Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

02/06/2006 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
*+ HB 335 ENERGY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 335(L&C) Out of Committee
<Bill Rescheduled from 02/03/06>
*+ HB 393 INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 393(L&C) Out of Committee
<Bill Rescheduled from 02/03/06>
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                        February 6, 2006                                                                                        
                           3:28 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Tom Anderson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 393                                                                                                              
"An  Act  requiring  that certain  health  care  insurance  plans                                                               
provide  coverage for  the costs  of colorectal  cancer screening                                                               
examinations  and   laboratory  tests;   and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 393(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 335                                                                                                              
"An  Act  creating the  Alaska  energy  research and  development                                                               
program  in  the Alaska  Energy  Authority  and providing  for  a                                                               
Committee on Alaska Energy Research  and Development to assist in                                                               
the development of  that program; and providing  for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 335(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 393                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ANDERSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/25/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/06       (H)       L&C, HES                                                                                               
02/03/06       (H)       L&C AT 4:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/03/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/06/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 335                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ENERGY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) BERKOWITZ                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
01/09/06       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/05                                                                              
01/09/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/09/06       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/03/06       (H)       L&C AT 4:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/03/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/06/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Anderson                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 393 on behalf of                                                                              
Representative Anderson, sponsor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NENON                                                                                                                     
Alaska Government Relations Director                                                                                            
American Cancer Society (ACS)                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 393, provided                                                                      
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN SWEENEY JR., M.D.                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing on HB 393, used his                                                                         
experience as a Gastroenterologist to provide information on                                                                    
colorectal cancer screening.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLAUDIA CHRISTENSEN                                                                                                             
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing on HB 393, provided                                                                         
information on colorectal cancer screening in Alaska.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN WARREN                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During discussion of HB 393, provided                                                                      
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
RICK URION                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  393,  provided                                                               
comments.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REED STOOPS, Lobbyist                                                                                                           
for American Health Insurance Association (AHIA)                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  information  regarding AHIA  and                                                               
suggested an amendment to HB 393.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JEFFREY TROUTT, Deputy Director                                                                                                 
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department  of   Commerce,  Community,  &   Economic  Development                                                               
(DCCED)                                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  393,  answered                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LISA WEISSLER, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  335   on   behalf   of                                                               
Representative Berkowitz, sponsor.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BECKY GAY, Project Manager                                                                                                      
Alaska Energy Authority (AEA)                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns regarding HB 335.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PETER CRIMP, Project Manager                                                                                                    
Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency                                                                                        
Alaska Energy Authority (AEA)                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided  information  on  AEA's  current                                                               
projects in relation to HB 335.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEERA KOHLER, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)                                                                       
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Incorporated (AVEC)                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 335.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TOM ANDERSON  called the House Labor  and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  3:28:52  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Guttenberg,  Crawford,   Rokeberg,  LeDoux,  and   Anderson  were                                                               
present  at the  call to  order.   Representatives Lynn  and Kott                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 393-INSURANCE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 393,  "An Act  requiring that  certain health                                                               
care  insurance   plans  provide   coverage  for  the   costs  of                                                               
colorectal  cancer screening  examinations and  laboratory tests;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HEATH  HILYARD, Staff  to Representative  Anderson, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Sponsor,  explained that this bill  will establish a                                                               
minimum standard requirement that  colorectal cancer screening be                                                               
provided in healthcare policies  in Alaska, particularly to those                                                               
individuals who are over 50 years of  age.  He added that this is                                                               
important  because  colorectal cancer,  if  caught  in the  early                                                               
stages, has a 90 percent  survival rate; however, if caught late,                                                               
the survival rate is around 10 percent.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EMILY  NENON,  Alaska  Government  Relations  Director,  American                                                               
Cancer Society (ACS),  stated that she has  been researching this                                                               
legislation for  4 years.   She explained that  colorectal cancer                                                               
is  the second  leading  cause  of cancer  deaths  in the  United                                                               
States, adding  that Alaska has  an above average rate  for colon                                                               
cancer in  the general population.   She went on to  say that the                                                               
