Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/18/1995 10:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE March 18, 1995 10:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James, Chair Representative Joe Green Representative Ivan Representative Brian Porter Representative Caren Robinson MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chair Representative Ed Willis COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 130: "An Act relating to agency review of public comment on the adoption, amendment, and repeal of regulations; relating to the examination of proposed regulations, amendments of regulations, and orders repealing regulations by the Administrative Regulation Review Committee and the Department of Law; relating to the submission to, and acceptance by, the lieutenant governor of proposed regulations, amendments of regulations, and orders repealing regulations; and requiring agencies to make certain determinations before adopting regulations, amendments of regulations, or orders repealing regulations." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 163: "An Act requiring an agency to provide compliance cost estimates for proposed regulations, amendments, and repeals of regulations under certain circumstances." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 201: "An Act relating to prisoner litigation, post-conviction relief, sentence appeals, amending Alaska Administrative Rule 10, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure 204, 208, 209, 215, 521, 603, and 604, and Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure 11, 33, 35, and 35.1; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 234: "An Act relating to administrative adjudication under the Administrative Procedure Act." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 122: "An Act authorizing payment of a portion of the motor fuel tax on boats and watercraft as refunds to municipalities; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 226: "An Act permitting the provision of different retirement and health benefits to employees based on marital status." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 227: "An Act clarifying a statute relating to persons who may legally marry; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 10: "An Act relating to payment for emergency services responding to certain motor vehicle accidents." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER BRUCE CAMPBELL, Administrative Assistant Representative Pete Kelly State Capitol, Room 513 Juneau, AK 99891 Telephone: 465-2327 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 130 DEBORAH BEHR, Regulation Attorney Alaska Department of Law 600 Court Building Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 130 and HB 163 ROD MOURANT, Administrative Assistant Representative Pete Kott Capitol Building, Room 432 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3777 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 163 LAURIE OTTO, Deputy Attorney General Criminal Division Alaska Department of Law 717 Court Building Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3428 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 201 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General 1031 W. 4th Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 Telephone: 269-5100 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 234 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 204 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3764 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsored HB 122 WILLIAM HUNTER, Bethel City Manager Box 388 Bethel, AK 99559 Telephone: 543-2087 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 122 PAUL DICK, Juneau Operations Officer Income and Excise Audit Division Alaska Department of Revenue 11th Floor, State Office Building Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3691 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on amendments to HB 122 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 513 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-2327 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsored HB 226 RANDALL BURNS, Executive Director Alaska Civil Liberties Union P.O. Box 201844 Anchorage, AK 99520 Telephone: Not Available POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and HB 227 MIKE HUMPHREY, Statewide Director of Benefits University of Alaska Statewide System 212 Butrovich Building University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK 99709 Telephone: 474-7894 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 226 PAUL EAGLIN, Associate General Council University of Alaska Statewide System 202 Butrovich Building University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK 99775-5160 Telephone: 474-7259 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 226 MARK TUMEO 1324 Summit Drive Fairbanks, AK 99712 Telephone: 457-6818 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported amendment to HB 226 JENNINE WILLIAMSON 2454 Killarney Fairbanks, AK 99709 Telephone: 479-8242 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported amendment to HB 226 SANDRA BOATWRIGHT 3118 Chinook Fairbanks, AK 99709 Telephone: 479-7835 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported amendment to HB 226 NANCY WINFORD P.O. Box 80202 Fairbanks, AK 99709 Telephone: 479-7835 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported amendment to HB 226 CINDY BOESSER 875 Basin Road Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 789-1445 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and 227 SUE HARGIS, Chair Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance P.O. Box 21542 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: 586-2410 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and 227 CAROL ANDERSON P.O. Box 22493 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: None POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and 227 TALMADGE BAILEY P.O. Box 34542 Juneau, AK 99803 Telephone: 790-2519 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and 227 DANIEL COLLISON Vice President Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance P.O. Box 2146 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: 789-5001 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 227 ROBERT STALNAKER, Director Division of Retirement and Benefits Department of Administration 6th Floor, State Office Building Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-4470 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 226 MARY ALICE MCKEEN, Attorney 212 West 9th Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 586-4061 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 227 SHERRIE GOLL Alaska Women's Lobby P.O. Box 22156 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: 463-6744 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 226 and 227 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 110 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-4968 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsored HB 227 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 422 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-4457 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsored HB 10 DAVID TYLER Alaska Fire Chief's Association 1610 Hans Way Fairbanks, AK 99709 Telephone: 479-5672 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 10 MARK JOHNSON, Chief of Emergency Services Section Department of Health and Social Services 431 N. Franklin, 3rd floor Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3027 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 10 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 130 SHORT TITLE: REGULATION ADOPTION PROCEDURES & REVIEW SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KELLY,James JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/27/95 157 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/27/95 157 (H) STA, JUD, FIN 02/14/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 519 02/14/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/14/95 (H) ARR AT 12:00 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/15/95 396 (H) COSPONSOR(S): JAMES 02/21/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/21/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/21/95 (H) ARR AT 12:00 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/22/95 (H) ARR AT 04:00 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/22/95 (H) MINUTE(ARR) 02/22/95 (S) MINUTE(ARR) 02/23/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/09/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 163 SHORT TITLE: COMPLIANCE COST ESTIMATES REQUIRED SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT,Toohey,Kelly,MacLean JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/08/95 272 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/08/95 272 (H) STA, FIN 02/22/95 456 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KELLY, MACLEAN 02/28/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/28/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/09/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 201 SHORT TITLE: PRISONER LITIGATION AND APPEALS SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/27/95 488 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/27/95 488 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 02/27/95 488 (H) 3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW,CORR,DPS) 02/27/95 488 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM) 02/27/95 488 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/07/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/07/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/14/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/14/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/16/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 234 SHORT TITLE: ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/06/95 590 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/06/95 590 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 03/06/95 591 (H) 14 ZERO FISCAL NOTES(ADM,DEC,F&G) 03/06/95 591 (H) (DHSS, LABOR, LAW, DPS, DOT) 03/06/95 591 (H) (4-DCED, 2-DOE) 03/06/95 591 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/08/95 665 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DNR) 3/8/95 03/14/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/14/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/16/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 122 SHORT TITLE: MARINE MOTOR FUEL TAX SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MOSES,Grussendorf,Mackie JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/25/95 132 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/25/95 132 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE 03/16/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 226 SHORT TITLE: REPEAL OF MARITAL STATUS PROTECTIONS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KELLY,Rokeberg JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 565 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 565 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, HES, JUDICIARY 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 227 SHORT TITLE: DEFINING WHO MAY MARRY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG,Kelly JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 565 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 565 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, HES, JUDICIARY 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 10 SHORT TITLE: PAYMENT OF COSTS OF DWI ACCIDENTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) DAVIES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 23 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 23 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 23 (H) STA, JUD, FIN 03/18/95 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-29, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives James, Green, Ivan and Robinson. Chair James stated a quorum was present. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 130 - REGULATION ADOPTION PROCEDURES & REVIEW Number 028 BRUCE CAMPBELL, Administrative Assistant to Representative Pete Kelly, presented a sectional analysis which outlined the differences in Version O of HB 130. He stated Section 1 clarifies the powers and the goals set by the legislature for the Administrative Regulation Review Committee. Section 2 has been streamlined, deleting the thirty day time frame for the Lieutenant Governor's office to transmit pre-filed regulations to the Administrative Regulation Review Committee. Section 2 also now specifies the reasons the Lieutenant Governor may return final draft regulations to an agency, including allowing the agency to respond to the Department of Law and the Administrative Regulation Review Committee's comments. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked for a clarification of the Department of Law's role. MR. CAMPBELL answered there is not a full agreement between his office and the Department of Law on what this means. CHAIR JAMES added the committee will be hearing from the Department of Law. Number 200 MR. CAMPBELL returned to the sectional analysis, stating there were virtually no changes to Section 3. Section 4 is a relatively new section which attempts to maintain consistency with Section 6 and to clarify the Department of Law's role in reviewing regulations for statutory consistency. Section 5 matches the 30-day period allowed the Regulation Review Committee to the 30 days given the Department of Law. He clarified it is not a hard deadline, since it can be extended by the Department of Law, but it allows the Lieutenant Governor to track regulations in the Department of Law and requires the Department of Law to provide an expected time frame for its review of a complex regulation. Number 245 CHAIR JAMES inquired about who would file an order for repeal. MR. CAMPBELL replied the Lieutenant Governor could file an order for repeal. CHAIR JAMES asked if this would include an order for repeal that comes to the Lieutenant Governor from someone else. MR. CAMPBELL replied yes, this was part of the code throughout the Administrative Procedures Act. Number 261 MR. CAMPBELL said Section 6 clarifies some earlier confusion and also exempts Board of Fisheries and Board of Game from providing examples of economically feasible methods of complying with the proposed regulatory action. Number 311 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON asked why the Boards of Fish and Game are exempt, and why those boards were picked over other boards, for example the Board of Education. MR. CAMPBELL replied, because they were more familiar with the Board of Fish and the Board of Game, and those boards are recognized as having one of the most open and speedy public processes in the state since they need to respond quickly within an applicable season. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if the State Board of Education might have similar needs, regarding students. MR. CAMPBELL responded this was good input and could make an excellent amendment. Number 335 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN expressed concern about fishery allocations being rejected by the Lieutenant Governor and agreed with exempting the Board of Fisheries. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON clarified she agreed the Board of Fisheries should be exempt; her concern was that perhaps other boards should be exempt as well. Number 361 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said as he reads the bill, if there is an amendment to an existing regulation, the agency is required to give an example of an economically feasible method of complying. He asked if this meant a method for the public to comply, a method for all the users affected to comply, or a method for the agency to comply. MR. CAMPBELL said it is intended to be an example of compliance for the users and the impact upon them, not the agency's compliance. He said the word "private" had been inadvertently eliminated, but that the intent is to give examples of how the individuals impacted by the regulation can comply. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he is still concerned with the agency's ability to give an example that sufficiently covers how an individual might comply. MR. CAMPBELL gave an example of standards set for drilling mud in an oil well; the agency could propose using "drilling mud XYZ" and that example would show a product which had been analyzed and met necessary requirements. Number 419 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked, using the same example, whether it included economically viable alternatives. MR. CAMPBELL replied the issue is to require examples of how compliance with a regulation can be achieved in an economically feasible manner. Number 443 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said "economically" is a big, big area, and he still was not clear on the meaning. MR. CAMPBELL said regulations can become too specific and thus cost too much, and this is not the legislative intent. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he still "saw a train wreck happening there." Number 476 CHAIR JAMES said it appears to her that maybe there are some regulations where it is the intent of the legislature to be very specific. She asked if there is no economically feasible method for compliance, would stating "there is none" be approved under the language of the bill. MR. CAMPBELL answered "no." CHAIR JAMES asked if this meant every regulation written would have to have an economically feasible method of compliance. MR. CAMPBELL answered "yes." Number 488 MR. CAMPBELL continued with the sectional analysis, stating Sections 7 and 8 are virtually unchanged; they just clarify constructional language making the added requirements of Section 6 exempt from emergency regulations. Number 495 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN moved acceptance of CS for HB 130, Version O, dated 3/17/95, as the work draft. There were no objections. Number 501 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON referred to the need for date changes on Mr. Campbell's flow chart. She asked why the entire power for these decisions is given to the Lieutenant Governor and not the Governor. Number 516 MR. CAMPBELL replied the Lieutenant Governor has traditionally been the repository for regulations and they were not quite willing to break with that tradition. He added if the legislature gave that power to the Governor, whose job is largely that of delegating authority to commissioners, directors, regional managers, and others, then authority over regulations would be delegated to an unelected official. In addition, the Governor cannot be expected to read all the regulations. This would bring the regulation process to a halt. He agreed deciding who has that authority it is an important issue, because the responsible party is authorized to create laws. Number 546 CHAIR JAMES said as she understand current statutes, final draft approval is given by Department of Law. She asked if the Lieutenant Governor refused to sign a regulation, would it go back through the Department of Law and what would happen to it after that, under HB 130. MR. CAMPBELL replied it would go directly back to the adopting agency, which would respond directly to the concerns of the Lieutenant Governor. He added HB 130 is not attempting to be a regulation reform bill; it is trying to codify some of the better existing practices within the Administrative Procedures Act. He said there are larger goals and questions which need to be addressed with respect to the entire delegation of authority to the Administrative branch, and he is interested in working on that separate from the small tasks which HB 130 is trying to achieve. Number 570 CHAIR JAMES returned to her question, stating currently the Department of Law's statutory attorney is the individual who has the final say, and asking if HB 130 gives that final authority instead to the Lieutenant Governor. MR. CAMPBELL said the Department of Law would still have the authority to say "no," but the Lieutenant Governor would have the authority to have his concerns addressed. Number 582 DEBORAH BEHR, Regulations Attorney with the Department of Law, discussed issues regarding the CS for HB 130. She said the CS made substantial improvement but she still had concerns. She believes the bill is unconstitutional by delegating the power to return regulations directly to the Lieutenant Governor, instead of the delegating it to the Governor who could in turn delegate it to the Lieutenant Governor, because the Constitution states the Governor is the head of the Executive Branch. Under HB 130, if the Governor and Lieutenant Governor had a disagreement, the Lieutenant Governor could continue to return regulations to state agencies even though the Governor and the entire Cabinet thought the regulations were in the public interest and followed the law. MS. BEHR added HB 130 has no limit on the number of times the Lieutenant Governor can send regulations back; if there is a policy disagreement between a Commissioner and the Lieutenant Governor, the bill could continue being sent back an unlimited number of times. MS. BEHR clarified her role, saying under existing law she may not look for policy issues; she can only investigate whether regulations are legal, constitutional, and whether they follow the process. The Lieutenant Governor currently files regulations and asks for briefings on regulations but has no role in policy issues. Policy issues are handled at the Cabinet level. MS. BEHR added the existing system has some checks and balances. Regulations can be challenged in court for declaratory judgement as arbitrary and capricious. A less expensive way which the average person can use is to petition the state agency to look at a regulation; this can even be done by letter, without hiring an attorney, so there is no real cost. Many people are not aware of this petition process, which is in the Administrative Procedures Act. Number 621 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON inquired if the commissioners have a responsibility to respond to such a petition. MS. BEHR replied the commissioner must either disapprove the petition or "set it on for notice" within 30 days. If this is not done, an attorney can bring a declaratory judgement to make the commissioner take an action on the petition. Number 636 MS. BEHR continued, saying as she reads HB 130, the Boards of Fish and Game are exempt only from giving an example of an economically feasible method, which is a very small part of the process. The Lieutenant Governor could send regulations back at any other point in the process, which would create "total chaos in the fishing season." If these Boards are to be exempted completely, HB 130 does not do that. Number 651 MS. BEHR discussed page 2, line 14, which refers to the Regulation Review Committee providing comments within 30 days. This could make a mandate that the Board meet every 30 days; it would be difficult to get a quorum during the summer and during elections. It might be more appropriate to state, "If they are going to issue comments, they have to do it within 30 days." That would address her concern with the bill being so "open-ended, that they could provide comments for years." MS. BEHR referred to the next section which deals with returning regulations to the Lieutenant Governor, reiterating it may be unconstitutional, and also she was concerned because some regulations cannot wait the full 30 days. Number 679 CHAIR JAMES asked if the "emergency regulations" provision would generally solve this problem when an answer is needed sooner than 30 days. MS. BEHR replied she did not believe so, because the standards for emergency regulations in Alaska require "the immediate preservation of the public health, safety, and welfare," and there is another section of the Administrative Procedures Act which says "emergencies are to rarely occur." MS. BEHR mentioned she was confused because when a regulation is disapproved by the Department of Law for legal reasons, they return it to the commissioner directly without giving it to the Lieutenant Governor. She could not tell whether HB 130 asks her to do the disapproval letter then give it to the Lieutenant Governor and require him to return it, which seems to create extra paper work and delay; or if it would set up a situation where state agencies have a right to respond to legal advice by the Department of Law which would set up a perception that legal issues are a negotiation process. She added the attorney general is the chief legal officer in the state and has the final call on whether something is constitutionally legal. Number 703 MS. BEHR referred to page 3, lines 9 and 10, saying she had given a drafted suggestion to the staff amending it to read "along with the notice, send a copy of the regulation." TAPE 95-29, SIDE B Number 000 MS. BEHR added the requirement for providing a transcribed, written record of testimony on regulations creates an added cost and a time delay, which is contrary to an effort to reduce the cost of state government. Number 024 MS. BEHR cited page 4, line 9, suggesting if the bill sponsor is trying to create dialogue between the state agency and the public on fiscal costs, then "fiscal costs" should be included. Requiring written responses to all oral comments would substantially add to costs. She expressed concerns about lines 13 through 16 requiring an agency to weigh, evaluate, or otherwise utilize public comment that is nonfactual or an expression of preference; this would eliminate a great deal of public input. MS. BEHR referred to page 4, line 19, which requires a written example of an economically feasible method for complying, stating she fears this is an "open door for court suits." She suggested adding an exception for "good faith," or adding a prohibition against someone bringing suit based on the agency's example. She added some industries are on the cutting edge of scientific information and might come up with much better methods. Number 117 CHAIR JAMES called Mr. Campbell back to the table to respond to Ms. Behr's