Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/15/2005 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 181 WAIVE CONTINUING EDUC. REQ FOR MILITARY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 181(L&C) Out of Committee
*+ HB 243 REG. COST CHARGES: UTILITIES/PIPELINES TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 226 PERSONAL INFORMATION BREACH
Moved CSHB 226(L&C) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         April 15, 2005                                                                                         
                           3:29 p.m.                                                                                          
      (THERE WERE SOUND IRREGULARITIES IN THIS RECORDING)                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Tom Anderson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 226                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to breaches of security involving personal                                                                     
information; and relating to credit report security freezes."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 226(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 181                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing a waiver for active duty military service                                                                  
of continuing education requirements for renewal of occupational                                                                
licenses."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 181(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 243                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the maximum annual regulatory cost charge                                                                   
collected from certain regulated public utilities and pipeline                                                                  
carriers; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 243 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 226                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PERSONAL INFORMATION BREACH                                                                                        
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GARA                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
03/21/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/21/05       (H)       L&C, JUD                                                                                               
04/06/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/06/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
04/13/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/13/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/13/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 181                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WAIVE CONTINUING EDUC. REQ FOR MILITARY                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) COGHILL                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/28/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/05       (H)       MLV, L&C                                                                                               
03/17/05       (H)       MLV AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/17/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/17/05       (H)       MINUTE(MLV)                                                                                            
03/18/05       (H)       MLV RPT CS(MLV) 6DP                                                                                    
03/18/05       (H)       DP: THOMAS, GRUENBERG, CISSNA, ELKINS,                                                                 
                         MCGUIRE, LYNN                                                                                          
04/15/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 243                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SWAN LAKE-TYEE LAKE INTERTIE                                                                                       
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
04/01/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/01/05       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/15/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HB 226.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KAREN LISTER, Staff                                                                                                             
to Representative John Coghill                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 181 on behalf of the sponsor,                                                                 
Representative Coghill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KATE GIARD, Commissioner, Chair                                                                                                 
Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 243 and answered questions.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
RICK FREYMILLER, Director                                                                                                       
Regulatory Affairs and Pricing                                                                                                  
Chugach Electric Association                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 243.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DAN DIECKGRAEFF, Treasurer/Manager                                                                                              
Finance and Rates                                                                                                               
ENSTAR Natural Gas Company                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 243.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETE  KOTT, acting  Chair, called the  House Labor                                                             
and Commerce Standing  Committee meeting to order  at 3:29:42 PM.                                                             
Representatives Kott,  Rokeberg, and  Guttenberg were  present at                                                               
the call  to order.   Representatives LeDoux and Lynn  arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 226-PERSONAL INFORMATION BREACH                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  announced that  the first order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 226,  "An Act  relating to  breaches of                                                               
security involving  personal information; and relating  to credit                                                               
report security  freezes."  [Before  the committee was  CSHB 226,                                                               
Version 24-LS0689\I.)                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT reminded  the committee that HB  226 had been                                                               
held  over for  amendments  and that  public  testimony had  been                                                               
closed at the prior hearing.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:30:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GUTTENBERG  moved   that  the   committee  adopt                                                               
Amendment 1, which read:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 7 - 8:                                                                                                       
          Delete "engages in business activities in the                                                                         
     state, uses in the business"                                                                                               
          Insert "engages in activities in the state, uses"                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete ""business activities in the state" means                                                                      
     business activities"                                                                                                       
          Insert   ""activities   in    the   state"   means                                                                    
     activities"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 17:                                                                                                           
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
          Insert "person"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 18:                                                                                                           
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
          Insert "person"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 19:                                                                                                           