Alaska Native population has the  highest rate of colon cancer of                                                               
any population  group in the  country.  Ms. Nenon  also explained                                                               
that [via  a colonoscopy,  the doctor]  can remove  polyps before                                                               
they become  cancerous, adding  that this  is the  only screening                                                               
tool  available that  can  prevent  cancer.   She  stated that  a                                                               
colonoscopy  is  over 90  percent  effective  at detecting  colon                                                               
cancer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON  informed the  committee that  currently 18  states and                                                               
the  District of  Columbia have  passed laws  that require  state                                                               
regulated plans to cover colon  cancer screening according to the                                                               
ACS  guidelines.    In  regards  to  plans  that  are  not  state                                                               
regulated, she  explained that in  the past couple of  years, ACS                                                               
has  increased  the number  of  Federal  plans that  cover  colon                                                               
cancer screening.   She also informed the  committee that current                                                               
state law  requires coverage for  breast, cervical,  and prostate                                                               
cancer, pointing  out that colon  cancer is the only  cancer with                                                               
recommended screening  that is  not listed.   She  commented that                                                               
[ACS]  would like  to give  people  the opportunity  to have  all                                                               
cancer screening  covered by insurance,  and adding  colon cancer                                                               
screening would complete the list.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:36:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  inquired  about  the different  types  of  colon                                                               
cancer screening.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:36:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON replied  that it is important for  doctors and patients                                                               
to make a decision about  which screening is most appropriate for                                                               
the patient.  She stated  that colonoscopy is the "gold standard"                                                               
because of its  ability to find and  remove pre-cancerous tissue,                                                               
adding that  it is not  appropriate for everyone.   She explained                                                               
that in addition  to the colonoscopy, the guidelines  in [HB 393]                                                               
include fecal  occult blood  test (FOBT),  double-contrast barium                                                               
enema, and flexible  sigmoidoscopy.  She went on to  say that the                                                               
colonoscopy only needs  to be repeated once every 10  years for a                                                               
person at average  risk - for example one colonoscopy  at age 50,                                                               
another at age  60.  Ms. Nenon added that  after age 65, Medicare                                                               
covers this procedure.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON,  in response  to a question,  confirmed that  the cost                                                               
for each procedure is different.   She explained that the ACS did                                                               
a  study  on this  issue,  looking  at  the  cost of  covering  a                                                               
combination  of  FOBT  and   flexible  sigmoidoscopy,  which  are                                                               
commonly covered by  insurance, versus a colonoscopy.   The study                                                               
showed that if a person receives  a positive result from an FOBT,                                                               
they are  referred on  to receive a  flexible sigmoidoscopy  or a                                                               
colonoscopy.   At this point,  these are  considered "diagnostic"                                                               
tests.  Ms.  Nenon went on to  say that the FOBT has  a very high                                                               
false-positive rate, and  a person who receives  a false positive                                                               
and goes  on to receive  a colonoscopy then  has to pay  for both                                                               
tests.  Therefore,  it would be more cost effective  to start out                                                               
with the colonoscopy.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON asked  for clarification  regarding who  would be                                                               
covered by HB 393.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:41:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NENON  responded that the retired  state employee [insurance]                                                               
plan  does not  cover colon  cancer screening,  adding that  each                                                               
state-regulated  insurance plan  varies  as to  what is  covered.                                                               
Self-insured plans  are not  regulated by the  state, and  ACS is                                                               
working with  these employers so that  they will be able  to make                                                               
the changes on their own.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  offered  his belief  that  if  this  legislation                                                               
passes the population that will be affected will be small.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked how often  a "high-risk"  person would                                                               
be required to get a colonoscopy.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILYARD referred to page 2, lines 24-26, which read in part:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     For individuals considered at high risk for colorectal                                                                     
       cancer, screening shall be provided at a frequency                                                                       
     determined necessary by a health care provider.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  surmised then,  that whatever  frequency the                                                               
healthcare provider decided would then be covered.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX,  referring to  page 1, lines  10-11, asked                                                               
why fraternal benefit societies are exempt.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON replied  that this  legislation was  drafted to  match                                                               
other cancer  screening statutes,  and so she  does not  know why                                                               
this  population is  exempt or  how  many plans  fall under  this                                                               
category.  She noted that  someone from the Division of Insurance                                                               
may be able to offer this information.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX,  referring to page 2,  subsection f, asked                                                               
if  it  is  common  for  the insurance  provider  to  notify  the                                                               
enrollee of coverage.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NENON replied  that this  type  of language  is being  added                                                               
around  the country,  and is  intended to  inform people  of what                                                               
their plan covers and what they are eligible for.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG  stated   that  he   recently  received                                                               
information from  the Division  of Insurance  that there  are 118                                                               
thousand  individuals covered  under small  or large  group plans                                                               
who would  be affected  by this  legislation.   He noted  that 83                                                               
percent of  the people  in Alaska  would not  be covered  by this                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:50:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD noted  that most  union trust  plans are                                                               
