Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/28/1995 03:10 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE April 28, 1995 3:10 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James, Chair Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chair Representative Ivan Ivan Representative Caren Robinson Representative Ed Willis MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Brian Porter Representative Joe Green COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HR 9: Relating to Alaska Garden Week. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE SB 150: "An Act establishing Dutch Harbor Remembrance Day." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE CSSB 80(FIN): "An Act relating to police protection service areas in certain unified municipalities; and to police protection provided by the state in certain municipal areas." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER SHERMAN ERNOUF, Administrative Assistant Senator Tim Kelly Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building. Room 101 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: 465-3822 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement SB 150 SENATOR STEVE RIEGER Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building Room 516 Telephone: 465-3879 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 80 GREG MACDONALD, Secretary-Treasurer Alaska Public Safety Employees Association 5700 East Tudor Road Anchorage, AK 99507 Telephone: 269-5604 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 80 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HR 9 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA GARDEN WEEK SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ELTON,Robinson JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/27/95 1596 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/27/95 1596 (H) STATE AFFAIRS 04/28/95 (H) STA AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 102 BILL: SB 150 SHORT TITLE: DUTCH HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) KELLY, Taylor, Hoffman, Zharoff, R.Phillips, Leman, Miller, Halford, Sharp, Torgerson, Green, Donley, Duncan, Salo, Ellis, Frank JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/05/95 873 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/05/95 873 (S) STA 04/18/95 (S) STA AT 03:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 04/20/95 (S) STA AT 12:00 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 04/20/95 (S) MINUTE(STA) 04/21/95 1138 (S) STA RPT 5DP 04/21/95 1138 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 04/22/95 (S) RLS AT 02:30 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 04/24/95 1208 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 4/24/95 04/24/95 1209 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/24/95 1209 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 04/24/95 1209 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 150 04/24/95 1210 (S) COSPONSOR(S): MILLER,HALFORD,SHARP, 04/24/95 1210 (S) TORGERSON,GREEN,DONLEY,DUNCAN,SALO, 04/24/95 1210 (S) ELLIS,FRANK 04/24/95 1210 (S) PASSED Y18 N- E2 04/24/95 1215 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/25/95 1491 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/25/95 1491 (H) STATE AFFAIRS 04/28/95 (H) STA AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 102 BILL: SB 80 SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVICES SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) RIEGER JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/09/95 222 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/09/95 222 (S) STA, FIN 03/02/95 (S) STA AT 03:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 03/02/95 (S) MINUTE(STA) 03/03/95 468 (S) STA RPT 1DP 4NR 03/03/95 468 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DPS #1) 03/27/95 (S) FIN AT 09:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 03/28/95 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 03/30/95 840 (S) FIN RPT CS 2DP 4NR 1AM SAME TITLE 03/30/95 840 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DPS) 04/10/95 956 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 4/10/95 04/10/95 960 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/10/95 960 (S) FIN CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/10/95 960 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 04/10/95 960 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 80(FIN) 04/10/95 960 (S) PASSED Y15 N5 04/10/95 960 (S) KELLY NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 03/30/95 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 04/10/95 (S) RLS AT 08:30 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 211 04/10/95 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 04/11/95 980 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 04/11/95 980 (S) LETTER OF INTENT OFFERED BY HOFFMAN 04/11/95 980 (S) AM 1 TO LETTER OF INTENT ADPTD UNAN CON 04/11/95 980 (S) (S) ADOPTED LETTER OF INTENT AS AMENDED 04/11/95 981 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y14 N5 E1 04/11/95 984 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/12/95 1277 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/12/95 1277 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE 04/27/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 04/27/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-57, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR JAMES called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m. #HR 9 - ALASKA GARDEN WEEK REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN moved to pass HR 9 out of committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS said, as a summer-time