Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

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


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03:32:48 PM Start
03:33:40 PM Confirmation Hearing(s) || Commissioner, Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development || Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
03:59:02 PM HB338
04:09:17 PM HB402
04:22:54 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: Commissioner, TELECONFERENCED
Dept. of Commerce, Community and
Economic Development; Boards and
Commissions: Alcoholic Beverage Control
Board; State Board of Registration for
Architects, Engineers, & Land Surveyors;
Occupational Safety and Health Review
Board; Board of Veterinary Examiners
+= HB 338 CERTIF. OF FITNESS FOR EXPLOSIVE HANDLERS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 338(L&C) Out of Committee
*+ HB 402 MARRIAGE BROKERS AND ADVERTISERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                       February 15, 2006                                                                                        
                           3:32 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
Representative Tom Anderson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic                                                                   
Development                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Bill Noll - Juneau                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board")                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Billy (William) Andrews - Anchorage                                                                                        
     Gail M. Niemi - Juneau                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 338                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to applications, qualifications, and criminal                                                                  
history and background checks for a certificate of fitness for                                                                  
explosives handlers; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 338(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 402                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to marriage brokers and advertisers and to                                                                     
dating and social referral services."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 338                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CERTIF. OF FITNESS FOR EXPLOSIVE HANDLERS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) CHENAULT, LYNN                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                                               
01/18/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
01/18/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/18/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
01/27/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
01/27/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/27/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/15/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 402                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MARRIAGE BROKERS AND ADVERTISERS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KERTTULA                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/27/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/06       (H)       L&C, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/15/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL NOLL, Commissioner                                                                                                         
Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointed commissioner of the                                                                 
Department of Commerce, Community, & Economic Development                                                                       
(DCCED).                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BILLY (WILLIAM) ANDREWS, Appointee                                                                                              
to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board")                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Alcoholic                                                                    
Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board").                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
GAIL M. NIEMI, Appointee                                                                                                        
to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board")                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Alcoholic                                                                    
Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board").                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LALANYA SNYDER, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided opening statement on HB 338 on                                                                    
behalf of Representative Chenault, one of the prime sponsors.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TOM BRICE                                                                                                                       
Alaska District Council of Laborers                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 338.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GREY MITCHELL, Director                                                                                                         
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Division of Labor Standards & Safety                                                                                            
Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DLWD)                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during hearing on HB 338.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF HUSTEAD, Chief,                                                                                                           
Consultation & Training                                                                                                         
Occupational Safety & Health                                                                                                    
Department of Labor Standards & Safety                                                                                          
Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DLWD)                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during hearing on HB 338.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HB 402.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SARALYN TABACHNICK, Executive Director                                                                                          
Aiding Women in Abuse & Rape Emergencies, Inc. (AWARE, INC)                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 402.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HANNAH MCCARTY, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during hearing on HB                                                                    
402.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TOM ANDERSON  called the House Labor  and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  3:32:48  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Guttenberg, Crawford, Rokeberg, and  Anderson were present at the                                                               
call to  order.  Representative  Lynn arrived as the  meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                      
^Commissioner,  Department  of  Commerce, Community,  &  Economic                                                             
Development                                                                                                                   
^Alcoholic Beverage Control Board                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be the confirmation  hearings on the appointment of  Bill Noll as                                                               
commissioner  of   the  Department  of  Commerce,   Community,  &                                                               
Economic  Development  (DCCED),  and   the  appointments  to  the                                                               
