Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/13/1994 09:01 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS                              
                        January 13, 1994                                       
                           9:01 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman                                           
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 All members present                                                           
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 203                                                           
 "An Act requiring unified municipalities to provide police                    
 protection and law enforcement services; and providing for an                 
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 202                                                           
 "An Act relating to the removal, appropriation, and purchase of               
 state water by municipalities; and providing for an effective                 
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 35                                                            
 "An Act providing immunity for the Alaska State Emergency Response            
 Commission, the local emergency planning committees, the Hazardous            
 Substance Spill Technology Review Council, and their members for              
 official actions; and providing for an effective date."                       
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 203 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                       
          11/3/93.                                                             
                                                                               
 SB 202 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 SB 35 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated                        
     2/23/93, and State Affairs minutes dated 11/29/93.                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
   WITNESS REGISTER                                                            
                                                                               
 John Cowdery                                                                  
 Special Assistant to Mayor Fink,                                              
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 P.O. Box 196650                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99519-6650                                                  
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 202.                                        
                                                                               
 Jerry Gallagher                                                               
 Legislative Liaison for DNR                                                   
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT: No position on SB 202.                                    
                                                                               
 Kevin Kochlein                                                                
 Chair of Mat-Su Borough LEPC                                                  
 680 N. Seward Meridian                                                        
 Wasilla, Alaska 99654                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Ernest Meloche                                                                
 Chair of Ketchikan LEPC                                                       
 P.O. Box 6058                                                                 
 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Robert Spencer                                                                
 Coordinator of Fairbanks LEPC                                                 
 P.O. Box 84747                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Jim Studley                                                                   
 Northern Southeastern LEPC                                                    
 Box 946                                                                       
 Haines, Alaska 99827                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Doug Welde                                                                    
 Chair of Petersburg/Wrangell LEPC                                             
 Box 75                                                                        
 Petersburg, Alaska 9983                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 35.                                          
                                                                               
 Bob Stewart                                                                   
 Emergency Management Director                                                 
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Michael Conway                                                                
 Division of Spill Containment & Response, DEC,                                
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 35.                                         
                                                                               
 Marie Sansone                                                                 
 Assistant Attorney General                                                    
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed SB 35.                                          
                                                                               
 Annette Krietzer                                                              
 Staff to Senator Leman                                                        
 State Capitol, Room 113                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed SB 35.                                          
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-2, SIDE A                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called to               
 order by Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman, at 9:01 a.m.  He                   
 rescheduled  SB 203  (MANDATORY MUNICIPAL POLICE SERVICES) for                
 January 20th.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 012                                                                    
 Chairman Randy Phillips introduced  SB 202  (SALE OF STATE WATER TO           
 MUNICIPALITIES) as the first order of business.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER stated in his sponsor statement that SB 202 gives              
 municipalities another mechanism to replace revenue.                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked which municipalities have an ample supply of              
 water and may be interested in selling.  Senator Miller replied               
 that they are mainly in Southeast Alaska.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 065                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOHN COWDERY, representing the Municipality of Anchorage, discussed           
 existing statutes and the changes SB 202 would make.  He questioned           
 if the conservation fee would generate enough revenues to cover a             
 full operation.  He urged passage of SB 202 to the next committee             
 of referral.                                                                  
                                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked if the sale of water from the Municipality of             
 Anchorage to cargo ships would increase costs.  Mr. Cowdery said              
 that at present there is a surplus of water, so there should be no            
 increase.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN questioned if the Municipality of Anchorage pays a              
 conservation fee to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Mr.           
 Cowdery stated that currently DNR's water division has not                    
 implemented any regulations to form the network for collecting any            
 fees.  Senator Leman said that this legislation is clarification of           
 original intent.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked what volume of excess water would be sold and           
 the cost recovery.  Mr. Cowdery said that some inquiries for large            
 quantities of water had been made and the cost was unknown at this            
 time.  He believed that the sale and money of this water should go            
 directly to the municipalities.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 245                                                                    
                                                                               
 JERRY GALLAGHER, Legislative Liaison, Department of Natural                   
 Resources, explained that DNR is reviewing water fees and costs               
 across the board, however DNR has no position regarding SB 202 yet.           
                                                                               
 Number 264                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS inquired if Governor Hickel's proposed water pipeline           
 would have any effect on SB 202.  Mr. Cowdery stated it would have            
 no effect.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 272                                                                    
                                                                               
 JERRY GALLAGHER addressed the fiscal note and speculated a small              
 net decrease in revenue to the state.  Currently, under the water             
 conservation fee, the state was not collecting anything because               
 collecting regulations are not in place.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 294                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS requested a fiscal note from the Department of                  
 Revenue.  The bill with the fiscal note will be brought before the            
 committee on Tuesday.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated support of SB 202 by Ketchikan and Sitka.               
                                                                               
 Number 318                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RANDY PHILLIPS brought  SB 35  (IMMUNITY FOR ACTIONS TAKEN           
 UNDER AS 46.13) before the committee.                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN reviewed his sponsor statement emphasizing that SB 35           
 will help clarify the law regarding immunity in emergency planning            
 functions.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 342                                                                    
                                                                               
 KEVIN KOCHLEIN, Chair of Local Emergency Planning Committee for the           
 Mat-Su Borough, voiced support for SB 35 and urged rapid passage of           
 SB 35.                                                                        
                                                                               
 ERNEST MELOCHE, Chair of the Ketchikan LEPC and a founding member             
 of  the LEPC Association, supported SB 35.  He pointed out the                
 critical nature of providing blanket immunity.                                
                                                                               
 Number 395                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT SPENCER, Coordinator of the Fairbanks LEPC, supported SB 35            
 and urged its passage.  He expressed that people preforming                   
 coordination and administration duties for LEPCs who are not                  
 members of the LEPC or the state commission should be provided with           
 some sort of community liability protection.                                  
                                                                               
 JIM STUDLEY, Northern Southeast LEPC Emergency Planner, supported             
 SB 35 and also recommended its passage.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 430                                                                    
                                                                               
 DOUG WELDE, Chairman of the Petersburg/Wrangell LEPC, supported SB
 35 and urged passage of SB 35 because without immunity the                    
 volunteer seats are difficult to fill.                                        
                                                                               
 BOB STEWART, Emergency Management Director for the Municipality of            
 Anchorage, LEPC and SERC member, noted that the bill will be an               
 impetus to local governments because it eliminates the long-term              
 liability concerns.  He said that SB 35 will enhance overall state            
 planning.  He supported SB 35.                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS requested the positions of the Chugiak Fire            
 Department and the South Fork Fire Department regarding this bill.            
                                                                               
 JEFF MORRISON, Director of Administrative and Support Services                
 Division, Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, stated he was           
 present for questions.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 490                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL CONWAY, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC),               
 said that the Department supports SB 35.                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR questioned the circumstances for possible liability            
 of individual volunteers without the state being also held                    
 responsible.  He does not want to defend these volunteers and hold            
 them harmless.                                                                
                                                                               
 MARIE SANSONE, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,                 
 confirmed that the possibility of liability is remote.  The                   
 planning is no longer a discretionary act but rather a mandatory              
 act. Failure to follow the Emergency Planning and Community Right             
 to Know Act's requirements or gross negligence within those                   
 requirements could result in liability.  She discussed the                    
 Indemnification Agreement.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR said that the state already has a written agreement            
 that will indemnify and defend those volunteers.  He added that the           
 legislation does not intend to provide immunity for gross                     
 negligence.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 552                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARIE SANSONE agreed with Senator Taylor, but pointed out that the            
 agreement in place was only temporary until legislation was                   
 enacted.  She emphasized that indemnification binds future                    
 legislatures to make an appropriation which could be                          
 unconstitutional.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if indemnification is only in effect if their           
 is a spill and some coordinated effort is already in place.  Marie            
 Sansone responded that the Indemnity Agreement only covers planning           
 for emergencies not response.  The SERC and LEPCs are only                    
 responsible for planning.                                                     
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-2, SIDE B                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARIE SANSONE, in answer to Senator Zharoff, explained the last               
 section of SB 35 and the protections built into the law. The last             
 sentence recognizes that even if immunity were provided to these              
 committees, the federal law is supreme.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained that federal law will not allow immunity             
 to volunteers in certain situations, therefore there must be an               
 ongoing agreement.  He reiterated that SB 35 is covering  only the            
 planners, not those volunteers who execute the plans.  Ms Sansone             
 informed the committee that other immunity statutes deal with                 
 responders and municipal governments.  Senator Taylor emphasized              
 the need to address the whole problem and all those affected.                 
                                                                               
 Number 540                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN clarified that SB 35 identifies who cannot be sued              
 and provides some immunity, but still leaves the state as an                  
 umbrella.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MARIE SANSONE answered that SB 35 does not immunize the state, the            
 state departments involved, the responder, or the local government.           
 The victims would not be left without any remedies.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asserted that SB 35 does not provide for responders.           
 He reiterated the need to address the whole problem.  Ms. Sansome             
 suggested looking at her memorandum for some existing responder               
 liability statutes.                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if SB 35 could be expanded to include                   
 responders.  Ms. Sansone suggested going through the statutes she             
 cited in her opinion which do provide some protection for                     
 responders.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 467                                                                    
                                                                               
 ANNETTE KRIETZER, staff to Senator Leman, said that many who                  
 testified were planners as well as responders.  These people                  
 realize their liability as responders, however, they are concerned            
 with the planning aspect.                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS noted that there is no money from the State nor from            
 the Response Fund.                                                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked for examples of liability suits and a                    
 clarification of the remoteness of such liability suits.  Ms.                 
 Krietzer did not know either, but commented that the LEPCs do not             
 like the odds whatever they are.                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved that SB 35 with the attached fiscal note be               
 passed out of committee with individual recommendations.  Senator             
 Adams objected, then removed his objection.   Chairman Randy                  
 Phillips called for a voice vote on the motion.  Senators Randy               
 Phillips, Leman, and Taylor voted "Yea".  Chairman Randy Phillips             
 stated that the motion carried.                                               
                                                                               
 There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:10               
 a.m.                                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               

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