Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/12/1999 03:27 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
    HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                    May 12, 1999                                                                                                
                     3:27 p.m.                                                                                                  
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                                                                        
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chairman                                                                                     
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                                                                    
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
Representative Tom Brice                                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 8(FIN)                                                                                                   
"An Act relating to the minimum plumbing fixtures required for                                                                  
females and males in the state plumbing code; and providing for an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCS CSSB 8(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
HOUSE BILL NO. 185                                                                                                              
"An Act exempting certain small water utilities from regulation by                                                              
the Alaska Public Utilities Commission."                                                                                        
     - MOVED CSHB 185(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 29(RLS)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to licensure of physicians; and providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
BILL: SB 8                                                                                                                      
SHORT TITLE: MINIMUM REQUIRED PLUMBING FACILITIES                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) DONLEY, Kelly Tim, Wilken                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/19/99        15     (S)  PREFILE RELEASED - 1/8/99                                                                           
 1/19/99        15     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/19/99        15     (S)  STA, FIN                                                                                            
 3/04/99               (S)  STA AT  3:45 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                                                                      
 3/04/99               (S)  <MEETING CANCELLED>                                                                                 
 3/09/99               (S)  STA AT  3:30 PM                                                                                     
 3/09/99               (S)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 3/09/99               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                                                                         
 3/18/99               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                                                                         
 3/23/99       646     (S)  STA RPT  CS  2DP 2NR  NEW TITLE                                                                     
 3/23/99       646     (S)  NR: WARD, ELTON; DP: PHILLIPS, WILKEN                                                               
 4/07/99               (S)  FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 4/07/99               (S)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/07/99               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                         
 4/08/99               (S)  RLS AT 11:40 AM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 4/08/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 4/08/99       820     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE TO CS (DOT)                                                                        
 4/08/99       820     (S)  FIN RPT  CS  5DP 3NR 1AM  NEW TITLE                                                                 
 4/08/99       820     (S)  DP: TORGERSON, PARNELL, PHILLIPS,                                                                   
 4/08/99       820     (S)  WILKEN, DONLEY; AM: GREEN; NR: PETE                                                                 
 4/08/99       820     (S)  KELLY, ADAMS, LEMAN                                                                                 
 4/08/99       820     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN TO CS (DOT)                                                                        
 4/09/99       845     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1 OR 4/9/99                                                                   
 4/09/99       848     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 4/09/99       848     (S)  FIN  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                        
 4/09/99       848     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                           
 4/09/99       848     (S)  UNAN CONSENT                                                                                        
 4/09/99       848     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 8(FIN)                                                                    
 4/09/99       848     (S)  COSPONSOR(S): WILKEN                                                                                
 4/09/99       849     (S)  PASSED Y14 N5 E1                                                                                    
 4/09/99       849     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                                                                   
 4/09/99       849     (S)  ELLIS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                    
 4/12/99       884     (S)  RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                                                                        
 4/12/99       885     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 4/13/99       785     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/13/99       785     (H)  L&C                                                                                                 
 5/07/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/07/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 5/07/99               (H)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 5/12/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
BILL: HB 185                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SMALL WATER UTILITIES EXEMPT FROM APUC                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) OGAN                                                                                             
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/09/99       702     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/09/99       703     (H)  URS, L&C                                                                                            
 4/21/99               (H)  URS AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
 4/21/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/21/99               (H)  MINUTE(URS)                                                                                         
 4/28/99               (H)  URS AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
 4/28/99               (H)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 4/30/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 4/30/99               (H)  <PENDING REFERRAL> <BILL CANCELLED>                                                                 
 5/05/99               (H)  URS AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
 5/05/99               (H)  MOVED CSHB 185(URS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                
 5/05/99               (H)  MINUTE(URS)                                                                                         
 5/06/99      1200     (H)  URS RPT  CS(URS) NT 4DP 2NR                                                                         
 5/06/99      1200     (H)  DP: PORTER, KOTT, COWDERY, HUDSON;                                                                  
 5/06/99      1200     (H)  NR: BERKOWITZ, DAVIES                                                                               
 5/06/99      1200     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                             
 5/12/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
BILL: SB 29                                                                                                                     
SHORT TITLE: REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICIAN'S LICENSE                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) WARD                                                                                                     
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 1/20/99        28     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 1/20/99        28     (S)  L&C, FIN                                                                                            
