Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/26/1999 03:25 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE April 26, 1999 3:25 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chairman Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Lisa Murkowski Representative John Harris Representative Tom Brice Representative Sharon Cissna MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR CONFIRMATION HEARINGS Dental Board of Examiners Dr. Kenneth L. Crooks - Dillingham - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED Real Estate Commission Linda L. Freed - Kodiak Larry Spencer - Juneau Eleanor F. Oakley - Palmer - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED SENATE BILL NO. 50 am "An Act relating to certain boiler and pressure vessel inspections and inspectors; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED SB 50 am OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 110 "An Act relating to the sale, offer to sell, and labeling of fluid milk, meat, and meat products." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 167 "An Act relating to mobile home dealers." - MOVED CSHB 167(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 51(L&C) "An Act relating to barbers, hairdressers, manicurists, and cosmetologists; providing that the only qualification necessary for licensure as a manicurist, other than payment of fees, is completion of a class that is 12 hours in duration, addresses relevant health, safety, and hygiene concerns, and is offered through a school approved by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 183 "An Act relating to the powers and duties of the chair of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; relating to membership on the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and relating to the annual report of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission." - HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 50 SHORT TITLE: BOILER AND PRESSURE VESSEL INSPECTIONS SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE BY REQUEST Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/28/99 109 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 1/28/99 110 (S) L&C 2/18/99 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 2/18/99 (S) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE 2/18/99 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 2/19/99 306 (S) L&C RPT 3DP 1NR 2/19/99 306 (S) DP: MACKIE, HOFFMAN, DONLEY; 2/19/99 306 (S) NR: LEMAN 2/19/99 306 (S) FISCAL NOTE (LABOR) 2/19/99 306 (S) FIN REFERRAL ADDED 3/09/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 3/09/99 (S) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE 3/09/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 3/09/99 452 (S) FIN RPT 3DP 5NR 3/09/99 452 (S) DP: TORGERSON, ADAMS, DONLEY; 3/09/99 452 (S) NR: PARNELL, GREEN, PETE KELLY, 3/09/99 452 (S) WILKEN, LEMAN 3/09/99 452 (S) PREVIOUS FN (LABOR) 3/10/99 (S) RLS AT 11:45 AM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/10/99 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 3/11/99 475 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 3/11/99 3/11/99 476 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 3/11/99 477 (S) MOTION TO ADVANCE TO 3RD W/DRAWN 3/11/99 477 (S) THIRD READING 3/12 CALENDAR 3/12/99 495 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 50 3/12/99 495 (S) RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1 3/12/99 495 (S) UNAN CONSENT 3/12/99 495 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 3/12/99 495 (S) AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING 3/12/99 496 (S) PASSED Y16 N1 E3 3/12/99 496 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE 3/12/99 497 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 3/15/99 453 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/15/99 453 (H) L&C, FIN 4/21/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/21/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 4/21/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/26/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 110 SHORT TITLE: SALE/LABELING OF MILK PRODUCTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) HARRIS, Dyson Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 2/24/99 300 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 2/24/99 300 (H) L&C, JUD 3/10/99 418 (H) COSPONSOR(S): DYSON 3/15/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 3/15/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 3/15/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/19/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/19/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 4/19/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/23/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/23/99 (H) <BILL POSTPONED TO 4/26> 4/26/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 167 SHORT TITLE: REPEAL MOBIL HOME DEALER REGISTRATION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COWDERY BY REQUEST Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 3/31/99 625 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/31/99 625 (H) L&C, FIN 4/23/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/23/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 4/23/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/26/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: SB 51 SHORT TITLE: LICENSING OF COSMETOLOGISTS SPONSOR(S): COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 2/01/99 126 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 2/01/99 126 (S) L&C, FIN 2/16/99 (S) L&C AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 2/16/99 (S) MOVED CS (L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE 2/16/99 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 2/18/99 285 (S) L&C RPT CS 1DP 3NR NEW TITLE 2/18/99 285 (S) NR: MACKIE, DONLEY, HOFFMAN; 2/18/99 285 (S) DP: TIM KELLY 2/18/99 286 (S) FISCAL NOTES TO SB AND CS (DEC, DCED) 3/16/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 3/16/99 (S) SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD 3/17/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 3/17/99 (S) HEARD AND HELD 3/17/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 3/17/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 3/26/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 3/26/99 (S) MOVED CS (L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE 3/26/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 3/26/99 699 (S) FIN RPT 6DP 1NR 1AM (L&C) CS 3/26/99 699 (S) DP: TORGERSON, PARNELL, PHILLIPS, 3/26/99 699 (S) ADAMS, WILKEN, LEMAN; NR: DONLEY; 3/26/99 699 (S) AM: GREEN 3/26/99 699 (S) FISCAL NOTE TO CS (DEC) 3/29/99 (S) RLS AT 12:00 PM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/29/99 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 3/31/99 750 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1 OR 3/31/99 3/31/99 753 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 3/31/99 753 (S) L&C CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 3/31/99 753 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING 3/31/99 753 (S) UNAN CONSENT 3/31/99 754 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 51(L&C) 3/31/99 754 (S) PASSED Y17 N1 E2 3/31/99 754 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE 3/31/99 756 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 4/07/99 666 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 4/07/99 666 (H) L&C, FIN 4/14/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/14/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD SUBCMTE APPOINTED 4/14/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/26/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 183 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION SPONSOR(S): SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON UTIL RESTRUCTURING Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 4/09/99 702 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 4/09/99 702 (H) URS, L&C 4/14/99 (H) URS AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 4/14/99 (H) SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD 4/16/99 (H) URS AT 2:00 PM CAPITOL 120 4/16/99 (H) MOVED CSHB 183(URS) OUT OF COMMITTEE 4/16/99 (H) MINUTE(URS) 4/20/99 880 (H) URS RPT CS(URS) NT 6DP 4/20/99 880 (H) DP: PORTER, KOTT, COWDERY, HUDSON, 4/20/99 880 (H) GREEN, ROKEBERG 4/20/99 880 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED) 4/20/99 880 (H) REFERRED TO L&C 4/23/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 4/23/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 4/23/99 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 4/26/99 (H) L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER PETE FELLMAN, Researcher for Representative John Harris Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 110 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4859 POSITION STATEMENT: Explained changes in the Version I committee substitute for HB 110 on behalf of the bill sponsor. JANICE ADAIR, Director Division of Environmental Health Department of Environmental Conservation 555 Cordova Street Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 269-7644 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 110. MARGARET CARR 3505 Woodland Park Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99517 Telephone: (907) 243-4234 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 110. PETER TORKELSON, Researcher for Representative Cowdery Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3879 POSITION STATEMENT: Explained proposed amendment to HB 167 on behalf of the bill sponsor. GALE KINCAID, Owner/Operator Triad Sales Company, Incorporated 3200 Seward Highway, Number 203 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 277-5655 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 167. MAC CAREY, President Alaska Manufactured Housing Association; President, Carey Homes, Incorporated 3317 Mountain View Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 272-5414 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 167. BEN MARSH, Executive Secretary Alaska Manufactured Housing Association 2550 Denali, Suite 1310 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 278-3615 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 167. CATHERINE REARDON, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806 Telephone: (907) 465-2534 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding HB 167. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3879 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 167. JIM BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General Governmental Affairs Section Civil Division (Juneau) Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding HB 183. WALT WILCOX, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill Hudson Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 108 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-6820 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 183 as aide to the House Special Committee on Utilities Restructuring, the bill sponsor. REED STOOPS, Lobbyist of General Communications, Incorporated 240 Main Street, Number 600 Juneau, Alaska 99801 (907) 463-3223 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 183. ERIC YOULD, Executive Director Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Incorporated 211 Fourth Avenue Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-3636 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 183. SAM COTTEN, Chairman and Commissioner Alaska Public Utilities Commission Department of Commerce and Economic Development 1016 West Sixth Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1963 Telephone: (907) 276-6222 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 183. JONATHON LACK, Legislative Assistant to Representative Andrew Halcro Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 418 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4939 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 183. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-46, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG called the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:25 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Rokeberg, Halcro, Murkowski, Harris, Brice and Cissna. Representative Sanders arrived at 4:09 p.m. CONFIRMATION HEARINGS Dental Board of Examiners Number 0081 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee would consider Dr. Kenneth L. Crooks for the Board of Dental Examiners. Chairman Rokeberg noted that Dr. Crooks has been a licensee in Alaska since 1980. Dr. Crooks is a reappointment. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO moved to forward the name of Dr. Kenneth L. Crooks for the Board of Dental Examiners. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG explained that the signing of transmittal letters by individual members did not reflect an intent by any member to vote for or against an individual during any further sessions for the purpose of confirmation. Real Estate Commission Number 0167 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee would consider Linda L. Freed, a Kodiak resident, for the Real Estate Commission. Chairman Rokeberg noted that he is acquainted with Ms. Freed who is the public member on the commission. He commented that Ms. Freed is well-respected by the commission and has done a fine job. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO moved to forward the name of Linda L. Freed for the Real Estate Commission. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee would next consider Larry Spencer, a Juneau resident, for the Real Estate Commission. Chairman Rokeberg reminded the committee that Mr. Spencer testified before the committee this year. Chairman Rokeberg noted that Mr. Spencer is a well-known and well-respected businessman in the Juneau community and the real estate community throughout the state. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG moved to forward the name of Larry Spencer for the Real Estate Commission. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee would next consider Eleanor F. Oakley, a Palmer resident, for the Real Estate Commission. Chairman Rokeberg noted that Ms. Oakley is also an reappointee and served the commission well in the past. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO moved to forward the name of Eleanor F. Oakley for the Real Estate Commission. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0299 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called a brief at-ease at 3:30 p.m. The committee came back to order at 3:31 p.m. SB 50 am - BOILER AND PRESSURE VESSEL INSPECTIONS Number 0307 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business is SB 50 am, "An Act relating to certain boiler and pressure vessel inspections and inspectors; and providing for an effective date." The chairman informed the committee that he had attended meetings subsequent to the previous committee hearing on SB 50 [April 21, 1999]. It was decided that his suggestion to refine the scope of the plumbing inspectors to make them more available and involve the municipalities would require further work. Noting the time required to move legislation, the chairman indicated the legislation before the committee does provide for certification of additional inspectors within the department which will hopefully be a step forward in addressing the backlog and safety issue before the state. Chairman Rokeberg announced he would not make any amendments, as he had originally planned, to SB 50 am and requested that the bill be moved out of committee. Number 0366 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move SB 50 am out of committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned where the legislation goes next. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered that SB 50 am goes to the House floor. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that this is a change in revenue source and therefore it is technically a zero fiscal note. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG informed the committee he was pleased with the response he received from the department [Department of Labor] but the department believed that moving in the direction and scope the chairman desired would slow the legislation's progress. Chairman Rokeberg reiterated that he would like to move the legislation on its way. There being no objection, SB 50 am moved out of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. Number 0452 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease at 3:33 p.m. The committee came back to order in less than a minute. HB 110 - SALE/LABELING OF MEAT/MILK PRODUCTS Number 0456 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business is HB 110, "An Act relating to the sale, offer to sell, and labeling of fluid milk, meat, and meat products." REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS, the bill sponsor, noted almost everything controversial had been removed from the legislation, but there is still something else. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned if the committee had a CS [committee substitute] to adopt. Number 0502 PETE FELLMAN, Researcher for Representative John Harris, Alaska State Legislature, came forward. He confirmed that Version I is the working version. There was some discussion among the committee regarding the location of the proposed committee substitute in the bill packets. Number 0558 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to adopt the Version I proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 110, labeled 1-LS0408\I, Bannister, 4/20/99, as a working document. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Pete Fellman to explain the changes reflected in Version I. MR. FELLMAN explained that any references to the meat and milk products were removed in order to reduce some of the confusion and concerns. The concerns regarding the ten percent ownership and the bottling company were also removed; therefore, the legislation will now fall under existing statute regarding enforcement. No changes were adopted as far as the labeling that refers to bST [bovine somatotropin], rbST [recombinant bovine somatotropin], or rBGH [recombinant bovine growth hormone]. Number 0635 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned if the legislation contains language recommend by the department [Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)] regarding the disclaimer. MR. FELLMAN replied that the language does not include a disclaimer. He explained that after a lot of research it was determined that if the disclaimer language was included, it would actually be considered mislabeling. Current information indicates that there is a difference in milk that comes from cows injected with bST. Mr. Fellman stated, "The disclaimer says that there is no difference in milk, when, in fact, that was written in 1993. ... Since then, the technology has grown and has changed, so now they can indeed test milk and indicate that there is a difference. The difference itself is not the bST. The difference, itself, is the IGF-1 [insulin-like growth factor 1], ... and they can test for that." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE wondered if IGF-1 was a hormone, and asked how a hormone was made. Number 0719 MR. FELLMAN explained that when a cow is given rBGH, the levels of IGF-1 the cow synthesizes increase. The difference in levels of IGF-1 between cows that have not been given bST and those that have been given bST can be measured. MR. FELLMAN referred to research by Samuel S. Epstein [Samuel S. Epstein, MD, Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health; Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition] included in the bill packet. Mr. Epstein has shown that can be proven. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS commented, "I know you brought along some samples of what other states have allowed. ... I know one of the concerns of the department at the last hearing was that, what Representative Murkowski just said, that there wasn't enough disclaimer in there. ... Other states, it seems like, have-how many states were there? 26?" Number 0794 MR. FELLMAN replied that there are 26 states. He has also included in the bill packet a list of all the companies processing milk today, some of which do not use any disclaimers. Mr. Fellman indicated he found two examples of labeled milk products at the grocery store here in Juneau. These two companies do not use any disclaimers at all, but simply label their milk "hormone free" or "no hormones used." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked that the record show Mr. Fellman provided visual aids [Organic Valley half-and-half, Wisconsin; Horizon Organic yogurt, Boulder, Colorado]. He commented the competitors are already sending these products into the state, asking if that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed; the companies are claiming that their products are organic. Number 0840 MR. FELLMAN indicated the labeling is "no hormones used." Under the 1993 federal guidelines they would not be able to do that. The other thing Mr. Fellman noted is that these are just guidelines. Referring to page 2 of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services, handout included in the bill packet, Mr. Fellman indicated the FDA has given itself some real leeway. The guideline is not a law; it's a recommendation for the states. Some leeway has also been left in this so that the agency cannot be held accountable as technology or things change. Mr. Fellman referred the language at the bottom of the FDA's Docket No. 94D-0025, "Interim Guidance on the Voluntary Labeling of Milk and Milk Products From Cows That Have Not Been Treated With Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin". [The paragraph Mr. Fellman referred to on page 2 of this document read: The guidance presented here reflects FDA's interpretation of the act and may be relevant to States' interpretation of their own similar statutes. This document does not bind FDA or an State, and it does not create or confer any rights, privileges, benefits, or immunities for or on any persons. Furthermore, this document reflects FDA's current views on this matter. This document reflects FDA's current views on this matter. FDA may reconsider its position at a later date in light of any comments it receives on this guidance document.] MR. FELLMAN explained this is why FDA has not come out against these individual companies that are labeling milk "no hormones used." He confirmed for Representative Harris that this is the information from the FDA. The other information they have was submitted by DEC and was derived from this 1993 FDA guideline. Number 0941 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if Mr. Fellman had received any other information. MR. FELLMAN answered in negative. He indicated he had been unable to contact the FDA by telephone. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, "Looking at that label, they say just plain and flatly 'no hormones used.'" CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted the label on the Organic Valley half-and-half from Wisconsin says "No antibiotics or hormones ever used." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE wondered if the ability to say "not treated with rBGH" is being established into statute. MR. FELLMAN affirmed that. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE questioned if it would be better to say "no hormones ever used" or "we're not using rBGH". He thinks the second language might make other people wonder what other hormones might be used. MR. FELLMAN agreed. The first bill submitted, which Mr. Fellman said was a good bill, where it simply said "no hormones used." However, in an attempt to clarify things, they had focused on that specific hormone. That is the specific hormone FDA has laid out in its guidelines. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if he could use the cream in his coffee. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that he would defer to the state of Wisconsin who seems to have a vested interest in dairy products. He indicated Wisconsin's labeling appears to be the least comprehensive and, he would think, most beneficial to the state's dairy farmers. Number 1058 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted she has not had a chance to read Dr. Epstein's very current, March 22, report. Representative Murkowski referred to discussion with the department [DEC] at the previous hearing, where the department indicated the disclaimer should be included. She wondered if Dr. Epstein's research is something they should be relying on as statutes are being crafted if it is just one scientist's opinion. Representative Murkowski questioned what harm it does to say the scientific evidence is not clear. She mentioned discussion on the House floor on April 23 and 26, where the legislature chose to disagree with a certain study published in a certain journal. Number 1148 MR. FELLMAN directed Representative Murkowski to the references that Mr. Epstein has cited. He pointed out that Mr. Epstein has cited many concerns dating as far back as 1982 and from many different sources of research. Mr. Fellman indicated the problem with including the disclaimer is that it is not true; it can be proven that there is a difference between cows treated with the hormone and those that are not. Another issue revolves around advertising. The more words used, the less effective the advertisement. Mr. Fellman stated that an advertisement such as "note: this is from cows not treated with bST or rBGH" is simple, clear and does falls within the federal guidelines. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that although the FDA is not necessarily the final word on any of this, she mentioned Dr. Epstein's mention that "the FDA has ignored such evidence reported by the author in peer review scientific publications over the last decade." This makes her wonder what is going on between Dr. Epstein and the FDA. However, she pointed to what she terms a very strange statement, "It should be further emphasized that senior FDA officials and industry consultants are members of Codex, which meets in secrecy and relies on unpublished industry assurances of safety." Representative Murkowski indicated it sounds like Dr. Epstein is trying to establish some kind of a conspiracy here. She commented she is not asking the questions to be obstreperous, she indicated she just wants to make sure "we don't get ourselves sideways on this because we have taken one individual's study and said, 'By God, times have changed and Epstein is right.'" It is her understanding that FDA has not signed off on Dr. Epstein's studies. Number 1330 MR. FELLMAN reiterated that Mr. Epstein's study is a composite of many different studies. He pointed out that rBGH has not been approved in Canada, France, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, et cetera. He wondered, if one man [Mr. Epstein] has it out for the FDA, why then do all these other countries have a concern with rBGH and IGF-1. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said it seemed to him that the department wanted to include language which said that it has not been proven, similar to the way that tobacco manufacturers have on their surgeon general's warning indicating that smoking has been proven to be harmful. He believes that this has been stripped down to the point where all that is left is a statement on these products that says "milk in this product is not from cows treated with rBGH" or "milk in this product is from cows not treated with rbST". He feels that the statement is brought down to a very basic level and is not misleading. It is his impression that the more language which is included, the more confusing the statement can be. Number 1429 JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, came forward. She indicated she had provided an e-mail message to Representative Rokeberg from Robert Hennes. Mr. Hennes is from the FDA's Region 10 and does the Grade A milk review for the state of Alaska. Mr. Hennes' e-mail read: Janice: After calling FDA's Division of Food Labeling, the interim rbST milk labeling policy of 1994, a copy previously provided to you, is still the guidance provided by FDA. Without the qualifying statement, i.e. "No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated and non-rbST-treated cows". it [It] may imply that milk from untreated cows is safer or of higher quality than milk from treated cows. Such an implication would provide labeling that would be determined to be false and misleading. Therefore, without the qualifying statement, FDA would determine the labeling to be false and the milk product to be misbranded. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. MS. ADAIR stated it is her concern that milk producers in Alaska who label their product without this qualifying statement would be precluded from selling their milk to the military or to schools using federal dollars to buy the milk because FDA would determine the milk to be misbranded. She commented, "We are precluded in this bill from requiring any additional language, and if that's necessary to keep the markets open for the milk, my concern is that we're kind of cutting them off at the pass. The military and schools represent two of the biggest customers for the two dairy processors in Alaska. If FDA, until they change their policy, which, as was noted, it is a policy, it's not a regulation, but FDA is terrible about regulating through guidance. They do this to us all the time. If this is what they want to see on it, if it's not on it, then ... federal money can't be used to buy the milk. And that's our concern." Number 1547 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to page 3, the end of line 1 to line 3, of Version I, "Milk products offered for wholesale or retail sale in this state are not required to contain any further label information related to the use of rBGH or rBST in milk products." Representative Murkowski suggested eliminating the entire sentence so that any Alaskan producer that wanted to sell to the military or to the schools could use the disclaimer language; this would get them past the FDA issue. She indicated other farmers or producers could chose to either use or not use the FDA language. MS. ADAIR agreed that would be the easiest fix. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked Representative Harris if there is a penalty for a milk producer whose products are found to contain hormones. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS answered in the negative, adding, "It's a misdemeanor class, whatever, it falls along under this. It doesn't state it in here, but it states it in other statutes it falls under." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG inquired, "So, within the Chapter, there's a misdemeanor (indisc.) if there's non-compliance?" MS. ADAIR stated that there is in existing statute. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the department verifies this. MS. ADAIR answered yes. Number 1636 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked what happens if there is a naturally occurring trace of a hormone found and the milk producer or farmer does not know about it. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS believed there would be a penalty. He indicated he thought the dairy farmer or producer would have to be very, very sure that they don't have that before signing the affidavit. Representative Harris further indicated he did not think there would be a problem with the restriction on sales to the federal government the department had mentioned; the producer or farmer would chose to remove the labeling if they wished to do this. He noted the labeling is not mandatory. If someone wishes to label in this manner, these are the certain guidelines to follow and that someone cannot falsely advertise. He indicated he thought a prudent business person would make the decision that is best business-wise. Number 1733 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Ms. Adair would prefer to see the sentence Representative Murkowski referred to on page 3, Version I, deleted. MS. ADAIR answered in the affirmative. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that that makes it entirely discretionary on the part of the milk producer. MS. ADAIR stated, "And however the labeling requirements are changed in the future, then we can adjust." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if that would give the department more comfort with the bill. MS. ADAIR answered in the affirmative. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS requested an at-ease. Number 1758 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease from 3:57 p.m. The committee came back to order at 4:01 p.m. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS requested that the legislation be held until the next scheduled meeting. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee would hold the legislation over at the sponsor's request. He indicated the committee would proceed to the next bill. Number 1776 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease at 4:02 p.m. The committee came back to order at 4:03 p.m. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted he understands there is someone wishing to testify on HB 110 from Anchorage via teleconference, Margaret Carr. Number 1798 MARGARET CARR testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 110. Ms. Carr noted she is representing herself. She provided the following testimony: "I am here to urge you to support HB 110. I think HB 110, allowing the labeling of dairy products free of recombinant bovine growth hormone, ... will support my right and the right of all consumers to know what goes into those products we buy. There's still controversy out there. I've done a bit of reading on recombinant bovine growth hormone and I believe that there's still unanswered questions about the effects of this synthetic hormone on the health of cows and on [the] health of people, and I think the least we can do is have the choice to ... buy products that are free of rBGH. And I think a simple statement on the product is simply granting us the right to get that information. Thank you." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed there were no questions for Ms. Carr. The chairman indicated HB 110 would be held over. HB 167 - REGULATION OF MOBILE HOME DEALERS Number 1850 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business is HB 167, "An Act relating to mobile home dealers." The chairman recognized the presence of Representative John Cowdery, the bill sponsor, and indicated the intent is to first take testimony. PETER TORKELSON, Researcher for Representative Cowdery, Alaska State Legislature, came forward briefly and said he would be available to answer questions as they arise. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested the testimony of Mr. Kincaid in Anchorage, questioning what the gentlemen have decided. Number 1887 GALE KINCAID, Owner/Operator, Triad Sales Company, Incorporated, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He informed the committee there was meeting this morning which did not decide anything. Mr. Kincaid requested the committee's support of HB 167. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that Mr. Kincaid had sent the committee notification that repealing the entire law or establishing a sunset would be acceptable; he asked if that was correct. MR. KINCAID said that was correct. Number 1922 MAC CAREY, President, Alaska Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA); President, Carey Homes, Incorporated, testified next via teleconference from Anchorage. Mr. Carey suggested that there might be some further study to determine if there might be obstacles to competition with regards to the smaller dealerships. A small dealership may have difficulties obtaining the bond at all. Mr. Carey stated that the Alaska Manufactured Housing Association has voted HB 167 down in light of consumer protection. If a real estate agent does not have a warranty, but does have a bond, then mobile home dealers should be bonded as well. Mr. Carey said that a "yes" vote on HB 167 would leave consumers with no protection. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Mr. Carey of the association had received any complaints regarding mobile home dealers in general or requests for regulation. Normally, there is a consumer group advocating regulatory oversight of an industry. Representative Brice said that in his six years in the legislature, no organization or constituents have requested oversight [of the mobile home industry]. He questioned if they were hearing things. MR. CAREY answered in the affirmative. The association has a number of mobile home park managers who hear complaints monthly when collecting space rent. The intent of the bill was to help curb those complaints. Number 2055 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted, then, that the complaints are not necessarily directed at the dealer, but are being heard about through the mobile home park managers. She asked what the specific nature of the complaints might be. MR. CAREY specified that the complaints range anywhere from fraud to holding earnest money, titling and taxes. Taxes is a big complaint. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked if those complaints are forwarded to the Division of Occupational Licensing or whether those complaints actually result in any action or claim against any of the dealers. MR. CAREY commented on the small size of some of these dealers, the person might just have a car with a sign on it, and the chances of getting anything from these dealers would be very slight to begin with. Mr. Carey added that some of the mobile home owners are not very sophisticated and are accustomed to being "walked on." However, Mr. Carey indicated he does not want that stigma on people's dealings with his industry. Number 2118 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG identified one of the main problems as the fact that used dealers only do a small volume in relation to the cost of the bond and the license. He asked if Mr. Carey would consider an amendment which would exempt mobile home dealers that do a specified volume of business. MR. CAREY reiterated that he was willing to return to the association to research the issue further in order to offer more specifics. Mr. Carey felt that new and used dealerships should have the same bonding but he was open-minded. He informed the committee that AMHA, which is comprised of mobile home park managers, owners, suppliers, and new and used dealerships, has 20 members who voted against HB 167. Therefore, Mr. Carey would have to present Chairman Rokeberg's proposal to the association members. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG explained the legislative process is such that HB 167 has further committee referrals. This legislation would next be heard in the House Finance Standing Committee. House Bill 167 must go through the House Rules Standing Committee and then to the House floor before being forwarded to the Senate. He pointed out that Mr. Carey could certainly appeal to the bill sponsor regarding any further adjustments he (Mr. Carey) would deem necessary. The chairman suggested that Mr. Carey continue working on this issue to attempt to arrive at an industry consensus. Number 2221 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked how many of the association's members are dealers. MR. CAREY believed that there are five or six dealers in the association. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted the question had been why didn't people go to the proper authorities and complain about fraud. Representative Halcro noted Mr. Carey had replied that some of these used dealers are "fly-by-night guys" who drive around with a sign on their car. He requested that Mr. Carey elaborate on that comment. MR. CAREY noted he was not sure he had used the word "fly-by-night." He indicated that such dealers would not have much to lose. Mr. Carey said, "In other words, if I was to go ahead -- if I bought a $20,000 ... or a $80,000 home from them and I went to go ahead and sue them; what am I going to get? With the $50,000 bond, there's something to go after; otherwise, chances are their assets may be very little." Mr. Carey emphasized that he is not merely concerned with the mobile home dealers today, he is also concerned with what will happen in the future. Currently, manufactured housing comprises 30 percent of all new [housing] permits in the Lower 48. Therefore, Mr. Carey would suspect that the manufactured housing industry would blossom in Alaska as well. Therefore, today's new home would be tomorrow's used home. Number 2297 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if the manner in which the smaller dealers operate has some kind of negative spin-off on others in the industry. MR. CAREY answered in the negative. He clarified that the size of the dealership is not important, mentioning George Reed who testified at the previous hearing [April 23] as an example of an very reputable small dealer. He emphasized he would not want to hamper any small business. Mr Carey did not like HB 167 as it is because it takes away the accountability from the agents for the small and the large consumer. He emphasized the importance of having some recourse for the consumer. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested that Mr. Carey inform the committee of the consumer protection provided before HB 436 [Nineteenth Legislature]. MR. CAREY explained that the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] had a $10,000 bond in order to go into business. That $10,000 bond was not reinstated when the dealer went out of business. The manufactured and mobile home industry did determine that there should be a bond and that a $50,000 is not all that much. Upon discussions with George Reed this morning, Mr. Carey stated, "Maybe there is some room, if a guy can't spend $2,000 a year and trust me $2,000 a year to go into this business is not much; $2,000 a year to get his bonds, but his financial make-up may not be substantial enough to get that bond. Maybe we should reevaluate that." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Mr. Carey's testimony was that there is no longer any DMV bond which was the reason for the passage of the statute in the first place. MR. CAREY said that was correct. Number 2453 BEN MARSH, Executive Secretary, Alaska Manufactured Housing Association, testified next via teleconference from Anchorage. Mr. Marsh stated, "I might just reiterate what Mr. Carey said and point out that at our meeting this morning, ... we did not have any meeting of the minds as to what would by the proper level of a bond. Maybe [$]50,000 isn't the right figure. We wanted to talk about that some more, maybe 25 [$25,000], maybe 15 [$15,000]..." [TESTIMONY INTERRUPTED BY AUTOMATIC TAPE CHANGE] TAPE 99-46, SIDE B Number 0001 MR. MARSH continued, "...controls, you know don't know he doesn't have to have a trust account, for example. He doesn't have to segregate money that is put in his car for earnest money. He doesn't have to check on what the taxes are owed on the unit that he's selling. Maybe the buyer finds out about it through his (indisc.) a little later." Mr. Marsh said that the volume of complaints is unknown. Perhaps, there are not many complaints made against the bond merely because there is a bond requirement. Mr. Marsh said that something should be in place. No industry dealing with the public without recourse should be allowed to proceed totally unregulated. Number 0059 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that there is a fax, dated April 26, 1999, in the committee packet from Mr. Kincaid. That fax requests continuing the hearing today and sunset HB 167. A second fax signed by Mr. Marsh, states that the fax is from Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Carey, Mr. Reed, and Mr. Marsh. The second fax requests that the committee postpone action on HB 167. MR. KINCAID clarified that he wanted the committee to pass HB 167 with a sunset as discussed last Friday, March 23, 1999. Therefore, repealing the legislation. He said that his inclusion on the fax requesting the postponement of HB 167 was an error. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Mr. Kincaid believed it appropriate to include an exemption regarding the level of sales per units per year. MR. KINCAID said that the volume of business is not the problem. He explained that most used dealers cannot qualify to be bonded. Mr. Kincaid believed that he was the only used dealer that is licensed and bonded. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG closed the public testimony. He noted that the committee should have an amendment proposed by the sponsor. Number 0163 MR. TORKELSON explained, as the sponsor's representative, that after last Friday's March 23 meeting, the language sunsetting HB 167 was drafted in case that was the will of the committee. Mr. Torkelson said he understands that it is technically not possible to sunset the current statutes because no board is involved. Therefore, Mr. Torkelson interpreted that to mean repealing the Section requiring current licensure and dealer structure. Number 0190 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease from 4:25 p.m. The committee came back to order at 4:26 p.m. Number 0196 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that this a complete repealer. He asked if there should be an effective date. MR. TORKELSON said that point was discussed with the Division of Occupational Licensing. Many of the licenses are for a two-year period and many would expire August 31, 1999. He explained that should HB 167 pass this year, the default 90-day effective clause would make this bill effective around August 20, 1999, to August 30, 1999, depending upon when the bill would be signed by the Governor. The language was eliminated in order to leave it open to the committee or to utilize the default. Number 0238 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development came forward. She noted that the division administers this program. In response to the chairman's question, Ms. Reardon said that she believed if the intent is to repeal this law, it would be best to do so before August 31, 1999, so no one would have to spend $500 [for the licensing fee]. She asked, in terms of ending the program, if the desire would be to have all the bonds run out August 31, 1999, or if it would be the desire hold onto the bonds in order to cover fraudulent acts that may have occurred this spring. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that would be an area for the sponsor to determine. If some already do not have the bonds, the chairman indicated it would be appropriate to refund the amount of the premium to the others when the program is repealed. He remembered Ms. Reardon's testimony to be that if HB 167 passed, the number of licensees would be diminished to the point that it would be appropriate to end the program. MS. REARDON agreed that continues to be her position. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested that the amendment be offered as a conceptual amendment in order to provide the drafter with the ability to make necessary corrections and conforming language. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that he believed the drafter will request the bonding issue to be addressed. He asked if the intent is to have immediate return of the bonds. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered in the affirmative. Therefore, an effective date would be appropriate. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE indicated the other option of requiring the bonds be returned when the program is terminated. Number 0354 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO expressed concern regarding an individual who purchased a mobile home two or three weeks before the program is terminated. She asked what recourse that individual would have. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said there would be no recourse. That is the public policy issue being faced. MS. REARDON pointed out that this may be a weakness in the initial law. Other laws that hold bonds or certificate of deposit were directed in the law to keep the bond for three years past the last license date in order to allow folks to move through the courts. Ms. Reardon was not certain that there is a way to prevent someone who chooses not to renew their license or bond on August 31, 1999, and leaves town under the current law. Perhaps, that could be corrected at this time. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB 167, commented that such issues could be addressed in the next committee of referral, the House Finance Standing Committee. He said he would like the legislation to move forward if possible. Number 0410 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested that the amendment be offered as written with a note attached requesting the bonding be addressed in the House Finance Standing Committee. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated that another route could be the following. He said, "Or do we want to do a conceptual amendment and attach it to this regarding the bonding? Then you can have a CS [committee substitute] ... it can save those guys some time." He questioned the committee's wishes regarding the bonding which could be terminated as of August 31, 1999, or July 1, 1999. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE recommended the bonding be terminated as of the effective date of HB 167. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked then if Representative Brice wished to have a conceptual amendment to the amendment which would terminate the bonding on the effective date. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG clarified that would make the default the effective date. Number 0482 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO moved that the committee adopt Amendment 1. Amendment 1, an unlabeled printed amendment, read: Page 1, Line 1 Delete all material Insert: "An act repealing the registration requirement for mobile home dealers." Page 1, Lines 3-7 Delete all material Insert: "Section 1. AS 08.67.010 - AS 08.67.080 is repealed." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that there is a conceptual amendment to Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE explained, "That the amendment to Amendment 1 would state that the bonding requirements under this title would end and the bonds would be returned upon the effective date of HB 167." REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated the need to add language regarding the fact that the bond would not be released if there is a claim pending against the bond. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed and indicated the amendment to Amendment 1 would include Representative Murkowski's suggestion. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if the testimony indicated that those 14 licensed and bonded dealers do not care that they are not bonded. Number 0539 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said that the testimony was that 10 of those dealers did not want bonding. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA said that she did not interpret the testimony that way. REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY agreed with Chairman Rokeberg's understanding of the testimony. Number 0562 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there are any objections to the amendment to Amendment 1 which reads as follows: "Bond requirements under this title would end and returned upon the effective date of HB 167 unless there is a claim pending against the bond." There being no objection, the amendment to Amendment 1 was adopted. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were any objections to Amendment 1 as amended. There being no objection, Amendment 1 as amended was adopted. Number 0590 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move HB 167, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG objected to comment. He announced for those on the teleconference that this would just be the beginning of their fight. The chairman suggested that the teleconference participants continue the discussions with other members of the industry to attempt to attain consensus. He explained that what has been done is repeal the entire chapter. There being no further objection, CSHB 167(L&C) moved out of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. Number 0647 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called a brief at-ease at 4:37 p.m. The committee came back to order at 4:39 p.m. CSSB 51(L&C) - LICENSING OF COSMETOLOGISTS Number 0651 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business is CSSB 51(L&C), "An Act relating to barbers, hairdressers, manicurists, and cosmetologists; providing that the only qualification necessary for licensure as a manicurist, other than payment of fees, is completion of a class that is 12 hours in duration, addresses relevant health, safety, and hygiene concerns, and is offered through a school approved by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers; and providing for an effective date." The chairman requested that Representative Brice provide the subcommittee report on SB 51 [subcommittee: Representatives Brice (chair), Murkowski and Cissna]. Number 0674 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved to adopt the proposed Version K House committee substitute (CS) for CSSB 51(L&C) as the working document before the committee. Version K was labeled 1-LS0378\K, Lauterbach, 4/21/99. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were any objections. There being none, Version K was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the subcommittee looked at a number of issues, primarily some of the concerns raised by the chairman relating to competency testing and postsecondary education loans. In Sections 3 and 6 of Version K, the subcommittee addressed the question of testing for the course. It has been clarified that a test can be administered by the school, not the state, to show completion of the 12-hour course. In Section 10, some superfluous language relating to credential investigation fees was deleted. No one charges or administers credential investigation fees so that was removed from the legislation. Additionally, an Alaska-licensed hairdresser does manicure work as part of that hairdresser's license, sometimes in the range of 200 to 300 hours, and is tested for competency in that area as part of state regulation. The subcommittee thought it was a bit redundant to require these people who have gone above and beyond the provisions of the 12-hour manicurist's course to go back and obtain a manicurist's license after receiving the hairdresser's license. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed from Representative Brice that is already in the requirements for hairdressers. The chairman questioned how many hours are included within the hairdresser's [license]. Number 0796 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered that some schools are from 200 to 300 hours, here in Alaska. In order to receive a hairdresser's license, an individual must successfully complete 15 [manicure] applications. This is a standard established in regulation. Therefore, Representative Brice noted, the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers has recognized through the hairdresser requirements and regulations the importance of manicurists and ensuring that they are adequately trained. Representative Brice indicated Section 13 clarifies that the 12-hour basic health, safety and hygiene course should be geared toward the concerns of the manicurist as well as the customer because the manicurist is the one exposed to the chemicals and the dust. He indicated the dust can cause "white lung." Additionally, the subcommittee attempted to clarify in Version K that the manicurist's license does not show competency, it only shows course completion in health, hygiene, and safety issues. Representative Brice emphasized it was a big concern not to provide a statement that an individual has shown or passed any competency requirements to practice manicuring. The license should say the individual has completed a 12-hour course on health, safety, and hygiene for both the manicurist and the customer. Number 0905 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed the hairdressers are the only ones exempted from the 12-hour course. He further confirmed that anyone else currently practicing manicuring is required to take the 12-hour course. The chairman confirmed from Representative Brice that was one of the Senate's intention and is a positive note in terms of the transition. Chairman Rokeberg questioned if the hairdressers are grandfathered in for the 12 hours of health training. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered in the affirmative; hairdressers are grandfathered in for the 12 hours because that training takes place within the core curriculum of hairdressing. However, no one else is exempted. Representative Brice indicated state licensure, showing that a person has successfully completed a course in health, safety and hygiene concerns, will be required for the practice of manicure. He further indicated the penalty in Version K for failure to complete the 12-hour course and obtain licensure is a violation enforceable by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Representative Brice noted the quality of the 12-hour course was not addressed by the subcommittee. That is the core policy argument the chairman is currently aware of: Is it possible to teach health, safety, and hygiene concerns as they relate to manicure in 12 hours? The subcommittee did not arrive at a consensus on this point. Representative Brice said his feeling is anything less than 50 or 60 hours is "pretty much just blowing in the wind." He recognized the sponsor's desire to keep the length of time to a bare minimum, which resulted in the 12 hours. However, the course still does not address application or more than 12 hours worth of the importance of health, safety, and hygiene concerns. That is the one major outstanding issue. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE indicated the subcommittee had spoken with Diane Barrans, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), Department of Education ["student loans"]. Ms. Barrans had informed the subcommittee that the minimum length of a program to meet eligibility requirements for a student loan is generally six weeks. Therefore, this program would not be eligible for student loans. Representative Brice explained he believes some of the reasons the subcommittee did not address competency and the length of the course were because the legislation's title is fairly strictly written. [CSSB 51(L&C), "... providing that the only qualification necessary for licensure as a manicurist, other than payment of fees, is completion of a class that is 12 hours in duration, addresses relevant health, safety, and hygiene concerns, and is offered through a school approved by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers ...."]. Representative Brice said that he did not necessarily want to come back with a recommendation which would create title problems although he believes, as a full committee, they do want to address that. Number 1073 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG thanked the subcommittee for its work and confirmed the committee had no questions. The chairman commented he has been in communication with the bill sponsor, Representative Brice and other interested parties. Chairman Rokeberg said, "It appears that the requirements of less than six weeks and there's some timing there, we thought about coming up with something that -- there is a 30-hour weekly course minimum, so if we can get 30 hours in that'd be a full week. So, it looks like we're thinking of something less than 180 hours to meet the statute." He informed everyone work would be done with the sponsor in order to reach an agreement on a title change and increase the [course] hours while keeping the hours below the threshold allowing a student loan. The chairman noted he thinks that is the sponsor's primary objective. With that, Chairman Rokeberg indicated the committee would hold CSSB 51(L&C) over in order to allow the Senate to review the suggested changes. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO questioned if the intent is to make the program qualify for the student loan program. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered in the negative. He indicated the intent is to increase the minimum requirements for licensure, mentioning the possible need for a grandfathering provision. Number 1165 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE informed the committee some of the comments he received from people in Fairbanks were for a 30-hour application and a 30-hour classroom program, for a total of 60 hours of training, as a bare minimum. Others discussed a program of up to 100 hours. Representative Brice noted that in review of other state statistics, up to 500 hours are required for this area. There are some serious associated health risks. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked if that was only referring to manicurists. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered in the affirmative. He indicated 300 hours is required for a nail technician in Alabama, 350 hours for a nail technician in Arizona, and 240 hours for a nail specialist in Florida. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that would be the intention, to come to some agreement with the Senate. The chairman identified the following issues to be addressed: determining the level at which existing businesses doing manicuring can continue, and increasing the hours of the course which would require a title change in the legislation. Chairman Rokeberg restated that SB 51 would be held. HB 183 - ALASKA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION [Contains discussion relevant to SB 133.] Number 1252 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee's next order of business is HB 183, "An Act relating to the powers and duties of the chair of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; relating to membership on the Alaska Public Utilities Commission; and relating to the annual report of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission." The chairman indicated communications had been made with the other body since HB 183's April 23 hearing with Mr. Wilcox's presentation of the House Special Committee on Utility Restructuring's committee substitute for HB 183, CSHB 183(URS) [Walt Wilcox, aide to the House Special Committee on Utility Restructuring]. Chairman Rokeberg noted the committee has several amendments suggested by various parties and that Representative Halcro has provided an additional amendment. The chairman indicated his intention to take up the amendments and bring forth a committee substitute (CS) for examination, noting HB 183 has no further committees of referral. Chairman Rokeberg noted this would also allow the committee to have a better feel for what is happening in the other body regarding legislation that could be along the same lines. Number 1355 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted she had a question at the conclusion of the previous week's hearing [April 23] about the removal process [of a commissioner by the governor]. Mr. Baldwin had indicated he would be available at this hearing for testimony. Representative Murkowski indicated the removal process is in Section 2 of CSHB 183(URS). [CSHB 183(URS), Section 2 read: * Sec. 2. AS 42.05.035 is repealed and reenacted to read: Sec. 42.05.035. Removal of commissioners. The governor may remove a commissioner from office only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office, or because the member, while serving on the commission, is convicted of a misdemeanor for violating a statute or regulation related to public utilities or is convicted of a felony. The governor shall deliver to the commissioner a copy of the charges against the commissioner. The commissioner shall have an opportunity to present a defense in person or through counsel at a public hearing before the governor or the governor's designee. The commissioner shall be informed of the hearing by registered mail at least 10 days before the hearing date. At the hearing, the commissioner may confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. Upon removal of the commissioner, the findings and a complete statement of all charges made against the commissioner shall be filed in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.] Number 1384 JIM BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs Section, Civil Division (Juneau), Department of Law came forward. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked her question, noting it had been more of a general question. In Section 2, she thinks there is a very vague wording and reviewed the language relating the commissioner's defense. She requested an explanation of how this public process is envisioned, asking what one would have to go through in order to remove a commissioner under this CS. MR. BALDWIN responded that this language is similar to the language in AS 16.05.280, applying to the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game, and is also fairly similar to the language in AS 31.05.007[(d)] applying to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC). [AS 16.05.280 read: Sec. 16.05.280. Removal of board members. The governor may only remove a board member for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office, or because the member while serving on the board is convicted of a misdemeanor for violating a statute or regulation related to fish or game or of a felony, and shall do so by delivering to the member a written copy of the charges and giving the member an opportunity to be heard in person or through counsel at a public hearing before the governor or a designee upon at least 10 days' notice by registered mail. The member may confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. Upon removal, the governor or a designee shall file in the proper state office the findings and a complete statement of all charges made against the member.] [AS 31.05.007(d) read: Sec. 31.05.007. Term of office; vacancy; removal. (d) The governor may remove a commissioner from office for cause including but not limited to incompetence, neglect of duty or misconduct in office. A commissioner, to be removed for cause, shall be given a copy of the charges and afforded an opportunity to be publicly heard in person or by counsel in the commissioner's own defense upon not less than 10 days' notice. If a commissioner is removed for cause, the governor shall file with the lieutenant governor a complete statement of all charges made against the commissioner and the governor's finding based on the charges, together with a complete record of the proceedings.] MR. BALDWIN noted that because the officer has a property interest in the office, in this case a salary is involved, due process has to be accorded for removal. Normally the governor would appoint a qualified hearing officer who is usually legally trained, although legal training is not necessary. Mr. Baldwin explained that the process is one in which there is a basic right to confront witnesses that have been brought forward in support of the grounds for removal. The officer who is charged or is defending his/her title to the office has a right to examine and put in evidence before the hearing officer. The hearing officer creates a record and makes a recommendation to the governor. The governor makes the ultimate decision, and, hopefully, the record supports that decision. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted, then, that the governor is the final decision-maker. MR. BALDWIN replied that he believes that is what is intended; it is a recommended decision which goes to the governor. Number 1535 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI understands, from her reading of one of the reports, that the [Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC)] chairman receives the same salary as the other commissioners. She asked if this is correct. MR. BALDWIN believed that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated she assumes that the chair would be paid somewhat more if he/she is being given truly broadened powers or authorities as outlined in CSHB 183(URS). MR. BALDWIN replied he does not know the answer to that. He does not know what the thought would be in that area. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that concluded her questions. Number 1610 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said to Mr. Baldwin that he is concerned with one of the amendments, marked H.3, regarding consumer complaints. The chairman asked if Mr. Baldwin saw any problems with this amendment or cared to comment on it. [Amendment H.3, labeled 1-LS0764\H.3, Cramer, 4/21/99, read: Page 1, line 5, following ";": Insert "relating to provisions for the resolution of consumer complaints;" Page 3, following line 19: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 7. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read: Sec. 42.05.165. Consumer complaints. The commission shall by regulation provide for (1) the expedited hearing and resolution of consumer complaints; and (2) penalties against a party to a complaint who causes unjustified delays in a consumer complaint proceeding." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.] MR. BALDWIN indicated that there may be some constraints regarding can be done by regulation as far as prescribing penalties. If the intention is to impose a criminal-type penalty, he is not so sure there is the power to do that by regulation. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated these are sanctions he is contemplating because it would be for delaying or other tactics. MR. BALDWIN added, "Something within - within the, not - not some criminal (indisc.)." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG mentioned it is common to file for extensions as a legal delaying tactic. He said those are the types of things to be avoided. Number 1749 MR. BALDWIN noted the only comment he would have offhand is that there is only so much that can be done by regulation, if that is the thinking. Mr. Baldwin indicated he did not see anything with the rest of it, but would be happy to consult with his colleagues who work with the commission every day. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG reiterated the intention is see whether to adopt some of these amendments at this hearing and bring forward another CS. The chairman indicated he would be interested in Mr. Baldwin's comments at the next hearing [April 28] on any of the items the committee might adopt. The chairman indicated this would also be forwarded to the APUC and other interested parties. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI, returning to the public hearing process, questioned that there is nothing in the current language that would put any kind of a time frame on it. Mentioning due process, expediency, et cetera, she asked if it would be Mr. Baldwin's suggestion that there be any kind of a time frame within which the which the charges go to the governor and a hearing be appointed. Number 1853 MR. BALDWIN replied that one of the things that always bothers him about these kinds of hearings is that they always turn into trial-type proceedings. Although the initial idea is that it will be a simple administrative hearing, it always turns into something else. Mr. Baldwin expressed that it is probably good there is the latitude for that when warranted by a particular case. It can turn into a full trial-type proceeding. He indicated the language in CSHB 183(URS) leaves this pretty open-ended: There is a notice period and it is a fairly quick time for the public officer to have to respond. Mr. Baldwin indicated, however, in the one other incident he has had experience with, there was a very involved factual proceeding and in order to accord the appropriate due process, "things just sort of had to run their course." While attempting to specify deadlines to compress the proceedings might be desirable from a management standpoint, this may not meet the actual needs of the situation. In other words, the hearing officer may have to be developing theories for why these statutory deadlines need to be extended. Therefore, it might not be wise to stipulate those deadlines. Once there is a hearing officer "on scene" who can assess the facts of the case, that person normally proscribes an order for proceeding and that order is followed. He recommended not being too specific. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted discussion at the previous hearing of "inefficiency" and asked if Mr. Baldwin could speak to that. Number 1980 MR. BALDWIN indicated he had done some research regarding this and suggested the committee might want to pick up the language in AS 31.05.007 [relating to the AOGCC], "The governor may remove a commissioner from office for cause including ...". Mr. Baldwin explained this language is very close to the language in CSHB 183(URS), but he noted "cause" is a legal concept which connotes some basic problem and not just mere inefficiency. Mr. Baldwin indicated the current language in CSHB 183(URS) is based on AS 16.05.280 [Boards of Fisheries and Game] which does not contain the lead-in language about "for cause, including ...". Number 2058 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI commented she reads the language in CSHB 183(URS) as "removed 'only' for inefficiency, neglect of duty, misconduct, or because ...". Representative Murkowski noted Mr. Baldwin is suggesting "including" language. This perhaps is more appropriate than the narrower "only" language. MR. BALDWIN indicated he prefers the AOGCC language, AS 31.05.007(d), to the Boards of Fisheries and Game language, AS 16.05.280, that CSHB 183(URS) was based on because the AOGCC language interjects "cause". Mr. Baldwin believes it is implied [in the current language] that cause is the basic ground for removal, but it does not mention it. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned, "Better than the Oil and Gas?" MR. BALDWIN answered in the affirmative, adding, "There's just a slight change because it mentions (indisc.) may be room for cause including..." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed. He questioned that "cause" is a term of art. MR. BALDWIN answered that it is a legal concept; it is a basic reasonable finding that there is a justified reason for removing someone. Mr. Baldwin relayed that he is having a hard time articulating it the way the courts say it, noting, "Just because somebody didn't show up for work on one day, or because someone can't seem to get their thoughts organized to do their work - it implies something more basic than that, that affects the public interest the way the office is being exercised, things of that nature." Number 2189 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted the reference to "neglect of duty" in CSHB 183(URS). Representative Halcro noted one of the complaints heard is that a number of the commissioners take an extended period off. He commented, "I think somebody said six weeks; somebody is a commercial fisherman, they leave for six weeks. Could that be construed of neglect of duty ...?" MR. BALDWIN responded he is not sure of the facts Representative Halcro is referring to. Mr. Baldwin indicated one of the problems would be whether it was authorized leave. If the leave was authorized, there would not be the basic element that something is occurring contrary to the public interest. Mr. Baldwin indicated the "cause" requirement is a safeguard, a standard, in certain respects, to protect the public interest but also the public officer who has a property right in the office. A certain level of proof must be reached to show that there is a basic ground or cause for removal, and it requires some sort of violation of the public interest. Mr. Baldwin noted it is a term with a lot of legal meaning, a lot of case law. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG informed the committee there are a number of people listening via teleconference. With that, the chairman stated he would entertain a conceptual amendment on page 2 from Representative Murkowski to remove "inefficiency" and add "cause" and so forth. Number 2361 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI made a motion to amend the legislation [CSHB 183(URS)] beginning on page 2, line 1, after "for" by deleting "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office" and inserting "for cause including but not limited to incompetence, neglect of duty or misconduct in office,". [CSHB 183(URS), Section 2, as conceptually amended would read: * Sec. 2. AS 42.05.035 is repealed and reenacted to read: Sec. 42.05.035. Removal of commissioners. The governor may remove a commissioner from office only for cause including but not limited to incompetence, neglect of duty or misconduct in office, or because the member, while serving on the commission, is convicted of a misdemeanor for violating a statute or regulation related to public utilities or is convicted of a felony. ...] CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called a brief at-ease for a tape change. TAPE 99-47, SIDE A Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI repeated the amendment. Representative Murkowski explained this then leaves in the language regarding conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the amendment would be conceptual, mentioning he thinks the [legislative] drafting manual would not require the "not limited to". He asked if there were any questions. Number 0101 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS wondered if there are definitions for "incompetence" and "cause". CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted "cause" is a legal term of art, referring the question to Mr. Baldwin. MR. BALDWIN responded that "cause" is a term which has a lot of meaning that has been established over many, many years and a lot of court cases. He explained it basically means that there has to be some rational, reasonable basis for the claim of incompetence. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked who determines that. MR. BALDWIN replied that it is ultimately determined by a hearing officer after taking evidence; the hearing officer makes a recommendation to the governor who makes the ultimate decision. That decision can then be appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered if the same applied to "incompetence". MR. BALDWIN indicated it would be the same thing; all of these grounds are subject to the same kind of an analysis. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG mentioned something about an exhaustive discussion of incompetence, indicating this had possibly taken place a few years previously and Representative Brice might remember this. The chairman confirmed there were no further questions for Mr. Baldwin. Chairman Rokeberg asked if there was any objection to adopting the conceptual amendment, indicating this would be termed Amendment 1. There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 0249 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG designated Amendment H.2 as Amendment 2. The chairman referred to the amendments before the committee, noting there was H.2, H.3., H.4 plus an accompanying amendment to H.4, H.6, H.7, and Representative Halcro's amendment. Chairman Rokeberg indicated the amendments would be numbered in accordance with their numbers, and Representative Halcro's amendment would be designated Amendment 8. The chairman noted, in addition, he has an amendment to the amendment to Amendment H.4. Number 0345 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 2. Amendment 2, labeled 1-LS0764\H.2, Cramer, 4/21/99, read: Page 1, line 5, following ";": Insert "relating to a management information system;" Page 4, following line 1: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 9. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM. The legislature encourages the Alaska Public Utilities Commission to continue to develop its management information system and to make the system available to utilities and to the public." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI objected for purposes of discussion. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that he would like to make an amendment to the amendment. The chairman indicated that he would like to include "electronically available and Internet availability". He feels this is a major issue. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI spoke to her objection, referring to testimony at the last hearing [April 23] from either Mr. Yould [Eric Yould, Executive Director, Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Incorporated (ARECA)] or Mr. Rowe [Jim Rowe, Executive Director, Alaska Telephone Association (ATA)]. Representative Murkowski noted the April 22, 1999, letter in the bill packet co-authored by both Mr. Rowe and Mr. Yould. She commented they had recommended that the management information system language be strengthened. [The relevant portion of Mr. Yould's and Mr. Rowe's joint 4/22/99 letter read: Although we are aware that the APUC is developing a Management Information System for their dockets, we think a legislative directive would assure the successful completion of this project. Therefore we think that it would be appropriate to establish in statute this method to manage dockets with the following language. "The commission shall establish a Management Information System, accessible by the general public through the Internet, for the purpose of tracking, scheduling and managing all dockets within the commission."] Representative Murkowski referred to Mr. Yould's and Mr. Rowe's suggested language for establishment of the management information system. She noted this was as opposed to encouraging the APUC to do this. Number 0423 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the use of "shall" would result in a fiscal note associated with the legislation. The chairman informed the committee that the commission is already on the way, but one of the issues is this availability on the "Net" [Internet] and that is his reason. Chairman Rokeberg indicated the drafter could rebuild Amendment 2 by amendment, further indicating that the "encourages" language rather than the "shall" language would allow it to be viewed as a friendly amendment to the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI offered, "The legislature encourages the PUC [public utilities commission] to continue to develop its management information system, making the system accessible by the general public through the Internet for the purposes of tracking, scheduling and managing all dockets within the commission." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG mentioned Mr. Yould's and Mr. Rowe's joint letter. He requested that Representative Murkowski restate her language for staff. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI restated the amendment to Amendment 2: "The legislature encourages the PUC [public utilities commission] to continue to develop its management information system to make the system accessible by the general public through the Internet for the purpose of tracking, scheduling and managing all dockets within the commission." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG confirmed everyone had that. He asked if there were any objections to the amendment to the amendment. There being none, the amendment to Amendment 2 was adopted. Amendment 2 as amended read: Page 1, line 5, following ";": Insert "relating to a management information system;" Page 4, following line 1: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 9. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM. The legislature encourages the PUC to continue to develop its management information system to make the system accessible by the general public through the Internet for the purpose of tracking, scheduling and managing all dockets within the commission." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were any objections to the amendment as amended. There being be none, Amendment 2 [as amended] was adopted. Number 0577 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 3. Amendment 3, labeled 1-LS0764\H.3, Cramer, 4/21/99, read: Page 1, line 5, following ";": Insert "relating to provisions for the resolution of consumer complaints;" Page 3, following line 19: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 7. AS 42.05 is amended by adding a new section to read: Sec. 42.05.165. Consumer complaints. The commission shall by regulation provide for (1) the expedited hearing and resolution of consumer complaints; and (2) penalties against a party to a complaint who causes unjustified delays in a consumer complaint proceeding." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected for discussion. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated he thinks the amendment's purpose is to impress upon the commission the need to address those consumer complaints. The chairman commented a guideline had not been stipulated; one of the amendments did have the prevailing party winning, but it was felt that was inappropriate also, because it is usually a consumer against some kind of service provider. The APUC is the intermediary hearing officer. However, the chairman expressed that it is the intention to send a very strong message here that the commission draft regulation to take this issue up to make sure it can expedite further, which reflects the (indisc.) report. The commission is given a lot of flexibility here, but, he commented, "It's a statutory kick in the rear end here to do it." Number 0653 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if there is a backlog of consumer complaints; he wondered if there is a concern about complaints, if complaints do exist, not being dealt with in a timely manner. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG quoted a portion of the "Message from the Chairman" of the APUC's 1998 annual report, "The consumer protection division of the Commission is one of our busiest and most important. Our consumer specialists report 706 consumer complaints, a 23 percent increase over the previous year. As one of the few consumer response sections in state government, we feel it is essential to have more resources in this area [Sam Cotten, APUC Chairman]." Chairman Rokeberg noted the budget does provide nine more positions this year at APUC. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to Mr. Yould's and Mr. Rowe's letter. From under the heading "Consumer Complaints," she quoted, "We are not aware of consumer complaints that languish. Summaries of consumer complaints are presented monthly at a public meeting and upon occasion a particular complaint is reviewed. We believe staff resolves most consumer complaints without need for referral to the commissioners." Representative Murkowski said she had made a notation on this amendment that Mr. Rowe had said that this particular amendment was moot; however, she does not remember where that came from. Representative Murkowski guesses she thinks it does not hurt to go ahead and put this in the statute so that it is known that resolution of the consumer complaints will be provided for by regulation. She indicated that although there is no current backlog of complaints, one could be anticipated, which justifies the amendment. Number 0772 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE added he believes that all that is really being said is that the commission will establish for expedited hearings when necessary. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted it is a public policy statement; the legislature wants the commission to take up expedite the resolution of these hearings. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed; it would allow for areas where there is a particular topic of high concern which needs to be fast-tracked above and beyond the regular process. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said that, on the other hand, it could be argued on the other hand that it may be superfluous. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO indicated his agreement with the amendment He indicated that even the NRRI [National Regulatory Research Institute] report speaks about how commissioners from around the United States have agreed that in the near future much of the work public utility commissions do will be directed toward protecting consumers and (indisc.) markets and educating them [this appeared to be quoted from the NRRI report]. Therefore, Representative Halcro thinks the amendment appropriate. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS questioned, then, if penalties would be set by the commission. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered in the affirmative; the penalties would be set via the regulations. The chairman added, "And this is against the caveat from Mr. Baldwin put on earlier, that it would have to be tested to make sure. ... I'd consider them sanctions (indisc.) hopefully the Department of Law will give us some further recommendations on Wednesday [April 28] after (indisc.) chance to review this." The chairman asked if there were objections maintained to Amendment 3. There being no further objection, Amendment 3 was adopted. Number 0901 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 4, noting there is an amendment [in printed form] to this amendment. Amendment 4, labeled 1-LS0764\H.4, Cramer, 4/23/99, read: Page 2, line 13, following "(a)": Insert "Members shall be qualified as follows: (1) three members shall be at least one of the following: (A) a graduate of an accredited school of law; (B) a graduate of an accredited university with a major in engineering; or (C) a graduate of an accredited university with a major in finance, accounting, or business administration; and (2) two members shall be consumers. (b)" Reletter the following subsection accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS objected for purposes of discussion. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG moved the amendment to Amendment 4. The printed amendment to Amendment 4 offered by Representative Rokeberg, labeled "AMENDMENT to Amendment h.4," read: Page 1, Line 8 AFTER: "accounting," INSERT: "economics, public policy" CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were any objections to the amendment to the amendment to the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected for purposes of discussion. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG explained that the amendment to amendment is to add the academic studies of economics and public policy. The chairman commented he wished to amend his amendment to the amendment and say "public administration". He indicated that is the formal term. There was some committee discussion regarding Willamette University, Chairman Rokeberg's and Representative Halcro's alma mater, and the university mascot. Representative Murkowski also expressed approval of Willamette University as well. Number 0983 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA wondered if the addition of "or a degree in a related field of study" to the amendment would be considered. She suspects there are degrees from different universities which may have similar titles, but would perhaps be excluded if there are specific degree name requirements. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG responded that the existing statute has specifically stipulated seats for law, accounting and engineering. Significant testimony in the special committee was that this hampers the ability to find good quality people. The purpose of the amendment before the committee, in total, is to at least "raise the bar" so that there are at least some requirements or so forth. The chairman expressed his concerns regarding set requirements, noting he is actually lukewarm on the entire amendment. Chairman Rokeberg indicated CSHB 183(URS) basically reads "five public members." He questioned whether the committee wanted to come up with "weasel words" like "that have demonstrated competence and professionalism in other fields" rather than being specific as to fields. In other words, trying to raise the bar from just a public member to demonstrated competency. The chairman said would be happy to have the committee's input on this. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE indicated some agreement. Number 1118 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the amendment in total narrowed it down but it might perhaps be too narrow. The chairman noted on the other hand, the possibility of simply having a public member, adding, "So if anybody can come up with some good weasel words to general competency ..." Chairman Rokeberg questioned the feelings of the committee. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE indicated he thinks he is agreeing with the chairman. It would be okay to sort of establish some standards, but indicated he is not sure if they want to establish specific standards. Representative Brice commented that he has been involved in enough floor fights and confirmation fights on the vagaries involved with what requirements are in statute and how people fit that. He noted his opinion is somewhat that it is interesting concept but he doesn't know whether or not they will get there from here. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the testimony in the special committee regarding qualifications was that the legislature still reviews and confirms the commissioners. The chairman referred to the Real Estate Commission and the confirmation hearings of the Governor's appointees to that body which had taken place at the beginning of the meeting. The chairman indicated that if those appointees had not been known to him, the committee would have thoroughly grilled them because those appointees make quasi-judicial decisions. He added, "And those people that serve on the APUC and some of these other - and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the 'Royalty (ph)' Commission [Alaska Royalty Oil and Gas Development Advisory Board] have to make sure that they're competent to perform that." There are only so many positions that are appointments that are not run concurrently with the governor. There are those commissions that have appointments that survive the governorships and have special quasi-judicial powers. Amongst these is the APUC. Number 1277 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI admitted some confusion and wondered if wondered if the intent was that at least three of the members shall be one lawyer, one engineer and one (indisc.). CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that is not the intention. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated, then, the intention of the amendment is that there is a list and that three are chosen from that list and plus the two consumer members; therefore, more than one person could be represented from an area on that list. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed that was the intention, but he is backing off even from the amendment. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted, if she may speak to the professional qualifications, she has not spent much time in front of the APUC herself, but other members of the [law] firm she has been involved with in the past have. She stated she has learned that it is helpful to have someone on the commission who has, especially in the engineering field, some understanding of engineering. Representative Murkowski indicated the same thing probably applies with respect to having training in the field of law, and financial and public administration fields. She is concerned that people who do not have their own area of expertise have to rely more on their staff. Representative Murkowski commented, "And their staff is going to be the good staff and they're going to tell you what it is from their perspective, but every now and again it's wise to question what your staff is saying, and you can't do that if you don't have a level of expertise in certain areas." She also indicated the possibility of a commissioner consulting another commissioner who has that expertise regarding staff recommendations; she thinks the professional expertise is a helpful thing to have. Number 1427 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA offered another possible change to the amendment. She suggested, "a graduate of an accredited university and proven professional experience with demonstrated - either specific skills required in service as a commissioner or just skills required in service as a commissioner", might work because so many times people's experience is greater than their degree itself. She feels that things other than the specific skills mentioned here are more handy to a group that is trying to solve problems. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed, but said, on the other hand, it is very general. The chairman also said he does not like the inclusion in the original amendment that two of the members shall be consumers and would rather just make them public members; there is no qualification whatsoever since anyone can be a consumer. Chairman Rokeberg commented he did not think that was appropriate; he feels even those people who are ostensibly supposed to be representing consumers in this area need to have the intellectual ability to take up the task. Therefore, that speaks more to their point of view than their intelligence or education - not to say that by implication that consumers are any less educated than any other professional. The chairman indicated it was the construction that troubled him. Number 1526 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE questioned how this would technically work. He asked what would happen with the sitting commissioners: Would they have to have their backgrounds reviewed and would the commission have to be restructured around this formula on the effective date? REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI stated that the existing statutes already state that there shall be one lawyer, one engineer and one accountant. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented that he was thinking backwards, indicating he had been somewhat confused. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked, "If this is already required then why are ...?" REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI clarified that what is required is that the commission have one lawyer, one engineer and one accountant. The amendment would allow for three members to be chosen from all these different professions. Therefore, it would be possible to have two public administrators and one engineer, instead of one from each. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI and REPRESENTATIVE BRICE both agreed the situation would be okay if the amendment was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI commented there is more flexibility with this. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA agrees that there is more flexibility, but she suggests opening it up just a tiny bit wider because there are lots of resources out there. Number 1616 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if the amendment to the amendment had been approved yet. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG answered in the negative. He commented the committee was having somewhat of an informal work session. The chairman noted he had been thinking about something a little more generic, "that the governor should consider the background, education and professional competency when appointing the public members", because there are five public members in the current legislation [no required qualifications for any APUC commissioner]. This language would require that all five of the appointees would have to have a good background, education and professional competency before being appointed. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned that wouldn't it be assumed the governor is checking that in the first place. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated it might be redundant. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said she thought the chairman was applying this to the two public members. She likes that idea because it gives the public members some qualification. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO said the education and professional background of the first three public appointees has already been mandated. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said that the bill could also be left alone. The legislation currently says five public members, but does not define them. The chairman indicated this was the special committee's decision after this same discussion. He clarified that there are the qualifications in existing statute for three of the seats. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI stated that she still likes the professional qualifications. She reiterated that she likes having a pool of professional qualifications to choose from for the first three members and then having two public members. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if ARECA or ATA had any opinions on Amendment 4. ERIC YOULD, Executive Director, Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Incorporated, indicated he thinks ARECA has already testified on this. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Mr. Wilcox to comment as the representative of the bill sponsor. Number 1761 WALT WILCOX, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill Hudson, Alaska State Legislature, came forward as the aide the to House Special Committee on Utility Restructuring, the bill sponsor. Mr. Wilcox explained that the special committee had had lengthy discussion on this matter. He stated, "As it turns out, the original reason for having a lawyer, an engineer and an accountant, was when the commission was first formed it was a very small commission with very little staff, if any. So, they had to perform their own work. They had to be their own lawyer, their own engineer, their own accountant. Subsequent to that, I think we've got nearly 50 employees that take that burden off of the commissioners. So, from that perspective the Utility Restructuring Committee decided that five at large members were the best way to go for the simple reason that you had a larger pool to draw from, keeping in mind that the checks and balances are there with the governor appointing and the legislature confirming the appointment." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG withdrew Amendment 4. Number 1810 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 5. The chairman indicated the amendment's intention is to help expedite the matters in the dockets before the commission. It sets a deadline target, but does allow the commission the flexibility to extend if need be. He said, "It sends a big message and huge shot of a cannon across the bow." Amendment 5, labeled 1-LS0764\H.5, Cramer, 4/23/99, read: Page 1, line 4, following ";": Insert "relating to hearings held by the Alaska Public Utilities Commission;" Page 3, following line 19: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 7. AS 42.05.141 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: (d) On the filing of a petition, application, or complaint concerning a matter within the jurisdiction of the commission under this chapter, the chair of the commission shall promptly fix a date for hearing. The hearing shall be held without undue delay. The hearing may not be scheduled to begin later than five months after the petition, application, or complaint was filed unless the commission approves an extension of time for good cause. After the conclusion of the hearing, the commission shall enter its order within 30 days." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 4, following line 5: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 11. The provisions of AS 42.05.141(d), enacted by sec. 7 of this Act, apply to petitions, applications, and complaints first filed with the commission on or after the effective date of this Act." Renumber the following bill section accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI questioned, then, if there are deadlines of five months and orders being entered within 30 days as stated in the amendment, what happens if they fail to comply. She asked what the enforcement is. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented the legislature cuts off their funding. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to previous testimony, noting she agrees that something needs to be done to eliminate the delays and the backlog. However, recognizing the complexities of some of these cases, she is concerned with a deadline. Representative Murkowski noted it is quite possible that both parties would request continuances and this amendment would not allow a continuance. These tariff rate cases go on for years, and it is not necessarily because the commissioners are not acting expediently, it is because it is incredibly complex and the parties need additional time. Therefore, she thinks there needs to be something which says that expediency is important and should be the number one priority, but she does not think a message should be sent conveying that the quality be sacrificed for the expediency. Representative Murkowski indicated there needs to be a reasonableness provision. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed. However, his rejoinder would be that there is the ability to extend after the period. There is no extension provision for the order being issued within 30 days after the hearing. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted he agrees with Representative Murkowski. He believes that it was brought up at the last hearing that a quicker response would be accepted even though it may not be well-thought out. Representative Halcro referred to the NRRI report, commenting it does say that. He apparently quoted, "Most who commented on the training that had been provided for writing orders regarded the training exercise as a failure." Therefore, timeliness is the key issue, but if "you slap this 30 days on them, and if they have a more complex case that maybe takes a little bit more homework to do, or they don't get their training in line in time, I think ... you have some problems here." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if anyone in the audience cared to comment. Number 1973 REED STOOPS, Lobbyist for General Communications, Incorporated (GCI), came forward. Mr. Stoops commented that he has also sat through all the hearings on this subject. Not having dockets completed in a timely manner is probably the most common complaint he has heard, and certainly his client has had ample experience with delays of years before decisions. Mr. Stoops agrees with Chairman Rokeberg that the intent is to set at least a target date for a deadline for a docket, which would be adequate in most cases. Mr. Stoops noted the amendment clearly says the commission has the opportunity to extend that decision date for good cause; presumably the commission would simply enter a letter or make an announcement that it has extended, and it would be required to give a reason for the extension. He observed that it is not really written very tightly and GCI's preference would probably be to make it tighter, but the language would at least give incentive to the commission. He does not believe that anyone from the previous hearing disagreed with the concept of trying to find some reasonable way to get a timely decision without being so strict that the commission is limited in truly complex cases. He added he would assume that is good cause if both parties agree that there ought to be an extension. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said that she does not disagree with Mr. Stoops' comments regarding obtaining an extension for good cause. However, she is looking more at the timeliness of the commission entering the order. She reads that as "after the conclusion of the hearing, the commission shall enter its order within 30 days." Therefore, the commission has a 30-day window. Recognizing that there can be rate hearings lasting for years and banker boxes of pleadings and dockets, et cetera, she does not know that it is reasonable to really "kick out an order within 30 days." She believes it is probably a good idea to put a time frame on it, but she personally does not feel that 30 days is reasonable for all dockets. Number 2087 MR. STOOPS suggested that perhaps the good cause extension could be added to the 30 days as well. He thinks it is sort of a rule-of-thumb type deadline which would cover most dockets because most of them are not that complicated. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated trying to categorize the type of dockets and set up a time frame was looked at. The chairman questioned if anyone else cared to comment on this. Number 2113 MR. YOULD noted he had not planned to testify, but thinks it is a good amendment. He agrees that it may not be as tightly written as ARECA would like to see it. Mr. Yould suggested amending the language that begins on line 8 of the printed amendment, "The hearing shall be held without undue delay", by inserting, "however" following "delay". This would ties the two sentences together and indicates that there is a desire to do it as soon as possible, but certainly not later than five months. Mr. Yould commented that when ARECA's general managers met with the APUC commissioners on April 15, 1999, they asked the commissioners the same question: Would you all like to see statutory dates. He noted, "I guess I'm kind of speaking on their behalf and I hope I'm not getting in trouble with this: They kind of indicated that when their feet are held to the fire, that ... they will get the dockets out, and they - the body language was not negative I guess is the best way to put it." [The amended language Mr. Yould suggested would read: "The hearing shall be held without undue delay; however, the hearing may not be scheduled to begin later than five months after the petition, application, or complaint was filed unless the commission approves an extension of time for good cause."] REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked if Mr. Yould interprets the amendment to read that the hearing may be extended for time: You can extend the period for the hearing for good cause. He reads it that the order has to be given within 30 days, as did Representative Murkowski. MR. YOULD answered yes. However, he thinks the commission should have that flexibility for good cause but the intent is there. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he would finish the chairman's thought that they duplicate "unless the commission approves an extension of the time for good cause after 30 days". Number 2204 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG understood Representative Brice's comment as an amendment to Amendment 5, after "30 days" on line 12 [of the printed amendment] to add "unless the commission approves an extension of time for good cause". [The sentence as amended would read: "After conclusion of the hearing, the commission shall enter its order within 30 days unless the commission approves an extension of time for good cause."] The chairman asked if there were any objections to the amendment to the amendment. There being none, the amendment to Amendment 5 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS noted he did not have any major opposition but it seems like the amendment to the amendment just adopted "takes all the teeth really out of what you're trying to do with this amendment, if you're trying to force some decision to be made ... if the commission's will is to stall ... is to have lots more time, they're going to have to lots more time anyway because they'll just keep adding on to their extension here." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested another way to do it would to say either 60 days or 45 days. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS replied that he would rather do it that way himself. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Yould, Mr. Stoops and Mr. Baldwin what their preference would be. Number 2270 MR. BALDWIN concurred with Representative Murkowski's comments. He does not think this works; he witnessed the legislature attempt to put a six-month time period on the court system for getting opinions out, that did not work. Mr. Baldwin thinks there are many ways for boards to wiggle out of these things. He agrees with Representative Murkowski and does not think it should be done at all. MR. STOOPS indicated a date certain would be preferable to the current amendment language. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked whether 45 or 60 would be preferable. The chairman asked if Mr. Yould had any preference. MR. YOULD commented the present system is not working at all. Anything better than that would be preferable. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned, however, which is more realistic 30, 45 or 60 days. MR. YOULD said to use 30 or 45 days. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work legally, but the point is it will work most of the time. In other words, the intent is there; the commission will try to attain it, but it may not always make it. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned if Mr. Cotten or Mr. Lohr [Robert, Lohr, Executive Director, APUC] were online. SAM COTTEN, Chairman and Commissioner, Alaska Public Utilities Commission, Department of Commerce and Economic Development responded via teleconference from Anchorage. He confirmed for Chairman Rokeberg that he had copies of the amendments. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Cotten for his comments on Amendment 5. MR. COTTEN said he thinks Mr. Yould was probably referring to his (Mr. Cotten's) comments in the reflection of the meeting the other day [April 15, ARECA/APUC]. Mr. Cotten related he harkened back to the lack of a limit on the number of days the legislature could be in session when he was first a legislator. He was convinced it was a bad idea when it was proposed to limit the legislative session to 120 days. After it came into effect, he was really happy about it. He thinks they could make it work well there as well, although he is not sure what the appropriate time period is. Mr. Cotten noted he does not think it is a bad thing to say that an order should be issued within a certain time period. He indicated that there are instances when it is difficult to get a consensus among the commission members, but a time limit might also help in that regard. Therefore, speaking for himself, not the commission, he thinks some sort of deadlines would have a positive effect on the operation of the commission as far as timeliness is concerned. It might be difficult to craft the proper language to achieve that, but he favors it as a concept. Number 2378 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE understands that GCI has a very difficult docket in front of the commission that is taking a great deal of time. He questioned if the commission could have addressed that docket under this time line. MR. COTTEN responded he is not sure which one [docket] Representative Brice is referring to. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted, then, there are multiple [dockets]. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA questioned if the "unless good cause" at the end would give enough latitude. MR. COTTEN replied he thinks that would work pretty well on the first part. If the parties agreed to try to work it out amongst themselves and that pushed it past the deadline, that would probably be good cause. Mr. Cotten emphasized another point he wanted to make is that not everything goes to hearing. Often an application comes in and is approved as a routine matter; therefore, it is not necessary to assign hearing date for each case. This might be a technical consideration. He indicated allowing the "for good cause" on the chosen amount of days - whether 30, 45, or another number - would provide the commission an opportunity for an extension, if commission is required to explain why. He further indicated the biggest problems have been failure by the commission to reach a consensus, or that someone insists on writing 30 or 40 pages of commentary before even reaching the section in the order which announces the decision. Mr. Cotten added, "And, again, I think that's oftentimes unnecessary." [TESTIMONY INTERRUPTED BY AUTOMATIC TAPE CHANGE] TAPE 99-47, SIDE B Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO stated, "...60, 45's a compromise." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested 5 non-seriously, noting that came from the industry. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE indicated 60 days would not be long enough. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated she thought it wouldn't be long enough in certain instances. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed with 60 days. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS indicated he agreed with 60 days. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA questioned if "unless good cause" was being added in. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI commented, "'Unless good cause', you delete that..." REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS stated 60 days without any exemption. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned if Representative Harris wanted to amend his amendment. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS responded it was not his amendment. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated it had been assigned to him. Number 0031 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS made a motion to adopt a conceptual amendment "that deletes the section that was just put behind 30 days and changes 30 days to 60." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the committee would discuss this at the next hearing on the legislation [Wednesday, April 28]. The chairman asked if there was any objection to the amendment [to the amendment]. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected, noting that he had just made the amendment [to the amendment]. Representative Brice explained he made the amendment [to the amendment] because he thinks the "pressure relief valve" will be needed. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that is a good point, suggesting that the committee remain with the 60 days. The committee can then see what happens between now and Wednesday [April 28]. The chairman indicated the issue could be taken up again at that time. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, then, with that assurance, he withdraws his objection. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there are any objections to the [conceptual] amendment to the amendment. The chairman gaveled down, indicating the amendment to the amendment had been adopted. Chairman Rokeberg stated there is a technical amendment he would like to make as well. Number 0066 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted she had no objection. However, because the committee is still discussing this and whether 60 days is enough, Representative Murkowski commented she had brought up the question of enforcement and has not seen any amendments to that effect. Perhaps this is also something the committee needs before it at the next hearing. She said, "How do you hold the feet to the fire?" CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG joked that the chairman [of the APUC] has to dive off the Captain Cook statute. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked the chairman's brief indulgence and informed the committee his staff had proposed a scenario to encourage a quick decision-making process. Number 0094 JONATHON LACK, Legislative Assistant to Representative Andrew Halcro, Alaska State Legislature, came forward. Mr. Lack indicated he had just pointed out to Representative Halcro that the supreme court has an order in place for superior and district court judges, providing a maximum of six months from the time a motion is completed until the time an order is issued. If a judge has not issued an order at the end of the six months, the judge has to self-report to the supreme court and is not paid until the order is issued in that matter. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the committee would take this under advisement. He noted the amendment to the amendment had been adopted. He would like to propose the third ["second"] amendment to the amendment. It would be a technical conceptual amendment to Amendment 5 to pick up on what Mr. Cotten had said. Chairman Rokeberg noted, "it's when a hearing is appropriate here, to change the wording here." Mr. Cotten's testimony was that a hearing was not appropriate at all times; therefore, it is necessary to conceptually amend this amendment "to something of the effect that on a hearing -- when a hearing is appropriate." Chairman Rokeberg confirmed the committee was in understanding and he commented that the word "hearing" is used several times. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted the language, "when appropriate". CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented that it is a conceptual amendment, indicating the drafter could determine the proper phrasing. The chairman asked if there was any further discussion on Amendment 5. He noted they have it on the 60 days and with the proviso that the committee will be taking this up again, hoping some feedback is received from the commission, industry, and all affected parties. The chairman reiterated his intention is to put this into a CS, "and make sure they know we're serious and then they'll hear back." He asked if there were any further comments and stated the objection is removed from Amendment 5. Chairman Rokeberg questioned if there were any objections to Amendment 5 as amended. There being none, Amendment 5 as amended was adopted. [Note: the chairman did not formally ask the committee if there were any objections to the third ["second"] amendment to Amendment 5, the technical conceptual amendment to the amendment, but no objections were voiced by the committee]. Number 0181 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 6. Amendment 6, labeled 1-LS0764\H.6, Cramer, 4/23/99, read: Page 1, line 4, following ";": Insert "relating to procedural motions of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission;" Page 3, following line 19: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 7. AS 42.05.151(b) is amended to read: (b) The commission shall adopt regulations governing practice and procedure, consistent with due process of law, including the conduct of formal and informal investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conferences, hearings, and proceedings, and the handling of procedural motions by a single commissioner. The commission, or an assigned commissioner, shall enter an order on procedural motions within 10 days after the close of the applicable briefing period. Technical rules of evidence need not apply to investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conferences, hearings, and proceedings before the commission. The commission shall provide for representation by out-of-state attorneys substantially in accordance with Rule 81, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted there had been some testimony from Mr. Schroer [Don Schroer, lobbyist for GCI and former APUC chairman] at the previous hearing [April 23] recommending an amendment to the amendment to include mediation and arbitration. Chairman Rokeberg referred to line 8 of the written amendment, "investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conferences, hearings, and proceedings,", noting Mr. Schroer had recommended adding "mediation and arbitration" after "hearings". He asked Mr. Cotten if the commission currently conducts mediation or arbitration. MR. COTTEN answered in the affirmative. He noted that in some "telecom" cases as a result of the "Telecom Act" [federal Telecommunications Act of 1996] there is a provision to do that under certain interconnection agreements between competitors and the incumbent local exchange carriers. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted the added language should be "arbitration, mediation"; therefore, it would be appropriate to include that. Number 0253 MR. COTTEN agreed he thinks it would be appropriate; he emphasized he is speaking for himself - the commission has not considered these amendments. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted, then, he would move Amendment 6 and if he hears objections for purposes of discussion, he will then move the amendment to the amendment, after the word "hearing" on line 8 [written amendment copy] to add "mediation, arbitration, and" in conceptual form to ensure the grammar is correct. The chairman asked if there is any objection. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE questioned if mediation and arbitration are applicable to the rules of evidence, indicating he was referring to the lower amendment language, "Technical rules of evidence need not apply to investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conference, hearings, and proceedings before the commission.", appearing on lines 11 through 13 of the printed amendment copy. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated this was true, at least when the court rules. Number 0293 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG expanded the amendment to the amendment to include adding the new language after "hearings" on line 13. He asked if there was any objection to the amendment to the amendment. There being none, the [conceptual] amendment to Amendment 6 was adopted. Subsection (b) of Amendment 6 as conceptually amended read: (b) The commission shall adopt regulations governing practice and procedure, consistent with due process of law, including the conduct of formal and informal investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conferences, hearings, mediation, arbitration, and proceedings, and the handling of procedural motions by a single commissioner. The commission, or an assigned commissioner, shall enter an order on procedural motions within 10 days after the close of the applicable briefing period. Technical rules of evidence need not apply to investigations, prehearing [PRE-HEARING] conferences, hearings, mediation, arbitration, and proceedings before the commission. The commission shall provide for representation by out-of-state attorneys substantially in accordance with Rule 81, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted the amendment language on lines 9 through 11 of the printed amendment, "The commission, or an assigned commissioner, shall enter an order on procedural motions within 10 days after the close of the applicable briefing period.". He asked for Mr. Cotten's input on this amendment. MR. COTTEN commented he is not sure of the definition for "procedural motions", but he does not think it is too much to ask for a ruling within 10 days on simple procedural motions as he understands a procedural motion. His initial reaction is that it does not look like it would cause any problems. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked for Mr. Baldwin's assistance regarding the whether "procedural motions" are defined, as far as a commissioner or a hearing officer before the commission. Number 0367 MR. BALDWIN answered that procedural motions are generally motions for how to conduct the docket. They are not dispositive motions relating to the merits of the case. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG possibly questioned whether the civil procedure rules the commission works under are defined in court rules. MR. BALDWIN responded that they are generally defined in regulations of the commission; the commission generally sets its own procedure. Mr. Baldwin asked for confirmation from Mr. Cotten that that was correct. MR. COTTEN indicated he and Mr. Lohr had just been discussing that. Mr. Cotten said he certainly does not disagree with Mr. Baldwin: A non-dispositive motion would be considered procedural. Mr. Cotten said he just had not been sure if there is an actual definition for procedural motion, but he thinks most people operate with the assumption that it is a time extension or some other minor motion practice. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Cotten if there are any practical problems with Amendment 6. MR. COTTEN answered not that he has noticed "right off the bat here." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were any questions or comments from the committee members. The chairman asked if there were any objections to Amendment 6 [as amended]. There being none, Amendment 6 was adopted [as amended]. Number 0426 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt Amendment 7. Amendment 7, labeled 1-LS0764\H.7, Cramer, 4/23/99: Page 1, line 4, following ";": Insert "permitting arbitrators to conduct formal hearings before the Alaska Public Utilities Commission;" Page 3, following line 19: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 7. AS 42.05.171 is amended to read: Sec. 42.05.171. Formal hearings. A formal hearing that the commission has power to hold may be held by or before three or more commissioners, a hearing officer, or an administrative law judge designated for the purpose by the commission. In appropriate cases, a formal hearing may be held before an arbitrator designated for the purpose by the commission. The testimony and evidence in a formal hearing may be taken by the commissioners, by the hearing officer, [OR] by the administrative law judge, or by the arbitrator to whom the hearing has been assigned. A commissioner who has not heard or read the testimony, including the argument, may not participate in making a decision of the commission. In determining the place of a hearing, the commission shall give preference to holding the hearing at a place most convenient for those interested in the subject of the hearing." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. AN UNIDENTIFIED COMMITTEE MEMBER objected. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented he didn't know if he liked arbitration. The chairman asked Mr. Cotten's opinion of Amendment 7 regarding arbitration, indicating Mr. Cotten had testified the commission is required to use arbitration under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. MR. COTTEN responded that the commission has a couple of choices there. Mr. Cotten noted the commission can act as the arbiter/arbitrator. Additionally, he described that in one case in an Anchorage where GCI and ATU [Anchorage Telephone Utility] entered into an inter-connection agreement, those two entities agreed upon an arbiter and agreed to pay for that person "to hammer out a lot of minor disputes." However, Mr. Cotten noted that is quite different than what this proposes as a formal hearing. The commission has not had any experience with a formal hearing in front of an arbiter although it does employ administrative law judges and, occasionally, hearing officers. He noted the commission is at least able to now use hearing officers. Therefore, this would be something new and he thinks the limited experience the commission has had so far has been successful; this would expand to it formal hearings and he is uncertain about that. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested Mr. Stoops' comments and analysis of the intention. Number 0491 MR. STOOPS, representing GCI, stated he thinks the language is permissive, as in GCI's earlier proposed amendment. Noting the language beginning with "In appropriate cases,", Mr. Stoops indicated GCI's assumption is that this language adds a new method by which the commission might address certain cases but it is up to the commission to choose, not the parties themselves. Therefore, Mr. Stoops guesses the question should be whether it is objectionable to have this potential method available to the commission for future use. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG expressed that he personally does not care for arbitration, adding that the provision here does not statutorily indicate whether it would be binding arbitration or not. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented it would not be binding. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated, then, he understands it would not be binding because of that. MR. STOOPS thought it would be up to the commission to make that determination. In the case cited by Mr. Cotten, it wasn't a formal hearing but the procedure for resolving disputes between GCI and ATU on local competition worked quite well. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if that was what GCI had in mind when this amendment was requested. MR. STOOPS answered in the affirmative, adding, "Although the way that this is drafted ... Chairman Cotten is correct that -- I mean they may not have technically called that a formal hearing, I think ... that was certainly one of the cases that we viewed favorably that ought to be expanded, and perhaps Chairman Cotten would have a different term of art." CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the language is being inserted into an existing heading, with regards to drafting, and perhaps that has something to do with it. The chairman questioned if GCI's intention was more informal arbitration, such as it had experienced [with ATU]. MR. STOOPS replied that GCI would accept either advisory or binding arbitration as alternative, because sometimes it is the fastest way to resolve certain issues. He emphasized that this is simply an option for the commission; it would not be required to do this. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented, "Right. Well I would take informal as - as something..." MR. STOOPS interjected that if the chairman has a different terminology which would be appropriate, that would be fine. Number 0590 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested the possible removal of "formal", and be silent on it. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that "formal" is used in the heading and also the other existing law, so he would be reluctant to change it there. The chairman questioned the definition of "formal" as opposed to "informal". REPRESENTATIVE BRICE thought a formal hearing would be a hearing where the decision is made, the final last step, as opposed to an informal hearing, or secondary or tertiary hearing. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned whether Mr. Cotten or Mr. Lohr had any further comment on that. MR. COTTEN noted he had been unsure that he had gotten the exact question; he asked if they had been speaking of the formal hearing here. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG agreed, noting it is in that section of the existing statute. The chairman asked if this concept of arbitration needs to be removed and reinserted elsewhere. MR. COTTEN noted that, after hearing Mr. Stoops' comments, he (Mr. Cotten) thinks it appears to offer the commission another opportunity to do something besides hold the hearing itself. He understands that the current law allows the commission to assign that to a hearing officer who would then deliver a decision to the commission for approval or disapproval. This also applies to the administrative law judge, and he indicated that apparently the situation would also be the same with an arbiter. In that regard, Mr. Cotten indicated he does not think it would probably cause any problems. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that both parties would have to submit to the arbitration and apparently agree to the arbitrator. Therefore, it seems to him that this is a positive tool but both parties would have to agree to it. He asked Mr. Stoops if that would be the intention. Number 0678 MR. STOOPS agreed, noting the amendment is silent on whether it is binding or advisor [arbitration]. Since it is optional anyway, it would be up to the commission. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG commented, then, the rules of the game would be established by the parties to it. This merely authorizes the commission to allow for arbitration. Chairman Rokeberg asked if that is correct. He questioned if everyone had an understanding of what they were doing here. He asked if there were any objections to the amendment. There being none, Amendment 7 was adopted. MR. COTTEN indicated hearing officers, administrative law judges, or possibly other public employees, act in an arbitration function for the state. Therefore, from the drafting of the amendment, he is not sure he understands the difference between hiring an arbitrator and hiring a hearing officer, and having each return with a decision. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG responded it is his understanding an arbitrator has to be a member of the American Arbitration Association, and, therefore, may not be on the employment roles of the state. This would be a step toward privatization. The chairman indicated this may be a positive thing, as an alternative conflict resolution device that can expedite the commission's matters, because the commission does not have to take up the issue itself but it would be addressed under the auspices of the commission. Chairman Rokeberg asked Mr. Stoops if that is correct. MR. STOOPS agreed. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated the committee has before it the last amendment of the evening, the corrected Amendment 8 by Representative Halcro. Number 0766 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to adopt Amendment 8. Amendment 8, an unlabeled printed amendment [the printed amendment was numbered lines 1-5, but written in continuous paragraph form] read: Page 1, line 8, following "(b) The" delete "governor shall designate one member of the commission as chair. The chair shall serve as chair for a term of four years, but may be appointed for successive terms." and insert "commission shall select one member of the commission to serve as chair for a term of two years. A commissioner may be elected to successive terms as chair of the commission." REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO spoke to the amendment. He commented that this amendment came from someone very close to the APUC who feels that with all of the overhaul being done, this is one way to depoliticize the commission ["board"] a bit more; create a better working environment where commission members would select their chairman rather than having the governor appoint. Representative Halcro said he feels, in listening to her [unidentified] suggestion and then reviewing the bill, they go to great lengths in this legislation to provide the commissioners some increased powers. Representative Halcro indicated he thinks allowing the majority of the commissioners to elect their chair follows this. The chair would be appointed for a two-year period, with the commissioners then voting to either retain the current chair for an additional two years or electing a new one. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE spoke to his objection. He thinks they should just let the Governor do it. It is something the governors have been doing; Representative Brice noted it has not been a problem brought to his attention by any of the commissioners. He does not know where the amendment is coming; he has not heard any controversy or complaint. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted there had been similar testimony in the special committee. He asked if Mr. Wilcox recalled that. Number 0856 MR. WILCOX said he had spoken with the chairman of the special committee [Representative Bill Hudson] on this particular matter. It was Representative Hudson's opinion that the special committee had reached no conclusion because the members really did not care whether it was two years or four years. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned, however, about the election of the [APUC] chair by the membership. MR. WILCOX believed there had been some discussion on that particular point and an amendment proposed by Representative Rokeberg that was deemed to be somewhat unconstitutional. Mr. Wilcox indicated there appeared to be some conflict with Article III, Section 26, of the Alaska State Constitution. He commented this issue had just been discussed with Mr. Baldwin, indicating they would need more time to address it. [Constitution of the State of Alaska, Article III, Section 26 reads: SECTION 26. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS. When a board or commission is at the head of a principal department or a regulatory or quasi-judicial agency, its members shall be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session, and may be removed as provided by law. They shall be citizens of the United States. The board or commission may appoint a principal executive officer when authorized by law, but the appointment shall be subject to the approval of the governor.] CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG invited Mr. Baldwin forward again. MR. BALDWIN commented he is pained because he does not know the answer to this. He referred to the constitutional language, "The board or commission may appoint a principal executive officer when authorized by law, but the appointment shall be subject to the approval of the governor." Mr. Baldwin said he thinks there is some concern about whether the reference to "principal executive officer" would cover a chairmanship. He reiterated he does not know the answer. Number 0926 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted, then, they were skating on thin constitutional ice, without further analysis. He asked if that would be a fair assessment. MR. BALDWIN indicated he agreed and needed further time. MR. WILCOX requested that staff be given an opportunity to get a legal opinion from legislative counsel. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO said he would appreciate and accept that recommendation. Number 0950 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the amendment would be held in abeyance until a legal opinion could be received. He questioned who would take responsibility for the legal opinion. MR. WILCOX offered to do so, noting this question has arisen previously and he is probably the most familiar with it. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated a House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee substitute would be brought forward at the next meeting on April 28. [HB 183 WAS HELD] ADJOURNMENT Number 0989 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting at 6:20 p.m.