Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/10/1998 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                  
                   March 10, 1998                                              
                     8:00 a.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                          
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                 
Representative Fred Dyson                                                      
Representative Kim Elton                                                       
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Ivan Ivan, Vice Chairman                                        
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
OVERVIEW OF VPSO PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY                          
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 359                                                             
"An Act relating to regulation of health insurance plans; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 359(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 329                                                             
"An Act amending the definition of correctional facility to include            
a therapeutic treatment center; providing for the conveyance of the            
Harborview Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the City of            
Valdez for the purpose of conversion and lease of a part of the                
center for a therapeutic treatment center for the Department of                
Corrections; providing that such a land conveyance counts toward               
the general grant land entitlement of the City of Valdez; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
                                                                               
     - MOVED HB 329 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 449                                                           
"An Act relating to certain individual retirement accounts."                   
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 449(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 376                                                           
"An Act limiting the use of voter registration information."                   
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 376(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HB 359                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: HEALTH INSURANCE REGULATION                                       
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) RYAN                                            
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
01/28/98      2153     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  

01/28/98 2153 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, LABOR & COMMERCE 03/03/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/03/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/05/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/05/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/07/98 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/07/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/10/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 329 SHORT TITLE: HARBORVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action

01/16/98 2068 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)

01/16/98 2068 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE

01/16/98 2068 (H) FISCAL NOTE (COR)

01/16/98 2068 (H) 3 ZERO FNS (ADM, DHSS, DNR)

01/16/98 2068 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/03/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/03/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/05/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/05/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/07/98 (H) STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102 03/07/98 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/10/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 449 SHORT TITLE: ROTH IRA EXEMPTION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) THERRIAULT Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 02/18/98 2361 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/18/98 2361 (H) STATE AFFAIRS 03/10/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HB 376 SHORT TITLE: LIMIT USE OF VOTER REGISTRATION INFO SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) CROFT, Kemplen, Dyson Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 02/02/98 2203 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/02/98 2203 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/04/98 2523 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KEMPLEN, DYSON 03/10/98 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 WITNESS REGISTER CAPTAIN GLEN FLOTHE, Program Manager Village Public Safety Program Department of Public Safety (Address not provided) Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Participated in the overview of VPSO Program. COLONEL GLENN GODFREY, Director Division of Alaska State Troopers Department of Public Safety 5700 East Tudor Road Anchorage, Alaska 99507-1225 Telephone: (907) 269-5641 POSITION STATEMENT: Participated in the overview of VPSO Program. LARRY STREUBER Facilities/Planning Chief Division of Administrative Services Department of Health and Social Services P.O. Box 110650 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0650 Telephone: (907) 465-1870 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 329. JOSEPH BALASH, Legislative Secretary to Representative Gene Therriault Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 511 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4797 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sponsor statement for HB 449. THOMAS YERBICH, Attorney 329 "F" Street, Suite 210 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 274-5631 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 449. REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 430 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4998 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 376. KENNETH BREWSTER 201 Heintzleman Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 274-0149 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 376. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-34, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. Members present were Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson, Elton, Hodgins and Vezey. OVERVIEW OF VPSO PROGRAM, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY CAPTAIN GLEN FLOTHE, Program Manager, Village Public Safety Program, Department of Public Safety, presented information regarding the Village Public Safety Officer Program in Alaska. He also discussed the Village Police Officer Program. COLONEL GLENN GODFREY, Director, Division of Alaska State Troopers, Department of Public Safety, presented additional information about the programs. COMMITTEE ACTION The committee took no action. NOTE: The meeting was recorded (Tape 98-34, Sides A & B) and handwritten log notes were taken. A copy of the tape(s) and log notes may be obtained by contacting the House Records Office at 130 Seward Street, Suite 211, Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182, (907) 465-2214, and after adjournment of the second session of the Twentieth Alaska State Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library. HB 359 - HEALTH INSURANCE REGULATION TAPE 98-34, SIDE B Number 0980 CHAIR JAMES announced the committee would hear HB 359, "An Act relating to regulation of health insurance plans; and providing for an effective date." She said she hasn't had a chance to listen to the Children's Caucus tapes that were provided to her. Chair James said Representative Dyson is willing to give an overview of the comments that were made in the Children's Caucus. Number 1000 REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN noted there is a proposed committee substitute (CS) which takes care of some of the fiscal concerns of the department. He said, "We have held the Appeals Committee harmless so we don't need a AG and we've also stated that they don't need staff support. It will be -- any costs incurred in the meetings and so forth will be paid for by the insurance company. So it dramatically reduces any fiscal impact and since there is not personal services, there is no reason for $34,000 and $48,000 worth of travel and supplies and equipment and so forth. I am still not sure what the contractual amount is, but since we don't have state employees performing these functions as it is taken care of on the other end, I would think that the contractual should go away too. So that makes your committee fiscal note appropriate." CHAIR JAMES said she would accept a motion to put the CS, Version B, dated 3/5/98, before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON moved the CS be put before the committee. There being no objection, CSHB 359, Version B, was before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ asked if the only change is on page 9 to Section 21.07.110. REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN said the last sentence in (e) of Section 21.07.090 has been removed. Also removed is the last sentence in (a) of Section 21.07.110. REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON referred to the testimony given in the Children's Caucus and said most of the people there were Alaskan service providers. They expressed a great deal of frustration with the Administration having to deal with time zones and calling somebody in Tennessee to get authorization to proceed with a treatment plan. He said the Administration, who was there, admitted that there had been a whole bunch of start-up problems. Representative Ryan stated there was also testimony about the difficulty of getting people in Tennessee to understand Alaska, the logistics problem and how isolated many care providers are. He continued to inform the committee of the problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal alcohol effects, child abuse problems, et cetera. CHAIR JAMES asked, "Were they supportive of this piece of legislation?" REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said his recollection is that this specific legislation wasn't presented to them, but universally the folks that testified didn't like the change, didn't like dealing with somebody outside the state and didn't like having to get over a huge hurdle in order to (indisc.) treatment. They were wanting to deal with somebody locally and somebody with knowledge of the unique situations of our environment. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "My recollection of the situation arose out of the Tennessee vender is that a large part of the problem came from this end, came from some rather nonspecific contract language that the department had with the Tennessee people - came with some things that I think the department probably should have anticipated in setting up a system like (indisc.). And this piece of the legislation deals with (indisc.). This piece of legislation deals with what the insurer's obligation may be and it doesn't really address the situation that occurred with the Tennessee end. I don't find myself blaming the Tennessee people as much as I do the people who did the contract with the Tennessee people. So it seems to me that we're solving it by fixing the wrong end." REPRESENTATIVE RYAN pointed out that there is an appeal process in the Department of Health and Social Services. TAPE 98-35, SIDE A Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said, "Under this legislation, we have this independent board which is made up of a diverse group of individuals, who may - not all of whom may have esoteric knowledge, but who look at it from a consumer point of view, and especially the public people who will ask the questions of the professionals which sometimes get to be embarrassing." REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said he was at the caucus. He said, "Part of the frustration with the people, as I recall - I was at the meeting that Representative Dyson (indisc.), was providers who are having to prepare an hour, an hour and a half, two hours before they made this phone call. And they were professionals who were treating a patient, who had the credentials. And instead of the people in Tennessee saying, 'Have you done ba, ba, ba and ba,' they would say, 'You just tell us the symptoms and we'll make the diagnosis.'" He continued to discuss the expenses involved and the people in Tennessee questioning the doctors who have the credentials. Number 0089 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he thinks the way to solve the problem is to fix it at this end rather than regulate industry. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said that apparently the Tennessee organization has done well on other similar things in the past, but the learning curve for them and never having a presence in Alaska, produces all these unfortunate results that he doesn't think were intended to happen. He said, "I think probably we should buy our way out of this contract and start over. That would be my solution." Number 0162 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move CSHB 359 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, CSHB 359(STA) moved out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 329 - HARBORVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER Number 0171 CHAIR JAMES announced the next order of business would be HB 329, "An Act amending the definition of correctional facility to include a therapeutic treatment center; providing for the conveyance of the Harborview Developmental Center and appurtenant land to the City of Valdez for the purpose of conversion and lease of a part of the center for a therapeutic treatment center for the Department of Corrections; providing that such a land conveyance counts toward the general grant land entitlement of the City of Valdez; and providing for an effective date," sponsored by Rules by request of the Governor. She informed the committee that the bill had been previously heard. Number 0201 LARRY STREUBER, Facilities/Planning Chief, Division of Administrative Services, Department of Health and Social Services, came before the committee. He said Harborview, for many years, was the facility in the state for the developmentally disabled population. Three years ago a decision was made to close Harborview and move the residents out into community settings. Harborview is a valuable asset and to protect Harborview the Department of Health and Social Services implemented an asset protection plan January 1. Mr. Streuber informed the committee that when all the residents were moved out, the department divided the mechanical electrical operations of the building into logical units and reduced the energy necessary to keep the building functional, but not operating at full capacity. One maintenance mechanic was retained to oversee the operations of the whole building. He said he would like to point out that the Valdez Regional Health Authority, which has the community hospital, still occupies approximately 17 percent of that complex. An important point to note is that if the facility isn't transferred to the city of Valdez, it remains a state responsibility. He stated that the state will have the responsibility to protect that building and take care of it until a final disposal can be arranged. If the building is to remain in state ownership, in fiscal year (FY) 99 the department estimates that it would take about $265,000 to keep that building in asset protection. CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any questions. There being none, she asked if anybody was willing to make a motion to move the bill. Number 0233 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ made a motion to move HB 329 out of committee with the attached fiscal notes and with individual recommendations. Number 0242 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON objected. He stated that was asked to read a missive from Senator Jerry Ward. He read, "As chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Corrections, my concerns are not directed toward the merit of filling the economic void left by the Governor's decision to close the Harborview Hospital or the clear and present need for a substance abuse treatment amongst the majority of Alaska's inmates. My concerns question whether funding is small isolated therapeutic (indisc.) is the highest and best used of correctional resources at a time when our prisons and jails are faced with the worst overcrowding in state history. I need not remind the committee that the Department of Corrections' operating budget is the fastest growing budget amongst the state agencies. Revenue enhancement, programs efficiencies, economies of scale, are but a few of the messes we're trying to ploy to hold the line in Corrections' spending. The Harborview proposal doesn't simply fail the wide stewardship tests, if there is no rational relationship to the commitment we have to reduce unnecessary spending and increase government efficiency. At a daily operating rate of $124.37 per inmate, per bed, the Harborview proposal ranks as a third highest bed rate in Alaska. Only Bethel and Ketchikan slightly edge out the Harborview - is the costliest correction service in the state. Indeed when custody is considered, these are the most expensive low custody beds in the nation. These inmates are indeed low custody. Wouldn't it be wiser to establish therapeutic pre-release communities -- the existing half-way house at two-thirds to one- half the cost? Again, I do not dispute the need for this type of program for Alaska's felony inmate population. These programs, however, must be funded in the context of our higher need for safe secure prisons and jails. There can be no question that Corrections can achieve a significantly better bang for it's buck by developing programs of sites that are closer to professional treatment resources which provided greater economies of scale. The formula we must apply in the committee is the greatest service for the highest number of offenders or lowest cost without unreasonable reduction in quality. The Harborview proposal fails this test. Corrections has several sites which house hundreds of low custody prisoners. There is no reason for a therapeutic community cannot be established within the confines and programmatic structures of existing facility or halfway house. Indeed, the Palmer Correctional Center at Sutton was the preferred site for the program of the last Administration. That whole plan was scrapped in this Administration for reasons that appear to have little to do with sound correction practice. Indeed, the economies of scale, extraordinary facilities and lower costs to the proposed Fort Greely prison makes more sense than the Harborview proposal. The legislature chooses to fund this program. Let's call it what it is, gratuitous government handout to the city of Valdez. There are at times sound policy reasons for such government subsidies and this may be one of those times, but let's not fool ourselves into believing this proposal is the wisest use of correction resources or is, as the commissioner so often says, sound correctional practice. Thank you for your attention and consideration." Number 0307 CHAIR JAMES noted she spoke with Senator Ward's staff the previous day and there was a request to hold the bill. She said his reason is purely financial. Chair James said that is not an issue for the State Affairs Committee, it is an issue for the Finance Committee. She noted the next committee of referral is the Judiciary Committee. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON questioned what the responsibility is of the State Affairs Committee. CHAIR JAMES stated there are certain agencies that the State Affairs Committee does overlook. One is the Troopers and the Department of Transportation, the Department of Administration, but actually any bill could fall within the committee's purview. Chair James said although the committee's purview is financial as well as it is Judiciary, as well as how it affects other issues, the primary responsibility for the financial decisions is in the Finance Committee. If that is the only reason why this bill should not go forward, the proper place to make that decision is in the Finance Committee. Number 0341 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said, "If indeed it was rational to send this bill to us, what's our responsibility? What are the questions we should be asking? What are the public policy issues involved in this bill that we have a responsibility for? They escape me." CHAIR JAMES responded, "Before I try really hard to not answer your question again, Representative Dyson, well maybe Representative Vezey wants to shed some light on that issue or maybe he has a different idea that he wants to speak about. So Representative Vezey, you're up." Number 0354 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he would like to change the subject. He stated he cannot vote to move HB 329 out of committee with the current fiscal notes. He stated a fiscal note is an authorization of spending and there is no way he would vote for that level of spending. He said if the committee or sponsor wants to revise the fiscal note, he would give the bill due consideration. Number 0365 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated he is interested in the bill simply because he thinks the affairs of the state are well served by whether or not we're releasing people who are closer to rehabilitation than not. He said he believes that is an issue that should be considered in the State Affairs Committee and the other committees. He referred to the fiscal note and said the unfortunate thing about a fiscal note is a fiscal note tells us what we're going to be spending now. A fiscal note doesn't necessarily reflect what we're going to be saving in the future. Representative Elton said there is a cost to rehabilitation and it is an up-front cost and the fiscal note reflects that we've got to pay it. The fiscal note doesn't reflect what will be saved in the future. He said he believes the experience in other jurisdictions has shown that we won't get 100 percent rehabilitation. The experience in other jurisdictions has reflected that there will be a significant cost savings in the future because some of these people aren't going to be coming back through the public safety network or the court network. He stated the fiscal note may reflect an up-front cost, but doesn't reflect our downstream savings. Number 0398 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ pointed out that the savings for prevention of alcohol kind of runs seven to one. So we might have a fiscal note of $2.4 million, but the savings are going to be closer to $20 million. CHAIR JAMES said she would be very surprised if the fiscal note passes the Finance Committee, but she is willing to move the bill forward to the next committee of referral. Number 0405 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Berkowitz, Elton, Hodgins and James voted in favor of moving the bill. Representatives Dyson and Vezey voted against moving the bill. So HB 329 moved out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 449 - ROTH IRA EXEMPTION Number 0408 CHAIR JAMES announced the committee would hear HB 449, "An Act relating to certain individual retirement accounts," sponsored by Representative Therriault. Number 0418 JOSEPH BALASH, Legislative Secretary to Representative Gene Therriault, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee. He read the following statement into the record: "Under the Alaska Exemptions Act, retirement plans are protected from creditor claims. However, it does so by listing each type of retirement plan by reference to the Internal Revenue Code section governing that plan. "The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act passed by Congress created the Roth IRA under Internal Revenue Code Section 408A. This section will allow taxpayers to make nondeductible contributions to a Roth IRA and then later take all distributions from the account tax-free subject to certain specified conditions. These qualified distributions must be included in gross income, but for 1998 only, the tax will be spread over four years rather than the customary one. "This is a great opportunity to convert all future IRA account earnings into tax-free income and spread the current tax bite over four years. However, those Alaskans who take advantage of this are removing their assets from the list of those protected under state law under the Alaska Exemptions Act. "This option is available only during 1998. Beginning in 1999, contributions from regular IRA accounts that are rolled into Roth IRAs will be fully taxed in the year of the rollover. In order for Alaskans to maintain their protection while taking advantage of this opportunity, legislation must be passed this session." Number 0445 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked if there has been any opposition to the bill. MR. BALASH indicated that he isn't aware of any opposition. Number 0448 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move HB 449 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the attached zero fiscal notes. CHAIR JAMES indicated there was someone wishing to give testimony. Number 0458 THOMAS YERBICH, Attorney, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, in support of HB 449. He noted he represents debtors in bankruptcy. He stated he has a serious concern that if the bill is not enacted this year, he believes a number of people will not realize that they are giving up an important protection that