 2/04/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/04/99               (S)  BILL POSTPONED                                                                                      
 2/04/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/11/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/11/99               (S)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 2/11/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/25/99               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/25/99               (S)  MOVED CS(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 2/25/99               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                         
 2/26/99       374     (S)  L&C RPT  CS  1DP 3NR      SAME TITLE                                                                
 2/26/99       374     (S)  NR: MACKIE, TIM KELLY, DONLEY;                                                                      
 2/26/99       374     (S)  DP: LEMAN                                                                                           
 2/26/99       374     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                                                             
 4/21/99               (S)  FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 4/21/99               (S)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 4/29/99               (S)  FIN AT  9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
 4/29/99               (S)  MOVED CS(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                      
 4/29/99               (S)  RLS AT 11:50 AM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 4/29/99               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                         
 4/29/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  FIN RPT  3DP 4NR (L&C)CS                                                                            
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  DP: TORGERSON, GREEN, PETE KELLY;                                                                   
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  NR: PHILLIPS, ADAMS, DONLEY, WILKEN                                                                 
 4/29/99      1168     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/03/99               (S)  RLS AT 12:45 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                      
 5/03/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 5/04/99      1221     (S)  RLS TO CAL W/CS 5/4/99    SAME TITLE                                                                
 5/04/99      1221     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                                                                             
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  RLS  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                        
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                           
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  UNAN CONSENT                                                                                        
 5/04/99      1224     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 29(RLS)                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  PASSED Y19 N-  E1                                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                                                                   
 5/04/99      1225     (S)  ELLIS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                    
 5/05/99      1260     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                                                                   
 5/05/99      1260     (S)  PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y19 N1                                                                    
 5/05/99      1261     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                                                                   
 5/05/99      1262     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 5/06/99      1193     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 5/06/99      1193     (H)  L&C                                                                                                 
 5/10/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
 5/10/99               (H)  SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                             
 5/12/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
DAVID STANCLIFF, Legislative Assistant                                                                                          
   to Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 128                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3878                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 185 on behalf of the bill                                                                     
MARK HODGINS, Legislative Assistant                                                                                             
   to Senator Jerry Ward                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 423                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4522                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 29 on behalf of the bill sponsor.                                                             
CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Commerce and Economic Development                                                                                 
P.O. Box 110806                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 465-2543                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 29.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-58, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG called the House Labor and Commerce                                                                    
Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:27 p.m.  Members present                                                               
at the call to order were Representatives Rokeberg, Halcro,  Harris                                                             
and Cissna.  Representative Murkowski arrived at 3:54 p.m.                                                                      
Representative Sanders arrived before 3:58 p.m.  Representative                                                                 
Brice was not present.                                                                                                          
CSSB 8(FIN) - MINIMUM REQUIRED PLUMBING FACILITIES                                                                              
Number 0051                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's first order of business                                                             
is CSSB 8(FIN), "An Act relating to the minimum plumbing fixtures                                                               
required for females and males in the state plumbing code; and                                                                  
providing for an effective date."  The chairman noted that the                                                                  
committee had heard SB 8 the previous week [May 7].  He also noted                                                              
he had not been in attendance and had requested that the bill be                                                                
held in order to have a chance to talk with committee members.                                                                  
Chairman Rokeberg said he had done so and was satisfied with the                                                                
bill sponsor's acceptance of the amendment [made at the May 7                                                                   
hearing].  He confirmed there was no other discussion regarding SB
Number 0090                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move HCS CSSB 8 [1-LS0074\X,                                                             
Bannister, 5/8/99] out of committee with individual recommendations                                                             
and the accompanying fiscal note.  There being no objection, HCS                                                                
CSSB 8(L&C) moved out of the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                  
HB 185 - SMALL WATER UTILITIES EXEMPT FROM APUC                                                                                 
Number 0109                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the next order of business before                                                              
the committee is HB 185, "An Act exempting certain small water                                                                  
utilities from regulation by the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                        
[Before the committee was CSHB 185(URS). Under discussion were                                                                  
Sections 2 and 3, added by an amendment, and an amendment to that                                                               
amendment, in the previous committee.  Section 2 read:  "This Act                                                               