          Delete "person"                                                                                                       
          Insert "individual"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "for the business"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
          Insert "person's activities"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
          Insert "person's activities"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 19:                                                                                                           
          Delete "business"                                                                                                     
          Insert "person"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, following line 19:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new paragraph to read:                                                                                            
               "(2)  "person" means a business entity or a                                                                      
       state or local governmental body, subdivision, or                                                                        
      agency, except for an agency of a judicial branch of                                                                      
     state government."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following paragraph accordingly.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG objected for discussion purposes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LES  GARA,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  sponsor,                                                               
explained that  Amendment 1 addresses  the desire  for government                                                               
to  inform an  individual when  it accidentally  breaches his/her                                                               
security.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked  if there have been  any cases in                                                               
which the government has had this problem.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  replied no,  but indicated that  there could                                                               
be such a case in the future.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:31:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG directed  attention to  page 1,  line 7,                                                               
which  says, "If  a person  engages in  business activity  in the                                                               
state".  He  expressed concern with the use of  the term "person"                                                               
because per  the drafting  manual that term  would be  defined as                                                               
including a business.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said that  the term  "person" is  defined in                                                               
statute to include  business, and with Amendment 1  it would also                                                               
include the  state.   He relayed  that the  intention is  to make                                                               
this  apply to  businesses that  hold one's  personal information                                                               
and the term "person" is defined to include companies as well.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:32:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if  the term "person" includes that                                                               
a "person is a person" and not some other entity.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  agreed that  the  term  "person" should  be                                                               
defined to include a "person."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:33:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  commented that  there  seems  to be  an                                                               
intertwining between activities, business, and persons.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  related  his   understanding  then  that  a                                                               
"person" can be a corporate entity or an individual.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  clarified  that corporations  and  business                                                               
entities   are  now   considered  "persons"   while  people   are                                                               
"individuals."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  pointed out  that under Amendment  1 the                                                               
definition of "person" doesn't include people.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:36:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  acknowledged that at  some time there  was a                                                               
decision  to define  "person" as  something that  doesn't include                                                               
people.   In order to  be clear, Representative Gara  stated that                                                               
HB  226  is  intended  to   apply  to  businesses,  corporations,                                                               
[individuals], and governments.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:36:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA clarified  that the term "person"  in the law                                                               
and HB  226 refer  to a governmental  entity, a  business entity,                                                               
and a person.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG said  that the  legislation doesn't  say                                                               
that and in fact, says that the judicial branch is excluded.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:37:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA agreed  that Amendment 1 could  be amended to                                                               
insert that a "person" includes a person.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG inquired as  to why the judicial branch                                                               
is  being  excluded.    He   then  inquired  as  to  whether  the                                                               
definition of "person" is different than what's in statute.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  opined that it's fairly  consistent with                                                               
the law.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT   pointed  out  that  Amendment   1  deletes                                                               
"person" and inserts "individual".                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  noted that  there is a  statutory definition                                                               
of  "person."    [Within  Amendment  1],  the  bill  drafter  was                                                               
responding to  the suggestion  that HB 226  should also  apply to                                                               
governmental  entities,  and  thus   drafted  it  such  that  the                                                               
definition of "government entity" includes a person.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:38:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA suggested that perhaps  at the end of line 20                                                               
on page 2  the following could be inserted, ",  and as defined in                                                               
AS  01.10.060".    He  pointed  out  that  in  AS  01.10.060  the                                                               
definition of "person"  is as  follows:  "(8) "person" includes a                                                               
corporation,    company,    partnership,    firm,    association,                                                               
organization, business  trust, or society,  as well as  a natural                                                               
person;".     However,   that   definition   doesn't  include   a                                                               
governmental  entity, which  is why  the drafter  had to  include                                                               
"government entity" on line 18.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG characterized  that as  "awfully sloppy"                                                               
because there would be two definitions of "person."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:39:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  asked if the  language in AS  01.10.060 that                                                               