already covering [colon cancer screening].                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON offered his belief  that the 83 percent figure may                                                               
be misleading,  adding that although  this bill does  not mandate                                                               
it, many independent insurance groups  are already covering these                                                               
costs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  responded  that   this  law  impacts  a                                                               
limited number  of people, and has  no impact on groups  that may                                                               
cover [colon cancer screening].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  if  this  legislation   could  be                                                               
expanded to include [independent insurance groups].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  replied   that  [independent  insurance                                                               
groups] are excluded by federal law.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:52:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  SWEENEY JR.,  M.D., informed  the committee  that he  is a                                                               
gastroenterologist, and  is board certified in  internal medicine                                                               
and  gastroenterology.   He stated  that 93  percent of  patients                                                               
that  are diagnosed  with stage  one cancer  survive five  years,                                                               
while only  8 percent  of those patients  who are  diagnosed with                                                               
stage four  cancer survive five  years.  He, too,  explained that                                                               
colonoscopy is the only type of  cancer screening that is able to                                                               
detect  cancer before  it starts,  adding that  FOBT has  a 20-40                                                               
percent rate of saving lives  and flexible sigmoidoscopy has a 60                                                               
percent rate.  In regard to  colonoscopy, he stated that there is                                                               
not  an  exact number,  but  computer  models  have shown  an  80                                                               
percent reduction in mortality.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.   SWEENEY  informed   the  committee   that  40   percent  of                                                               
[individuals at  risk] receive colon  cancer screening,  which he                                                               
noted is up  from 20 percent in  the last five to ten  years.  He                                                               
opined that  the real danger is  that some individuals may  be at                                                               
higher risk and so the insurance  company may not want to cover a                                                               
"screening  procedure," which  may result  in a  decision not  to                                                               
have  the procedure  done.   He explained  that colonoscopy  done                                                               
once  every ten  years  is  more cost  effective  than any  other                                                               
screening test  that has been studied,  including mammography and                                                               
pap smears.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON asked  if Dr.  Sweeney would  agree that  because                                                               
colon cancer screening has the  ability to catch cancer before it                                                               
begins, the legislation is valuable.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. SWEENEY replied that he  would agree, adding that on average,                                                               
colon  cancer is  diagnosed at  age 67,  at which  point Medicare                                                               
pays  for  the medical  treatment.    He expressed  concern  that                                                               
taxpayers pay for  this service.  He opined that  the cancer most                                                               
likely began  as a polyp when  the individual was in  his/her 50s                                                               
and could have been taken care  of [with screening].  With regard                                                               
to the  issue of saving money,  he opined that for  an individual                                                               
who has a  cancerous polyp and does not have  it removed, cost is                                                               
not the issue.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:58:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SWEENEY,  in  response   to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg, explained  the procedure  for a  double-contrast barium                                                               
enema.  He stated that the  ACS guidelines are used in this bill.                                                               
He  went  on to  say  that  the ACS  lists  this  as a  potential                                                               
screening test,  while the  American College  of Gastroenterology                                                               
has  eliminated   it  from  their  colorectal   cancer  screening                                                               
guidelines.    He  expressed  his  agreement  with  removing  the                                                               
double-contrast  barium  enema  from  the  screening  guidelines,                                                               
adding that  there have not  been any studies showing  the test's                                                               
ability to screen  and save lives.  In addition,  if something is                                                               
found with this test, a colonoscopy is still needed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if allowing  family practitioners                                                               
to  perform the  "less intrusive"  colon screening  procedures is                                                               
appropriate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SWEENEY responded  that  FOBT has  a  3-10 percent  positive                                                               
rate, must  be done  every year,  and has  a high  false positive                                                               
rate.    He explained  that  studies  have  shown that  the  most                                                               
accurate  results come  from the  colonoscopy, not  from FOBT  or                                                               
flexible sigmoidoscopy.   He  stated that  if the  guidelines are                                                               
followed  exactly, the  patients  who receive  a positive  result                                                               
FOBT  and  flexible  sigmoidoscopy  will still  need  to  have  a                                                               
colonoscopy.  He  opined that getting a person to  do any kind of                                                               
testing is better than nothing.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:03:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if he  would recommend  including                                                               
the basic tests that can be done by a general practitioner.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. SWEENEY  responded that  he would include  it.   He explained                                                               
that although he feels colonoscopy  is "the best" screening test,                                                               
no  randomized  studies have  been  done  to show  how  effective                                                               
colonoscopy is.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  commented that it  is important to know  that all                                                               
of the tests are critical.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:04:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. SWEENEY  replied that  there have  been computer  models that                                                               
suggest that  if a person were  to do both the  FOBT and flexible                                                               
sigmoidoscopy,  more  lives  may  be  saved  than  by  doing  the                                                               
colonoscopy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  noted  that  the  legislation  provides                                                               
coverage for  those over 50 years  of age, or less  than 50 years                                                               