gardener, he really appreciated the resolution and commended the sponsor of the resolution. CHAIR JAMES asked if there were objections to moving the bill. There were none, so HR 9 was moved from committee. SB 150 - DUTCH HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY Number 026 SHERMAN ERNOUF, Administrative Assistant to Senator Kelly, reported Senator Kelly had introduced this bill to commemorate events at Dutch Harbor during World War II. These events are important to Alaska's citizens, though they have gone unrecognized. The recapture of the islands there constitute the only land battles fought on North American soil during World War II. This bill honors those persons who gave their lives at Dutch Harbor in recapturing Attu and Kiska from the Japanese, and further it honors all Native Aleuts who were interned and those who were captured and sent to Japan during the War. SB 150 would proclaim June 3 of every year as Dutch Harbor Day to honor these patriots. Number 179 CHAIR JAMES remarked she remembered the conflict in Alaska during World War II, though many people were not aware of it because it was kept very quiet at the time. When her husband was in the Navy, he spent time at Dutch Harbor, Amchitka, and Adak. She is very supportive of this bill. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS said he agreed with Chair James' comments. Representative Ogan said "ditto," and so did Representatives Robinson and Ivan. Number 107 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said seeing that it's sunny and warm outside, and this is a really fine bill, he would make a motion to move SB 150 from committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. There were no objections, so the bill was moved. SB 80 - MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVICES Number 117 CHAIR JAMES said, "Yesterday when we were meeting we had SB 80 on the schedule, and there was a motion to move SB 80. We had limited discussion on the bill. There were not four votes to move it from committee, so it is still here. The sponsor, Senator Rieger, is here to give us another presentation." SENATOR STEVE RIEGER said he had several testifiers available in favor of the bill the day before but had asked them not to testify because of time constraints. He had one person there presently who would be available for questions. He added SB 80 was an attempt to be fair to the state, wherein a group of residents have volunteered to self-assess themselves to cover the state costs for police protection services in their area. Number 156 CHAIR JAMES restated her concerns as a result of her conversations with the Department of Public Safety and with Commissioner Otte, in which she was told the department would be willing to testify regarding their concerns but they feel they are here to enforce the law, not to make the law, and they like to take a neutral position. One of their concerns was what happens if there is a contract to service a certain area with state troopers, and troopers are hired for that job which would not take troopers away from other areas, and then one of them retires, quits, or leaves. This means a trooper must be pulled from another area of the state to meet the contractual agreement, and the number of troopers in other parts of the state is reduced. Number 180 SENATOR RIEGER responded the language of the bill does not address a required number of troopers in an area. The bill states troopers are expected to be present, but are not contractually obligated to be there. If there are emergencies in other areas, the trooper could be gone for an extended length of time to meet the emergency. The community totally understands that. Number 200 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he was the chief of the "outlaw" fire department in his area, a small private nonprofit corporation not in a fire district. As a result, he knows about "mutual aid agreements," and he knows fire departments respond only to an area which pays tax for their service. Without a mutual aid agreement, they will not respond outside their area regardless of how serious the situation is. If troopers are asked to respond out of their district, there is a liability exposure and they will not do it, and that is why fire departments will not do it. If there were a mutual aid agreement with the city of Anchorage they would be able to respond. Number 242 SENATOR RIEGER said he had a conversation with the commissioner, during which the commissioner related that this had been discussed internally and the liability question was not an issue in this case. They do cross-respond already, so they must have worked it out. The area he is talking about is already covered by troopers. Troopers and Anchorage Police Department (APD) people do already respond across the lines. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted currently there is no contract, so troopers have an obligation to provide service anywhere in the state. Number 268 CHAIR JAMES observed the troopers are already obligated to be in Senator Rieger's area because they have no other protection. So they are there, but not via a contract. She asked Senator Rieger who is in charge in Senator Rieger's district and who would someone talk to as the "boss" who speaks for the people in the Hillside District on such issues as contractual arrangements. SENATOR RIEGER replied the bill allows a petition to be signed by the registered voters in the area, and the question would then appear on a ballot. It would be ratified through a local option, and the cost described in the petition would then be assessed through the normal property tax assessment. There is no executor per se, because it is all an automatic process. There