defines  "person"   could  be  utilized   as  well   as  language                                                               
specifying  that  the definition  of  "person"  also includes  "a                                                               
governmental entity" in AS 45.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA replied yes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:41:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT,   upon  determining  that   his  suggestion                                                               
addressed   Representative   Rokeberg's  concern,   [offered]   a                                                               
conceptual amendment to  Amendment 1 such that  "person" would be                                                               
defined as  it is under  AS 01.10.060 and include  a governmental                                                               
entity.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG accepted that as a friendly amendment.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:42:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  said  that  he  didn't  object  to  the                                                               
conceptual amendment  to Amendment 1.   [Amendment 1  was treated                                                               
as adopted.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT announced then  that Amendment 1, as amended,                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG removed his objection.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further objection,  Amendment 1, as  amended, was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to  report  CSHB  226,  Version  24-                                                               
LS0689\I,   as  amended,   out  of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being no  objection, CSHB  226(L&C) was  reported from  the House                                                               
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 181-WAIVE CONTINUING EDUC. REQ FOR MILITARY                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT announced  that the  next order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL NO. 181,  "An Act establishing a  waiver for                                                               
active   duty   military    service   of   continuing   education                                                               
requirements for renewal of occupational  licenses."  [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 181(MLV).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:43:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG moved  to  adopt CSHB  181, Version  24-                                                               
LS0685\L dated 4/15/05, as the  working document.  There being no                                                               
objection, Version L was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KAREN LISTER, Staff to Representative  John Coghill, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  explained   that  this   bill  was   introduced  to                                                               
eliminate  the possibility  that  a  professional licensee  would                                                               
lose his/her license because of  failure to fulfill the statutory                                                               
requirements  for continuing  education while  serving on  active                                                               
duty.   This  bill provides  active duty  military personnel  the                                                               
opportunity to make up the  necessary education requirements once                                                               
such personnel return  to the states.  Furthermore,  HB 181 would                                                               
provide  the boards  and  commissions the  ability  to waive  the                                                               
educational  requirements  for  those  professionals  which  they                                                               
govern  and the  Department  of Commerce,  Community, &  Economic                                                               
Development  would have  the same  ability for  those professions                                                               
for which there is no board or commission.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:45:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LISTER  highlighted  the  major change  made  in  the  House                                                               
Special Committee  on Military and  Veterans' Affairs,  which was                                                               
to include all active duty  military rather than only individuals                                                               
in the  National Guard and  Reserves.  The  aforementioned change                                                               
came about after realizing that  state licenses are held by full-                                                               
time  soldiers   and  sailors  as  well   as  part-time  military                                                               
personnel.  She noted that HB 181 has a zero fiscal note.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:46:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG surmised  then  that the  bill does  not                                                               
stipulate what  branch of service  the individual is  serving in,                                                               
as long as the individual is [classified as] on active duty.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LISTER answered that was correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT,  upon  determining there  were  no  further                                                               
questions, closed public testimony.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:48:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG characterized HB 181 as a good bill.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved to  report  CSHB  181, Version  24-                                                               
LS0685\L, out  of committee  with individual  recommendations and                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSHB  181(L&C) was                                                               
reported out of the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 243-REG. COST CHARGES: UTILITIES/PIPELINES                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  announced that  the final order  of business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 243,  "An Act  relating to  the maximum                                                               
annual regulatory  cost charge  collected from  certain regulated                                                               
public  utilities and  pipeline  carriers; and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KATE GIARD, Commissioner, Chair,  Regulatory Commission of Alaska                                                               
(RCA), began by  informing the committee that one  of the reasons                                                               
she ran  for chair was  because she  felt there were  many issues                                                               
the RCA  needed to  address before its  renewal comes  before the                                                               
legislature in 2007.  She  recalled that she was confirmed during                                                               
the  so-called "phone  wars" in  2003 and  thus she  was familiar                                                               
with the frustrations the legislature had  with the RCA.  As soon                                                               
as she became  chair, she began an outreach effort  to the public                                                               
utilities and  pipelines that it  regulates in order to  find out                                                               
more about how the RCA doesn't meet the needs of those entities.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:51:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GIARD  said that  the  aforementioned  entities expressed  a                                                               
great deal  of frustration related to  any number of areas.   She                                                               
said that the  RCA has a tremendous amount of  work before it can                                                               