does not apply to utilities with open dockets before the Alaska                                                                 
Public Utilities Commission until those dockets are closed."                                                                    
Section 3 read:  "This Act takes effect July 1, 2000."]                                                                         
Number 0147                                                                                                                     
DAVID STANCLIFF, Legislative Assistant to Representative Scott                                                                  
Ogan, Alaska State Legislature, came forward on behalf of the                                                                   
sponsor.  He noted that the amendments to HB 185 made in the House                                                              
Special Committee on Utility Restructuring ("URS Committee")                                                                    
created conflict between Sections 2 and 3 in terms of the purposes                                                              
of the bill.  He indicated that Representative Ogan had discussed                                                               
the possibility of removing that conflict.  This bill represents a                                                              
compromise, he said.  Noting that two parties in the valley are in                                                              
a dispute before the Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC), Mr.                                                             
Stancliff advised members that the URS Committee had felt they                                                                  
didn't want to do anything to interrupt resolution of that dispute.                                                             
He told members that assurance had been received from the APUC that                                                             
a resolution is forthcoming.                                                                                                    
MR. STANCLIFF then stated, "However, on the merits of the bill,                                                                 
Representative Ogan felt that, like electric and telephone                                                                      
utilities that do under $50,000 of business a year, it would be not                                                             
in the state's best interests to involve small water utilities.                                                                 
There's approximately 700 of them in the state, and when disputes                                                               
occur and the APUC gets involved, it drags them away from much more                                                             
important issues with regard to tariff and larger sums of money and                                                             
policy questions.  So, he proposed that we exempt - as we have done                                                             
for telephone and electric in existing statute - small water                                                                    
MR. STANCLIFF continued, "The effective date of July 1, 2000,                                                                   
basically was an amendment that Representative Ogan agreed to, to                                                               
give the APUC to that point to resolve this conflict; and they have                                                             
assured him that that will be the case. ... Amendment Number 2                                                                  
would be Section 2, that basically undoes the effect of Section 3,                                                              
because ... they wouldn't be under any incentive to ever address                                                                
the docket, because it is presently open, and the effective date                                                                
wouldn't have any effect on a docket that is open.  So, he felt                                                                 
that the effective date giving them additional time was probably -                                                              
and Representative Hudson felt that that was - a reasonable                                                                     
compromise.  So, he would prefer that Section 2 be removed, Mr.                                                                 
Number 0341                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO referred to related correspondence, the file,                                                             
and testimony from the URS Committee.  He asked if the APUC only                                                                
gets involved with this type of situation when someone has a                                                                    
consumer question or complaint.                                                                                                 
MR. STANCLIFF affirmed that.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO stated his understanding that the APUC's                                                                  
workload is not all that heavy.                                                                                                 
MR. STANCLIFF answered that with regard to disputes such as this,                                                               
Representative Halcro is correct.  Unfortunately, this case has                                                                 
dragged on for a year, and 46 property owners in the subdivision                                                                
can't sell their homes because of the clouded title.  Mr. Stancliff                                                             
stated, "APUC had not decided that they even had jurisdiction, and                                                              
now they're going to make that decision, since the legislature's                                                                
gotten involved.  However, it was not Representative Ogan's intent                                                              
to get the legislature involved in swaying the decision, but merely                                                             
on a public policy call, after he looked at other utilities, to not                                                             
get them in these kind of disputes in the future."                                                                              
Number 0421                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA expressed her understanding that if the APUC                                                              
doesn't hear a case like that, the option is that it goes to court.                                                             
MR. STANCLIFF said he wishes that were the case, but it is not. The                                                             
court will simply wait until the APUC takes it up because they do                                                               
not consider the administrative remedies resolved.  This could be                                                               
in limbo for a long time, he added.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA clarified that she was asking, if this bill                                                               
passes, would the parties in similar cases go to court instead of                                                               
going to the APUC.                                                                                                              
MR. STANCLIFF said that is correct.                                                                                             
Number 0486                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA noted that countries have gone to war over                                                                
water issues.  Unlike with telephone service, where people look                                                                 
for increasing opportunities to connect with others, there is a                                                                 
finite amount of water.  She asked why the APUC would be important                                                              
to people who have water problems.                                                                                              
MR. STANCLIFF replied that one concern of the APUC is that being                                                                
dragged into a situation where two people are feuding offers                                                                    
opportunities for others to take the same route.  "They have not                                                                
been in this type of dispute before, but they do intend to make a                                                               
