Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/20/1993 09:02 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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          SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                        
                         April 20, 1993                                        
                            9:02 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman                                             
  Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman                                          
  Senator Loren Leman                                                          
  Senator Fred Zharoff                                                         
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Al Adams                                                             
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 189                                                          
  "An Act relating to community health aide grants."                           
                                                                               
  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 31                                               
  Relating to the minimum federal criteria for municipal solid                 
  waste landfills.                                                             
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL NO. 221                                                           
  "An  Act  relating to  workers'  compensation for  volunteer                 
  ambulance attendants,  police officers,  and fire  fighters;                 
  and providing for an effective date."                                        
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 164                                                          
  "An    Act    relating    to     municipal    incorporation,                 
  reclassification, and dissolution."                                          
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
  SB 189 - No previous action to record.                                       
                                                                               
  SJR 31 - No previous action to record.                                       
                                                                               
  HB 221 - No previous action to record.                                       
                                                                               
  SB 164 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes                            
           dated 3/30/93, 4/13/93.                                             
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  Myra Munson, Representing Alaska                                             
    Native Health Board                                                        
  229 4th St.                                                                  
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 189                          
                                                                               
  Larry Stevens, Aide to Senator George Jacko                                  
                                                                               
                                                                               
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Ak 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 189                          
                                                                               
  Deborah Erickson, Health Program Sepcialist                                  
  Division of Public Health                                                    
  Department of Health & Social Services                                       
  P.O. Box 110610                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-0610                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Dept. supports SB 189                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Loren Leman                                                          
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of SJR 31                                 
                                                                               
  Heather Stockard                                                             
  Hazardous & Solid Waste Management Section                                   
  Department of Environmental Conservation                                     
  410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 105                                               
  Juneau, AK 99801-1795                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information  on SJR 31                          
                                                                               
  Representative Bill Hudson                                                   
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of HB 221                                 
                                                                               
  John George                                                                  
  Alaska State Firefighters Association                                        
  9515 Moraine Way                                                             
  Juneau, AK 99801                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information in support of                       
                       HB 221                                                  
                                                                               
  Bruce Geraghty, Deputy Commissioner                                          
  Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                   
  P.O. Box 112100                                                              
  Juneau, AK 99811-2100                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Dept. supports SB 164                                   
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-23, SIDE A                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 001                                                                   
                                                                               
  The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called                 
  to order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:02 a.m.                             
  SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS introduced  SB 189 (COMMUNITY HEALTH                 
  AIDE GRANTS) as the first order of business                                  
                                                                               
  MYRA MUNSON,  representing the  Alaska Native  Health Board,                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  explained SB 189  is a very  technical bill that will  solve                 
  the problem with  the community  health aide training  grant                 
  program.  Community health  aides make up the core  of rural                 
  health care delivery  throughout Alaska.   All of the  money                 
  for their salaries comes  from federal appropriation through                 
  the Indian Health Service.                                                   
                                                                               
  The  state  provides  a  small   grant  program  (less  than                 
  $700,000) to support training and  supervision of the health                 
  aides.  When  the program was  created in 1985, it  provided                 
  that to be eligible to receive the funds an organization had                 
  to exist in 1984 and employ health  aides.  Last year, after                 
  the  East  Aleutian Borough  formed,  a new  regional health                 
  organization formed to serve that  borough area, and because                 
  this organization did not exist in 1984, it was not eligible                 
  to receive training funds from the state.                                    
                                                                               
  SB 189  permits new  regional organizations to  come in  and                 
  provide  services.    The legislation  does  not  change the                 
  funding  formula in any way; it is still based on the number                 
  of health aides who were in the program in 1984.                             
                                                                               
  Ms. Munson said the legislation is  a very high priority for                 
  people in the Aleutian-Priboloff region.  Without passage of                 
  the bill, those programs run the  risk of having one program                 
  with no funding or  the two programs having less  than their                 
  share  of the total funding.  She  urged swift passage of SB
  189.                                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 092                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY  STEVENS,  aide  to  Senator  George  Jacko,  said  he                 
  personally became  aware of  this problem  the past  interim                 
  during  a  meeting   with  the  Aleutian-Priboloff   Islands                 
  Association.   Concern was expressed that  if a solution was                 
  not found  in  the near  term,  they would  not  be able  to                 
  continue on the basis  which they had mutually agreed  to to                 
  accommodate the change in the situation.                                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Stevens voiced  Senator Jacko's  support for passage  of                 
  the legislation.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 110                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS  referred to  page  2, line  10, and                 
  asked how the rural area of at least 4,000  square miles was                 
  determined.  MYRA  MUNSON responded that the  4,000 miles is                 
  determined by land mass, and the East Aleutians Borough area                 
  served is just over 4,000 miles, so it will not create a new                 
  problem.   The land mass  area was put  into the law  in the                 
  first instance to encourage the efficiency of serving larger                 
  regions, so as not  to have every individual  village coming                 
  in and looking for grants.                                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEBORAH  ERICKSON, Health  Program  Specialist, Division  of                 
  Public  Health, Department  of  Health and  Social Services,                 
  stated the department's support for SB 189, and she said the                 
  bill is just a technical change  and will not the change the                 
  nature or scope of the program.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 146                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN moved that  SB 189 be passed out  of committee                 
  with individual  recommendations.  Hearing no  objection, it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
  Number 160                                                                   
  SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS  introduced   SJR  31  (EXTEND  FED                 
  LANDFILL  COMPLIANCE   DEADLINES)  as  the   next  order  of                 
  business.                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR LOREN  LEMAN,  prime sponsor  of  SJR 31,  said  the                 
  resolution was  the result of a  request by a member  of the                 
  Kansas  legislature who asked  for the  Alaska legislature's                 
  help in joining them and other  states in requesting the EPA                 
  to  back  off   of  its   October  9,   1993  deadline   for                 
  municipalities to meet federal criteria for solid waste.                     
                                                                               