comments. Number 130 MR. CAMPBELL said the bill sponsor's intent may not have been expressed well, in light of Ms. Behr's comments, and her suggestions would be incorporated. Specifically, he stated on page 4, lines 17-20, a definition of "economically feasible" is needed. Number 175 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred to page 2, the danger of "getting into a loop" and the difficulty of getting a quorum in certain seasons of the year. MR. CAMPBELL replied maybe the "shall" should be changed to "may," and the Regulation Review Committee should be given a time limit for responding instead of a mandate to respond. CHAIR JAMES asked whether this change would mean if the 30 days passed without a response from the Committee, the opportunity to respond would be gone. MR. CAMPBELL said this was correct. Number 200 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the Committee did not respond within the 30 days, would this default be considered the same as an acceptance. MS. BEHR responded that in order to avoid the Committee's lack of response being interpreted to mean the legislature affirms a policy, the bill should say to the Committee, "If you are going to comment, do it within 30 days." REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if tape recordings would work in place of written records of testimony, to save time and money. MR. CAMPBELL responded in the affirmative. He added he recognized the need to more completely exempt the Boards of Fish and Game. MS. BEHR reiterated requiring written records of publicly-noticed meetings creates additional cost and time delay. Number 240 CHAIR JAMES commented on her experience with the concealed carry regulations. She had several requests for written transcripts of the public testimony; it would have been a massive amount of transcription, and she was anxious to get the regulations through the process, so she settled for the tapes instead. Number 253 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON referred to placing limits on the number of times the Lieutenant Governor could send regulations back, stating she agreed this would be a good idea. MR. CAMPBELL agreed. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON commented the bill sponsor would have to determine what he thought would be a fair number, but she felt strongly a limit needed to be stated in the bill. Number 290 CHAIR JAMES spoke to Mr. Campbell, stating a number of changes had been discussed and requested by the State Affairs Committee. She noted he had agreed to these changes, and requested he closely review the minutes of this meeting and, if the bill is moved at this meeting, address these changes. MR. CAMPBELL responded the changes and comments voiced today were excellent, and part of a valuable process. He stated he and the bill sponsor were committed to address those points. Number 325 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN made a motion to move CSHB 130 from the State Affairs Committee, with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note, and with requested changes noted. Number 337 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON commented she would not stop the process, but she believed the bill sponsor's intent was not achieved. She noted there is a desire to streamline the regulation process and stop bad regulations, but HB 130 does not accomplish this; in fact it causes more problems than it solves. She hopes, as the bill moves on, it will be redrafted to achieve what everyone wants. She added there is a long ways to go before that happens. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN agreed, declaring the bill is what he wants from a State Affairs position, but from perhaps a legal position it would need a lot of work, and the transcript of suggestions made in this meeting will be valuable. With that in mind, he would vote to move the bill. Number 365 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were objections to moving the bill. There were none, so CSHB 130(STA) passed out of the State Affairs Committee. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 163 - COMPLIANCE COST ESTIMATES REQUIRED Number 386 ROD MOURANT, Administrative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott, presented a blank committee substitute work draft for HB 163, 9-LS0661/C dated 3/16/95. He reported the only change appears on page 2, lines 5 through 9, precluding an agency which has prepared a cost compliance estimate in good faith from being challenged in court. Draft C was prepared based on concerns raised by Representative Porter. Number 416 DEBORAH BEHR, Regulations Attorney for Department of Law, stated the "good faith" provision to protect agencies from lawsuits is very valuable, but it could create lawsuits unless the bill prohibits private parties from suing. She expressed concern that "costs" are not defined in the bill; it is unclear whether it includes indirect costs, overhead, and private costs to the customer. She prefers the "example" choice in the previous bill. She added the Boards of Fisheries and Game should possibly be excluded from being sued by private parties if the cost of state government is to be cut. Number 466 MS. BEHR referred to page 2, line 3, saying it is too open-ended and invites court suits. Number 472 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. Behr if she had considered how to define "costs." MS. BEHR said she would talk to the Office of Management and Budget, and work with the sponsor. She suggested the sponsor speak to the legislative auditor also. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked about also exempting the State Board of Education. MS. BEHR said she did not feel as strongly about the Board of Education because they can screen regulations before they go out for public notice, whereas the Boards of Fish and Game have to give public notice of every proposal. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked where an exemption for the Boards of Fish and Game would fit in the bill. MS. BEHR said a new Section (c) would have to be added reading "for the purposes of this section, `State Agency' does not include the Board of Fish and the Board of Game." Number 500 CHAIR JAMES stated she would like to move this bill on to the Finance Committee with a request for the sponsor to address these legal concerns. She does not want the State Affairs Committee to appear neglectful in addressing these legal issues, so she wants assurance from the sponsor of HB 163 that appropriate amendments will be presented to the Finance Committee. Number 535 MR. MOURANT noted the concerns just expressed by Ms. Behr were new to him. He added her concerns do deal with financial issues, and he will certainly call them to the attention of the Finance Committee and work with Departments of Law, Management and Budget, and the co-sponsors of HB 163 in adopting appropriate changes. Number 535 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she strongly wants the sponsor to exempt the Boards of Fish and Game and to include a definition of the cost of compliance. She asked if the sponsor could do a sponsor substitute including these changes. Number 576 CHAIR JAMES said she did not recommend doing a sponsor substitute. Number 576 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he felt comfortable the proposed changes would be addressed in the Finance Committee. He moved to accept the CS, version C, as the working document. There were no objections. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN made a motion to move CS HB 163(STA) from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note, with the understanding that concerns brought forth by the State Affairs Committee would be addressed at the next committee of referral. There were no objections; therefore CSHB 163(STA) was moved out of committee. Number 600 CHAIR JAMES called the meeting back to order after a short break. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 201 - PRISONER LITIGATION AND APPEALS LAURIE OTTO, Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, presented HB 201. She explained the Criminal Division, under her supervision, is comprised of District Attorney's Offices, the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Corrections. When Governor Knowles took office he instructed her to find areas where she could cut back, and she realized the area of corrections' litigations had seen a 20 percent increase every year for the past 6 years. In looking at what other states had done, she discovered this has been a growing problem nationwide, with bored prisoners filing recreational litigation. She added if "you or I" file a civil suit, we pay filing fees and are at financial risk, whereas a prisoner is indigent, pays no filing fees, and is at no financial risk. Other states, New York being the first, have imposed minimal filing fees on prisoners, even if they are indigent. New York saw a 50 percent decrease in the number of cases filed. This is the first focus of HB 201. It imposes a filing fee of 20 percent of the 6-month average monthly balance in a prisoner's inmate account, thus creating a financial stake on the part of the person filing a lawsuit. She added HB 201 also requires a signed statement that the suit is not malicious or frivolous or brought in bad faith. Number 686 MS. OTTO continued, the second focus of HB 201 is to put some finality in judgments in criminal cases by stating requests for post-conviction relief must be filed within two years of the date of conviction or within one year after the conclusion of an appeal, and by placing a limit on the number of relief applications which can be filed in state court. Throughout the bill, she said, they have tried to balance prisoners' rights of access to the courts in cases of legitimate need while getting the state out from under the burden of having to respond to excessive petitions. MS. OTTO concluded that third, the bill puts a limit on sentence appeals filed by prisoners, aiming at appeals the courts do not usually accept, but which "clog up the system and cost a lot of money." TAPE 95-30, SIDE A Number 000 MS. OTTO added if a prisoner tries to withdraw a plea before sentence, it is treated the same as in current law. If a prisoner tries to withdraw a plea after sentencing, it is moved into the time limits just outlined in the section on post-conviction relief applications. Number 036 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented it sounded like a good bill, and asked if a person convicted for 20 years could not request reduction of sentence. MS. OTTO replied if a person makes an agreement with the state to plead guilty with the understanding the sentence cannot exceed 20 years, that person cannot file an appeal to have the sentence reduced to less than 20 years. Number 084 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to move HB 201 from committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, the bill passed out of committee. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 234 - ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS Number 096 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General, testifying via teleconference from Anchorage, presented HB 234. She stated the bill is an effort to save time and money in Administrative Procedures Act (APA) adjudication. It clarifies language in the APA, changes the requirement for "registered mail" to "certified mail," allows telephonic hearing, clarifies witness expenses, gives agencies discretion to allow reasonable types of discovery, clarifies standards for burdens of proof, and sets time limits for reconsideration petitions. Number 204 CHAIR JAMES commented she appreciated the efforts to smooth out the process and said she was sure there would be money saved as a result. Number 210 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred to the "or" on page 3, asking, if a party objecting to telephonic witnessing lived 31 miles away, would his objection be over-ruled. MS. WILLIAMS replied no, personal participation could always be required if telephonic participation would substantially prejudice the objecting party's rights. Number 225 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to move HB 234 from committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. Hearing no objection, HB 234 was moved out of committee. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 122 - MARINE MOTOR FUEL TAX Number 235 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES, Sponsor, presented HB 122, stating it would provide a mechanism for distributing back to municipalities a portion of marine fuel taxes for expenditures on water and harbor facilities. Fifty percent of the collected tax revenue would be distributed. He commented that many coastal communities depend on harbor facilities as the engine driving their economy; HB 122 would provide assistance to local governments for development and maintenance of docks and harbors. Number 284 REPRESENTATIVE MOSES referred to this type of improvement in Cold Bay in his district, made by taking money from Unalaska because he considered Cold Bay a higher priority. REPRESENTATIVE MOSES added that unless fishery money is allocated in this manner, much of it will be given to the state of Washington. He said this is overlooked when the legislature talks about economic development. Number 335 REPRESENTATIVE MOSES said Alaska needs facilities for boats 60 feet and under. In Norton Sound, for example, there was no place to moor small boats last winter so the city had to lift them out of the water for storage on the city dock, at much expense; some of the boats filled with water and were damaged anyway. Bristol Bay has a minimum of 500 boats sitting on the beach eight to ten months a year. These boats could fish in the Dutch Harbor area if there were facilities to accommodate them. He distributed three amendments. Number 400 WILLIAM HUNTER, Bethel City Manager, testified via teleconference from Bethel. He said HB 122 would provide revenues to maintain their harbor area, and the city of Bethel supports the bill. Number 415 PAUL DICK, Juneau Operations Officer, Income and Excise Audit Division, Department of Revenue, said HB 122 would cause the Department of Revenue to share approximately 50 percent of current marine fuel taxes with municipalities. Currently, they collect $8.2 million a year in marine fuel taxes, so $4.1 million would be shared to local municipalities and communities, which is reflected in the fiscal note. Motor fuel wholesalers would be required to report their locations so income could be allocated to the correct municipalities, and this would be an additional reporting requirement. An additional position would need to be funded to track the fuel reporting. Number 460 MR. DICK stated the Administration opposes this bill because of the impact on revenues. He added he had worked with the sponsor on amendments. Number 470 REPRESENTATIVE MOSES asked the committee to adopt the three amendments he distributed. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN requested a summary of the amendments. Number 485 MR. DICK responded that amendment number 1 changes language in the bill to reflect the taxing of motor fuel, not boats. MR. DICK continued, amendment number 2 adds a new subsection on page 1, line 2, after "municipalities" to clarify that the tax is shared at the final point of sale. MR. DICK said amendment number 3 also adds a new subsection on page 3, line 14, to clarify tax revenue collected is also at the final point of sale. Number 508 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented these amendments resolved his questions, and he made a motion to move all three amendments, numbered 1, 2, and 3, dated 3/17/95. There were no objections. CHAIR JAMES said she would do a committee substitute to reflect these three amendments. Number 518 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN made a motion to move HB 122, as amended, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There were no objections, so HB 122 was moved. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 226 - REPEAL OF MARITAL STATUS PROTECTIONS HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 227 - PROHIBIT SAME SEX MARRIAGES Number 524 CHAIR JAMES noted there had been requests that House Bill 226 and 227 be heard together for the sake of time, and added she wanted to hear all teleconference testimony today on both bills. Number 546 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY, sponsor of HB 226, stated the Superior Court recently decided unmarried couples are entitled to the same employment benefits as married couples. This decision was the result of a broad interpretation in the Human Rights Act prohibiting discrimination based on marital status. The court concluded the University of Alaska violated this human rights directive when health benefits were refused to the unmarried partner of a University employee. It is feared this decision will have a far-reaching impact as other agencies and finally private industry are sued for failing to recognize domestic partner status in their benefit packages. Because the definition of domestic partner is not grounded in contract and tradition as is marriage, it is impossible to predict future relationships that would qualify. Workers' benefit packages are targeted for distribution to an unknown panoply of partners who are able to attach themselves to state employees. HB 226 attempts to reduce the uncertainty employers face as a result of this court decision and to close the door on a possible onslaught of domestic partnerships created solely to gain benefits under the court decision. CHAIR JAMES asked if the sponsor statement on HB 227 should be heard now. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he had no objection to hearing testimony on the two bills together, but wanted HB 226 considered separately. He passed out a letter from the Human Rights Commission supporting HB 226. CHAIR JAMES requested the teleconference testifiers be brief and invited written testimony by FAX. She asked testifiers to specify which bill they are addressing. Number 601 RANDALL BURNS, Executive Director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, said the ACLU is opposed to HB 226 because he does not believe the concerns which Representative Kelly listed are legitimate. Judge Greene's decision stated the University could not discriminate on the basis of marital status in determining which employees would receive additional compensation in the form of third party health coverage. The ACLU also does not believe in allowing this discrimination and thinks the state should be ashamed for considering HB 226. He agreed with Judge Greene's statement that "certainly unmarried heterosexuals have no more claim to financial interdependence than unmarried homosexuals." He also agreed with the statement at the end of her decision that "this does nothing more than prohibit the University from using marital status to determine whether or not to provide its employees with additional compensation in the form of subsidized health care coverage for the employees' partners." He added HB 226 does nothing to solve the constitutionality of denying benefits to the partners of employees on the basis of marital status. Number 674 MIKE HUMPHREY, Statewide Director of Benefits for the University of Alaska system, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, stressing the importance of the University designing a benefits plans which meets the eligibility issues. He stated the University believes HB 226 will help clarify these issues and he supports the bill. Number 685 PAUL EAGLIN, Associate General Council employed by the University of Alaska, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in support of HB 226. He stated he represented the University of Alaska in the Tumeo and Wattum v. University of Alaska litigation, and he felt HB 226 was well-tailored to address the difficulty they ran into in the litigation. Number 694 MARK TUMEO testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, referring to an amendment distributed earlier by Representative Robinson. CHAIR JAMES informed Mr. Tumeo the amendment had not been submitted yet, but he could testify on the amendment. MR. TUMEO said he was one of the litigants in the lawsuit Tumeo and Wattum v. University of Alaska. He asked the committee to accept Representative Robinson's amendment. TAPE 95-30, SIDE B Number 000 MR. TUMEO added HB 226 "guts the Human Rights Law of Alaska" and sets a precedent allowing the majority to create special rights for married individuals to be paid more than unmarried individuals. He said Representative Robinson's amendment addresses Representative Kelly's stated concerns without discriminating on the basis of marital status. States which have adopted laws similar to Representative Robinson's amendment have experienced no premium increases and only an average of .3 percent increase in applicants. Number 050 JENNINE WILLIAMSON testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, encouraging the committee to accept Representative Robinson's amendment to HB 226. She believes it is wrong to discriminate against unmarried couples who are in long-term committed relationships. She added if economics is the issue, there are many other avenues to explore, such as "cafeteria-style benefits" where all employees are compensated equally. Number 087 SANDRA BOATWRIGHT testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, supporting Representative Robinson's amendment, and stating any couple in a long-term committed relationship should receive the same benefits as married couples. Number 102 NANCY WINFORD testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, stating HB 226 as currently written discriminates against people who are not legally married and asking the committee to accept the amendment which would help distinguish committed relationships from casual relationships. Number 148 CHAIR JAMES noted the arrival of Representative Brian Porter. CINDY BOESSER read the following testimony written by her mother, urging a no vote on HB 227. "HB 227, a bill opposing the possibility of two people of the same sex ever having the right to "marry" in this state, is aimed directly at gay and lesbian persons. Since eventually the courts of this country are going to deal with this issue, it seems to me that the great state of Alaska has much more important things to do with its time and energy at this point than to hassle this question. "The thing which brings me to this hearing is that I see in this seemingly innocuous bill only the bare beginning of oppression of homosexual people in this state. Bringing down what is referred to as the `Homosexual Agenda' is one of the misguided priorities of some people in this country right now. Since that `agenda' is really only to be treated as equal persons before the law and therefore is totally consistent with the Constitution of this state and this country, I find it unthinkable that any citizen would want to deny equal treatment to any other citizen. "I was born in 1925 and became a part of what I am ashamed to say was the "silent majority" when it came to Hitler's attempt to annihilate the Jews. I feel the pain of my silence and the silence of most Americans at that time. What has come to me as a renewed shock is the discovery that at the same time, Hitler was attempting to annihilate the homosexuals in his country, a fact which didn't make much news at the time. I cannot stand by and let this new attempt by a vocal minority put a foot in that same door. HB 227 may be what some have called "not worth our time," but I see it as an insidious beginning which must be stopped in its tracks. "Mildred P. Boesser 17585 Lena Loop Juneau, AK 99801" MS. BOESSER also read her mother's statement urging a no vote on HB 226. "This bill is another thinly disguised attack on homosexual persons and runs in tandem with HB 227. "HB 226 is saying that unless two people are "married" they cannot have the benefits that "married" persons enjoy, even though their commitment to each other is for a lifetime and they hold property in common. This is a Catch-22 for homosexual persons, as they cannot be married, a fact that HB 227 would like to cast in concrete. "HB 226 discriminates on the basis of gender. Don't waste the state's time and energy on a bill which is contrary to the law. "Mildred P.Boesser 17585 Lena Loop Juneau, AK 99801" Number 207 MS. BOESSER next read a statement from Marsha Buck opposing HB 226. "Madam Chair and Members of the House State Affairs Committee. "I am Marsha Buck, Chairperson of the Juneau PFLAG Chapter. PFLAG stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. PFLAG is relatively new to Juneau and is one of more than 340 local PFLAG groups representing approximately 27,000 families of gay, lesbian and bisexual persons. PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons and their families through support, education, and advocacy to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. "We are opposed to both HB 226 and 227 as currently written. "We are opposed to HB 226 because we feel that it illegally discriminates against our sons, daughters, and friends on the basis of their marital status, a discrimination that is clearly addressed by our Alaska Constitution. Our daughters and sons, in their pursuit of happiness similar to your pursuit and to my own, enter into committed, long-term domestic partnerships and while in those committed partnerships are entitled to compensation, including health coverage for their dependents, that is equal to that received by persons in the domestic partnerships that we call marriage. I would not come to you to seek special rights for my daughter, but am here today to insist upon the same rights for her as are legally available for dependents in other spousal situations. "My daughter's partner is working on her masters degree at a university in the Lower 48 in a state that is plagued by far greater financial concerns than our wonderful state. My daughter simply had to present 2 pieces of documentation from a list of 5 possible that showed financial dependency effective for at least 6 continuous months in order to be covered under her partner's health