Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/08/1999 08:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE Arpil 8, 1999 8:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Jeannette James, Chair Representative John Coghill Representative Scott Ogan Representative Jim Whitaker Representative Bill Hudson Representative Beth Kerttula Representative Harold Smalley MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR SENATE BILL 46(RLS) "An Act naming the Terry Miller Legislative Office Building." - MOVED CSSB 46(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 8 Relating to the 2000 decennial United States census and to the development of redistricting data for use by the state in legislative redistricting. - MOVED SJR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 3 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the repeal of regulations by the legislature. - MOVED SJR 3 OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 26 Relating to establishing maritime boundaries with Canada. - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 27 Relating to the maritime boundary between Alaska and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. - MOVED CSHJR 27(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE * HOUSE BILL 144 "An Act relating to access to public buildings or public facilities by legislators and to audits of public buildings or public facilities." - BILL HEARING POSTPONED * HOUSE BILL 153 "An Act relating to leave for certain state employees." - BILL HEARING POSTPONED (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 46 SHORT TITLE: NAMING THE CAPITAL SCHOOL BLDG SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) WARD, Miller, Taylor, Kelly Tim, Adams, Lincoln, Elton, Phillips, Green, Wilken, Parnell, Mackie, Leman, Ellis, Kelly Pete, Hoffman, Donley Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/27/99 100 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 1/27/99 100 (S) STA 2/02/99 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 2/11/99 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 3/04/99 (S) STA AT 3:45 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 3/09/99 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM 3/09/99 (S) MOVED CS (STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE 3/09/99 (S) MINUTE(STA) 3/12/99 493 (S) STA RPT CS 5DP NEW TITLE 3/12/99 493 (S) DP: WARD, GREEN, PHILLIPS, ELTON, WILKEN 3/12/99 493 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAA) 3/23/99 (S) RLS AT 10:50 AM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/26/99 (S) RLS AT 11:35 AM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/26/99 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 3/29/99 720 (S) RLS TO CALENDAR 3/29 CS NEW TITLE 3/29/99 720 (S) DP: TIM KELLY, MILLER, ELLIS, LEMAN, 3/29/99 720 (S) PEARCE 3/29/99 720 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (LAA) 3/29/99 722 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 3/29/99 722 (S) RLS CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 3/29/99 722 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 3/29/99 722 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 46(RLS) 3/29/99 722 (S) COSPONSOR(S): MILLER, TIM KELLY, 3/29/99 722 (S) ADAMS, LINCOLN, ELTON, PHILLIPS, 3/29/99 722 (S) GREEN, WILKEN, PARNELL, MACKIE, LEMAN, 3/29/99 722 (S) ELLIS, PETE KELLY, HOFFMAN, DONLEY 3/29/99 722 (S) PASSED Y19 N- E1 3/29/99 724 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 3/31/99 616 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/31/99 616 (H) STA 4/08/99 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: SJR 8 SHORT TITLE: FAIR AND ACCURATE CENSUS SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) WARD Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 2/19/99 308 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 2/19/99 308 (S) STA 3/04/99 (S) STA AT 3:45 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 3/09/99 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM 3/09/99 (S) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE 3/09/99 (S) MINUTE(STA) 3/12/99 492 (S) STA RPT 3DP 1NR 1DNP 3/12/99 492 (S) DP: WARD, PHILLIPS, GREEN; 3/12/99 492 (S) NR: WILKEN; DNP: ELTON 3/12/99 492 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 3/16/99 (S) RLS AT 11:55 AM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/16/99 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 3/24/99 662 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1 OR 3/24/99 3/24/99 668 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 3/24/99 668 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 3/24/99 668 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SJR 8 3/24/99 668 (S) PASSED Y15 N5 3/24/99 670 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 3/25/99 567 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/25/99 567 (H) STA, JUD 4/08/99 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 4/08/99 (H) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE BILL: SJR 3 SHORT TITLE: REPEAL OF REGULATIONS BY LEGISLATURE SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR, Kelly Tim, Phillips; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Harris Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/21/99 43 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 1/21/99 44 (S) STA, FIN 1/28/99 (S) STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 1/28/99 (S) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE 1/28/99 (S) MINUTE(STA) 2/01/99 125 (S) STA RPT 3DP 1DNP 2/01/99 125 (S) DP: WARD, PHILLIPS, MACKIE; DNP: ELTON 2/01/99 125 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (S. STA) 2/05/99 164 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 2/11/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 2/11/99 (S) HEARD AND HELD 2/11/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 2/11/99 227 (S) FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 2/16/99 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 2/16/99 (S) MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE 2/16/99 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 2/16/99 256 (S) FIN RPT 2DP 4NR 1DNP 2/16/99 256 (S) DP: TORGERSON, PARNELL; NR: GREEN, 2/16/99 256 (S) PETE KELLY, WILKEN, LEMAN; DNP: ADAMS 2/16/99 256 (S) PREVIOUS FN (GOV) 3/15/99 (S) RLS AT 1:40 PM FAHRENKAMP 203 3/15/99 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 3/16/99 564 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1 OR 3/16/99 3/16/99 570 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 3/16/99 571 (S) ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y14 N4 E2 3/16/99 571 (S) THIRD READING 3/17 CALENDAR 3/17/99 585 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SJR 3 3/17/99 585 (S) COSPONSOR(S): TIM