Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/20/1997 08:21 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE February 20, 1997 8:21 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James, Chair Representative Ethan Berkowitz Representative Fred Dyson Representative Kim Elton Representative Mark Hodgins Representative Ivan Ivan Representative Al Vezey MEMBERS ABSENT All members present. COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 65 "An Act relating to partial-birth abortions." - MOVED HB 65 OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE BILL NO. 13 "An Act relating to marine safety training and education programs." - MOVED HB 13 OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE BILL NO. 50 "An Act relating to the use of broadcasting to promote or conduct certain classics or sweepstakes; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 50 OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE BILL NO. 81 "An Act relating to the members of the board and staff of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 65 SHORT TITLE: PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT, Kohring, Ogan JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/97 50 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/13/97 50 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 02/06/97 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/06/97 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/07/97 277 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOHRING 02/18/97 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/19/97 408 (H) COSPONSOR(S): OGAN 02/20/97 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 13 SHORT TITLE: MARINE SAFETY TRAINING & EDUCATION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN, Ivan, Grussendorf, Dyson JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/97 30 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97 01/13/97 30 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/13/97 30 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE 01/22/97 125 (H) COSPONSOR(S): DYSON 02/20/97 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 50 SHORT TITLE: ALLOW BROADCASTING OF RAFFLES AND CLASSIC SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HODGINS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/97 41 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97 01/13/97 41 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/13/97 41 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE 02/20/97 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3777 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 65. GEORGE DOZIER, JR., Legislative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott State Capitol, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3777 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 65. REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 434 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2487 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 13. RON DEARBORN, Director Alaska Sea Grant College Program University of Alaska, Fairbanks P.O. Box 775040 Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 Telephone: (907) 474-7086 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 13. JERRY DZUGAN P.O. Box 2592 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-3287 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 13. LARRY BUSSONE, Health Program Manager II Division of Public Health Department of Social Services P.O. Box 110610 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0610 Telephone: (907) 465-2349 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 13. LAURA MEASLES, Executive Director Kenai Chamber of Commerce 402 Overland Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-7989 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 50. STEVE HOLLOWAY, Operations Manger/Marketing Director KSRM Radio HC 2 Box 852 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-9430 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 50. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-17, SIDE A Number 001 The House State Affairs Standing Committee was called to order by Chair Jeannette James at 8:21 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives James, Dyson, Hodgins, Ivan and Berkowitz. Members absent were Vezey and Elton. HB 65 - PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS The first order of business to come before the House State Affairs Standing Committee was HB 65, "An Act relating to partial-birth abortions." Number 027 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, Alaska State Legislature, stated the intent of HB 65 was clear. There were comments made during the testimony that needed to be clarified, especially the comments surrounding the constitutionality of the bill by the attorney general's staff. He called on George Dozier, Jr., Legislative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott, to cover the finer points of the bill. Number 045 GEORGE DOZIER, JR., Legislative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott, stated that the House State Affairs Standing Committee took testimony from two attorneys regarding the constitutionality of the bill. Janet Crepps, The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, indicated that HB 65 was "patentably unconstitutional." Kristen Bomengen, Department of Law, indicated that the bill was unconstitutional. "Madame Chair, I am confident that both of these individuals testified in good faith, and honestly and sincerely believed that they are correct in their assessment of HB 65." Mr. Dozier, Jr. was equally confident that both of these attorneys in their assessment were incorrect. House Bill 65 was not unconstitutional either under the federal constitution or the state constitution. MR. DOZIER, JR. explained that the Fourteenth Amendment included a right to privacy, and that this right was broad enough to encompass a woman's decision to obtain an abortion. The court also held that the right to decide to have an abortion was not absolute. The right was limited by the legitimate interest of the state or to protect potential human life. The Roe v. Wade court indicated tha the state could not interfere with a woman's decision to obtain an abortion during the first-trimester. However, after the first- trimester it could regulate to protect the woman's health, and after viability the state could regulate or proscribe abortion, except where necessary for the life or health of the mother. The Roe court specifically and expressly rejected an argument that "a pregnant woman is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she chooses." MR. DOZIER, JR. further