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board").                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:33:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL  NOLL, Commissioner,  Department of  Commerce, Community,  &                                                               
Economic  Development  (DCCED),  began by  explaining  the  three                                                               
different divisions of  the department.  He pointed  out that the                                                               
department  has  a  "broad   mandate,"  which  covers  insurance,                                                               
banking, and securities, in addition  to community issues and job                                                               
development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:35:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON  remarked  that  he  is not  in  support  of  the                                                               
confirmation process, as  it takes up the  commissioners' and the                                                               
committees  time.     He  noted   that  questions  may   be  more                                                               
appropriate for  the [Commerce, Community &  Economic Development                                                               
Finance Subcommittee], and directed  members to contact the chair                                                               
of the aforementioned subcommittee for additional information.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  replied  that  he  feels  it  is  "very                                                               
appropriate" for the commissioner to  come before the House Labor                                                               
and   Commerce   Standing   Committee.      He   commented   that                                                               
[Commissioner Noll] has done a "great job".                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  NOLL, in  response  to a  question,  said that  the                                                               
state's economy is doing well.  This  is, he said, due in part to                                                               
high oil  prices.  The  states natural resources are  "up," which                                                               
may  lend a  note of  optimism  to the  problems regarding  rural                                                               
energy.  He  said that the state had $3.6  billion in exports for                                                               
2005,  and  $3.2  billion  in 2004,  which  shows  a  significant                                                               
increase.    Of  the  2005  exports, $2  billion  was  from  fish                                                               
exports, which  is up  from 2004,  when fish  exports represented                                                               
$1.7  billion.   He  noted that  the  current administration  has                                                               
focused on  this area,  allocating $50  million to  marketing and                                                               
capital equipment.  In Bristol Bay,  he said, there was a time of                                                               
"great  duress,"  during which  it  was  possible to  purchase  a                                                               
fishing  permit for  $14,000.   The  price of  these permits  has                                                               
since increased to $80,000, which  greatly helps the families and                                                               
individuals in  the area.   He stated  that the DCCED  intends to                                                               
continue  this "push"  in  2006,  in an  effort  to "cement"  the                                                               
fishing industry as a large employer.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  asked if  the 2005 exports  excluded oil                                                               
and gas revenue.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  NOLL replied  that the  $3.6 billion  excludes oil,                                                               
which is  not exported.   However, it  does include  [natural gas                                                               
liquids (NGL) exports], which is close to $200 million.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD  asked  if  the  total  exports  are  to                                                               
foreign countries.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER NOLL replied  that this is correct.   In response to                                                               
an additional  question, he stated  that the gross  state product                                                               
is $33 billion.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:40:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILLY  (WILLIAM) ANDREWS,  Appointee  to  the Alcoholic  Beverage                                                               
Control Board ("ABC  Board"), began by giving a  brief history of                                                               
his time  on the  ABC Board.   He  pointed out  that he  moved to                                                               
Alaska in 1974 and worked  in the Federal Bureau of Investigation                                                               
(FBI)  office in  Anchorage  before taking  a  position with  the                                                               
state.  Currently, he said, he is the security manager for BP.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG noted  that during  a recent  meeting of                                                               
the ABC  Board an application  for a beverage  dispensary license                                                               
was denied.  He asked why this occurred.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ANDREWS  replied  that the  aforementioned  licensee  was  a                                                               
restaurant  in Valdez.   He  explained that  a background  review                                                               
revealed  a  history of  domestic  violence  and several  driving                                                               
under the  influence (DUI) charges.   He said that  the applicant                                                               
had  not  attended any  rehabilitation  programs  for alcohol  or                                                               
anger management.  He explained  the ABC Board's view that, while                                                               
the applicant had  been removed from the license  and planned for                                                               
his spouse to take over the  business, he would remain as part of                                                               
the management  of the business,  therefore, the license  was not                                                               
granted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if this  was a license renewal or a                                                               
new license application.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS replied that it was for a license renewal.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG inquired  as to the length  of time since                                                               
the applicant's last criminal charge.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS surmised that it was between [5-10 years].                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG commented  that  this  is a  significant                                                               
issue, and the decisions made by  the ABC Board have an impact on                                                               
businesses.    He  pointed  out a  recent  incident  at  Hacienda                                                               
Mexican Restaurant  in Anchorage,  involving the sale  of alcohol                                                               
to a  minor.  He  inquired as to  the length of  the disciplinary                                                               