of age with a high risk of colon  cancer.  He asked what would be                                                               
required for someone to be considered "high risk."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SWEENEY  replied  that  having  two  first-degree  relatives                                                               
(mother/father)  who  die of  colorectal  cancer  makes a  person                                                               
"high risk".   He expressed his  feeling that there is  no excuse                                                               
for  not screening  "high  risk" patients,  adding  that in  this                                                               
case,  a  colonoscopy would  be  the  most appropriate,  since  a                                                               
person with a family history would  be likely to get colon cancer                                                               
higher up in the  colon.  He stated that a person  who has one or                                                               
two  first-degree  relatives  with   colon  cancer  should  begin                                                               
screening  at age  40.   He  went  on to  say  that the  American                                                               
College of Gastroenterology did a  study that showed that African                                                               
Americans should begin  screening for colon cancer at  the age of                                                               
45.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:08:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  noted  that   the  "patients'  bill  of                                                               
rights"  is  intended to  help  patients,  adding that  they  can                                                               
appeal a dispute about coverage.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. SWEENEY stated that although  it sometimes takes extra effort                                                               
from the  patient, he  has yet  to see  any situations  where the                                                               
insurance company refuses to pay for the procedure.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX, referring  to page 3, line  9, inquired as                                                               
to the meaning of, "other predisposing factors."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SWEENEY explained  that this  would include  persons with  a                                                               
genetic defect  which makes  them more  likely to  develop polyps                                                               
and colon  cancer.  He  added that  he feels that  these patients                                                               
are  "surveillance" patients,  rather than  "screening" patients.                                                               
He went  on to say  that high-risk  patients, such as  those with                                                               
Crohn's  Disease,  are  more   likely  to  receive  colonoscopies                                                               
regularly.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON highlighted  that  "ethnicity"  would fall  under                                                               
[other predisposing factors].                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:11:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLAUDIA  CHRISTENSEN,  Alaska  Native  Tribal  Health  Consortium                                                               
(ANTHC), informed  the committee  that she  has been  involved in                                                               
colorectal cancer screening  for the past six years.   She stated                                                               
that  in addition  to having  a high  rate of  colorectal cancer,                                                               
Alaska Natives  also have  low screening  rates in  comparison to                                                               
other ethnic  groups, due to  the majority of them  being located                                                               
in Alaska's  remote and  rural areas.   Ms.  Christensen informed                                                               
the  committee that  the ANTHC  and  the Southcentral  Foundation                                                               
began a screening  program in Anchorage, and  explained that they                                                               
offer  colonoscopy and  flexible sigmoidoscopy.   She  noted that                                                               
they now  have a 50 percent  screening rate, which is  "well over                                                               
the  national average."   She  went on  to say  that rural  areas                                                               
still have low screening rates,  adding that the ANTHC is working                                                               
on recognizing patients with a  family history in order that they                                                               
begin screening.  Ms. Christensen  stated that the ANTHC does not                                                               
have  gastroenterologists, but  does  have  general surgeons  who                                                               
make  field  visits to  rural  areas  in  an effort  to  increase                                                               
screening rates.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked what  type of health  insurance is                                                               
available for Alaska Natives.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHRISTENSEN replied  that  the Indian  Health Service  (IHS)                                                               
covers colorectal  screening for  Alaska Natives living  in areas                                                               
where  the  screening is  offered,  adding  that not  all  Alaska                                                               
Natives use the IHS.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  opined that  some Alaska Natives  have a                                                               
health insurance  company as  their primary  carrier but  use the                                                               
IHS  as a  backup.   With  regard  to the  issue  of "stop  loss"                                                               
insurance, he said  that some individuals may be  covered under a                                                               
high deductible.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SWEENEY,  in  response   to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg,  stated that  billable  charges for  a colonoscopy  are                                                               
around $2,500,  including operating  room costs.   He  added that                                                               
Medicare  reimbursement  is  around  $700.    He  explained  that                                                               
facility fees  range from $1,500-$2,000,  while the  doctor's fee                                                               
is  about [$750-$1,000],  noting that  if a  polyp is  found, the                                                               
cost rises.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:16:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN  WARREN  informed  the committee  that  his  brother  was                                                               
recently diagnosed  with symptomatic colorectal cancer  and has a                                                               
10  percent chance  of survival.   He  stated that  his brother's                                                               
insurance did  not cover the  screening and, urged  the committee                                                               
to pass HB 393.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARREN,   in  response  to  questions   from  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg, said  that he  is not aware  of what  insurance company                                                               
was used, adding that his brother works for the state.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION  informed  the committee  that  although  he  usually                                                               
speaks on  behalf of the  Division of Occupational  Licensing, he                                                               
would  be speaking  today as  a "cancer  patient."   He said  "It                                                               
makes a whole  lot of sense to me, given  my personal experience,                                                               
that you would  spend a few bucks  up front, to save  ... the big                                                               
costs ... later  on if you have full-blown cancer."   He informed                                                               
the committee  that he  had received  a colonoscopy  during which                                                               
polyps  were  removed.    Less  than one  year  later,  a  second                                                               