KELLY, PHILLIPS 3/17/99 586 (S) PASSED Y14 N4 E2 3/17/99 586 (S) ELLIS NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 3/17/99 587 (S) RECON TAKEN UP SAME DAY UNAN CONSENT 3/17/99 587 (S) HELD ON RECONSIDERATION TO 3/23 CALENDAR 3/23/99 650 (S) BEFORE THE SENATE ON RECONSIDERATION 3/23/99 651 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y15 N5 3/23/99 652 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 3/24/99 544 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/24/99 544 (H) STA, JUD, FINANCE 3/24/99 562 (H) CROSS SPONSOR(S): HARRIS 4/08/99 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HJR 26 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA MARITIME BOUNDARY WITH CANADA SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COGHILL Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 3/10/99 410 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/10/99 410 (H) WTR, STATE AFFAIRS 3/30/99 (H) WTR AT 5:30 PM CAPITOL 124 3/31/99 (H) WTR AT 5:30 PM CAPITOL 124 4/06/99 661 (H) WTR RPT CS(WTR) 4DP 1NR 4/06/99 661 (H) DP: GREEN, PHILLIPS, JOULE, BARNES; 4/06/99 661 (H) NR: BERKOWITZ 4/06/99 661 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.WTR) 4/06/99 661 (H) REFERRED TO STA 4/08/99 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 BILL: HJR 27 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA/RUSSIA MARITIME BOUNDARY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COGHILL Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 3/10/99 410 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/10/99 410 (H) WTR, STATE AFFAIRS 3/30/99 (H) WTR AT 5:30 PM CAPITOL 124 3/31/99 (H) WTR AT 5:30 PM CAPITOL 124 4/01/99 648 (H) WTR RPT 4DP 1NR 4/01/99 648 (H) DP: JOULE, GREEN, PHILLIPS, BARNES; 4/01/99 648 (H) NR: BERKOWITZ 4/01/99 648 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.WTR) 4/01/99 648 (H) REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS 4/08/99 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102 WITNESS REGISTER LINDA WILD P.O. Box 20704 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-2330 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 46 and suggested a plaque, honoring the original Capital School, be placed on the building. MARK HODGINS, Administrative Assistant to Senator Ward Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 423 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4522 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 46 and SJR 8 on behalf of Senator Ward. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 416 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3719 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HJR 26 and HJR 27. VINCE O'SHEA, Captain United States Coast Guard P.O. Box 25517 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 463-2226 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HJR 26 and HJR 27. SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 30 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3873 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SJR 3. MARK SEIDENBERG, Vice Chairman State Department Watch P.O. Box 7981 Northridge, California 91327 Telephone: (818) 363-6210 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 26 and stated support of HJR 27. CARL OLSON, Chairman State Department Watch P.O. Box 65398 Washington, D.C. 20035 Telephone: (703) 276-3330 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 26 and stated support of HJR 27. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-21, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 8:05 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives James, Coghill, Ogan, Whitaker, and Smalley. Representatives Kerttula and Hudson arrived at 8:10 and 8:17 a.m. respectively. SB 46 NAMING THE CAPITAL SCHOOL BLDG CHAIR JAMES announced CSSB 46(RLS), "An Act naming the Terry Miller Legislative Office Building," is before the committee. CHAIR JAMES called a brief at-ease at 8:06 a.m. to await the arrival of the sponsor's staff. She called the committee back to order at 8:07 a.m. to hear testimony. Number 0032 LINDA WILD came before the committee. She stated, for those of us who live in the neighborhood and whose children attended Capital School, Capital School will always be Capital School. Ms. Wild has lived close to the Capital School for approximately 25 years and fought with others to keep the school open. MS. WILD said she had talked to a couple of her neighbors and, of course, they tended to feel the same way as she does about renaming the building. She noted that one of them suggested that it be named after someone who had lived in Juneau, such as Elizabeth Peratrovich who was an important leader in Native politics. In fact, the school celebrated "Peratrovich Day." Ms. Wild said she knew and respected Terry Miller when he was a Senator and certainly understands the legislature's desire to name something after him. MS. WILD also spoke with Representative Kerttula's and Senator Elton's offices about putting up a memorial plaque that honors the building as the original Capital School. She noted that everyone appeared to be receptive to that idea. Number 071 CHAIR JAMES said she understands Ms. Wild's concern. She said she agreed with the concept of putting up a plaque, however, that wouldn't necessarily have to be noted in the bill. MS. WILD agreed that it didn't have to be noted in the bill, the question is just figuring out what the cost would be. She mentioned that she has been talking with Senator Elton's office about the specific wording. CHAIR JAMES said that was a great idea. Number 115 MARK HODGINS, Administrative Assistant, presented SB 46 on behalf of Senator Ward. He said SB 46 is a simple bill to rename the Capital School [to honor former Lieutenant Governor Terry Miller and shall be known as the Terry Miller Building]. Number 118 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved to report CSSB 46(RLS) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered. SJR 8 FAIR AND ACCURATE CENSUS CHAIR JAMES announced SJR 8, Relating to the 2000 decennial United States census and to the development of redistricting data for use by the state in legislative redistricting, is before the committee. Number 139 MARK HODGINS, Administrative Assistant, presented SJR 8 on behalf of Senator Ward. He explained SJR 8, relating to the census that's coming up, asks for an actual nose-count rather than using statistical methods to determine how many people are in each district. The problem with determining it by statistical methods is that: there is a lot of room for speculation and error, there's a lot of room for litigation and it dilutes the "one person, one vote" concept. He said this resolution is simply asking that Congress and the Bureau of Census have a count that's an actual enumerated