decision," he added, pointing out that the policy call for                                                                      
legislators is whether the APUC should be involved in this level of                                                             
dispute in the future.                                                                                                          
Number 0602                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked when Mr. Mellish first filed a                                                                      
complaint with the APUC.                                                                                                        
MR. STANCLIFF said it was approximately last spring.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that it had been a year.                                                                            
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG added that Mr. Mellish was the subsequent owner                                                               
and had bought into the development; the situation regarding Phase                                                              
II had already been established.                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF said the good news is that both parties want                                                                      
resolution; therefore, anything the legislature does to speed that                                                              
up will be helpful to both parties.                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the parties are talking to each other                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF said he believes the attorneys are talking, at least.                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO, noting that the committee had dealt recently                                                             
with two APUC-related bills, expressed concern about the APUC's                                                                 
state of limbo.  He suggested retaining Sections 2 and 3; if                                                                    
something happens and the APUC doesn't render a decision in the                                                                 
next year, he wants to ensure that this docket is addressed since                                                               
the person has been in the process in the last year.                                                                            
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Stancliff to respond, noting that an                                                                
amendment had been requested.  He remarked that he doesn't see                                                                  
where this is entirely in conflict with Sections 2 and 3, but that                                                              
perhaps it would become so after July 1, 2000.                                                                                  
Number 0730                                                                                                                     
MR. STANCLIFF said that is exactly right.  He explained that                                                                    
Representative Hudson, Chairman of the URS Committee had conferred                                                              
originally with both parties, and Section 3 was the agreed-upon                                                                 
amendment.  These titles shouldn't be clouded any longer than that,                                                             
and everyone wants a resolution.                                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF noted that Section 2 was an amendment in the URS                                                                  
Committee, and Section 3 was an amendment to the amendment.  There                                                              
had been confusion about whether the sections would conflict.                                                                   
Furthermore, Representative Cowdery, believed that taking Section                                                               
3 as an amendment to the amendment would do away with Section 2.                                                                
Mr. Stancliff concluded, "This does create confusion, and it does                                                               
take away the effect ... of the two years' span of time here, if we                                                             
leave Section 2 in.  And I think these property owners are entitled                                                             
to relief, as is Mr. Mellish, but I think taking over two years is                                                              
unreasonable, Mr. Chairman."                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO commented that they had heard from some                                                                   
"industry folks" who said it has taken four or five years to get a                                                              
decision from the APUC.  Going through the documentation and                                                                    
considering what is at stake, he agreed that timely resolution is                                                               
important.  However, his concern is that with so much up in the air                                                             
with the APUC now, if something happens and this case falls through                                                             
a crack, this person will be left out simply because of the                                                                     
transitional status of the APUC.                                                                                                
Number 0848                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG responded that it isn't clear why they wouldn't                                                               
want to get rid of the July 1, 2000, effective date, as opposed to                                                              
Section 2, if the intention is to keep the heat on the specific                                                                 
parties and to remove the APUC's jurisdiction.  He asked whether or                                                             
not the desire is to keep the APUC involved.                                                                                    
MR. STANCLIFF said there is a good argument either way, adding,                                                                 
"Mr. Chairman, I know Representative Ogan would defer to your                                                                   
judgment in this matter."                                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated that allowing open dockets to be closed                                                             
makes common sense, as does providing for a period of time in which                                                             
those dockets can be closed, and other dockets are not taken.  He                                                               
said he doesn't find them at odds.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO responded that if the sponsor's intent is to                                                              
relieve the APUC from dealing with water utilities that gross under                                                             
$50,000 annually, this will direct them to stop doing so.  He                                                                   
stated, "Fine.  But we want to protect those that already have open                                                             
dockets.  So, the effective date, to me, ... reading this, you're                                                               
going to give people another year to file with APUC and create an                                                               
open docket."                                                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said that seems right, if the primary intent is                                                               
to change the jurisdiction.                                                                                                     
Number 0990                                                                                                                     
MR. STANCLIFF specified that the agreement reached in the URS                                                                   
Committee was the language in Sections 1 and 3.  Section 2 was an                                                               
add-on, and he believes it confuses things.                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested that Representative Halcro's question                                                               
is:  Why not have the Act take effect more quickly?  He noted that                                                              