colonoscopy was  performed, this time finding  full-blown cancer.                                                               
He  said "I'm  before you  today  as, I  hope to  say, a  'cancer                                                               
survivor'  because  of  early  detection,  and  I  think  it's  a                                                               
wonderful  thing  that  you  would   include  this  in  insurance                                                               
policies, and I think it's a good deal."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:20:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REED  STOOPS,   Lobbyist  for   the  American   Health  Insurance                                                               
Association (AHIA),  explained that  there have  been 12  or more                                                               
mandated  coverages adopted  by the  legislature.   Individually,                                                               
the  cost implications  are "marginal",  but  when combined,  the                                                               
cost is more  significant.  He stated that this  policy trade off                                                               
provides better coverage,  but raises the cost  for [small groups                                                               
and  individuals].   Mr. Stoops  noted that  the AHIA  recommends                                                               
mandated  offerings as  an  alternative  to [mandated]  coverage,                                                               
thus giving  the individual  the option to  buy coverage  but not                                                               
requiring it.   Referring to  a handout in committee  packets, he                                                               
recommended  that the  committee  adopt  language from  Tennessee                                                               
law, which references current  American Cancer Society guidelines                                                               
and  United States  Preventive  Services  Task Force  guidelines,                                                               
explaining that this would keep the  law up to date with the most                                                               
recent research.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  moved that  the committee  adopt Amendment  1, as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 5-14;                                                                                                        
          Delete all material                                                                                                   
          Insert:                                                                                                               
     "coverage  for   colorectal  cancer   examinations  and                                                                    
     laboratory tests  specified in current  American Cancer                                                                    
     Society   guidelines   or  United   States   Preventive                                                                    
     Services  Task Force  guidelines for  colorectal cancer                                                                    
     screening of asymptomatic individuals."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[Following  was a  brief discussion  regarding other  language in                                                               
the handout.]                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  objected for  discussion purposes  and asked                                                               
if this  language would cover  the guidelines that  are currently                                                               
written out in the bill.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON offered his understanding  that it would and would                                                               
also allow for any future changes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked Chair  Anderson  if  he would  be                                                               
amenable  to amending  Amendment 1  by  adding the  words "as  an                                                               
optional benefit."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  said  he  would  not  be  amenable  to  such  an                                                               
amendment to Amendment 1.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  asked if  there  was  any further  objection  to                                                               
Amendment 1.  There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:28:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  STOOPS,   in  response  to  questions   from  Representative                                                               
Rokeberg, stated  that Aetna, Inc., is  a member of the  AHIA and                                                               
traditionally  covers colorectal  screening, including  the State                                                               
of Alaska plan.  He stated  that Aetna, Inc., and Blue Cross Blue                                                               
Shield have a  combined market share of 80-85 percent.   He noted                                                               
that the  agencies who represent  the small-group  and individual                                                               
market in Alaska will be affected the most by the legislation.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  if  there  was   any  information                                                               
regarding the change in individual policy  cost if HB 393 were to                                                               
pass.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. STOOPS replied that he  would attempt to get cost information                                                               
before the next committee hearing.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:31:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFFREY   TROUTT,  Deputy   Director,   Division  of   Insurance,                                                               
Department  of   Commerce,  Community,  &   Economic  Development                                                               
(DCCED), in  response to questions from  Representative Rokeberg,                                                               
informed the  committee that the  department does not  support or                                                               
actively oppose  mandates.  He  explained that HB 393  would cost                                                               
money, but was unable to give an exact amount.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked if there is  an average deductible                                                               
for "stop  loss" [insurance] carriers, and  requested information                                                               
on how Blue Cross Blue Shield will be affected.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. TROUTT  replied that he is  not aware of whether  there is an                                                               
average or deductible.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  requested  that  this  information  be  supplied                                                               
before the bill is heard in the next committee of referral.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  moved to report  HB 393, as amended,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG objected, and  urged committee members to                                                               
consider the ramifications,  pointing out that a  majority of the                                                               
people in  Alaska are covered  by independent insurance  plans or                                                               
"stop loss"  plans and  therefore would not  be affected  by this                                                               
legislation.   He commented  that 20 percent  of Alaskans  and 50                                                               
percent  of the  children in  Alaska are  on Medicaid,  and asked                                                               
members to  consider the direction  of healthcare in  Alaska, and                                                               
urged them to "be very careful."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG then withdrew his objection.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  commented that he  would be interested  in seeing                                                               
the  statistics regarding  the  aforementioned  states that  have                                                               
similar laws, and whether insurance  carriers will say they won't                                                               
provide  services  in  Alaska  because  of  mandatory  colorectal                                                               
screening.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON asked  whether there  was any  further objection.                                                               
There being none, CSHB 393(L&C) was reported from the committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 335-ENERGY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  335  "An Act  creating  the  Alaska  energy                                                               