explained that the court found the state had a substantial interest in potential human life in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case. The interest extends throughout the pregnancy. The court also found that the opinions subsequent to the Roe v. Wade case undervalued the state's interest in potential human life. Consequently, the Casey court rejected the rigid trimester system established by the Roe court. It instead divided the pregnancy into two periods: pre-viability and viability. The Casey court indicated that during the pre-viability period the states could not place an "undue burden" on a woman's right to decide to terminate a pregnancy. The Casey court defined the term "undue burden" as regulations that either had the purpose or the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking the abortion of a non-viable fetus. The Casey court indicated that "subsequent to viability the state in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may if it chooses regulate and even proscribe abortion, except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgement for the preservation of the life or the health of the mother." In summary: First, the state had a substantial interest in potential human life that extends throughout a pregnancy. Second, prior to viability the state could not place an undue burden on the right to pregnancy, which means placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. Third, after viability the state could regulate abortion or even prohibit abortion, except where necessary for the life or the health of the mother. MR. DOZIER, JR. further stated that since partial-birth abortions span the last part of the pre-viability stage and extended all the way through the viability stage, HB 65 was designed to cover both periods. Hence, it must be analyzed with regards to both standards. He declared, "With all due respect, House Bill 65 more than meets those standards". House Bill 65 did not place an undue burden on the right to choose an abortion. It did not place a substantial obstacle either by intent, or in effect, in the path of women seeking abortions. It did not proscribe abortion, per say. It merely made one particular type of an abortion illegal. And, "I may add, a particularly egregious form." He further stated, "All other forms of abortion remain open to pregnant women." As the testimony from Dr. Peter Nakamura, Department of Health and Social Services, indicated, partial-birth abortions have not been performed in Alaska and would probably never be performed in the state. Thus, "Does House Bill 65, which prescribes an abortion which is not done in Alaska, place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortions in Alaska?" The answer by definition was, "No." The procedure was simply not available anyway. Was it really a substantial obstacle to require abortionists to conform to the standards already present and accepted? he wondered "That to my mind is no obstacle at all, let alone a substantial one." In short, all of the options presently available to women to obtain an abortion remain unaffected. Therefore, the first standard, applied to pre-viability pregnancies, was clearly satisfied. MR. DOZIER, JR. further explained the second standard that applied to viable babies was also satisfied. He reiterated, the Supreme Court recognized that the state could regulate or even proscribe an abortion, except where necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. House Bill 65 did not ban an abortion during this period, it merely banned a particular procedure. Therefore, it was more of a regulation than a proscription. House Bill 65 also contained an expressed exception applicable to the life of the mother. It did not mention the health of the mother for the following reasons: All forms of abortions presently in Alaska remain in effect, and a ban would not adversely impact the health of the mother as numerous evidence indicates. There were no obstetrical situations which require a partial-birth abortion to preserve the life or the health of the mother. In addition, Representative Kott indicated that the American Medical Association (AMA) voted-unanimously-to recommended the endorsement of the federal partial-birth ban. "In so doing it stated that the procedure was repulsive and is not a recognized medical technique." The former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, stated that "in no way can I twist my mind to see the late-term abortion as described, you know, partial-birth and then destruction of the unborn child before the head is born is a medical necessity for the mother." He reiterated partial-birth abortions were not necessary for the health of the mother. MR. DOZIER, JR. further stated that the legislature could conclude that partial-birth abortions were not necessary to preserve the health of the mother, and indeed could be inimicable to the health of the mother. Therefore, the pre-viability and the post-viability standards required by the Casey decision were satisfied. In addition, there were several permissible and compelling state interests that were advanced by HB 65. He cited, the cruelty and the gruesome act of sticking scissors into a baby's head. The state had a very strong interest in protecting human life from such cruel and gruesome actions. He also cited, a partial-birth abortion tended to mix the roles of physician and abortionist. A physician was considered a healer, while an abortionist was not considered a healer. He was concerned that in mixing these two opposing roles there would be a great danger that public confidence in the medical profession would be undermined. He also cited, a partial-birth abortion was inherently disrespectful of human life and dignity. In addition, the state had a vital interest in drawing a clear distinction between a legal abortion and infanticide. The partial-birth abortion blurred that distinction. "In my opinion, partial-birth abortions are fully constitutional under the guidelines established by the United States Supreme Court." MR. DOZIER, JR. turned to the arguments made by Ms. Janet Crepps and Ms. Kristen Bomengen. Ms. Crepps argued that HB 65 created an undue burden because partial-birth abortions were the safest procedure. He called that statement questionable. The committee members had been provided with an abundance of materials indicating that partial-birth abortions were not necessary for the health of the mother and actually presented a risk to her. Ms. Crepps also argued that the Supreme Court in the Planned Parenthood v. Danforth case held that the use of saline amniocentesis was unconstitutional because it forced the doctor to use a more dangerous method. And, HB 65 involved the proscription