action and if this was the restaurant's first offence.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ANDREWS replied  that although  the restaurant  was given  a                                                               
length  of 15  days during  which no  alcohol could  be sold,  he                                                               
would have  preferred it to be  30 days.  He  said the restaurant                                                               
had no prior offenses.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked if the  offense was a result  of a                                                               
federally funded "sting operation."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS replied that he does  not know from where the funding                                                               
came.   He pointed out  that the owner  of the business  sold the                                                               
alcohol to the  minor and did not ask to  see identification.  He                                                               
stated  that, in  his opinion,  this  is something  that the  ABC                                                               
Board will not tolerate.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  if   the  ABC  Board  heard  any                                                               
testimony on the impact the 15 days would have on the business.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS  replied that the  owner testified that it  would not                                                               
run  him out  of  business,  and the  restaurant  did serve  food                                                               
during the 15 days.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON inquired as to the  status of the application by a                                                               
coffee  shop in  downtown  Anchorage for  a  license to  continue                                                               
serving  beer and  wine.   He  noted that  there  was a  question                                                               
regarding  whether  the  aforementioned  establishment  fits  the                                                               
statutory  definition  of  a "food  service  establishment,"  and                                                               
asked if the ABC Board is looking into a compromise.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS responded  that the ABC Board has  done some research                                                               
into this issue.  He said that  Doug Griffin of the ABC Board met                                                               
with the  Cabaret, Hotel,  Restaurant, and  Retailers Association                                                               
(CHARR),  and  CHARR's recommendations  were  passed  along.   He                                                               
offered  his understanding  that  this  application is  currently                                                               
under legal review  and is on the agenda for  the next meeting of                                                               
the ABC Board.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAIL M. NIEMI, Appointee to  the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board                                                               
("ABC Board"),  began by stating  that she  has been a  member of                                                               
the  ABC Board  for three  years as  an industry  representative.                                                               
She  informed the  committee  that  she and  her  spouse own  the                                                               
Sandbar  in Juneau.   In  response  to an  earlier question,  she                                                               
explained that  the incident at  [Hacienda Mexican  Restaurant in                                                               
Anchorage] involved  the sale of  alcohol to a  15-year-old girl.                                                               
The  main issue  of the  ABC Board  was that  the pictures  taken                                                               
clearly showed that the individual in question was under age.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what  the typical punishment is for                                                               
a first-time offender that serves alcohol to a minor.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. NIEMI replied  that in her three years on  the board, she has                                                               
not  seen  any other  issues  of  this  type.   She  stated  that                                                               
generally,  the   "sting  operations"   result  in   an  employee                                                               
committing the  offense.  In  these cases, the employee  is cited                                                               
by the  ABC Board.   However, the  incident in  question involved                                                               
the  sale of  alcohol to  the minor  by the  license holder.   In                                                               
regard to  the coffee  shop wishing  to sell  beer and  wine, she                                                               
opined  that this  is  a "slippery  slope."   The  food that  was                                                               
offered, she  said, was cold  hors d'oeuvres, and added  that the                                                               
statutes specify  that in  order for an  establishment to  have a                                                               
beer   and  wine   license,  the   purpose  of   patronizing  the                                                               
establishment  must be  for food.   She  opined that  this is  an                                                               
"intriguing idea," but would require different guidelines.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON agreed  that this is a  "slippery slope," although                                                               
he  opined that  the concern  that  bars would  lose business  is                                                               
unfounded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  noted that  there  is  a "menu  review"                                                               
provision in statute, although "meal"  is not defined.  He opined                                                               
that this should be changed.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. NIEMI,  in regard to  an earlier question regarding  a Valdez                                                               
business, explained that the two  industry representatives on the                                                               
ABC  Board  voted  in  favor  of granting  the  license,  as  the                                                               
offenses in  question occurred 10  years prior.  She  opined that                                                               
this  is a  "good amount  of time"  [for change].   However,  the                                                               
majority of  the ABC Board  members felt that the  license should                                                               
not be granted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:53:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked for clarification that  there were                                                               
no other offenses in the past 10 years.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NIEMI  replied that  in  1997,  the  applicant had  a  child                                                               
support  payment issue.   She  opined  that this  is a  difficult                                                               
industry,  and expressed  her  feeling that,  after  10 years  he                                                               
should not have been denied his license.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked for  confirmation that it  was the                                                               