research and  development program in the  Alaska Energy Authority                                                               
and  providing for  a  Committee on  Alaska  Energy Research  and                                                               
Development to  assist in  the development  of that  program; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:38:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA WEISSLER,  Staff to  Representative Ethan  Berkowitz, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  Sponsor, stated that Alaskan  communities are                                                               
paying "ever-increasing"  costs for  fuel, adding  that long-term                                                               
solutions  are needed  in order  to make  communities more  self-                                                               
reliant.  She  informed the committee that HB  335 contains three                                                               
main  provisions.   The first  provision states  that the  Alaska                                                               
Energy  Authority (AEA),  via a  proposed Alaska  energy research                                                               
and development program, will conduct  the initial assessments to                                                               
determine the  viability of alternative energy  sources, and will                                                               
then report  its findings and  assist communities  in determining                                                               
the appropriate energy  source for their location.   The State of                                                               
Alaska  will  conduct any  necessary  further  assessments.   Ms.                                                               
Weissler  explained  that  this  will allow  the  state  to  take                                                               
advantage of  the cost  efficiencies associated  with coordinated                                                               
assessment,  and address  the inability  of  many communities  to                                                               
afford the upfront cost.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEISSLER  said that the  second provision is the  energy loan                                                               
fund.    This   provides  a  way  for  communities   to  pay  for                                                               
alternative energy.   Production incentive credits  are generated                                                               
by  the  production of  alternative  energy  facilities, and  are                                                               
available to "pay down" the loan.   Ms. Weissler stated that this                                                               
provides the incentive to keep  the [alternative energy] facility                                                               
in good, working condition.   The third provision pertains to the                                                               
establishment   of  the   Committee   on   Energy  Research   and                                                               
Development.      This   committee   will   develop   and   guide                                                               
implementation   of  aforementioned   the  energy   research  and                                                               
development program.   She  added that it  is the  sponsor's hope                                                               
that once  the facilities  are built,  they will  provide Alaskan                                                               
communities with stable energy prices.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WEISSLER  explained  that a  proposed  Committee  Substitute                                                               
(CS), included  in members' packets,  is based on  a conversation                                                               
with utilities and addresses their  concerns.  The biggest change                                                               
gives  the committee  the duty  to develop  the regulations.   It                                                               
also deletes the  requirement for the committee  to create energy                                                               
portfolio standards and a tradable  credit system.  She explained                                                               
that  this would  have required  utilities to  produce a  certain                                                               
amount of energy  from alternative energy sources,  and if unable                                                               
to do  so they would have  been able to purchase  credits from an                                                               
area that was  producing alternative energy.  She went  on to say                                                               
that there  was concern about  whether this would have  worked in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:41:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON moved CSHB 335(24-LS1354\I,  Wayne, 2/1/06, as the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, Version  I  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked  if  there  would  be  any  statutory                                                               
conflict  between the  Alaska Energy  Authority and  the proposed                                                               
Committee on Alaska Energy Research and Development.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WEISSLER   replied  that  Legislative  Legal   and  Research                                                               
Services  commented that  there  may  be an  issue,  but did  not                                                               
specifically say that there was.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON asked  for documentation  from Legislative  Legal                                                               
and Research Services regarding this question.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  stated  his   understanding  that  the  AEA                                                               
currently  manages 47  projects,  and asked  if this  legislation                                                               
would cause any conflicts with these.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEISSLER  answered that the  intent of the legislation  is to                                                               
coordinate and bring all of these projects together.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:42:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BECKY  GAY,  Project  Manager,  Alaska  Energy  Authority  (AEA),                                                               
stated that  the AEA's  concerns regarding HB  335 relate  to the                                                               
duplication  of efforts  and statutory  powers and  the potential                                                               
for conflicts  of interest, particularly between  the AEA's board                                                               
of  directors  and  the  proposed   Committee  on  Alaska  Energy                                                               
Research  and Development.   She  explained that  AEA's statutory                                                               
powers include:   equipping and  improving power  projects, waste                                                               
energy   [projects],   energy    conservation   [projects],   and                                                               
alternative  energy facilities  and equipment.   AEA's  statutory                                                               
powers also include loans for  [alternative energy facilities and                                                               
equipment].  To support these  efforts, AEA projects and programs                                                               
provide  assistance for  the development  of safe,  reliable, and                                                               
efficient energy  systems throughout Alaska that  are sustainable                                                               
and environmentally  sound.  Ms.  Gay went  on to say  that these                                                               
projects provide  reduced electricity  costs for  residential and                                                               
community  facilities  in rural  Alaska  and  also increases  the                                                               
AEA's ability  to respond quickly  and effectively  to electrical                                                               
emergencies.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.   GAY  stated   that  AEA's   professional  engineering   and                                                               
accounting   staff   allows   AEA  to   focus   on   implementing                                                               
commercially   proven  technology,   including  alternatives   to                                                               
diesel.     The  AEA  partners  with   Arctic  Energy  Technology                                                               