count, or a nose-count. CHAIR JAMES noted that Representative Kerttula was present. Number 175 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved to report SJR 8 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY objected. He asked if there would be a cost attached to it for the nose-count. CHAIR JAMES pointed out that it would only be a federal cost. There being no further objections, SJR 8 moved out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. SJR 3 REPEAL OF REGULATIONS BY LEGISLATURE CHAIR JAMES announced SJR 3, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the repeal of regulations by the legislature, is before the committee. Number 209 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR explained that SJR 3 gives the people of Alaska (possibly for the fourth time) an opportunity to provide the legislature with the authority to repeal regulations passed by the Administration through a simple resolution. He noted that for approximately 18 years this legislature did have that authority. However, a court decision around 1980 prevented the legislature from being able to use a simple resolution to repeal a regulation. The court said, due to the separation of powers, and their interpretation of the constitution, that the legislature would have to pass an actual bill to repeal a regulation. He further stated, "Any bill of course is subject to a gubernatorial veto and the governor will frequently veto such legislation so as to protect his executive branch functionaries in the manner in which they've drafted the regulations. ... I also sit as Chairman of [Administrative] Reg. [Regulation] Review for this term and it is incredible as we work through some of these attempts to change regulations, attempts to even provide the public with fair and unbiased hearing officers, I am amazed at the level of resistance to even the slightest change in this process that is mounted by this Administration - it really is incredible. It's for that reason, I bring the resolution before you, is I that think that the system works very well in previous years." SENATOR TAYLOR recalled former-Senator Bob Ziegler introduced two resolutions to repeal regulations, possibly in 1978. And the day former-Senator Bob Ziegler introduced them, the "department" showed up saying, "What's the problem, how can we work it out," and they did. Senator Taylor said that's how this system used to work, and that's how it could work in the future. If the public supports the legislature in this matter, they will find that the most onerous portions of state government are the application of regulations to their lives. And if the legislature can make those regulations more attuned to the legislative intent, the public will be more pleased with their government and they will understand it better. The public will also know that the policy makers could quickly and efficiently amend those regulations that they find onerous. Number 287 CHAIR JAMES noted that she worked intently on figuring out a system that would work, where it's less painful for the folks at home. She determined that you would need a hammer and we don't have one as legislators - if we had one, they took it out of our hands. She mentioned that when she was Chairman of Administrative Regulation Review they didn't have a hammer. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he was tempted to sing "If I Had a Hammer." He remarked that he is a firsthand witness with the absolute resistance to any sort of change. And, as he has mentioned before, the Administration is the fourth branch of government and the legislature has delegated to them the authority to write regulations. He said they are basically making law and are not elected officials. CHAIR JAMES pointed out that the problems with regulations are not necessarily more or less onerous than they've ever been, it's been a problem since the beginning of the Administrative Procedure Act and it doesn't change with the administrations. REPRESENTATIVE SMALLEY stated, "Looking at the concept needs for a hammer I would imagine some time back when, when the change occurred, I guess it was dependence upon who was wielding the hammer and the level of expertise of the hammer wielder and that's probably where in lies my concern - would be the amount of expertise on behalf of the Senate and the House. And I know we have a great deal of brain-power amongst our bodies but I would imagine that that's where in lies my concern - expertise with regard to regulations and regulatory change." Number 362 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "It's been my observation that probably it started getting more difficult on the Alaska public through the regulatory process as the federal government got involved in our business in Alaska. That so much of what the Administration does for the projects that we give them as legislators is really pretty smooth and I think we've got a pretty good hammer on that - a pretty good control over that. But the minute the federal government comes in, or the minute the court's - the courts have become very activist -this is my own observation madam chair - that those are the two areas that the courts' decisions and the activism that went through the courts and the federal government because they now provide $1.5 billion of our money on an annual basis - have such an inordinate amount of pressure, if you will, through the regulatory process - that agencies are simply the middleman. The federal government sends the money into state, it goes to the commissioner, the commissioner can't really do what he wants to do with those moneys without taking into consideration of what the federal, you know the federal folks that have given him the money, they said you either do it our way or we don't give you the money. The Department of Labor is a prime example - [and the Department of] Transportation is good example. Many of the onerous regulations on small business are brought about by requirements through the Department of Labor to satisfy federal employee identification - those kinds of things. ... So it's probably timely that we begin to ask the question as to whether or not we need more power to try to give the people a fairer shake or some opportunity to - not protest necessarily, but to at least try to influence onerous regulations (indisc.