currently exists under state law. Number 0465 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS noted the committee was just given a proposed amendment. He then moved to adopt the amendment. CHAIR JAMES said Representative Hodgins can't move the amendment because there is a prior motion to move the bill. She asked Representative Hodgins to withdraw his previous motion. REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS withdrew his motion to move the bill. CHAIR JAMES asked if there is an objection to withdrawing the motion to move the bill from committee. Number 0475 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected for the purpose of discussion. He asked, "Is the effective date so we can come in under the wire with the upcoming tax season?" Number 0476 MR. BALASH responded that may be a possibility. He stated, "It was an oversight, on our part, in trying to get the legislation into the Clerk's office before the deadline for personal legislation. It's something we've intended to have included. As far as how it affects this current deadline, in all reality I don't know that that was our intention, but it may favor those who would be affected by this." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ withdrew his objection. CHAIR JAMES said there is no objection to removing the motion on the floor which was to move the bill. Number 0485 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS moved that Amendment A-1, be adopted. Amendment A.1 was written as follows: Page 1, line 1, following "accounts": Insert "; and providing for an effective date" Page 1, following line 9: Insert a new bill section to read: "*Sec. 3. This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c)." CHAIR JAMES asked if there is an objection to the adoption of Amendment 1. There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 0419 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move HB 449, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and with the attached fiscal notes. There being no objection CSHB 449(STA) moved out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 376 - LIMIT USE OF VOTER REGISTRATION INFO Number 0496 CHAIR JAMES announced the last order of business would be HB 376 "An Act limiting the use of voter registration information," sponsored by Representative Croft. REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT came before the committee to explain the legislation. He informed the committee that Kenneth Brewster, a constituent of his, brought the issue of privacy of voter information to him. Representative Croft said when a person registers to vote, that person must give information about where they live. That makes sense as the Division of Elections has to put you in the right election district. Currently, there is no prohibition on the use of that information. It can be freely sold and used for commercial purposes. Representative Croft informed the committee that many states such Montana, Oregon and Washington don't think that's fair and say that there shouldn't be a commercial use of voter information. Representative Croft said if he didn't want the government to sell his name, the only real way to stop it is to not register to vote. He said instead of taking Montana's, Oregon's or Washington's approach, which simply says no commercial use of it, he talked to some of the people who are in this business. He said he spoke to Mr. Motznik about what would be a way to accommodate these legitimate concerns without unduly affecting his business or other businesses. Representative Croft said the response he got was a check box similar to the way the Division of Motor Vehicles handles their information. It is easy to include the information in modern data bases. If somebody complains and says, "I don't want this used for commercial purposes," you would simply note that and it doesn't go out in anything that is sold to commercial organizations. If people wish to stay on commercial lists, they can choose to do so. Representative Croft referred to the constitutional amendment on privacy and said it is not the most significant aspect the privacy provision will ever invoke, but he believes it is an important one. He said the privacy provision says that the right of privacy is recognized and the legislature shall implement it. He said, "We haven't done, in my opinion, a good job of over the years thinking about and implementing privacy. This, I think, is a small step in that direction." Representative Croft noted the fiscal note is about $5,000, which is an estimate by the Division of Elections of how much it would take to change their computer system to include the check box. Number 0549 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT pointed out that the bill provides that the information can still be used for legitimate governmental purposes such as legislators communicating with constituents, campaigns, et cetera. He explained that they tried to define it as things that are reasonably related to registering to vote. Representative Croft explained that Mr. Brewster wrote him a note asking why he was getting commercial mailings from Las Vegas casinos. He didn't want the mailings as they were a nuisance. Mr. Brewster called the mailing house who said they got the addresses off the voter list. When Mr. Brewster asked to be removed from the list, the mailing house said they couldn't or wouldn't do it. Representative Croft said we ought to have the ability to vote without compromising our ability to keep information we'd like private to stay private or to not have it commercially available. Number 0566 CHAIR JAMES said she sympathizes with the issue, but pointed out that the post office sells addresses. She said there are some good and bad commercial uses of names. Chair James said, "I can tell you that when the little slip came by from the Department of Motor Vehicles, when I really objected to people not being able to find people who, by looking at a license -- not being able to find out who owned the car, because I feel like driving on the road -- and I have a license to be there and I want to be sure everybody else does and if they do something that offends me, I want to know who they are. And so I wasn't supportive of that bill, but yet when the little slip came in the mail that says I have the opportunity to keep my name and address, I said 'Of course I don't want to give it to anybody else that doesn't need it.'" CHAIR JAMES explained how she sorts