would be no written contract. CHAIR JAMES observed this would be giving people an opportunity to pay money to the state for services they are already getting. Number 285 SENATOR RIEGER said yes, it would reduce hard feelings which have occurred. They are not looking for a free ride. REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON asked why would they do this instead of just opting into local police department services and paying it like everyone else in Anchorage does. SENATOR RIEGER said the technical response is that Anchorage was never totally unified. The unification charter between the borough of Anchorage and the city of Anchorage stated the unification would happen service by service, as the local population in an area voted that service in. The Eagle River - Chugiak area does not have building codes because they have never voted it in. Both there and in South Anchorage there are limited road service areas which have not voted themselves into municipal road service. The area is riddled with non-unified pieces, and his district is one. They never voted police services in, and part of the original deal was that they would not have to until they chose to. The actual reasons why a vote proposition has not passed are more complex. He has avoided dragging the legislature into their issues and problems regarding services provided because it would not be productive. Number 319 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Senator Rieger what made him think they would agree to this. SENATOR RIEGER replied there was a thorough survey in the earlier 1990s in which 90 percent of the people said they would pay. They only wanted the right to not be forced into the annexation of the local service until they were ready. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked how the money would be collected. SENATOR RIEGER replied through property tax, with the money being sent to the state instead of the city. Number 339 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was under the impression the Department of Public Safety had serious concerns about the bill, but that the Alaska Public Safety Employees Association was in favor of it. She asked why the association was in favor of the bill. SENATOR RIEGER replied they have never had a problem with patrolling the area. The only reason the official position of the Department of Public Safety as a whole is in opposition is because they were directed by the Governor to oppose it. Number 356 CHAIR JAMES noted the department would still not say they favor it because they have been ordered to take a neutral position. She added her concern is that she sees the bill impose a tax for a service; that tax would be collected by the municipality of Anchorage and then presumably forwarded to the state. She asked if the municipality of Anchorage would then keep some money for administration. SENATOR RIEGER replied, yes. CHAIR JAMES then said, "You and I both know what happens to program receipts. After the money gets to the state, how are we going to know that money is going to buy more troopers, or whether they will just take that money and still not have enough troopers?" Number 370 SENATOR RIEGER agreed this was a valid concern and said this budget cycle has demonstrated more than ever before the need to distinguish program receipts, and he will not support a budget cap which does not make this distinction. He added the problem is everywhere, not just Public Safety. CHAIR JAMES agreed, adding there must be a way to measure the net when comparing yearly budgets as opposed to the bottom line, including the money spent on program receipts. Number 393 GREG MACDONALD, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alaska Public Safety Employees Association, said his association supports this issue; they believe it is the right of individuals to choose the service they want. Number 400 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if they felt comfortable with the fact that this affects only one area. She related her experience on the Juneau Borough Assembly in 1987 when municipalities were required to take on police powers. They taxed themselves, and yet they have gone from 20 to 4 troopers. MR. MACDONALD replied this group of people were willing to pay for their service; they were not just sitting with their hands out saying "Give me." REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON observed they had been one of the richest areas in the state which had refused to tax themselves while other areas had taxed themselves to cover police powers, so she did not sympathize with them. She said there was no guarantee even if this bill passed that they would agree to pay for themselves, which would put them back to where they were before. Number 421 CHAIR JAMES said she was beginning to realize this bill is an opportunity for them to collect a tax from themselves and pay it to the state for services they are already getting. She related her experience trying to get a trooper in Healy, saying she had supported this bill last year because she thought it would help, but she realized this bill would not allow this. It definitely defines only Anchorage and only one area. SENATOR RIEGER responded to Representative Robinson's concern first, saying the only reason the former propositions were voted down was because the voters were never given the chance to vote on the local option they wanted. Regarding the narrowness of this bill, that was by request of other legislators who wanted to see how it would work in his specific area. Number 456 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked what the Governor's position on this issue is. SENATOR RIEGER replied the Governor directed the