Development Laboratory (AETDL) based  at the University of Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks  (UAF)  for the  research  and  development aspects  of                                                               
diverse  areas  such  as  fuel   cells,  energy  storage,  diesel                                                               
efficiency, and the rural energy  conference.  She explained that                                                               
the AETDL program is federally funded.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GAY, with  regard to  the potential  conflicts of  interest,                                                               
stated  that the  members of  the [proposed  Committee on  Alaska                                                               
Energy Research and  Development] would likely be  drawn from the                                                               
same pool of past and future  AEA grantees.  She added that AEA's                                                               
powers  are vested  in  its  board of  directors.   The  proposed                                                               
legislation states that AEA "shall  administer" the programs, but                                                               
the [Committee  on Alaska Energy Research  and Development] shall                                                               
provide oversight.  She stated  that this usurps statutory powers                                                               
and  responsibilities of  the board,  in addition  to potentially                                                               
causing management  conflicts.  She  opined that if  the proposed                                                               
committee is  responsible for developing  regulations and  AEA is                                                               
required  to  adopt  these  regulations,  this  may  violate  due                                                               
process  protections if  [in doing  so] AEA  is constrained  from                                                               
following the Administrative Procedure Act (APP).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAY  stated that AEA currently  has a wide variety  of energy                                                               
initiatives,  some of  which  are  addressed in  HB  335.   These                                                               
include:  alternative energy  source development and application,                                                               
alternative  energy resource  assessment and  data dissemination,                                                               
and  community and/or  regional  meetings  on alternative  energy                                                               
options, among others.   Ms. Gay noted that AEA  is also an owner                                                               
of  large alternative  energy assets  for  Alaska, including  the                                                               
Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project near  Homer and the Larson Bay                                                               
Hydroelectric facility  on Kodiak  Island.   She opined  that the                                                               
non-commercial research efforts suggested  in the legislation may                                                               
be  better  cultivated  in  an  academic  setting,  such  as  the                                                               
University  of UAF,  adding that  this may  enhance the  combined                                                               
efforts and lead to new technology applications for Alaska.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:48:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON opined that the  intention of the new committee is                                                               
not  to replace  the AEA,  but  rather to  channel the  direction                                                               
towards alternative energy methods.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAY,  in response to  questions from Chair  Anderson, replied                                                               
that upon  review, the  AEA feels that  the committee  would have                                                               
broad  powers  with regard  to  its  control over  AEA's  current                                                               
programmatic  efforts.    She  added that  because  there  is  no                                                               
funding  effort   accompanying  the  legislation,  it   would  be                                                               
diluting AEA's efforts.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN inquired  as to  the possibility  of private                                                               
companies "filling in the gap."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETER  CRIMP,  Project  Manager, Alternative  Energy  and  Energy                                                               
Efficiency, Alaska Energy Authority  (AEA), replied that it takes                                                               
all  kinds of  assistance,  adding that  some  projects are  best                                                               
addressed with  commercial technologies and power  utilities.  He                                                               
stated that  hydroelectric is a  "mature" technology  that works.                                                               
Technologies  such as  fuel  cells,  microturbins, and  biodiesel                                                               
require assistance from a University.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:52:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRIMP,  in response to  questions, replied that the  AETDL is                                                               
based at the  UAF and is funded  by the U.S. DOE's,  and that AEA                                                               
sits on the board that helps choose remote energy projects.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if this includes wind energy.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRIMP replied that the  AETDL currently receives most of it's                                                               
funding from  the DOE's  fossil energy section.   He  opined that                                                               
the AETDL  would be  better served  if some  of the  funding came                                                               
from  the  DOE  energy  efficiency and  renewable  energy  funds,                                                               
adding that this  would give wider applicability  in places where                                                               
hydro,  wind,  and other  renewable  [energy  sources] are  being                                                               
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG   asked    if   members   of   Alaska's                                                               
congressional delegation have been made aware of this.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. CRIMP replied that a letter has been written.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked if  this program  would be  similar to                                                               
those  in the  former  Alaska Science  and Technology  Foundation                                                               
(ASTF), and  if so,  why the  legislature is  "reviving" projects                                                               
that the state previously decided were no longer "fit" to fund.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WEISSLER answered  that the  sponsor  was not  aware of  the                                                               
[ASTF]  programs.   She stated  the sponsor's  intent to  look at                                                               
what  is  currently  happening  and  find  a  way  to  jump-start                                                               
alternative energy development in the state.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN expressed his  support for alternative energy                                                               
and requested an answer to the previous question.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  explained the  process  by  which the  ASTF  was                                                               
removed from the  budget, and noted that HB 335  includes many of                                                               
the same projects.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG,  referring to CS, asked  if the language                                                               
regarding "carbon credits" is completely removed from the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEISSLER  replied that  it is  still included,  and explained                                                               
that there  is a general belief  that there will eventually  be a                                                               
national carbon  [production] cap that  the state may be  able to                                                               
take advantage of through carbon sequestration.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG offered his  understanding that the US is                                                               