--fading) on their lives." Number 403 CHAIR JAMES mentioned that she has said, "When federal money is handed to us, we should first of all see whether we want it, not how we can get it," and that hasn't been the legislature's attitude because we look forward to federal funding. She agreed that the federal government has influenced Alaska, but disagreed that that's the total problem. Chair James pointed out that this is the third year that the legislature has been working on the airport regulations and that the federal government is still trying to cram unreasonable requirements down our throat - and it has nothing to do with federal funds. Chair James said, "At this point in time, we're still entering in a discussion. If they finally draft the regulations, we could change them then to fit this if this constitutional amendment were to pass." REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA pointed out another concern is with the 120-day session. She said, if we want to truly take over regulations we could do that, however she does not believe that it could be done within the 120 days. She added that the legislature could also stop giving regulatory authority to divisions and agencies and we can take it back through that method. She said she thinks that you have to look at it in a more holistic sense and to take over something that is sort of fundamental into the separation of powers takes a lot more time and energy than we're giving ourselves. If this happens, she hopes the legislative sessions will be extended. CHAIR JAMES mentioned that she had suggested creating a regulatory agency in which that agency would write regulations for the legislature instead of the Administration, however, she ran into a lot of resistance. She said, "We're not talking about a lot of resolutions here, we're just talking about having that ability. And then if you assert that ability it gets them to the table, that's the issue." Number 464 SENATOR TAYLOR referred to Representative Smalley's comments on expertise, he said, "A perfect example of the problems that we're facing in resistance by the Administration is the desire that we have unbiased objective hearing officers - what a strange concept. We kind of expect that in our court system, we would hope we have it in our court system. I now have the Department of Health and Social Services, Jay Livey, on record twice ... where he's testified quite candidly that hearing officers are supposed to carry out department policy, they're not supposed to be there to give you a fair hearing or anything else, they're supposed to carry out department policy. When I said, 'Well, you mean the rules and regulations, the statute law that is published, and the regulation that is published, that's what you mean isn't it Mr. Lively?' He said, 'Well no, sometimes we have department policy.' Well sure he has department policy, he has unwritten attitudes, unwritten policies that they are carrying out. ... And the whole issue we were discussing was regulations which set rates for Medicaid patients in the state of Alaska, and whether or not hospitals should be reimbursed. We currently have appeals pending from hospitals that have been out there seven and eight years that have had every hearing officer that has ever looked at them, even though the hearing officer was employed by the department, the hearing officer said, 'No, these are valid claims they should be paid,' - they just keep getting the revolving door on them. It's that level of arrogance that is just incredible, and to have people sit there before you and say, 'No, this is our right, we'll do it any way we feel like it, we don't have to publish our regs.' So we're not talking about expertise." SENATOR TAYLOR continued, "I would submit that Representative Kerttula, you're absolutely correct, we don't have the time and I would never suggest that this legislature try to take over the regulation drafting process. When I took on this job, reluctantly as I'm sure my good colleague Representative James did, I was overwhelmed. I've always looked, as we all do - we get these little flyers that they send out to us and it says the Department of Transportation is changing their regulations - we're going to do this or - you see a lot of changes in the oil stuff through DNR [Department of Natural Resources], I had no idea what the real volume was in that stuff and I do now. No, we don't have the time and we don't have the expertise to sit here and review those. In fact, I think it takes quite a bit of work just on the part of the Lieutenant Governor's Office just to go through and try and keep track of what these folks are doing." SENATOR TAYLOR further stated, "But for that rare instance, and I really believe it is a rare instance, for that rare instance where a regulation is so gross or so misapplied to the law, that someone would feel motivated to put in a resolution to change it, I think that opportunity needs to be there. I don't recall, and I think the record prior to the lawsuit that I was talking about, would indicate that the opportunity to use resolutions to change regulations was ever abused. I'm not aware of that occurring because normally the last thing any one of us wants to do - is to get down into the nitty gritty of how a law is being applied and see if we can go in and play with that. What we'd rather do is look at some kind of bigger issue, so I don't see it as something that's going to be abused in the future, nor to do I see it as something that we couldn't accomplish very easily. I don't imagine that we're going to see more than two or three of these things a session if it once passes because what will happen is the department's going to know you've got that authority when they go to draft that regulation. They may even read the law the regulation's supposed to be based on - what a refreshing change that would be. So, again I think that our state survived very well with that concept for some period of time. I think it will survive better in the future if we have that ability and I commend this to you." CHAIR JAMES asked for a motion to move SJR 3 out of committee. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN remarked no one from the Administration is here to testify, let's move it. CHAIR JAMES called a brief at-ease at 8:30 a.m. and called the meeting back to order at 8:38. Number 549 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved to report SJR 3 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered. HJR 26-ALASKA MARITIME BOUNDARY WITH CANADA CHAIR JAMES announced HJR 26, Relating to establishing maritime boundaries with Canada, is before the committee [version a]. Number 563 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL explained HJR 26 is going to be sent to the President, Congress, and those who sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, requesting that Alaska be included in maritime boundary settlements. With regard to the maritime boundary in Alaska that have not been settled, we're simply asking that they be settled and that Alaska be in on the table as they settle them. It gives a little bit of the history, it shows that there has been precedent set in dealing with Canada already - in Nova Scotia, and how they settled that there and that precedents still could be set within Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL stated that fishing problems have arisen in Southeastern Alaska that need to be settled. The agreement would give a clear delineation on who has the authority, and in what area. Some of the lines are confusing right now, so this is asking that we begin that discussion and that Alaska be included in those discussions. He said it is a national issue but it's also an issue with the State of Alaska - with its lands, fish and sovereignty of the borders of Alaska. That's the pure and simple of it. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Coghill to explain how HJR 26 would interact, have any effect on the Pacific Salmon Treaty, or any other treaties. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL explained that the only way that he knows that it would actually be a factor is in the negotiation, then the treaty would have to be taken into account. He said we're not asking that a new boundary be set, necessarily. It's only that the negotiations be settled. So it would have to take into account the treaty, but at this point, this resolution doesn't affect that. Number 606 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked, "Are we currently in any negotiations on these maritime boundaries, is the Department of Fish and Game (indisc.) that and then the people who normally do a negotiating involved with this right now." REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted that this is the reason for this resolution. He said we're stalled between Canada and Alaska and the United States on the whole issue. We're not forcing the issue, we're just requesting the issue be brought up. Number 626 MARK SEIDENBERG, Vice President, State Department Watch, testified from Northridge, California. He said HJR 26 deals with the lack of boundaries with Canada maritime issues. The three areas where we are lacking boundaries in are the Arctic at 141 degrees, in Dixon Entrance and the area around the Pribilof Islands. House Joint Resolution 26 requests entering into negotiations with the Canadian government to create these maritime boundaries so these areas could be utilized for fishing, and minerals and everything else - so they're not locked up. MR. SEIDENBERG, upon request, explained that State Department Watch is a foreign policy watchdog organization. He deferred to Carl Olson. Number 667 CARL OLSON, Chairman, State Department Watch, testified via teleconference from Washington, D.C. He said State Department Watch is a foreign-policy watchdog group looking out for the American public's best interest. The group believes it's in the best interest to come to some agreement with the Canadians over maritime boundary. He explained the resolution points out that the U.S. has maritime boundary agreements with Mexico and Cuba - for 20 years. Mr. Olson indicated that, for some reason, the State Department doesn't feel like having talks on this issue and the group think it's to the best interest to the state of Alaska, and the country as a whole, to finally make some arrangements. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the State Department Watch, as an organization has appealed to Congress or the Administrations to get this action underway. MR. OLSON replied every group has the possibility of appealing to the federal government whether it's through the executive or legislative branch, but as a small group, they do not have enough horse power that a state would have. He said that's why they felt it more compelling to come to the State government of Alaska on this issue. Number 713 CAPTAIN VINCE O'SHEA, United States Coast Guard, came before the committee. He said he works at the 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau in fisheries law enforcement and has been in Alaska since 1996. Prior to that he spent five years in Washington, D.C., at Coast Guard Headquarters in which he worked with the State Department on various international fisheries issues. CAPTAIN O'SHEA informed the members that a tribunal was established earlier in this century to answer the question (between Canada and the United States), who owned the islands in the Dixon Entrance area. He said the tribunal drew a line [referring to the map] at point "V" and point "A," and that the islands north of that line belonged to the United States, the islands south of that line belonged to Canada. Captain O'Shea said the United States has taken a position that that answered the question about the land but it didn't answer the question about the maritime boundary. Canada has taken the position that answered very clearly both questions, not only where the land is but also where the water is. The United States has claimed an equidistant line between the two countries [referring to the map] and what that's done is created an area called the disputed area - an area claimed by both countries. CAPTAIN O'SHEA noted that the United States and Canada basically came up with an agreement in the late 1970s that said, "We both let our fishers operate in that area under our own laws." So, when Canada opens their fisheries, their guys can go in. And when we open our fisheries, our guys can go in here - except that in the early 1980s Canada said -- and the condition was no new fisheries would occur there. Canada has maintained that we didn't have a trawl fishery in that area in a traditional sense, so they haven't recognized the right of our trawlers to fish in there. Over the years Canada has been saying our trawlers can't operate and we say they can. Basically we agreed to disagree on that issue. Number 333 CAPTAIN O'SHEA stated that, "We kept a Coast Guard patrol boat down there during the summertime just to make sure that served the U.S. right of our fishers to operate in that area. In fact last year we had two patrol boats down there, and the year before we did as well. Last year, though, because of the salmon problems, Canada closed the disputed area to fishing and Alaska's Department of Fish and Game, on the 2 July made a similar move, closed the disputed area to U.S. trawl fisheries as well. ... From our perspective, last year was very peaceful and a quiet year." CAPTAIN O'SHEA noted that the U.S. State Department has consistently had a position to Canada that, yes, we would like to agree upon a maritime boundary - good boundaries make good neighbors. He said he believes the reason why that issue hasn't moved is possibly due to logic - or gaming issue. If Canada had some how taken this to a resolution body, as they did on the East coast, ... the best they would get is a status quo, and the worst they would get is the equidistant line, and most likely they would get something in between. Obviously if the U.S. does it, the worst that would happen to us is we'd keep the status quo, but most likely