department to take a position against it. The Governor is a former mayor of Anchorage. Their approach is that there is an entitlement to take over services that were never contemplated in the charter as being an entitlement. He noted Representative Willis was there when the charter fights were occurring. Number 469 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS said this is a terrible spot to be put in with members of his own municipality. Being candid and honest, he said Anchorage is a first-class, home-rule municipality, and they went through a unification proposition years ago; Eagle River went in "screaming and kicking," and he was part of the group that kept it at bay for ten years. Finally the courts put them in with Anchorage. They were told it would end duplication, and Anchorage does furnish them troopers. The Anchorage municipal police service his area. The only other area not incorporated is the Hillside area, and it remains an unprotected area except for the state troopers being there. The charter provides for handling it locally, and many people consider this bill to be an end run around a charter. He even had one constituent ask to have Senator Rieger's bill amended to include Eagle River. This opened up a can of worms. He referred to a letter he and other committee members had received overnight from Anchorage Mayor Mystrom in opposition to the bill stating he would work to convince Hillside to join Anchorage's police service area. The letter continued SB 80 would make this almost impossible. Number 538 CHAIR JAMES noted the letter also said SB 80 would allow Hillside not to pay other parts of police expenses. She referred to the problem in her district where her area wishes to withdraw from the Fairbanks North Star Borough and form the North Pole Borough. Part of what has prompted it is a constant fight against unification because North Pole has a high tax base but is not getting the services for the taxes they are paying; their taxes pay for services received by the more urban areas. The more urban areas are protesting the separation because it would cause them to pay more taxes. She noted this is exactly what is happening in the Hillside District. Mayor Mystrom objects because Hillside would be paying for police service but not for all the administrative services in the rest of the downtown area. She remarked to Representative Willis that she understood the people of Eagle River were standing by to see how successful the North Pole Borough might be because they might want to do the same thing. There is a trend going now. The Boundary Commission has up to 12 factions wanting to govern themselves. Number 573 SENATOR RIEGER addressed the mayor's efforts to convince South Anchorage to join, saying he believed if SB 80 passed the mayor's efforts would be easier because the mill rate increase would be gradual. Also, the bill requires renewal every three years and would allow the mayor to continually offer annexation. He noted the editor of the Star said this was the right thing to try. Number 599 CHAIR JAMES said there was an ongoing trend with people wanting government closer to home. People on the fringe of large boroughs are tired of paying for services that only go to people in the center of the borough. She added it is a difficult step, because once something is in place it is almost impossible to take it away. Number 609 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN said he initially did not support SB 80, but now that he understands it he respects the self-determination efforts of the people in the community. He added the bill has a two-year phase out if the people decide on unification, and he now supports the bill. CHAIR JAMES said she understands it better now too and was glad they had this opportunity to hear more about the bill. Number 619 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if the two-year phase out was a sunset provision. SENATOR RIEGER said every three years the ballot is voted on again. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if he had considered sunsetting all of the provisions of the bill. SENATOR RIEGER said he had not. Number 636 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented he had discussed the bill earlier with Senator Rieger. His concern was that the bill might prevent the Anchorage Police Department from ever going into Hillside and it might be a way to duck paying taxes in an area where homes are worth more than in other areas, despite the fact that residents work downtown, drive and shop downtown, and utilize Anchorage police protection whenever they are off the hillside. Too many Alaskans have gotten used to getting something for nothing. Number 670 SENATOR RIEGER said they do pay plenty of property taxes to Anchorage, and this is just an expression of desire for more local control. All the commercial property in Anchorage is outside the area being considered in the bill, so that all goes to the Anchorage Police Department. CHAIR JAMES observed it was the same thing as in North Pole where they pay the taxes and someone else gets the benefits. She said it will probably be a case where they will resist until forced by the courts to unify, but in the meantime she admires their spunk. Number 692 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN made a motion to move CSSB 80(FIN) from the House State Affairs Committee with a zero fiscal note and individual recommendations. Representative Willis asked that he be shown as reluctantly objecting. A roll call vote was taken. Representative Willis voted no. Representatives Robinson, Ivan, Ogan and James voted yes. The bill was moved. ADJOURNMENT CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 4:00 p.m.