of a defined abortion procedure like in Danforth. However, Danforth he stated, was clearly distinguishable on three different grounds. First, HB 65 did not force women to use procedures that were less safe than partial- birth abortions. Second, the Danforth court emphasized that the proscribed method was the most prevalent available. In HB 65 the proscribed method was not even used in Alaska and other safe methods were available. Third, the Danforth court predated the Casey court; therefore, the analysis focused on whether the state advanced maternal health. The Casey court changed all that. Now, it is recognized that the state's interest could be asserted throughout a pregnancy. He declared, "House Bill 65 does just that. And, it may be expected that the right to assert that interest by the state would be weighed in any constitutional challenge. Danforth, quite simply, is distinguishable." Ms. Crepps further argued that the only court to review or ban a similar procedure in HB 65 invalidated it because for some women the prohibited procedure would be safer than other available procedures that was in the Women's Medical Professional Corporation v. Voinovich court case. The court held that D&X was safer than other methods and because it was more available than induction methods, its proscription was a substantial burden and therefore, unconstitutional. The House State Affairs Standing Committee had ample evidence to base a decision on safety. "Indeed the only medical testimony presented suggesting a need for a D&X procedure or partial-birth was presented by two doctors who clearly were not talking about partial-birth abortions. They appeared to be talking about late-term abortions in general." Moreover, the House State Affairs Standing Committee could not find, given the testimony of the Public Health Director, that partial-birth abortions were more prevalent than any other method in the state of Alaska. "In Alaska partial-birth abortions are simply not being done right now." Finally, Ms. Crepps argued that the privacy clause of the Alaska State Constitution would be violated by HB 65. "I don't know how she can be so certain about this," he declared. The Alaska Supreme Court had not yet decided an abortion case using this constitutional provision. The right was broader than the privacy right found by the court in the U.S. Constitution, but it was not absolute. And, "Certainly the right to privacy is not violated when an alleged abridgement is justified by a legitimate and compelling governmental interest." He stated, the government had a compelling interest to protect almost-born babies and to protect public confidence in the medical profession by not blurring the roles of physicians and abortionists. The government also had a compelling interest to protect the almost-born from this cruel, gruesome and undignified death. MR. DOZIER, JR. stated that Ms. Bomengen argued that the D&X procedure was the safest method; so, it was subject to constitutional challenge. He reiterated that there was amble evidence presented to the committee members that indicated D&X was not the safest procedure. Ms. Bomengen also argued that the definition was broad because it could encompass procedures other than partial-birth abortions. The definition in HB 65 does not overlap alternative methods. Ms. Bomengen also argued that the definition was vague. The definition in HB 65 is clear and precise. It establishes definitively what is proscribed, and persons of common intelligence can easily understand what is prohibited. "Thus there will not be a chilling affect. I think Ms. Bomengen has in mind a definition that was used in the statute examined by the court in Voinovich back in Ohio." The court, quite rightly, concluded that there was an overlap and that the statute was vague. But, the definition employed in the Ohio case does not resemble the definition in HB 65. "The termination of a human pregnancy by purposefully inserting a suction devise into the skull of a fetus to remove the brain, dilation and extraction procedure does not include either (indisc.--coughing) procedure of abortion of the suction aspiration procedure of abortion." The court found that this definition overlapped a normal D&E procedure because both involved inserting a section devise into the skull. Furthermore, the absence of the mental component of a criminal statute was somewhat persuasive. In HB 65 there was no expressed mental component; the required state of mind was knowingly. Ms. Bomengen's concerns regarding vagueness were misplaced. House Bill 65 does not resemble, in any respect, the statute considered by the Voinovich court. House Bill 65 was clear, precise and did not overlap any other abortion procedure. Finally, because it is clear there is no danger of arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement. MR. DOZIER, JR. concluded that in his judgement House Bill 65 would pass constitutional muster. Number 465 REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Dozier to distinguish between a partial-birth abortion and a late-term abortion? Number 470 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied that a partial-birth abortion could be either a pre-viable or a post-viable abortion. A partial-birth abortion could be a late-term abortion also. House Bill 65 did not proscribe late-term abortions; it only proscribed a certain procedure. Number 476 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated that Mr. Dozier, Jr. indicated the two doctors that testified described a late-term abortion. Number 478 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied, "Yes." That was what they had in mind. Dr. Nakamura also indicated that they were referring to late-term abortions. Number 486 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated that the doctors who would be guided by this law were confused thereby satisfying the vagueness issue. He asked Mr. Dozier, Jr. to respond. Number 490 MR. DOZIER, JR. referred the committee members to page 1, lines 11- 13, and read "(c) In this section, `partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery." He asked Representative Berkowitz what was unclear about that definition? Number 499 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied that the doctors who were to be guided by the law and who testified interpreted it as a ban on their procedures that they had practiced. Yet, Mr. Dozier, Jr. indicated that the procedures that they practiced did not constitute a partial-birth abortion. Yet, the fact that they were confused chilled their actions. Therefore, the bill was void for vagueness. MR. DOZIER, JR. wondered if that was a question or a comment. Number 509 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Berkowitz