come before  the legislature in  2007 and  say that it  has dealt                                                               
with the  concerns of  2003.   Part of  the frustration  from the                                                               
utilities  and the  pipelines is  because they  don't know  where                                                               
their materials  are when they  enter the RCA.   Furthermore, the                                                               
RCA itself frequently doesn't know  where the materials are.  Ms.                                                               
Giard stated that  the RCA lacks systems,  management, and normal                                                               
ongoing processes expected to track,  follow, monitor, and manage                                                               
data in order to get its work done in a timely manner.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD informed the committee  that the legislation before the                                                               
committee is the result of  a group effort between the utilities,                                                               
the  pipeline companies,  and the  RCA.   This  legislation is  a                                                               
proposal to fund several  information technology (IT) initiatives                                                               
to  bring the  RCA  up to  "snuff" and  allow  the utilities  and                                                               
pipeline companies to interact with the  RCA at a much lower cost                                                               
to all  parties.   The systems that  this funding  mechanism will                                                               
support  are  laid out  in  a  letter  to  Chair Anderson.    She                                                               
explained that the 2 percent  increase is for a three-year period                                                               
and will  terminate on  July 1, 2008.   The goal  is to  bring in                                                               
sufficient  additional revenues  to support  the acquisition  and                                                               
implementation of these systems after  which the RCA would return                                                               
to  its current  funding level.   Ms.  Giard concluded  by noting                                                               
that she would appreciate the committee's support of HB 243.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:54:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  said that he  is fairly confident  that this                                                               
legislation  will bring  about some  efficiencies  that have  not                                                               
been addressed in the past.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if there  will be a way  the RCA                                                               
can  evaluate  these changes  each  year  and  show that  to  the                                                               
legislature or the regulated entities.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD informed  the committee that the  utilities, during the                                                               
public hearing  process, asked for  an advisory group.   She said                                                               
that  the  advisory  group  will  be  kept  active  and  informed                                                               
throughout the process.   The information, she  opined, will flow                                                               
freely [between  the RCA  and the  regulated entities]  such that                                                               
the legislature will not receive  complaints as the RCA improves.                                                               
However,  she acknowledged  that  there will  still  be areas  in                                                               
which the  RCA makes  decisions with  which the  public utilities                                                               
aren't happy.   If those  decisions and requests  for information                                                               
are made in a timely fashion,  the complaining about the RCA will                                                               
stop, she opined.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:57:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GIARD,   in  response  to   Representative  Kott,                                                               
explained that  her term  as chair  is only for  four years.   In                                                               
further  response to  Representative  Kott,  Ms. Giard  explained                                                               
that the  RCA will move to  an electronic filing method,  but not                                                               
mandate  such   because  smaller   entities  may  not   have  the                                                               
capability.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:59:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said that  although he shared Ms. Giard's                                                               
desire to  quiet the controversy  surrounding the RCA,  he wasn't                                                               
as optimistic  even if everything is  achieved under HB 243.   He                                                               
then inquired  as to the history  of the RCA's rate  structure in                                                               
the last decade or so.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GIARD noted  that she  had provided  Representative Rokeberg                                                               
with a letter  discussing the revenue history.   She informed the                                                               
committee that  the RCA  has historically been  at .8  percent of                                                               
regulated revenues  from 1995-2004.   In 2004 it was  raised from                                                               
1.7  percent to  8.7 percent  of which  1.7 percent  goes to  the                                                               
Department of Law to fund  the public advocate; the RCA's portion                                                               
was reduced  to .7 percent.   Therefore, the RCA now  collects .7                                                               
percent of  total regulated  revenues and  the Department  of Law                                                               
collects 1.7  percent to fund  its actions.  Ms.  Giard specified                                                               
that the RCA  collects about $5.2 million to  fund its operations                                                               
this year.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if  the  Department of  Commerce,                                                               
Community, & Economic  Development (DCCED) takes any  part of the                                                               
monies collected under the RCA.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD  confirmed that the  RCA is  assessed intergovernmental                                                               
charges for its lease, accounting,  and administration in similar                                                               
fashion to any agency that is an arm of DCCED.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  commented that the committee  has always                                                               
looked at that  overhead burden with a great  amount of interest.                                                               
Therefore, he  surmised that  this increase  would be  subject to                                                               
the same allocation to overhead to the commissioner's office.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:02:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD expressed her hope that  it wouldn't be.  She explained                                                               
that those  numbers are  fairly fixed  and will  come out  of the                                                               
RCA's  budget.    Furthermore,  those numbers  are  based  on  an                                                               
allocation formula DCCED  uses.  The money that  the RCA collects                                                               
will  come into  the operating  revenue rather  than the  capital                                                               