insurance plan. While my daughter, who already has her masters degree, was looking for work when they first moved to the university community, this coverage was crucial for her health and well-being. It would make me feel both sad and angry to think that she could not come home to Alaska where she was born and raised and be treated with the same equality and respect. "Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing that HB 226 has been removed from further consideration. "Marsha Buck 8445 Kimberly Street Juneau, AK 99801" MS. BOESSER read testimony from Marsha Buck opposing HB 227. "Madam Chair and Members of the House State Affairs Committee: "I am Marsha Buck, Chairperson of the Juneau PFLAG Chapter. PFLAG stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "We are opposed to HB 227. We are opposed to HB 227 because we feel that it illegally discriminates against our daughters and sons on the basis of gender. As you are aware, it is all but impossible here in Alaska for our sons and daughters to pursue the happiness of actual marriage at this time, and yet you now propose to add a further layer of discrimination on top of that which already exists. I am wondering if you have addressed important questions about the bill such as: "What existing problem does this bill solve? "How many couples who do not fit this bill's definition have requested marriage licenses? How many have been denied licenses? "Would this bill take our state back to the way the Deep South was when it was illegal for African Americans and Caucasians to marry? "Could this bill be interpreted to mean that same sex marriage is a crime? "As I listened to the recent campaign speeches and the promises at the outset of this Legislative session, I heard this Legislature vow to remove government from the personal lives of Alaskans and focus on public needs. I heard promises to reduce government and only focus on what government really should be involved in. This bill does exactly the opposite! It would be difficult to get much more involved in the personal lives of Alaskans than HB 227 proposes to do! To give our daughters and sons an opportunity for the happiness that comes with both a legal and committed, long term relationship, I ask that you remove HB 227 from any further consideration. "Thank you for your time and attention. "Marsha Buck 8445 Kimberly Street Juneau, AK 99801" Number 284 SUE HARGIS, Chair of Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance (SEGLA), testified first on HB 226, urging the committee to stop the bill and not pass it from committee because it sets up discriminatory practices in paying some individuals more for equal work just because they have entered into the only acceptable legal contract. A spousal equivalency contract is also legally binding. The state should have the option to pay benefits to all who have entered into a contract, or none of those who have entered into a contract. Just because IRS and other agencies discriminate based on marital status, this does not give Alaska the right to discriminate upon that basis. MS. HARGIS testified in opposition to HB 227, stating it is not in the best interests of the state of Alaska to rewrite the statute to clarify who may enter into a marriage contract. HB 227 will likely end up creating expensive litigation and is discriminatory on the basis of gender. If HB 227 is intended to prevent homosexual committed relationships, this statute revision will not accomplish that. The state has no business regulating who may enter into civil contracts. Number 369 RANDALL BURNS, Executive Director of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, testified again via teleconference from Fairbanks, in opposition to HB 227. The ACLU sees no reason for the legislation. In addition, HB 227 would open the state to expensive litigation. To date, no state recognizes same-sex marriages, and Alaska is not at risk of this. Mr. Burns asked, "Why fix something that ain't broke?" Number 402 CAROL ANDERSON testified in opposition to HB 226, stating it would amend the Human Rights Statutes to allow denial of benefits to a person not legally married to the employee. Health benefits are a tangible and valuable part of an employee's salary, and married people in effect have higher wages than their single co-workers because their spouses are also covered by insurance. This amounts to married workers being paid over $300 a month more than single workers if they work for the state. Judge Greene rightfully concluded this practice is illegal discrimination on the basis of marital status. Employers need to either drop insurance benefits for spouses of employees or extend those benefits to the non-married partners of employees. HB 226 would codify an illegal practice. She added she supports Representative Robinson's amendment. MS. ANDERSON urged the committee to take no action on HB 227 and to let the current gender-neutral Alaska statute regarding marriage stand. Number 438 TALMIDGE BAILEY said many of the points he planned to cover have already been covered. He said, "We are told who we can go to the prom with, who we can take to the office picnic, and it continues....People who do that derive their authority from institutions such as the state, so the state is the one who needs to take the steps to right the wrong." Number 470 DANIEL COLLISON, Vice President of the Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance, testified in opposition to HB 226. He recalled a conversation with his father three years ago when he told his dad he was gay. Despite his apprehensions, his father and all his siblings freely and abundantly extended their love and support. He added he intends to marry in the future, and he knows his father and mother will extend to the man he chooses as a partner all the same warmth and graciousness which they have shown to all five of their other sons- and daughters-in-law. He asked, if the sex of his marriage partner is no concern of his parents, how can it be the concern of the members of the State Affairs Committee. Number 516 BOB STALNAKER, Director, Division of Retirement and Benefits, Department of Administration, testified in support of HB 226, stating it serves to support and certify the division's current policy. Under statute the state is required to provide health insurance for employees' spouses and dependent children. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Mr. Stalnaker if his department had any problems with her amendment which defines domestic partners of employees and outlines rigid standards for contracts between them. MR. STALNAKER replied he had read the draft and said it serves to qualify a legal relationship, which marriage also does. Absent marriage and absent a spousal relationship, his department would still interpret the law as they currently do, with traditional definitions. Number 548 MARY ALICE MCKEEN stated she is an attorney, licensed to practice law in Alaska since 1979, a mother of three, and happily married since 1979. She testified in opposition to HB 227 as an individual, with no formal affiliation. She believes people should be able to choose whom they marry unless there is a compelling state interest in preventing it, for example with very young people or people related by blood to a certain degree. Otherwise, it should be a personal choice, and the state has no compelling interest in prohibiting same-sex marriages. She believes same-sex relationships are as healthy as opposite-sex relationships. Homosexuality is no longer medically defined as deviant, and prohibiting such relationships facilitates nonstability. Number 615 CHAIR JAMES referred to Ms. McKeen's statement that there should be some rules set down for marriage, prohibiting close blood relationships for example, because it could cause a problem in the offspring. She asked if some time in the future same-sex marriages were allowed, should close blood relationships still be prohibited from marrying? MS. MCKEEN said there would be no offspring to be genetically harmed, but there might be other factors which could harm a child whose parents are closely related. She said if there would be no legitimate state interest in preventing harm to the children, it probably should not be prohibited. Number 640 SHERRIE GOLL spoke for the Alaska Women's Lobby in opposition to HB 226 and 227 and in support of Alaska's Human Rights laws as they stand today. She supported Representative Robinson's proposed amendment. She added the court provided options in the Tumeo case, giving eligibility for coverage only to those couples who have a legal and financial responsibility for each other, and suggesting couples in domestic partnerships could sign an affidavit substantiating an interdependent relationship. Number 690 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON reminded the committee that "spousal equivalent" exists even in the legislative ethics code. She moved her amendment number 1. There were objections. TAPE 95-31, SIDE A Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said there are many reasons people enter into a long-term relationship without marrying, and her amendment would allow them to sign a contract and have the same benefits as those who use the legal contract of marriage. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY noted the amendment "takes HB 226 and makes it go away" while letting the problems it addresses, stand. He said the amendment creates discrimination based on finances. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON replied the amendment had five criteria, not all dealing with money. Number 082 CHAIR JAMES called for the vote on amendment number 1. Representatives Green, Ivan, Porter and James voted no. Representative Robinson voted yes. The amendment failed 4 to 1. Number 097 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER made a motion to move HB 226 with attached zero fiscal note and individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, HB 226 was moved out of committee. Number 118 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG. sponsor of HB 227, informed the committee that in 1974 the Alaska Reviser of Statutes, in an attempt to create gender-neutral language, changed the marriage statute from the words "man and woman" to "person." Former Representative Clem Tillion, Chair of Judiciary at the time, was contacted, as was former Representative Genie Chance who championed "gender-neutralling" the statutes in Alaska; both confirmed there had been no testimony of any substance regarding the change. HB 227 merely returns the language to its proper form, as it appeared prior to the 1974 legislative session. Number 215 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG reported that circumstances generated by Judge Greene's decision in the Tumeo-Wattum case in Alaska, as well as the Behr v. Lewin case in Hawaii, have created a compelling state interest to take action now. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the Hawaii Supreme Court had made an initial ruling that marriage licensing procedures in Hawaii allowed same sex marriages. This created a fire-storm in the Hawaiian Islands, and Representative Terrance Tom introduced a bill which says a marriage must include a man and a woman. The bill passed the Hawaiian Legislature in 1994. The primary impetus in passage of the bill was to re-insert the legislature into the development and passage of public policy; it was believed the Judicial system had usurped the legislature's power in formulation of public policy. Alaska's statutes are similar, and could be similarly interpreted to allow same-sex marriages, especially in light of Judge Greene's ruling. He referred to a footnote on page 15 in Judge Greene's decision which states, "The University would have to show that same-sex marriages are prohibited in Alaska. The Alaska Supreme Court has not been asked to decide whether Alaska's marriage statute allows for same-sex marriages....The University has provided no legal argument that such marriages are prohibited." Number 255 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG concluded this is an open invitation to generate a lawsuit in the state of Alaska. This can be corrected very simply by amending the statute to read "by one man and one woman..." The purpose and intent of HB 227 is to explicitly clarify who is eligible to marry and to prohibit same-sex marriages. His intention is not to bring up a divisive issue, but to stop a debate which could become divisive and expensive, and to cut off potential lawsuits "at the pass." Number 270 MR. BURNS testified again via teleconference from Anchorage, asking Representative Rokeberg to explain for the record why he is opposed to same-sex marriages. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied there is a compelling state reason to maintain existing law that revolves around marriage and domestic relations in Alaska, relative to the impact of economic and other problems which could occur in matters such as child support, moral and legal obligations of primary breadwinners. The bill also makes a public statement about the importance of family. He believes the primary rationale in the legal contract of marriage is to have children. Number 312 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER made a motion to move HB 227 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There were no objections, so HB 227 was moved out of committee. HSTA - 03/18/95 HB 10 - PAYMENT OF COSTS OF DWI ACCIDENTS Number 325 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES, sponsor of HB 10, read his sponsor statement: "HB 10 is an act that requires DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) offenders convicted of causing a motor vehicle accident to pay for the costs of emergency services that respond to the accident. "The problems and associated costs of driving while intoxicated are clear. According to national statistics, 43 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve alcohol. According to the Department of Public Safety, 40 percent of all DWI arrests involve repeat offenders. Furthermore, alcohol related accidents nationwide result in an economic loss of $46.1 billion per year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1990. "House Bill 10 attempts to address these problems in two ways. First, as a deterrent to those who drive while intoxicated by raising the financial penalty for doing so. By raising the financial burden to those breaking the law, HB 10 emphasizes the seriousness of the crime. Second, this bill shifts the financial responsibility of the emergency services that respond to alcohol-related accidents from law abiding, tax paying citizens to the convicted DWI offender. "Three states, California, Indiana, and Kansas, have similar reimbursement laws." Number 348 DAVID TYLER said he and the Alaska State Fire Chiefs Association strongly support the bill. HB 10 can help them achieve their goals of reducing the loss of life in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES pointed out the CS, work draft 9-LS0060/F, which changes page 1, line 7, by adding "if the convicted person or the convicted person's insurer has not already paid the cost..." to deal with the insurance issue. He also would like to insert the word "reasonable" in front of "cost" on line 6. He added he had gotten approval from those in favor of the bill to make these changes. Number 388 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN moved the amendment on line 6. There were no objections. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN moved to adopt the CS version F, as amended, as the working document. There were no objections. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES pointed out letters of support in the packet from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the Alaska Municipal League. CHAIR JAMES thanked Representative Davies for submitting the bill, saying she thought it was a good bill. Number 404 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN inquired about the definition of "emergency medical technician," whether this would include community health aides in rural communities. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he was not sure. MARK JOHNSON, Chief of the Emergency Services Section, Department of Health and Social Services, said community health aides in Alaska are all trained initially as emergency trauma technicians, and a large number of them have attained emergency medical technician certification. If the bill only refers to "emergency medical technician" it would not include every community health aide. He suggested that adding "emergency trauma technician" would include every health aide in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he would be interested in including "emergency trauma technician" in the bill language. CHAIR JAMES remarked on the difficulty of meeting concerns of both urban and rural areas in Alaska, stating legislation should be in the best interest of the state as a whole. Number 428 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he would offer the addition of "health aide" in the definition at the next committee. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he would like to include all those "qualified, with a certificated license." REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to move CSHB 10 (STA) with individual recommendations, and attached zero fiscal note. There were no objections. CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 2:00 p.m.