if his comment was also his position? REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied that was his question. CHAIR JAMES stated that Mr. Dozier, Jr. already answered that question. He believed it was very clear. She asked Representative Berkowitz if he believed it was unclear? Number 512 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied he believed it was unclear. He believed if the bill was rewritten it could be clearer. Number 514 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Berkowitz to explain what was not clear. Number 515 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied there were several issues unclear. First, the legal history that Mr. Dozier, Jr. recited described the procedures in terms of pre-viability and viability thereby injecting the new term "living." Second, doctors who were to be guided by the statute interpreted it in such a way that their actions would be banned thereby creating a chilling effect. Number 526 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Dozier, Jr. why the term "living" was not being used and instead the terms "pre-viability" and "viability?" Number 530 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied because the term "viability" was irrelevant to what was being proscribed in HB 65. The bill was constitutional regardless of whether it was applied to a pre-viable fetus or a viable fetus. MR. DOZIER, JR. further stated that there were certain practical difficulties when applying a partial-birth abortion early on. For example, the fetal tissue would be too tender to manipulate. Number 545 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Dozier, Jr. if there was a legal definition of the term "living?" Number 547 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied he thought Representative Berkowitz was suggesting that the definition was too vague because the bill did not define the term "living." A statute passed constitutional due process muster if it was certain enough so that it would apprise people of common intelligence of what was being made illegal. "I don't think that there is a doctor alive, let alone a man, woman, or child alive in the United States that doesn't know what living is. I don't think that living is necessary to be defined." For example, the bill would not apply to a dead fetus in a mother's womb. But, if the fetus was still alive and partially delivered vaginally then killed, the bill applied. Number 565 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated Mr. Dozier, Jr. indicated that the Voinovich court made finding of fact. Number 566 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied, "Yes, I did." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ further stated that the court indicated the partial-birth procedure was safe or could be the safest method. Number 569 MR. DOZIER, JR. replied, "I don't believe that the court actually made that determination." The case was a request for an injunction. The court had to decide if it was likely that once this matter went to a full trial that the plaintiff would prevail in court. The court issued the injunction. He did not know if the issue went to full trial, however. The legal history was not available. Number 587 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he misunderstood when Mr. Dozier, Jr. stated, "In all candor the finding of fact." He asked Mr. Dozier, Jr. for a copy of his testimony. MR. DOZIER, JR. replied he did not have a copy of his testimony; he was referring to written notes only. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated his written notes would be fine. MR. DOZIER, JR. replied he had private notations written on the pages. Number 596 CHAIR JAMES stated she would not compel Mr. Dozier, Jr. to give Representative Berkowitz his notes. A tape recording of the meeting was available. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated he did not care to have his private notes. A computer print out would be fine. CHAIR JAMES stated her decision had been made. She reiterated a tape recording of the meeting was available. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted for the record the cooperation of Mr. Dozier. Number 602 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS moved that HB 65 move from the committee with the attached fiscal note(s) and individual recommendations. Number 604 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated that the bill as it was written constituted an unwarranted governmental intrusion that abridged the rights of Alaskan women, doctors and families. This was not an abortion issue, it was a medical issue. In addition, testimony before the U.S. Congress indicated the medical necessity for this procedure. And, no one disputed the gruesome fashion of this procedure. There was no testimony, however, before the House State Affairs Standing Committee that indicated this was how the procedure was performed. The sponsor relied on the testimony of Nurse Shafer, of which, information indicated that her credibility was questionable. He found it difficult that the committee members would accept, without question, the testimony given in another body. Moreover, this issue was also a question of faith. There were many different position of faith. He read a list of churches that supported this type of procedure. "For me this was a question of faith in that I have faith in the constitution. And, I believe the constitution adequately circumscribes the procedures that are in question here." He urged the committee members to make a fair inquiry into what this issue was about. He reiterated this was not a question of an abortion, but of a medical procedure. He further stated that if the bill was well written there were ways he could support it. He also stated that this was a reason why a dialogue needed to occur between the members of the majority and the minority; there were middle grounds and alternatives. Number 654 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Berkowitz if he was insinuating that the dialogue did not happen? Number 655 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied, "I just caution that when the minority is silenced it tends to result in a tyranny of the majority." Number 658 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Berkowitz if he was suggesting that the minority was silenced? Number 660 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied, "I fell that I have been silenced in this committee." And, he also felt that given proper time he could have elicited testimony that would have helped him to rewrite the bill. CHAIR JAMES replied let's get back to the point. Let's get back to Representative Berkowitz's distress of the bill. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ further stated that the bill was void for vagueness. It would not pass constitutional muster. It endangered the health and well being of Alaskan women unnecessarily. It was not even practiced here in Alaska. "I think this is an exercise in political grand standing that we ought not be engaged in." The record reflected the arrival of Representative Al Vezey at 9:00 a.m. Number 664 CHAIR JAMES stated that she would vote to pass the bill out of the committee because it prohibited a gruesome procedure that was available when the life of the mother was at stake. The bill only prohibited the procedure when it was elected by the mother. It did not necessarily involve a threat to life of the mother. CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote. Representatives James, Dyson, Hodgins, Ivan and Vezey voted in favor of the motion. Representative Berkowitz voted against the motion. House Bill 65 was so moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 13 - MARINE SAFETY TRAINING & EDUCATION The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Standing Committee was HB 13, "An Act relating to marine safety training and education programs." TAPE 97-17, SIDE B Number 001 CHAIR JAMES announced for the record that Representative Kim Elton was attending a sub-committee meeting today. CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Alan Austerman, sponsor of HB 13, to present the bill. Number 010 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN, Alaska State Legislature, explained HB 13 was a remake of a bill that he introduced two years ago. It was passed out of the House of Representatives, then died in the Senate. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated in 1988 the United States Coast Guard took a strong look at what was going on as far as safety was concerned in the marine industry. Consequently, the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988 was passed. The Act took effect in 1991 and required the minimum in safety training and equipment for commercial fishing vessels. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) also helped Alaskans by providing marine safety instructor training some of whom teach drill instructor courses. Other marine safety instructors train the Alaska boating and fishing public, including many children and adults in marine safety. Of the 7,300 people AMSEA trained in 1995, 2,000 were from the commercial fishing industry and 3,700 were children. According to a study conducted in 1995 by the Native Health Service, AMSEA training significantly reduced fatalities among commercial fisherman. This coincided with a 50 percent drop in fishing fatalities in Alaska in the last four years. Moreover, AMSEA was a nonprofit, community-based information and training network supported by many volunteers. Its annual budget had ranged from $100,000 to $250,000 in the past five years. It had received 100 percent of its funding from the federal government, of which, the funding fell to $50,000 last year. And, this year it would fall to $0. The number of people training also fell to an all time low. The organization deserved the intervention of the legislature to ensure long-term stability. Moreover, the Fishermen's Fund was created before statehood and 100 percent of it was funded by commercial fishing license fees. Sixty percent of all license fees were dedicated to the fund. Since commercial fishermen were often the beneficiaries of the required marine safety training, it was appropriate to allow part of the interest of the fund to be used to fund some of AMSEA's marine safety programs. It was estimated that the Fishermen's Fund generated approximately $300,000 in interest a year. The bill requested up to approximately one-half of the interest earnings a year. The current interest earnings, he explained, of the Fishermen's Fund went into the general fund. Number 099 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN also stated that he had lived on or around water most of his life. Therefore, "The need to have education and training, particularly starting with our children, is to me very, very important." His office would be willing to provide a package of information from last year that included testimony from all over Alaska illustrating the need and benefits of AMSEA. He cited the decline in the death rate in the Interior of Alaska on the rivers was directly related to the Act. He reiterated the all time death rates had also decreased over the last four years. National publications also illustrated the direct benefit of survival as a result of the training received from the program. The state of Alaska did not have a water boat safety program. The AMSEA program was the nearest the state had, and probably the nearest it would get to one with the funding reductions. He concluded that the bill was passed out of the House of Representatives last year with a vote of 34 to 4. Number 145 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Austerman what types of problems did he see if the bill did not pass in regards to the issue of dedicating funds? Was the legislature authorized without the bill to give 50 percent of the interest income to a safety training program or an amount from the general fund that was comparable? Number 158 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN replied that the Fishermen's Fund was a pre-statehood dedicated fund. The interest earnings that went into the general fund were not part of the dedication. If the stream of interest earnings were interrupted, it would not touch to dedication itself. If the bill proposed money from the fund itself, however, then the dedication would be destroyed. Number 170 CHAIR JAMES said Representative Austerman misunderstood her question. The effect of HB 13 was to draw attention to the legislature and the relationship between the interest of the fund and the need for training. CHAIR JAMES further stated that the bill did not compel the legislature to do this, the wording only said "may." But, if the bill did not pass the legislature would probably never fund it. Therefore, the effect of this piece of legislation was not binding, it was only suggestive. Number 183 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN replied, "That is correct." A source of funding had been identified that was generated by the fishermen themselves. Number 190 CHAIR JAMES thanked Representative Austerman. She agreed that was the message that the legislature wanted to send. It could be argued that this was not necessary; the legislature could already do this. The act was the message. Number 194 REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON stated he had been trained under the program himself. He was certified to conduct vessel safety equipment inspections and man-over-board drills. He believed he could also charge a fee for his services and profit from the results of the program. He never had, however. CHAIR JAMES stated that the committee members appreciated his disclosure. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated that much of this legislation came from the loss of a seiner in Marmot Bay, and the efforts of the influential parents of one of the victims. He agreed with Representative Austerman that the rate of survival had decreased precipitously in Alaskan waters. This Act and the training had a profound affect on marine disasters in Alaska. "I will certainly encourage us to pass this bill and commend the author for his relentless pursuit of keeping this training available." Number 231 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked Representative Austerman if the bill placed an economic burden on Alaskans living remotely? How was the training conducted and certified? Number 235 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN replied the majority of the people involved were volunteers. A little bit of money was used for travel and equipment. The program reached out to 7,300 people with only a budget of $150,000. Number 250 RON DEARBORN, Director, Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, was the first person to testify via teleconference in Fairbanks. He worked with faculty throughout the university of Alaska system on research, education and marine extension efforts. The program was one of the original partners of the AMSEA. The relationship continued, proudly. The AMSEA had received national awards. The one critical partner missing was the Alaska State Legislature. He urged the committee members to support HB 13. Number 281 JERRY DZUGAN was the next person to testify via teleconference in Sitka. He cited that drowning was the number 2 cause of accidental death in Alaska. And, Alaska had the highest drowning rate in the nation. The rates were starting to fall, however. He asked the committee members to expedite the passage of the bill so that Alaskans of all ages could continue to take advantage of this program and reduce the needless loss of life due to drowning. Number 298 LARRY BUSSONE, Health Program Manager II, Division of Public Health, Department of Social Services, was the first person to testify in Juneau. He announced the department's support of the bill. Number 313 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS moved that HB 13 move from the committee with the attached fiscal note(s) and individual recommendations. There was no objection, HB 13 was so moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 50 - ALLOW BROADCASTING OF RAFFLES AND CLASSIC The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Standing Committee was HB 50, "An Act relating to the use of broadcasting to promote or conduct certain classics or sweepstakes; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR JAMES called on Representative Mark Hodgins, sponsor of HB 50, to present the bill. Number 333 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS, Alaska State Legislature, explained HB 50 was an act relating to the use of broadcasting to promote or to conduct certain classics or sweepstakes; and to provide for an effective date. REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS further stated that the intent of the bill was to remove the prohibition on broadcast advertising for legislatively established non-profit classics within the state. REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS cited the following classics: Canned Salmon, Deep Freeze, Goose, Ice, King Salmon, Mercury, Mushing Sweepstakes, and Salmon. REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS further explained the only non-profit classics that could advertize, currently, were the fishing derbies. Therefore, by providing this advertising vehicle the legislature would assist these organizations by increasing the public awareness of each event. The bill did not include the ability of pull-tabs, bingo or raffle events to broadcast. REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS further explained there was an amendment to the bill, of which, he did not have a problem with it. The amendment added another non-profit classic to the bill that was moving through the House of Representatives now. Number 379 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON wondered if the expansion of the ability to broadcast would take up more of the existing pie. He was concerned it would harm other non-profits that were also trying to raise money. Number 388 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS replied the non-profits explicitly referred to in the bill were legislatively established. Therefore, there was a restriction on how much of their funding could be used for advertizing. House Bill 50 called for a restriction of 12 hours of total advertizing. In addition, most of the non-profits would receive community support from radio and television stations. The classics used the money for the good of the community-scholarships and social activities, for example. "I believe that with the restrictions that they have on with the amount of revenue that they can dedicate to advertizing or broadcasting, I don't think that that would be a concern, Representative Elton." Number 406 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ referred the committee members to page 2 of a memorandum dated December 23, 1996 from Gerald P. Luckhaupt, Legislative Counsel, Division of Legal and Research Services, and read, "If this limited authorization was challenged a court would have to accept the justification advanced by Senator Torgerson during our conference call the other day." He asked Representative Hodgins if he knew what that was about? Number 413 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS replied he was with Senator John Torgerson when it was decided a remedy was needed for the exclusion of broadcasting for the legislatively established non-profit classics. The court was concerned that the bill would open broadcasting up to everything. As a result, the specific classics that the bill would cover were listed in the bill. Number 424 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied he just wanted to be clear because any sort of court interpretation would hinge on that conversation. Number 427 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS replied, as a common person, I could not answer that. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied, "There's no such thing as a common person." Number 429 CHAIR JAMES stated that the classics listed were community based funding mechanisms as opposed to special interests. She asked Representative Hodgins if her statement was correct? Number 435 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS replied, "I would believe so, Madame Chairman." Some of the funds were used for scholarships and community events. He did not know of anything that would be targeted to a small group within the community. Generally, it was a community based effort. Number 443 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN moved that Amendment 1, 0-LS0288/A.1, Luckhaupt, 2/19/97, be adopted. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN suggested the amendment because there was a bill before the House of Representatives that allowed for another permitted activity. This would also prevent future legislatures from amending the provision. Specifically, the amendment would allow dog mushing contests to participate in broadcast advertizing. In addition, he believed the amendment allowed for future participation by groups without having another hoop to jump through. Number 463 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected to the motion. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated he saw this as an expansion of gaming and as another way to redivide the pie. He was concerned about the effect on the "true charities" rather than some of the "for fun" kind of activities. He announced he also objected to the bill. CHAIR JAMES stated the committee members remembered his first statement made on this issue; his Calvinistic background. CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote. Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson, Hodgins, Ivan and Vezey voted in favor of the motion. Representative Elton voted against the motion. The amendment was adopted. Number 482 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked if he could make a friendly amendment to the amendment? CHAIR JAMES stated it was too late now. A new amendment would be needed. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ moved that the word "permitted" be inserted between the words "activity" and "under." REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated that was language that was being deleted. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ withdrew his motion. Number 497 LAURA MEASLES, Executive Director, Kenai Chamber of Commerce, was the first person to testify via teleconference in Kenai. She explained the Kenai Chamber started the Snow Goose Classic in 1994. To date, the chamber had spent approximately $20,000 to promote the classic, of which, was also matched by the local media. In addition, the classic's major sponsor, Tesoro Alaska Petroleum, also contributed a total of $30,000 to help build the classic. The chamber was concerned about the legality of adding a gaming entity and for allowing one media type of coverage versus another. The proceeds from the classic funded scholarships and various community events. Moreover, every non-profit was required to file a financial statement with the Charitable Gaming Division each year, of which, check numbers and bank statements were required to prove that the intent had been accomplished. It was legal to broadcast on the airways or television provided that it was conducted as a news item. However, the Goose Classic was not as visible and the pot was not as large as the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and the Nenana Ice Classic, for example, which had received a lot of coverage. The chamber tried desperately to receive the same coverage, but to no avail. The chamber was also concerned about the financial impact on the local radio station. She thanked Representative Hodgins for sponsoring the bill. Number 536 STEVE HOLLOWAY, Operations Manger/Marketing Director, KSRM Radio, was the next person to testify via teleconference in Kenai. The money that the chamber would spend with the radio station would not make or break the station. "But, it is a little frustrating when you open up the paper every other day and there's a big ad for it. And, here we are giving away free time to them; trying in an indirect way with news stories to promote this just to keep our chamber going and help out." The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) required that it give away time to charities. And, now that requirement went by the wayside. However, radio and television continued to give away much of their product to promote the local community. Here was a chance to help the chamber raise money and "to put a little money into our coffers. And, now the legislature said radio and television could not, but the newspaper could, and, for some reason that doesn't seem fair. Maybe it seems fair to you, but it sure doesn't to me." Studies indicated that people were reading less newspapers, and watching more television. "Whether that's good or bad, you know, that's not for us to say." The station had always given a two for one special for non-profit rates. In addition, this was not an expansion of gaming. It was a chance to successfully promote current fund raisers a little better. The station reached 10,000 to 15,000 people every day, while the local paper reached 3,000 to 4,000 people. "I don't why they wouldn't want these charities promoting their products more successfully that way they're not begging the legislature for more money every time you turn around." It would be fun to promote this the way it should be promoted. "I'm sure the Iditarod people would feel the same way as well." Number 572 CHAIR JAMES announced Dennis Poshard, Director, Charitable Gaming Division, Department of Revenue, was here to answer any questions. Number 574 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ moved that HB 50, as amended, move from the committee with the attached fiscal note(s) and individual recommendations. Number 576 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated for clarification, that if the bill was passed out of the committee without the amendment, the amendment would also go to the next committee of referral. He asked Chair James if she meant to pass the bill as a committee substitute? CHAIR JAMES replied, at this point, "I think we'll just move it on with the amendment." REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "Pass the bill out with the amendment?" CHAIR JAMES replied, "Yes, that's what we'll do." CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote. Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson, Hodgins, Ivan and Vezey voted in favor of the motion. Representative Elton voted against the motion. House Bill 50, as amended, was so moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Chair James if there was a meeting scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 1997? CHAIR JAMES replied the committee would not be meeting on Saturday. Number 619 CHAIR JAMES further commented on the rules of operation of the House State Affairs Standing Committee meetings. As chairman, she had the authority to make the rules and regulations. She explained her rule to not question testifiers was based on two decisions. The first was due to the massive number of testimony and the interchange between the committee members and the testifiers. In many cases it was advisable, especially when there was a testifier who was more knowledgeable than the committee members. She personally felt, however, that it was stagnating the committee. It also appeared that there were statements to question the credibility of the testifier. "In this committee, where we have the general public coming out to testify of their personal belief or personal situation on a piece of legislation that's before us, I do not want there to be any intimidation of that person that would make them squirm or feel uncomfortable." She wanted to encourage more people to testify. The committee had a right to discount something that was heard. And, if there was an "expert" witness an interchange was possible. She cited the distress of Representative Berkowitz and Representative Elton. She appreciated them coming forward and telling her about their distress. She would also appreciate it if the matter was put to rest. She did not want to hear about it again. It was disruptive to the committee and to her position as chairman. She apologized if anyone had been insulted by her actions. The legislative process was not like a court of law so there was not the opportunity to question a testifier's integrity, position or belief. She reiterated her intention was to run a fair and equitable committee, to treat every member the same, and to not make any priority decisions based on the minority or majority position. "My full faith and philosophy is on fairness and respect. And, I believe that the best part of the political decisions comes from the honest and open debate. I will struggle and try harder to make that be more evident. If it has been decided by some people that I am not doing a good job, I am only human, and I can make mistakes, and I'll admit those." That was her purpose, meaning, thrust and the way she planned to operate the committee meeting in the future. Number 671 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ thanked Chair James for taking the time to talk with himself and Representative Elton. He also appreciated the clarification of the rules. He hoped that she would take the opportunity to protect other witnesses from assaults from the testifiers as well to protect the integrity of the process. It was important to maintain respect. "I think that we can engage in good, civil discussion and produce some substantive legislation." Number 682 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated at times it would be helpful to ask a witness if he or she had a vested interest. He asked Chair James if that would be an antagonistic type question? Number 686 CHAIR JAMES replied, "Yes. Because, where do you start and where do you stop?" Any citizen had the right to testify before a committee meeting without the feeling of intimidation. She reiterated this was not a court of law, it was a public process. "We are citizen legislators and those people out there are citizens. And, the way law is made and the way government works is by public opinion whether you like it or not." TAPE 97-18, SIDE A Number 001 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN commented that many of his constituents spoke a native language, of which, an interpreter would be needed to testify. He was not asking for an interpreter, however. Number 008 CHAIR JAMES commented that Representative Ivan was in full power to do such a thing. "We have in this committee the intention to hear from the public on the issues that are here before us. That is the goal and that is what I'm going to be here to provide." Number 014 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON expressed his appreciation of Chair James for taking the time to discuss this issue with him yesterday. He also thanked her for clarifying the rules. He further commented that he understood how difficult it was to be a chair, and that if he was ever out of line that she should jerk him back. "I do believe that any ruling that precludes asking any question, whether or not it would be termed by you as harassment or non-harassment, without giving us the ability to ask a question or to clarify something that we've heard, your also precluding good questions. And, I fully agree with you. I would like to think I have never harassed a witness in any of my public life or pressured one because I know how difficult it is to come before any kind of a body and testify." He believed, however, that the net affect was to narrow the committee's intellectual curiosity. Number 054 CHAIR JAMES replied that if everyone understood the type of questions that could be asked she would take it under consideration. Such as, a point of clarification or a statement of "as I understood you to say this...." Those were the only two kinds of questions that she would allow. CHAIR JAMES further stated the other part of the issue was that committee chairmen were under fire for getting all the witnesses to testify. The general public believed that the committee members ragged on too long. These were the types of fairness questions that needed to be measured. And, in any type of a fairness issue there were winners and looser. A distressed type of interchange was not needed. The opportunity for the people to testify were two fold - to listen to their testimony and to help the committee members make a decision. In addition, there were bills where there were no witnesses. "We should have the initiative and the obligation to get the sufficient information that we need to pass a piece of legislation with or without public testimony." The testimony was for the public's good and not for the committee's good. Number 142 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated that Chair James had removed herself as a traffic manager and from any ability to determine if the question was abusive or dilatory. "And, so it may have made you job easier, it has made my job more difficult, if I am not allowed to clarify, if I am not allowed to ask questions of witnesses." He further stated, "That when I feel I am not allowed to be a full member of the committee, I'll leave because I've got other things to do." ADJOURNMENT Number 160 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting at 10:00 a.m.