revenue and  then the RCA  will contract with a  project manager,                                                               
put out  request for proposals  (RFPs), and purchase  the systems                                                               
necessary.   Because the total  amount that  the RCA is  going to                                                               
spend could  be $2-$3 million, she  didn't want the money  to sit                                                               
on  the capital  side  because it's  money  that ratepayers  have                                                               
paid.   With  the money  coming into  the operating  account, any                                                               
leftover money  falls to the next  year and reduces the  need for                                                               
the  RCA in  that  next  year.   Therefore,  Ms.  Giard said  she                                                               
anticipated  collecting  the full  $3  million  that the  utility                                                               
advisory group  said might be  necessary.  If that  [full] amount                                                               
isn't necessary, it  will fall to the bottom line  and reduce the                                                               
regulatory cost charge (RCC) rate  for the ratepayers in the next                                                               
year.   Ms. Giard  said she  would make  sure that  DCCED doesn't                                                               
take additional overhead.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if,  under this proposal, the RCA                                                               
is  taking   into  consideration  the  possibility   of  a  major                                                               
expansion of Alaska's gas industry.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD opined that she wasn't  sure that a gas expansion would                                                               
occur  during  the  three-year  period  in  which  the  RCCs  are                                                               
collected.   Therefore,  the expansion  probably will  not impact                                                               
the amount we  collect.  With regard to whether  the systems will                                                               
be  sufficient  to  address more  regulated  efforts,  Ms.  Giard                                                               
highlighted that the  system will be designed to  be flexible and                                                               
contract as necessary.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT  announced that the  committee has a  copy of                                                               
Ms.  Giard's letter  to Representative  Rokeberg,  which will  be                                                               
included in the committee packet.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG expressed  concern  that  Ms. Giard  has                                                               
mentioned a $3  million budget while the fiscal note  is for $3.9                                                               
million.  He  expressed concern specifically for  the $900,000 in                                                               
overhead.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. GIARD  said that the RCA  doesn't know the total  amount that                                                               
it  will   collect  because  it's  based   on  regulated  utility                                                               
revenues.   The inability to have  a fixed amount is  part of the                                                               
reason why  any amount that  isn't spent  will be used  to reduce                                                               
the RCC for the next year.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:07:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  FREYMILLER,  Director,   Regulatory  Affairs  and  Pricing,                                                               
Chugach  Electric   Association,  informed  the   committee  that                                                               
Chugach Electric  Association is the largest  electric utility in                                                               
the state.   On  behalf of Chugach  Electric Association  and its                                                               
retail members, Mr. Freymiller testified  in favor of the HB 243,                                                               
which provides a  modest increase in the RCC to  allow the RCA to                                                               
implement  an  IT  plan.     He  related  that  Chugach  Electric                                                               
Association  believes this  will  be  a significant  productivity                                                               
enhancement  for  the  RCA  as  well  as  for  the  utilities  it                                                               
regulates.   As stated earlier,  [the utility business]  needs to                                                               
share  significant  amounts  of  information  in  order  for  all                                                               
involved to be  informed and make good decisions.   Increased use                                                               
of  information  technology  can significantly  enhance  industry                                                               
productivity  and ultimately  result in  lower costs  to members.                                                               
Mr. Freymiller  relayed that the Chugach  Electric Association is                                                               
pleased  that the  RCA  has  established a  working  group of  IT                                                               
professionals  from its  staff  as well  as  from the  utilities;                                                               
working  together ensures  that all  individual efforts  can mesh                                                               
together to effectively produce  required information in a timely                                                               
manner.  The aforementioned will  result in less time being spent                                                               
producing  information  and   more  time  addressing  substantive                                                               
issues in the regulatory process.   In conclusion, Mr. Freymiller                                                               
urged the committee to pass HB 243.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:09:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN  DIECKGRAEFF, Treasurer/Manager,  Finance  and Rates,  ENSTAR                                                               
Natural  Gas  Company,  began by  informing  the  committee  that                                                               
ENSTAR is  the largest  energy utility  in the  state.   He noted                                                               
that he  has dealt with the  RCA and its predecessor  for over 20                                                               
years.   Mr.  Dieckgraeff  related ENSTAR's  support  for HB  243                                                               
because it  can see  the efficiencies  the proposed  systems will                                                               
bring to  the RCA and  the utilities it  regulates.  Some  of the                                                               
advantages   include  tracking   cases  and   costs,  researching                                                               
precedence, providing  information in  a more timely  fashion for                                                               
everyone involved, and  saving on storage costs.  As  a result of                                                               
this proposal, the ratepayers will  save money and receive better                                                               
regulation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT,  upon  determining there  were  no  further                                                               
witnesses wishing to testify, closed public testimony.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved  to report HB 243  out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:11:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
4:11 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

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