Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/20/1993 09:02 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.