we would gain something. So, it's probably an issue just as simple as that and the Canadians have been reluctant to bring this issue forward. CAPTAIN O'SHEA responded to Representative Kerttula's question, what does this has to do with the salmon treaty. He said, "In my experience, it's a potential sore point if the salmon treaty heats up, it's an area that - very volatile political issue down in Canada. It's also a volatile political [point] in Southeast Alaska and each side knows that that's a potential stick it can use to poke the other side. But the Coast Guard sees our view as to make sure there are no incidents down there that throws things like the salmon treaty off track." Number 781 CHAIR JAMES asked, in looking at that solid line [referring to the map], the one that was agreed upon... CAPTAIN O'SHEA remarked - the "A-V" line. CHAIR JAMES said she can't tell how close that line is to the land but it looks like it's almost on the land. CAPTAIN O'SHEA responded, yes it's very close. CHAIR JAMES said it seems that we should be able to go around our land. CAPTAIN O'SHEA replied yes. CHAIR JAMES said it seems like we've got the edge on that one. CAPTAIN O'SHEA replied yes, and that's frequently brought up by a lot of different people in this argument. Number 789 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said Dixon Entrance is an extremely rich and vital area because there is a commingled fishery, much of which is coming back to spawn in Alaska, and a great portion of which was headed to British Columbia. He further stated that, "I think this is probably the flashpoint, or one of the flashpoint areas of that U.S.-Canada treaty and when I saw this resolution my first concern was that I would be cautious about doing anything to offset to what appears to be a renewal of our negotiations on that treaty. And I don't think this would directly impact it madam chair, but it could - it could mess up the current negotiations there and I'd like to ask Captain O'Shea if he would have any comments on that." CHAIR JAMES clarified that he is talking about the salmon treaty. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON replied yes, the U.S.-Canada treaty. Every time the season opens up you've got U.S., you've got Alaskan and Canadian fishers out there that are really juggling against each other there trying to knock each other out of the way, destroy their nets, the Canadians are quickly running for cover back into U.S. waters and the Alaska fishermen are -- it's a boiling point right now and that negotiation is ongoing separately as we speak, although it hasn't had much action. He said he thought Captain O'Shea might be more up-to-date as to what is going on in that negotiation. Number 819 CAPTAIN O'SHEA replied that he doesn't have an official role in the U.S.-Canada treaty negotiations but he does talk informally to some of the folks who are working on that issue. He said he believes anything to do with Dixon Entrance always has a potential to impact that process, depending upon how the Canadians see it at that particular time. He further stated that, "On the other hand, I would point out that what this resolution [HJR 26] is calling for is not anything that hasn't already been the policy of the U.S. State Department. In other words, the U.S. State Department basically has said, 'Anytime you guys want to sit down and talk about this ... this boundary and get it resolved, we'd be happy to do that.' So it would send the signal to the State Department that we're still here, we're still waiting. But, depending on the status is of those U.S.-Canada treaties, it could be taken as a -- what we could do is give an excuse to somebody on the Canadian-side to do something that they were planning on doing all along, that's probably the biggest danger." CHAIR JAMES said it seems that it is going to be very difficult to get a salmon treaty without having solved this. CAPTAIN O'SHEA responded that he believes that the fish in the Dixon Entrance area is a small portion of the whole thing, and as Representative Hudson pointed out, they're in a migratory mode. He said his understanding of the salmon treaty is coming from calculations back at the stream of origin, then trying to come up with a sharing scheme relative to the escapements that they're trying to get up those various streams. Number 847 CAPTAIN O'SHEA noted from a Coast Guard standpoint, the biggest issue we have is the trawler issue, whether or not they will let our trawlers go down there. It's been something that we've been able to live with over the years. He said he believes that it is not that closely linked that they couldn't solve -- they have adjustments and calculations within the salmon treaty numbers of stocks that would allow them to get an acceptable agreement without necessarily bringing this to closure. CHAIR JAMES remarked that the United States has a number of disputes with Canada regarding various issues. One of the things in our TEA-21 [Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21 century] that we had this year, is that part of that money is supposed to be there to try to help us make the border crossings from Canada to the U.S. without dispute. It seems that the more cooperation we could get between us, that the better off we'd be in the long term. She said, "We ought to eat our way through these disputes instead of having this continual..." TAPE 99-21, SIDE B Number 001 CHAIR JAMES continued, "...I'd like to be able to call those Canadians my friend and I think that's very important that we do that." REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL stated that it is true, we are the closest and most effected by our relationship with Canada. Therefore, it is imperative that Alaska is involved in any of the negotiations, and this resolution [HJR 26] calls for it, and it calls for a boundary to be set up. He said, "And I think that if Canada sees the legislature appealing for that, that would give them heart that we are in fact trying to settle the maritime boundary. The salmon treaty, notwithstanding, is a separate issue but it's also part of the negotiation of friendship. And so, this is just a move, I think in a very diplomatic way saying Alaska is really interested in making sure that we have clear lines so that were settled on that issue. So, I'd respectively ask to move this resolution." REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Representative Coghill if he had received a position from the Department of Fish and Game or the U.S. State Department about how they feel about this resolution. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL replied no. Number 052 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "I really want to agree with you that we need to resolve our boundary disputes, not only here but certainly up to - in the Arctic ... not only with Canada, but also with Russia ... as well. My only reluctance, I guess, and I would like to do a little checking before I personally sign-off on this measure ... would be to talk with David Benton or somebody down at the Department of Fish and Game. We have such a tremendous economy to the fishermen out of Ketchikan and Southeastern Alaska that, if anything we did, however innocently of this nature that would interrupt our inner you know -- right now, for the very first time I'm told that there appears to be some momentum in renegotiating that U.S.-Canada treaty we're finding some conclusion. As you know, we've had terrible consequences as a result of not having a settlement with the Canadians - they blockaded our ships down there, they cost us millions of dollars in fairs, and things of that nature. And it just did damage the relationship with Alaska and our Province - Canada and British Columbia particularly. So, for me at any rate, I would like the courtesy of, or even have maybe the committee staff or somebody to ask somebody who is negotiating in behalf of Alaska fishermen to come before the committee and speak about that. ... And I wouldn't feel comfortable in passing it out of committee until I at least know that our action wasn't harming the potential livelihood of, you know, of our fellow Southeasterners." CHAIR JAMES stated that their absence is distressing, why aren't they here to testify. She asked Representative Hudson to contact them. Number 133 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted that the Alaska Trawlers Association supports HJR 26. He emphasized that this is not to Alaska that we are appealing, but it is to the federal government to even begin the negotiation on a maritime boundary. He said he doesn't feel that that would have any adverse effect on even our fish and game management - so much to upset a treaty agreement. Representative Coghill said, "So, whereas I understand your objection, this really is kind of out of their purview." CHAIR JAMES said she tends to agree with Representative Coghill on that issue because a line, between those two lines, should be drawn and that a lot of dispute would be gone if we did that. The fish would probably be divided similarly to what the collection of the fish is at this time, but the battle would be gone. CHAIR JAMES announced that HJR 26 would be held over until next Tuesday. HJR 27-ALASKA/RUSSIA MARITIME BOUNDARY CHAIR JAMES announced HJR 27, Relating to the maritime boundary between Alaska and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is before the committee. She noted HJR 27 is similar to HJR 26, but is a different location. Number 172 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL said he distributed suggested amendments that were suggested by Representative Berkowitz which made it more diplomatic in his view. He noted that there has been some dispute over the spelling of Wrangell. Page 1, line 9, changes the spelling of Wrangel to Wrangell. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL referred to page 2, line 26, and instructed the members to delete "failed to" and insert the word "not." REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL explained there hasn't been negotiation between Russia and America on this. He emphasized one of the things that the legislature is asking in this resolution is that Alaska be involved it. He added, "But there has been a failure, and they did not in fact ratify it from the Russian side." CHAIR JAMES asked if a "d" should to be added to the word approve. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL replied yes. [The following has been revised]: WHEREAS the U.S.S.R. and its successor, Russia, have not approved the proposed treaty agreement, and the agreement has not been put into force as a treaty; and Number 215 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL also instructed the members to delete lines 6 thru 8, page 3, which dealt with a particular secretary of state that is no longer there. That was also a recommendation by Representative Berkowitz. Delete: WHEREAS the authority of the Secretary of State to establish on his own a maritime boundary that has implications for land territory, seabed jurisdiction, sovereignty, and Alaska property raises questions of constitutionality and personal culpability; and On page 3, delete lines 14 thru 30 and insert the following revision: BE IT RESOLVED by the Alaska State Legislature that, because the proposed United States - U.S.S.R. maritime Boundary Agreement has not been put into force, negotiations for the proposed treaty should include participation by the State of Alaska, and terms in a new proposed treaty regarding Alaska's territory, sovereignty, or property should involve representatives of the State of Alaska; and be it FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature considers participation of the State of Alaska to be essential in a [to the] validity of the executive agreement, requests the United States Department of State to report any and all acts and directives regarding implementation of the executive agreement, and respectfully requests the Governor and the Attorney General of Alaska to investigate whether any actions in this matter are not consistent with law and to report on their findings to the Legislature prior to the next regular session; and be it FURTHER RESOLVE[D] that the Alaska State Legislature urges the Alaska delegation in the United States Congress to promote and pursue the views expressed in this resolution, especially the need for Alaska representation in negotiations over setting a maritime boundary between the state and eastern Russia; Number 264 On page 4, delete line 1 and insert: maritime boundary between Alaska and eastern Russia is a constitutional issue of states' rights and Number 275 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to adopt the proposed amendment. There being no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL pointed out that HJR 27 is an important resolution that brings to light the need to establish/settle maritime boundaries between Russia and Alaska. Due to the change in the U.S.S.R. to Russia, that was never ratified and is still a big question. He noted that Alaska is directly affected by it in a variety of different ways: in the fishing area, in some of the lands that will be involved which include some of the islands that are in the Chukchi Sea. Those issues have yet to be resolved. House Joint Resolution 27 states that Alaska be part of that negotiation and it also requests those negotiations begin. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she has the same types of concerns with HJR 27 as she had with HJR 26. She said, "I would also like to see it held over so that I can contact the State Department and ask them what their position is. Especially when we start talking about Wrangell Island and some of the other ones. In the sponsor statement there's mention about when Wrangell was discovered in the 1800s. But my understanding, and the research that I've seen, is that those islands were discovered much earlier than that by indigenous people who lived there and that those people became Russian. So I feel real strongly that, you know, failure of recognition of those people and their rights, and, you know, Deshnev [Russian explorer/early 1600s] after them really needs to be taken into account here, and I'm not going to feel comfortable on this unless we have some point of view from the State Department." CHAIR JAMES remarked that if they negotiated a settlement of the maritime boundary, those are the issues they would determine. She said she fails to understand why people don't want to get to a conclusion. Number 335 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she is not unhappy to get to a conclusion. She stated that she wants to know what the positions are and how it actually affects us. She emphasized that she dislikes talking about when the islands were discovered and completely disregarding 100s of years of history prior to that. Therefore, she thinks it an important point. CHAIR JAMES noted that she has been studying that issue for a number of years and is aware of that. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he strongly supports HJR 27 and recalled Chair James sponsoring similar legislation. He stated that, "I do think, unlike another area where we may have a conflicting or a dual treaty negotiations that could affect the livelihood of Alaskans, there's nothing like that involved in this particular settlement. ... This may be a time - because of the dissolution of the old U.S.S.R. that changes the economic changes and the social changes that are occurring up there may give our State Department - and we may be stimulating them to go back into negotiations and resolve these delicate lines up there because they're very important to resolve them: mineralogy - as you know, transportation, some fisheries, and things like that are really important." He believed that HJR 27 is timely and should be pursued. CHAIR JAMES reiterated her agreement that it is timely, particularly since she has been working on getting a railroad from Canada and to Russia and thinks we're getting closer and closer to that reality. But, in order to do that Alaska has to have a treaty with Russia, and there's no better time to be negotiating maritime boundaries when you're having to have another agreement that has a very positive effect on Russia and on Alaska. Number 381 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL pointed out that it has been brought to the attention of the Department of Interior, Secretary Albright has been written to and there's been no response. Representative Coghill said, in regard to that, we shouldn't wait for them to respond, we should ask them to initiate action. To try to do that before we send a resolution at this point, he believes, would be futile. So, HJR 27 gets the legislature to agree to a resolution stating that we want to be at that negotiation and that the negotiation should begin, and the time is now. So, to hold this up would be very unfortunate. Number 401 CAPTAIN VINCE O'SHEA, United States Coast Guard, came before the committee. He noted the State Department has a position on this which is the 1990 agreement that was initiated with the Russians after ten years of negotiation. That agreement was ratified by the United States Senate in 1992. He said the issue is, that in going from the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation, the Russians have failed to ratify that 1990 agreement. So going back to the State Department and saying, "We want you to solve the boundary line," quite frankly their going to say, "So do we." Captain O'Shea indicated that the ball in many ways is in the Russian court on this. He said there is an ongoing series of high-level meetings involving then-Ambassador Thomas Pickering [Under Secretary of State], at the State Department. He said Under Secretary of State Pickering is sort of the United States point person on this - and it's been going on for about three years now - a series of offers, and counter offers back and forth. CAPTAIN O'SHEA said President Yeltsin has not submitted this agreement to the Duma [equivalent of U.S. Senate] because he understands he does not have the votes to ratify the 1990 agreement. Captain O'Shea said Russia has agreed to provisionally apply the 1990 agreement. And, at times of the year Alaska has up to 120 foreign factory trawlers that are fishing along this line [referring to a map], and we have a continuous Coast Guard cutter up there. He said, "Quite frankly, whether the boundary gets to be resolved or not, as long as there's fish there, you're not going to get us out of the job of having to be up there." CAPTAIN O'SHEA continued, "What I'm saying to the Russian's credit, quite frankly is they have agreed to abide operationally to the 1990 line. And, in fact, at the latest meeting that I was at in Seattle, in January, they announced that they have established a voluntary five-mile line on their side to keep those factory trawlers away from the line to avoid coming into our waters." He pointed out that the Bering Sea Fisheries Advisory Board advises the State Department and the board consists of industry representatives (both from the state of Alaska and from the Seattle area), factory trawler and fishing groups are part of the negotiated team which is dealing with that issue. From his understanding, HJR 27 is consistent with a lot of the things that are already taking place. Number 453 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Captain O'Shea what is the State Department's official position is on Wrangell Island. CAPTAIN O'SHEA said he can't respond to that because he is familiar with the south area, and mostly with regard to fisheries in the Bering Sea. CHAIR JAMES suggested Representative Kerttula conduct her investigation and present her findings on the House floor. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA reiterated that her greatest concern is over the islands. Our claims start to sound much like we aren't taking into account the previous territorial claims of the indigenous people. She said she will do the research and will provide that information. Number 474 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON moved to report CSHJR 27(STA) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered. ADJOURNMENT Number 492 There being no further business before the committee, the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:21 a.m.