spouse of  the individual  in question who  was applying  for the                                                               
license.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. NIEMI  replied that the  applicant originally  requested that                                                               
the license be transferred to  him; however, the board denied the                                                               
transfer.   After this, the  application was resubmitted  under a                                                               
corporation  with  his  spouse,  while  he  remained  the  active                                                               
manager.  This request was  also turned down.  One recommendation                                                               
that was  made suggested that  the applicant request a  letter on                                                               
his behalf  from the  Valdez Police Department  as this  may have                                                               
greater impact on the members of the ABC Board.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  Ms. Niemi's  views regarding  two                                                               
members with law enforcement background on the ABC Board.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  NIEMI  replied  that  the   law  enforcement  background  is                                                               
"extremely   valuable,"   and   these  members   have   practical                                                               
experience regarding the issues that come before the board.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG opined that Ms.  Niemi has put a lot of                                                               
thought into the issues and noted his appreciation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   ANDERSON   moved   to  advance   the   confirmations   of                                                               
Commissioner Bill Noll to the  Department of Commerce, Community,                                                               
& Economic Development,  along with Billy Andrews  and Gail Niemi                                                               
to the  Alcoholic Beverage  Control Board  ("ABC Board"),  to the                                                               
joint session  for consideration.   He  noted that  each member's                                                               
signature on the  committee report does not  reflect the member's                                                               
vote during the  joint floor session.  There  being no objection,                                                               
the confirmations were advanced.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 338-CERTIF. OF FITNESS FOR EXPLOSIVE HANDLERS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  338,  "An  Act  relating  to  applications,                                                               
qualifications, and criminal history  and background checks for a                                                               
certificate  of fitness  for explosives  handlers; and  providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:59:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LALANYA  SNYDER, Staff  to Representative  Mike Chenault,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, sponsor,  informed the  committee that  since                                                               
the last  hearing on HB 338,  some of the member's  concerns have                                                               
been discussed and  a committee substitute (CS)  has been drafted                                                               
to address these concerns.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:00:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD moved  to  adopt CSHB  338, Version  24-                                                               
LS1380\G,  Mischel,  2/11/06, as  the  working  document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version G was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD stated  that he  had concerns  regarding                                                               
the  "default point"  for a  felony being  set at  10 years.   He                                                               
opined that  the [10-year time  period] did not achieve  what the                                                               
[Department of  Labor &  Workforce Development  (DLWD)] intended.                                                               
He  explained that  the CS  gives the  department the  ability to                                                               
check fingerprints for  terrorist watch.  He  referred to Section                                                               
4 of the CS, which read:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     (b)  The  department  shall   establish  in  regulation                                                                    
     standards of competency  based on training, experience,                                                                    
     criminal  history and  background checks,  and physical                                                                    
     fitness for the issuance of a certificate of fitness.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD said  " ...  I believe  that takes  into                                                               
consideration all the ... concerns  of the department and gets to                                                               
the crux of the bill."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:02:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM BRICE, Alaska District Council  of Laborers (ADCL), explained                                                               
that  the ADCL  is a  union that  represents many  blasters.   He                                                               
expressed support for HB 338.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:03:16 PM                                                                                                                    
GREY  MITCHELL,  Director,  Central  Office,  Division  of  Labor                                                               
Standards &  Safety, Department of Labor  & Workforce Development                                                               
(DLWD), in  response to  questions from  Representative Rokeberg,                                                               
explained that the DLWD is  currently working with members of the                                                               
industry in order  to establish regulatory standards.   He stated                                                               
that  this  provision  allows  the   department  to  include  the                                                               
affected parties in establishing what the standards need to be.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  surmised that if the  department decided                                                               
to put a 10-year look back in the regulations, it could do so.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MITCHELL replied that this is true.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD stated  his understanding  that the  10-                                                               
year look back would not be used as a benchmark.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  for more  detail  regarding  the                                                               
nature of the regulations.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MITCHELL  replied that  the  Bureau  of Alcohol,  Tobacco  &                                                               
Firearms has established "pretty  good" guidelines, which provide                                                               
a  good  framework.    He  opined  that  by  using  the  industry                                                               
information given  during the regulation process,  the end result                                                               
will be "good."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:05:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF  HUSTEAD, Chief,  Consultation  &  Training, Department  of                                                               