open dockets are covered now by the transitional provision.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked if the suggestion was elimination of                                                                
Section 3, rather than Section 2.                                                                                               
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said they could eliminate Section 3 or change the                                                             
date to 1999.                                                                                                                   
MR. STANCLIFF responded, "That would be a favorable, logical                                                                    
solution, from our perspective."  He indicated they would have the                                                              
APUC communicate with Representative Halcro about their intent in                                                               
terms of handling it, if that would alleviate his discomfort.                                                                   
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Mr. Stancliff had attended the two URS                                                               
Committee hearings on this bill.  He said he isn't sure that he                                                                 
recalls the APUC testifying on this legislation.                                                                                
MR. STANCLIFF replied that he was at the second hearing.  The APUC                                                              
didn't testify, but Representative Hudson had indicated he had                                                                  
spoken with them.  In addition, Representative Ogan had spoken with                                                             
them about their ability and intent to take this matter up, which                                                               
the APUC had affirmed.                                                                                                          
Number 1128                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked whether anyone from the APUC had said                                                               
how they feel about this particular bill.                                                                                       
MR. STANCLIFF explained that the APUC has been very careful not to                                                              
speak specifically on the bill, or to indicate how they might rule                                                              
in this case or their feelings about it.  When queried as to how                                                                
much longer it would be, or whether they felt they could get to                                                                 
this for some type of resolution, however, the APUC had been more                                                               
candid, but that was through personal calls and contacts with the                                                               
offices of Representatives Hudson and Ogan.  Mr. Stancliff added                                                                
that he doesn't believe that the APUC was asked to testify.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that the APUC was not on teleconference                                                                 
that day.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA commented that it seems there might be some                                                               
real concern about the water issue.  She asked, "Do we want them in                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG responded that the policy issue, as stated by Mr.                                                             
Stancliff, is whether the APUC should have jurisdiction to try to                                                               
resolve small consumer complaints over community water systems, or                                                              
whether those should go directly to court.  Chairman Rokeberg said                                                              
he tends to think there is an issue over whether this is correct,                                                               
but he wants to move the bill.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO referred to correspondence from Mr. Mellish                                                               
and his law firm.  Noting that the APUC's engagements with small                                                                
utilities are few and far between, he agreed that there is a                                                                    
question about whether it is worth having them.  However, he is                                                                 
concerned that Mr. Mellish's case will somehow fall through the                                                                 
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG requested a motion to either amend Section 3 to                                                               
July 1, 1999, or delete it.                                                                                                     
Number 1313                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to amend line 11, changing the                                                              
year "2000" to "1999".  There being no objection, it was so                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked about the appeal process, inquiring                                                                 
whether the docket would still be considered open.                                                                              
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said yes, noting that the appeal process now in                                                               
the APUC is to the courts.                                                                                                      
Number 1351                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move CSHB 185(URS), as                                                                   
amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the                                                               
attached zero fiscal note.  There being no objection, CSHB 185(L&C)                                                             
moved out of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                   
CSSB 29(RLS) - REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICIAN'S LICENSE                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that the committee's next order of                                                                  
business is CSSB 29(RLS), "An Act relating to licensure of                                                                      
physicians; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
Number 1378                                                                                                                     
MARK HODGINS, Legislative Assistant to Senator Jerry Ward, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, came forward to present SB 71 on behalf of the                                                               
bill sponsor.  Mr. Hodgins stated that SB 29 pertains to foreign                                                                
medical graduates applying for licenses in Alaska.  The bill                                                                    
increases their training from one year to three years.  It also                                                                 
deletes the citizenship requirement that they must be a citizen of                                                              
the United State or lawfully admitted for permanent residence.                                                                  
This can be done because of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and                                                             
Immigrant Responsibility Act which lays out a specific time period                                                              
that people must be in the country.  Most of these physicians would                                                             
require an H-1b visa that allows them to do some internship                                                                     
residency and receive the necessary training.  He noted that this                                                               
bill is supported by the Alaska Medical Board and the veterans'                                                                 
associations across the state.                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Mr. Hodgins to explain why the veteran's                                                                
associations endorse SB 29.                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS explained that the Veterans Administration right now is                                                             
