Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/28/1995 03:10 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                
                  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                    
 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                    
 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                   
 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                   
 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                
 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               
 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                  
 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.                                
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at 4:00 p.m.                                

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