Labor  Standards  &  Safety,  Department  of  Labor  &  Workforce                                                               
Development (DLWD),  commented that the regulations  will address                                                               
any concerns.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN   asked  if  the  regulations   would  cover                                                               
concerns regarding Version 24-LS1380\A.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MITCHELL answered  that this  is  correct.   In response  to                                                               
additional questions from Representative  Lynn, he explained that                                                               
the  department would  look  at different  types  of felonies  in                                                               
order to  decide which  felonies would  create the  most concern.                                                               
He  added that  some felonies  may require  a longer  [look back]                                                               
time than  others, and this  will allow the department  to narrow                                                               
which  felonies  may create  a  problem.    This will  allow  the                                                               
department flexibility  in order  to protect  public safety  in a                                                               
more complete way.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked  what   kind  of  felony  reflects  a                                                               
"responsible individual."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MITCHELL replied  that the department is  looking at felonies                                                               
involving violence against individuals or property.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON mentioned  an example of an  individual who hunted                                                               
without a license,  which for a one-year period  was considered a                                                               
felony.   However, now it  is a  misdemeanor.  He  commented that                                                               
this "is not like a rape or a murder."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN expressed concern  that all felonies indicate                                                               
irresponsibility on some level, adding  that he would like to see                                                               
"very strict" regulations in order to "cover the issues."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MITCHELL replied  that the department will keep  this in mind                                                               
[during the regulatory process].                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:08:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to  report  CSHB  338,  Version  24-                                                               
LS1380\G,  Mischel, 2/11/06,  out  of  committee with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection,  CSHB 338(L&C)  was reported  from the  House Labor                                                               
and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 402-MARRIAGE BROKERS AND ADVERTISERS                                                                                       
[Contains brief mention of HB 148]                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 402, "An Act relating to  marriage brokers and                                                               
advertisers and to dating and social referral services."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
began by  stating that  HB 402  deals with  the growing  trade of                                                               
[International Marriage  Brokers (IMB)], which is  often referred                                                               
to  as "bride  trafficking."   This bill  is intended  to provide                                                               
foreign  brides with  information regarding  the marital  history                                                               
and criminal  history of the client.   In addition, the  IMB must                                                               
provide  information  explaining   the  laws  regarding  domestic                                                               
violence and  where victims  can obtain  assistance.   There are,                                                               
she  said, between  8,000  and  16,000 marriages  per  year as  a                                                               
result of  IMB's.  A  study has shown  that the rate  of domestic                                                               
violence in these marriages is close to 77 percent.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  went on  to  say  that her  office  has                                                               
worked with a  woman in this situation, in  addition to receiving                                                               
anonymous  phone calls  from women  in similar  situations.   She                                                               
said  that a  growing number  of states  have passed  legislation                                                               
dealing  with these  issues, in  addition to  a new  National Act                                                               
which, when in effect, would  not prohibit the states from taking                                                               
action.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:11:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN opined  that  this is  a  type of  "informed                                                               
consent."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  agreed and  added that  currently, women                                                               
from foreign countries, who oftentimes  do not speak English, are                                                               
given minimal information.  These  women may be taken to isolated                                                               
areas  where  they  do  not  have any  other  contacts  prior  to                                                               
realizing that the relationship [is abusive].                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG,  referring to  page 3,  line 22,  of the                                                               
bill, asked if  online dating websites, such  as Match.com, would                                                               
be considered a "marriage broker  or advertiser."  He opined that                                                               
the wording may be too broad.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON opined that there  is a "big difference" between a                                                               
marriage broker and an online dating service.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  replied  that  HB 402  is  intended  to                                                               
effect women from  outside of the US, adding that  she would look                                                               
into this further.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARALYN TABACHNICK,  Executive Director, Aiding Women  in Abuse &                                                               
Rape  Emergencies,   Inc.  (AWARE,   Inc.),  read   from  written                                                               
testimony as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  Saralyn Tabachnik,  Executive  Director of  AWARE,                                                                    
     Aiding  Women  in Abuse  &  Rape  Emergencies, here  in                                                                    
     Juneau.   I'm here  to speak in  support of  House Bill                                                                    
     402, which serves to protect  the safety and well being                                                                    