  Senator  Leman  said  there  are  considerable  solid  waste                 
  challenges throughout the  state where there is  no way that                 
  the state will be able to upgrade what are now and have been                 
  sites for dumping garbage to get  them up to landfill status                 
  by the October  deadline.  He added that he believes it is a                 
  reasonable approach to request  this delay in implementation                 
  of these criteria.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 185                                                                   
                                                                               
  HEATHER STOCKARD, Department of  Environmental Conservation,                 
  stated the department's support for SJR 31.                                  
                                                                               
  Ms.  Sotckard   explained  that  federal   regulations  were                 
  promulgated on  October 9,  1991 and  allowed two  years for                 
  states to develop regulations implementing the Hazardous and                 
  Solid  Waste  Amendments  of  1984  and   receiving  program                 
  approval.   There is  a lot  of flexibility  built into  the                 
  federal regulations for states which  have been approved for                 
  solid waste, so  program approval is a  very important issue                 
  for the state and for the local communities.                                 
                                                                               
  Ms.  Stockard  said  there were  provisions  built  into the                 
  federal  law  that allow  some  exemptions for  small remote                 
  communities.    That  exemption  was  specifically  targeted                 
  toward  Alaska, but does not  go far enough  for a number of                 
  the smallest villages.  DEC has  been working to develop the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  state  solid  waste regulations,  but  they are  still  in a                 
  preliminary stage at this point.   The department expects to                 
  have a public  comment version of the  regulations available                 
  next month.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Ms.  Stockard related  that  she had  just  returned from  a                 
  meeting of the  Association of  State and Territorial  Solid                 
  Waste Management Officials  where the issue of  the upcoming                 
  federal deadline was  extensively discussed.   She said  the                 
  Association has not yet taken a position on this matter, but                 
  probably will not  support a two-year deadline  because many                 
  states are opposing a two-year extension.  However, they may                 
  favorably  take  a  compromise  position  of  supporting  an                 
  extension of six to nine months to allow enough time for all                 
  states to approve program approval and a longer extension of                 
  the deadline  on the  financial responsibility  requirements                 
  for the communities.                                                         
                                                                               
  Ms. Stockard said EPA  has taken the position that  it would                 
  not  be  possible for  them  to administratively  extend the                 
  deadline at this point because there is not enough time left                 
  for the regulation  changes, so  extensions to the  landfill                 
  deadline would have to be by congressional action.                           
                                                                               
  Number 280                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SJR 31  be passed out of committee                 
  with individual recommendations.   Hearing no objection,  it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
  Number 295                                                                   
  SENATOR   RANDY   PHILLIPS   introduced  HB   221   (WORKERS                 
  COMP:VOLUNTEER  FIRE  FIGHTERS, ETC)  as  the next  order of                 
  business.                                                                    
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  BILL  HUDSON,  prime  sponsor  of   HB  221,                 
  explained the legislation  was introduced at the  request of                 
  firefighters  in  the  Juneau  area  who had  experienced  a                 
  serious accident at  their fire training center  where three                 
  volunteer were injured and one man lost his life.                            
                                                                               
  HB 221 clarifies that when volunteers are functioning with a                 
  municipality on a  fire or  when they are  involved in  fire                 
  training, they are  for all  intents and purposes  employees                 
  when it comes to workers' compensation.  It modifies current                 
  statute  to  indicate  that volunteers  would  receive  wage                 
  replacement based  on the  actual wages  lost or  comparable                 
  wages.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 315                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked  what  the  fiscal cost  would  be  to                 
  individual cities.  REPRESENTATIVE  HUDSON answered that the                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  fiscal   cost  is  zero;  it   comes  out  of  the  workers'                 
  compensation.   The impact  throughout the  State of  Alaska                 
  means  that  volunteers,  when  they  are  called  out,  are                 
  employees.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 335                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN GEORGE,  representing  the  Alaska  State  Firefighters                 
  Association, explained that workers' compensation is paid by                 
  the municipality.  It  currently is based on the  wages that                 
  would be paid  to an entry level firefighter.   HB 221 would                 
  change it to  that or the actual  wages of the volunteer  in                 
  his other  employment, whichever  is greater.   The  current                 
  rates are based  on a compensation  of about $2,000 a  year.                 
  He said he talked  to Brad Thompson of Risk  Management, and                 
  they think that if there is an increase it is going to be so                 
  minuscule that it won't make any difference at all.                          
                                                                               
  Number 350                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS  asked  for  the  pleasure  of  the                 
  committee on HB 221.                                                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR moved that HB 221  be passed out of committee                 
  with individual  recommendations.  Hearing  no objection, it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
  Number 360                                                                   
  SENATOR   RANDY   PHILLIPS   brought   SB   164   (MUNICIPAL                 
  INCORP/RECLASSIFICATION/DISSOLUTION) before the committee as                 
  the final order of  business and noted there was  a proposed                 
  committee substitute.                                                        
                                                                               
  BRUCE GERAGHTY, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community                 
  & Regional Affairs,  said the Local Boundary  Commission has                 
  recommended  the   additional  changes   contained  in   the                 
  committee substitute.   He  voiced the  department's support                 
  for the recommended changes.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 400                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS  stated SB  164  would  be held  in                 
  committee until the  next meeting to give  committee members                 
  the opportunity to look at the new committee substitute.                     
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 9:31 a.m.                            

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