides a check on the work done in-house by mining companies. MR. CRAFFORD responded that the mining industry is very thoroughly regulated. There are periodic examinations of underground mines by the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Surface mining falls under the same types of inspections. Number 165 BYRON HAYNES, REGISTERED ENGINEER, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He said he is a registered engineer in the states of Alaska and Texas. MR. HAYNES stated that he works for British Petroleum, and in his company there are both registered and non-registered engineers. He said that, while BP is endeavoring to stay in compliance with the Alaska registration engineering statutes, their ability to move engineers to Alaska where their expertise is of the greatest value, has been significantly hampered by the loss of the in-house exemption for registered engineers. He concluded that this restriction on the ability of companies to best utilize their people resources and brain power is not good for Alaska. Number 223 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what the status was of the uniform building code (UBC) in the unincorporated areas that don't have jurisdiction or building code enforcement. MR. HAYNES said that he wasn't aware of any. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the non-registered engineers working for BP are under direct supervision of the registered engineers. MR. HAYNES replied yes, they are under supervision by the registered engineers. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the exemption would give them greater flexibility. ME. HAYNES stated that the flexibility exists with bringing new people in all the time. They have to be mindful of the backgrounds of the people being brought into the state. Number 263 AL DICKENS, ARCTIC SLOPE TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION COOPERATIVE, testified via teleconference in support of HB 46. He stated that if sealing the documents by a professional engineer would enhance the quality of services they provide or enhance safety to their employees and the general public, he would support that, but the only thing this process accomplishes was an added expense. number 281 COLIN MAYNARD, ALASKA PROFESSIONAL DESIGN COUNCIL, testified via teleconference in opposition to HB 46 in its entirety. He stated Section 3 should be narrowed. He gave an example of a Burger King, in Fort Wainwright, designed by engineers in Texas that did not have a vapor barrier or heating system in the restrooms. He stated that there was already an exemption, in the bill, for modifying buildings where public safety is not at risk. He stated that the telecommunications industry does not involve public safety, and it would be fairly simple for the board to exempt most of their work. He said in the case of the oil industry, they don't have a problem with exempting down hole reservoir engineering that does not affect the public safety. However, buildings and pipelines that already require registrations should remain that way. He stated that there was no requirements of the oil companies that every engineer be licensed, the person in charge has to be licensed. He said that the state of Alaska did not have any building codes outside of Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT closed public testimony on HB 46. Number 373 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Representative Green to go over Section 2 again. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that Section 2 takes out the word "registered" at the request of the professional engineering group. He stated that the concept is to make it more restrictive rather than less restrictive. If this legislation were to pass, you could not profess to be an engineer for public hire, unless you were licensed. The way it currently is, all you'd have to do is leave that term off of your application to the public, and you would not be violating the law. Number 447 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated that he was concerned that they didn't hear from any land surveyors or architects. He questioned why they were changing this if everyone under the exemption was okay as it currently stands. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated Section 2 covers those areas exempted and those areas not exempted. It must address both areas. He said that dropping the word registered would not allow people to do something that they otherwise aren't allowed to do. It's just the reverse. He concluded that it was closing a loophole, not opening one. Number 483 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER made an observation that companies that would generally build faulty projects would usually need to get financing for their projects. He stated that they are not going to get financing with faulty designs. CHAIRMAN KOTT added that it was essentially the employer who would be liable if there was faulty work done, and they wouldn't generally accept that. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if it was the intent of the committee to hold this bill over until the next committee meeting. CHAIRMAN KOTT replied that Representative Green was going to do further work to smooth the edges. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee, Chairman Kott adjourned the meeting at 4:30 p.m.