     of  foreign brides,  to prevent  abusive U.S.  citizens                                                                    
     from    enticing    foreign    women    into    abusive                                                                    
     relationships,  and  ultimately  to  promote  safe  and                                                                    
     healthy marriages.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In  the past  year,  AWARE staff  has worked  intensely                                                                    
     with two women who came  to [Juneau, Alaska] as foreign                                                                    
     brides,  and within  a couple  years, both  experienced                                                                    
     domestic  violence from  their husbands.   These  women                                                                    
     are   extremely   vulnerable,  have   limited   English                                                                    
     language  skills, are  without other  resources in  the                                                                    
     United  States,  and  are unfamiliar  with  the  United                                                                    
     States  legal system.   These  are  complex issues  for                                                                    
     battered immigrant  women who fear for  their and their                                                                    
     children's safety and  immigration status, particularly                                                                    
     when their only source  of information is their abusive                                                                    
     husband.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Under this bill, foreign brides  will receive, in their                                                                    
     native   language,  the   marital   history  of   their                                                                    
     potential  spouse, a  criminal history  check including                                                                    
     incidents  of  civil  protection  orders,  explanations                                                                    
     regarding  marriage   based  immigration   status,  and                                                                    
     information  about  domestic violence  and  appropriate                                                                    
     interventions including crisis interventions.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I don't have  enough information to say  whether or not                                                                    
     the women  served by AWARE  could have  avoided violent                                                                    
     relationships  were this  bill in  place, however  they                                                                    
     certainly  would  have  been  aware  of  the  resources                                                                    
     available  to  them  sooner.    And  providing  foreign                                                                    
     brides  with information  they  need  and deserve,  and                                                                    
     holding  International Marriage  Brokers to  a standard                                                                    
     of safety  and accountability, are  critical components                                                                    
     for safety.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Within the Unites States,  the federal Violence Against                                                                    
     Women  Act  of  2005 addresses  International  Marriage                                                                    
     Brokers  and   concerns  for   safety  and   access  to                                                                    
     information for foreign brides.   I am hopeful that the                                                                    
     Alaska Legislature  will pass similar  legislation this                                                                    
     session.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you very much.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said that he strongly supports the concept                                                                  
behind the bill.  He asked when the information would be                                                                        
provided to the potential bride.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. TABACHNICK  expressed her understanding that  the information                                                               
would be provided prior to coming to the United States.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked if there  would be proof of receipt for                                                               
this information.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  replied that "Return  Receipt Requested"                                                               
may  be added,  although the  bill states  that this  information                                                               
"must"  be  provided,  therefore  a return  receipt  may  not  be                                                               
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ANDERSON moved  to adopt  CSHB  402, Version  24-LS1432\G,                                                               
Mischel,  2/7/06,  for  discussion  purposes.    There  being  no                                                               
objection, Version G was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON,  referring to page 3,  line 30, which adds  a new                                                               
paragraph, inquired as to the intent of this section.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HANNAH MCCARTY,  Staff to Representative   Beth  Kerttula, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, noted  that  the  aforementioned section  was                                                               
added at  the recommendation of David  Brower, Assistant Attorney                                                               
General.     She  explained  that  this   section  adds  marriage                                                               
brokering, advertising,  dating, and social referral  services to                                                               
the list of  positions under which background  information may be                                                               
obtained.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA recalling  an  earlier question,  agreed                                                               
that the language  of the bill should be more  specific in regard                                                               
to who is required to  give background information.  In addition,                                                               
she said, the  bill is presently under the  statutes which govern                                                               
occupational licensing.   She  opined that  this language  may be                                                               
more appropriate  in the domestic violence  statutes, adding that                                                               
Mr. Brower also suggested this.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA, in  response to  comments, agreed  that                                                               
the definition of "marriage broker  or advertiser" should include                                                               
the  phrase "outside  of the  United States."   In  addition, she                                                               
said, this should be changed in Section 1.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[HB 402 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:22:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
4:22:54 PM.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                

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