her mail for real mail and other mail. The other mail goes directly into the garbage and she doesn't even bother to look at it. She pointed out she has that option. She said every time we "crunch" down on things, we also eliminate some legitimate business interest out there. Chair James said, "I guess I'm more sensitive to this issue because it's voting than anything else and I think we should not put any deterrents for people to register as (indisc.) to vote." For that reason, she said she will support the legislation. Chair James said, "By the time we go through these lists of places where people have their names and addresses, it's not all bad guys that do this and I really resist in this country how we've passed laws constantly bringing us all down to the lowest common denominator where we are so tight that we can't even hardly move in our system and our economic systems are deprived." Number 0619 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he assumes that the state isn't profiting from the sale of the list. It's businesses like Motznik or others that are getting the list and then profit by selling the names on the voters registration list. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he assumes that also. He said, "We sell it for what's a low amount. They describe it as nominal. I've seen the number, I don't think it's big. I don't think we're making money off this. I think other people are." He pointed out that there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, we could encourage those types of business activities. Representative Croft said he thinks that Chair James is right in that voting is on a different plane and that you shouldn't discourage somebody who, for legitimate or other reasons, just doesn't want to give up that information. He stated that some people have legitimate reasons for not wanting to give out their address. Number 0636 CHAIR JAMES referred to legislators getting mailing labels of constituents. She said certainly that is a commercial activity. She asked if the bill would restrict that commercial activity for all those who said, "No, I don't want to be included." REPRESENTATIVE CROFT responded, "No, and we put at the very end, on page 3, lines 2 through 6, a list of what it could be used for. It does not include compiling, using, giving, receiving - all those, from a voter registration list information derived from a request by an applicant solely for law enforcement, political campaign, election or legitimate governmental purposes. So whether compiling it to make that use or doing that use directly, it wouldn't prohibit those." REPRESENTATIVE CROFT indicated there is a proposed amendment, A.1, Glover, that would help the Division of Elections phase this in. It does two things. Representative Croft explained the amendment changes the effective date to February 1, 1999. The Division of Elections requested that because they have a stack of forms and they have a small (indisc.) of an election to run this year. Rather than throw away a bunch of forms, they would rather phase this in. He noted after the word "campaign," the amendment also adds "public service groups." Representative Croft said, "We got into a discussion of what other groups, besides this, had a legitimate use on it. It seemed to me that mailings for political election or public organizing type of functions ought to be allowed. So that is what legislative drafting came up - to make sure that public service groups...." Number 0660 CHAIR JAMES interjected that a question that she has is what about the people who don't want this big pile of political campaign information to come to their mail box. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said there has got to be a limit on this. He said it does seem to him that registering to vote logically entails getting some campaign stuff. It doesn't necessarily logically entail getting a bunch of other stuff. He said it seemed a logical place to draw the line. Number 0668 KENNETH BREWSTER testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. He noted he is temporarily in Fairbanks, but is actually a constituent of Representative Croft's. Mr. Brewster pointed out that it is true that everyone sells mailing lists, but most other mailing lists will put a note in their computer software to not sell your name and address to other mailing lists if you ask them to do so. Mr. Brewster said by doing that, over the last year he has drastically reduced the junk mail he was receiving. But when he received mailings from the Nevada gambling casinos, he called the marketing directors to find out where they got his address, they referred him to Speedy Mail in Anchorage. Mr. Brewster called Speedy Mail with his request to not sell his name and address, they told him they got their mailing list from the voter registration roles. He asked them to take his name off the list and they responded, "No, our software doesn't have that capability." He suggested they upgrade their software and the response he received was, "We don't have to, our software is approved by the postal service." MR. BREWSTER pointed out that he has to look at junk mail long enough to determine that it's not of interest to him before he throws it out. He said his time is too valuable to look through several pieces of junk mail every day and creates an annoyance to him. He stated that he doesn't want to be subjected to this. Number 0691 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON moved that amendment A.1 be adopted. Amendment A.1 follows: Page 1, line 1, following "information": Insert "; and providing for an effective date" Page 2, line 23, following "not": Insert "knowingly" Page 2, line 29: Delete "knowingly" Page 3, line 5, following "campaign,": Insert "public service." Page 3, following line 10: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 5. This Act takes effect February 1, 1999." CHAIR JAMES asked if there was an objection to the adoption of Amendment A.1. There being none, Amendment A.1 was adopted. Number 0697 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to move HB 376, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and with the attached fiscal note. CHAIR JAMES asked if there was an objection. There being none, CSHB 376(STA) moved out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. ADJOURNMENT Number 0701 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting at 9:56 a.m.

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