Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/10/1996 02:05 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                         April 10, 1996                                        
                           2:05 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 All members present                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 466(FIN) am                                             
 "An Act establishing the Adak Reuse Authority."                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 322(FIN)                                                
 "An Act authorizing grants for temporary housing assistance during            
 emergencies and disasters."                                                   
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 386(JUD)                                                
 "An Act relating to cruelty to animals and to the power of first              
 and second class boroughs to prohibit cruelty to animals."                    
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 542(FSH)                                                
 "An Act relating to participation in matters before the Board of              
 Fisheries by members of the board."                                           
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 466 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 4/3/96.               
 HB 322 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 4/3/96.               
 HB 542 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Representative Carl Moses                                                     
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of HB 466                                
 George Dozier, Staff to House Military & Veterans Affairs                     
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 322                          
 Carol Carroll, Director                                                       
 Administrative & Support Services Division                                    
 Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                     
 P.O. Box 110900                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0900                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 322                          
 Representative Alan Austerman                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of HB 542                                
 Steven White, Assistant Attorney General                                      
 Natural Resources Section                                                     
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Department neutral on HB 542                           
 Jim Ellison                                                                   
 P.O. Box 55590                                                                
 North Pole, AK 99705                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SCS CSHB 386(CRA)                             
 Art Griswold                                                                  
 873 Runamuck Ave.                                                             
 North Pole, AK 99705                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SCS CSHB 386(CRA)                             
 Bob Franklin, State President                                                 
 Alaska Farm Bureau                                                            
 P.O. Box 75184                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK 99707                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SCS CSHB 386(CRA)              
 Bill Ward                                                                     
 P.O. Box 350                                                                  
 Soldotna, AK 99669                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Has some concerns with SCS CSHB 386(CRA)               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 96-20, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
             CSHB 466(FIN) am ADAK REUSE AUTHORITY                            
  CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs           
 Committee meeting to order at 2:05 p.m.  He then brought CSHB
 466(FIN) am before the committee as the first order of business and           
 outlined changes made in a draft CRA SCS.  The first change is to             
 page 1, lines 8 and 12, which changes the lead agency from the                
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs to the Department of               
 Commerce & Economic Development.  The second change is to page 2,             
 lines 20 through 22, which deletes the language "In case of a tie             
 vote on a motion or resolution pending before the authority, the              
 motion or resolution shall be presented to the governor and, if               
 approved by the governor, is considered adopted by the authority."            
 It is replaced with the language "Action may be taken and motions             
 and resolutions may be adopted by the authority only upon an                  
 affirmative vote of a majority of the full membership of the                  
 authority."  The third change is to page 3, line 2, where                     
 subsection (c) was rewritten to state all employees are employees             
 of the authority or contract employees and that the contract does             
 not exceed two years.                                                         
 SENATOR KELLY commented that the new language in subsection (c) is            
 a recognition that this is a transitional authority.  He                      
 acknowledged to Senator Zharoff that, if necessary, a contract                
 could be renewed after the two years.                                         
 Number 058                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES, prime sponsor of HB 466, stated his                
 agreement with the proposed changes.                                          
 Number 102                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY moved the adoption of SCS CSHB 466(CRA).  Hearing no            
 objection, the Chairman stated the motion carried.                            
 Number 120                                                                    
 SENATOR KELLY moved SCS CSHB 466(CRA) be passed out of committee              
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
  SENATOR TORGERSON brought CSHB 322(FIN) before the committee and            
 noted it was the committee's second hearing on the legislation.               
 GEORGE DOZIER, staff to the House Military & Veterans Affairs                 
 Committee, explained the legislation was sponsored by the committee           
 at the request of the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.              
 Under existing law, when the governor proclaims a disaster                    
 emergency, the Division of Emergency Services has the statutory               
 authority to arrange temporary housing for individuals that have              
 been displaced by the emergency.  However, this presents an                   
 administrative burden because the department only has the ability             
 to secure the housing rather then making housing grants and                   
 allowing individuals to secure their own housing.                             
 HB 322 would permit the department to get out of the business of              
 being a landlord by allowing individuals who have suffered                    
 displacement to make their own housing arrangements through grants.           
 Number 165                                                                    
 CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative & Support Services                    
 Division, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, explained the            
 current process used by the department when a disaster is                     
 proclaimed by the governor.  She then outlined the process that               
 will be used if HB 322 passes.  The division will go into a                   
 community and after doing an analysis of the current rental market,           
 an amount will be set which will be provided to people who qualify.           
 Those individuals would then go out and find their own housing.               
 The department will require proper documentation to make sure the             
 individuals have actually rented something and are not being                  
 provided housing by someone else.                                             
 SENATOR KELLY said several years ago, when he was on the Finance              
 Committee, a provision was added to the statute that required                 
 reimbursement back to the state if individuals were covered by                
 insurance, and he wondered if that requirement was being met.  MS.            
 CARROLL said it was her understanding that people at the Division             
 of Emergency Services do match the insurance returns to any cost              
 that the state has in that regard.                                            
 SENATOR KELLY commented he has some trepidation about the whole               
 statute because there is no control over how much money will be               
 spent on an emergency, and it makes him nervous to have that open             
 liability to the state of Alaska out there.  He is also concerned             
 that the legislation doesn't provide oversight on what kind of                
 housing individuals can get.  MS. CARROLL said the department would           
 limit the amount given to individuals that qualified to a medium on           
 the rental scale.  If individuals choose to stay in a rental unit             
 that is at the top of the line, they would have to pay the                    
 difference between what the medium rental amount was and that                 
 SENATOR KELLY suggested adding language to the legislation which              
 would require that the costs of housing not covered under temporary           
 housing assistance be pre-approved by the department.                         
 Number 300                                                                    
 SENATOR ZHAROFF said he agreed with Senator Kelly's concern, but he           
 pointed out that if there is a major disaster in an area that                 
 already has a tight rental market, it makes it difficult finding              
 suitable temporary housing.                                                   
 Number 315                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if there currently is a cap on how much is            
 spent per person.  MS. CARROLL answered there is a cap for the                
 individual family grant, but for temporary housing the cap is not             
 a monetary cap, it is a time-sensitive cap.  For people who have              
 been renters beforehand, there is a limit of three months.  For               
 homeowners who have had severe damage, there is a limit of 18                 
 SENATOR TORGERSON expressed his frustration with the appropriation            
 process in covering these disasters because when the money is not             
 there, the cities have to go in and obligate their funds to make              
 all this happen.                                                              
 Number 400                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Senator Hoffman if homeowner insurance           
 was hard to obtain in his district.  SENATOR HOFFMAN responded that           
 it wasn't in the larger communities like Bethel, but he believes it           
 is a problem in some of the smaller communities where many of the             
 homes are non-conforming and the communities lack adequate fire               
 systems to deal with these situations.                                        
 SENATOR KELLY asked if Ms. Carroll could provide the committee with           
 the total reimbursement amount that the state has received from               
 private insurance under this program, and MS. CARROLL acknowledged            
 that she would.                                                               
 Number 455                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON stated HB 322 would be held so that a committee             
 substitute addressing the committee's concerns could be drafted.              
               HB 542 BOARD OF FISH VOTING ETHICS                             
 SENATOR TORGERSON introduced CSHB 542(FSH) as the next order of               
 Number 465                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN, prime sponsor of HB 542, said he               
 introduced the legislation after a February meeting of past members           
 and the current chairman of the Board of Fisheries.  The main issue           
 that came out of the two-day meeting was that there was a problem             
 with the conflict of interest in the Board of Fisheries and how it            
 was being handled.  People were being conflicted off of the board,            
 decisions were not being made in some instances, and decisions were           
 being swayed in other instances because of the people being                   
 conflicted off of the board.                                                  
 Representative Austerman said HB 542 removes the attorney general             
 out of the picture, in that he does not give opinions any more                
 about the Board of Fisheries conflict of interest.  The bill also             
 mandates that board members will discuss and vote on all issues               
 after declaring a conflict of interest.  Board members will also              
 have to file a financial conflict of interest statement with the              
 Representative Austerman said the basis of the legislation is  to             
 get the Board of Fisheries back on track and have them make                   
 decisions based upon the issues rather than being conflicted off.             
 Number 530                                                                    
 SENATOR ZHAROFF moved that an immediate effective date be added to            
 the legislation.  Hearing no objection, the Chairman stated the               
 motion carried.                                                               
 Number 557                                                                    
 STEVEN WHITE, Department of Law, stated the department has no                 
 position on HB 542.  He related that for the past six years he has            
 advised the Board of Fisheries and has helped them through                    
 implementing the current Executive Ethics Act.  He noted that if HB
 542 passes, it will be the first time that any agency will be                 
 exempted from the conflict of interest provisions of that Act.                
 TAPE 96-20, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 Mr. White discussed and answered questions on the current process             
 for determining if board members have a conflict of interest.  He             
 emphasized the department does not make the decisions for the                 
 board; they help them work through the issues, but the board itself           
 makes the final determination.                                                
 In his closing comments, Mr. White said he understands that former            
 board chairmen don't like the Ethics Act and it's somewhat                    
 understandable because it does add more to the board process.                 
 However, under the current process, the lay character of the board            
 is preserved because the members who do have experience are allowed           
 to share that experience with the board; they're just not permitted           
 to vote or to persuade other persons.  He also said the department            
 believes in the board process and the integrity of the board                  
 process, and they don't want to see anything that would lead the              
 public to lose its confidence that there's total impartiality on              
 the board when they make their decisions.                                     
 Number 130                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on HB 542, SENATOR TORGERSON asked           
 for the will of the committee.                                                
 SENATOR ZHAROFF moved SCS CSHB 542(CRA) pass out of committee with            
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 Number 140                                                                    
                CSHB 386(JUD) CRUELTY TO ANIMALS                              
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought HB 386 before the committee as the final            
 order of business.  He directed attention to a draft SCS that                 
 contains a new Section 2, which adds animal husbandry practice and            
 a new Section 4, which defines cruelty to animals as it relates to            
 the care of animals by farmers.                                               
 Number 155                                                                    
 JIM ELLISON, a North Pole farmer testifying from the Fairbanks LIO,           
 stated his strong support for the language in Section 2, as well as           
 Section 4.                                                                    
 Number 165                                                                    
 ART GRISWOLD, a North Pole farmer testifying from the Fairbanks               
 LIO, said he believes the bill is realistic and covers what is                
 necessary.  The amendments will make the difference in the                    
 practicality of the application of the law.                                   
 Number 173                                                                    
 BOB FRANKLIN, State President of the Alaska Farm Bureau testifying            
 from Fairbanks, said the agricultural community statewide                     
 definitely needs the definition of cruelty to and care of animals             
 by farmers.  He said anytime a statute is amended that gives more             
 regulation authority to a individual entity like the animal                   
 control, then it is necessary to define exactly what their                    
 perimeters of jurisdiction are.                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON clarified that Representative Grussendorf came              
 forward with the amendment, and that his staff worked hard with a             
 lot of people to try to find a neutral ground to help in the                  
 passage of the legislation.                                                   
 Number 250                                                                    
 BILL WARD, testifying from Kenai, said he believes the amendment to           
 the legislation is appropriate and worthwhile to consider.                    
 However, he does have some concern that some animal control                   
 officers in the local municipalities might not necessarily be                 
 qualified to really interpret what proper care is.  Also, the                 
 municipalities may enact some local ordinances that would conflict            
 with state regulations or be actual contradictions of state                   
 Number 300                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on HB 386, SENATOR TORGERSON asked           
 for the pleasure of the committee.                                            
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moved SCS CSHB 386(CRA) be adopted.  Hearing           
 no objection, the Chairman stated the motion carried.                         
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moved SCS  CSHB 386(CRA) be passed out of              
 committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection,             
 it was so ordered.                                                            
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 3:22 p.m.                                            

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