having difficulty filling certain medical specialty positions.  He                                                              
gave an example of a cardiologist position that could not be filled                                                             
with an American doctor.  Some foreign medical graduates applied                                                                
for the position.  These foreign medical graduates are only allowed                                                             
to treat patients in Veteran's facilities.  He pointed out that the                                                             
bill increases their training from one year to three years.  He                                                                 
stated that the Alaska Medical Board felt that it gave them a                                                                   
little more comfort to have an idea of the proficiency of these                                                                 
foreign medical graduates.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS referred to the sponsor statement on SB 29                                                                
which states that 43 states currently have a three-year                                                                         
requirement.  He wondered if that was done after the federal law                                                                
was passed.                                                                                                                     
MR. HODGINS stated that each state has had an opportunity to put in                                                             
their own time limit for training.  If SB 29 passes, Alaska will be                                                             
in compliance with 43 other states.  He said there is a letter from                                                             
Dr. Sarah Isto, head of the Alaska Medical Board, which lays out                                                                
the thoughts of the Alaska Medical Board on that issue and gives a                                                              
little background information.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked why osteopaths were listed as a                                                                  
specific specialty.                                                                                                             
MR. HODGINS indicated that osteopaths are specifically talked about                                                             
in the current legislation and, in order to be in compliance, they                                                              
need to be included.                                                                                                            
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "Distinct academic disciplines, although,                                                               
meaning much the same end result.  And those guys are such snobs                                                                
that they wouldn't want to be confused."                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked if there was anyone opposed to SB
29.  She wondered if there are any other medical organizations who                                                              
are not in support of the bill.                                                                                                 
MR. HODGINS did not know.  He stated that there were some                                                                       
difficulties with SB 29 earlier when "we had the requirement of                                                                 
boosting up the medical internship and residency of American and                                                                
Canadian physicians."  He said the same problem would be                                                                        
encountered with SB 71.  Mr. Hodgins knows of no other organized                                                                
medical group that is opposed to SB 29 the way it is written.                                                                   
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there was opposition to SB 71 because of                                                             
that or has the bill been changed.                                                                                              
MR. HODGINS said that portions of SB 71 had been in SB 29.  He                                                                  
stated that there was quite a bit of opposition to some of the                                                                  
items in SB 29.  Therefore, some of the items were removed and                                                                  
there have been no further difficulties with the bill.                                                                          
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG stated that he had spoken with Dr. Eyal Herzog,                                                               
a cardiologist employed with the Elmendorf Air Force Base Hospital.                                                             
Even though Dr. Herzog had spent several years at Columbia                                                                      
University in New York, without this change in this law he would                                                                
not be able practice.  Apparently, some of these physicians,                                                                    
because they are specialists, would be allowed to practice at the                                                               
Veterans Administration clinics and hospitals, but "we are not able                                                             
to use them because they don't have a state licensure."  He                                                                     
wondered if this is what is happening.                                                                                          
MR. HODGINS replied yes.                                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there are two physicians in the state                                                                
that are not licensed, but would like to be and need this bill.                                                                 
MR. HODGINS stated that there are probably several medical doctors                                                              
that would like to see this as would several people in Bush                                                                     
communities.  The concern is having proper medical care for                                                                     
Alaskans, veterans and military personnel in Alaska.  He imagines                                                               
this would not affect a lot of different physicians.                                                                            
Number 1840                                                                                                                     
CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,                                                                
Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED), stated that                                                             
her division provides staff support to the State Medical Board.                                                                 
She said  DCED and the medical board both strongly support SB 29.                                                               
She pointed out that there is a zero fiscal impact.                                                                             
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the medical board has the same opinion                                                               
about SB 71.                                                                                                                    
MS. REARDON answered in the affirmative.  She does not anticipate                                                               
testimony against SB 71.                                                                                                        
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the bill has metamorphosed from its                                                                 
earlier, more controversial nature.                                                                                             
MS. REARDON feels that it is very positively received.                                                                          
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced that SB 29 would be held.                                                                           
Number 1903                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Standing                                                               
Committee at 4:03 p.m.                                                                                                          

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