the only  industrialized country that  has stayed well  below the                                                               
carbon production cap listed in the "Kyoto treaty."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:57:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEERA  KOHLER,  President  and  Chief  Executive  Officer  (CEO),                                                               
Alaska   Village  Electric   Cooperative  (AVEC),   informed  the                                                               
committee that she  is in support of HB 335.   Acknowledging that                                                               
the  AEA has  concerns regarding  conflicts between  the proposed                                                               
Committee on Alaska  Energy Research and Development  and the AEA                                                               
board, Ms.  Kohler opined that  the AEA board does  not represent                                                               
the interests needed to develop  the regulations that will impact                                                               
many  [rural] Alaskan  communities.   She informed  the committee                                                               
that AVEC  serves 44 percent  of Alaska's village  population and                                                               
52 villages throughout  Alaska.  In the last two  years, AVEC has                                                               
started to  bring alternative energy  sources to  the communities                                                               
they  support, which  is expensive  and laborious;  however, AVEC                                                               
believes this needs to  be done.  She commented that  HB 335 is a                                                               
"pretty modest" attempt  to offset the high  costs of alternative                                                               
energy development.   Typically, wind energy  costs $5,000-$6,000                                                               
per kilowatt, which  is 5-6 times the cost  of diesel generation.                                                               
She explained that a 2 percent  loan program has the potential to                                                               
bring the  $30,000 per year costs  on a $300,000 project  down to                                                               
about  $25,000 per  year.   She added  that this  is modest,  but                                                               
valuable and has the potential to  bring up projects that may not                                                               
occur otherwise.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:00:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  if AVEC  feels that  not enough                                                               
has been done regarding alternative energy.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOHLER replied  that a  lot remains  to be  done, explaining                                                               
that AEA is  making good progress in assessing  wind regimes that                                                               
may yield  alternative energy in  rural Alaska, adding  that this                                                               
needs to  be done  in more of  the state.   She opined  that this                                                               
legislation will encourage  this.  With regard  to development of                                                               
alternative energy,  she commented that  this is usually  done by                                                               
the local utilities.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ROKEBERG  asked   if  AVEC   would  prefer   the                                                               
legislature  to  appropriate monies  to  the  emergency fuel  and                                                               
rural fuel program or to an energy loan fund.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOHLER  answered that "in the  best of all worlds"  she would                                                               
want both programs to be funded.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON stated  that there  are  many different  concerns                                                               
regarding HB  335 and  suggested appointing  a subcommittee.   He                                                               
asked Ms. Kohler  if, in her opinion, there are  any areas of the                                                               
bill that would adversely affect AEA's ability.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOHLER  replied that she does  not think so, and  opined that                                                               
it could be  a "harmonious" relationship.  She noted  that AEA is                                                               
not  in the  business  of developing  and installing  alternative                                                               
energy in  rural Alaska,  adding that  this is  an area  that the                                                               
utilities should be responsible for.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  requested  a   more  detailed  analysis  of  the                                                               
proposed CS from AEA, adding that  he does not see a problem with                                                               
moving the bill from committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG expressed  concern regarding  a possible                                                               
Alaska  Industrial  Development   and  Export  Authority  (AIDEA)                                                               
fiscal note and stated that  this legislation would take a "stand                                                               
alone" appropriation [in  the budget].  He opined that  it may be                                                               
more effective  to "marry"  AEA with the  provisions in  the bill                                                               
and also  use the  UAF program.   He commented  that Alaska  is a                                                               
small  state  and so  trying  to  finance multiple  programs  may                                                               
result in competition for funding.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD stated  that he is a cosponsor  of HB 335                                                               
and  does  not feel  that  the  focus  [in  Alaska] has  been  on                                                               
alternative energy  sources, and HB  335 is intended to  do this,                                                               
especially in  rural areas where  the cost to generate  diesel is                                                               
high.   He stated that  this legislation was  not meant to  be in                                                               
competition with  [current programs],  but rather be  in addition                                                               
to these programs.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  asked if  there  are  any nuclear  projects                                                               
"springing up" in the state.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOHLER replied that she is  aware of one project proposed for                                                               
Galena but is not  sure how close it is to  being permitted.  She                                                               
stated  her  understanding that  the  cost  is being  covered  by                                                               
Toshiba, which is one of  the primary sponsors, and estimated the                                                               
project start  time to  be several  years away  if the  permit is                                                               
granted.   She noted  that nuclear  energy is  not covered  in HB                                                               
335.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  moved to report  the proposed CS  for HB                                                               
335, Version  24-LS1354\I, Wayne,  2/1/06, out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:13:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Kott, Guttenberg,                                                               
Crawford, Lynn,  LeDoux, and  Anderson voted  in favor  of moving                                                               
CSHB 335,  Version 24-LS1354\I, Wayne, 2/1/06,  out of committee.                                                               
Representatives  Rokeberg  voted  against it.    Therefore,  CSHB                                                               
335(L&C)  was  reported  out  of   the  House  Labor  &  Commerce                                                               
Committee by a vote of 6-1.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:13:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Labor and  Commerce Standing Committee  meeting was  adjourned at                                                               
5:13 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects