Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/05/2003 01:35 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
     SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                 
                          March 5, 2003                                                                                         
                            1:35 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 38                                                                                                              
"An   Act  relating   to   construction,  plumbing,   mechanical,                                                               
electrical, fire safety, and other  safety codes adopted by state                                                               
agencies  and  municipalities;  and providing  for  an  effective                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2(MLV) am                                                                                
Relating to the extension of the Alaska Railroad to Fort Greely                                                                 
to serve the anti-ballistic missile launch facility.                                                                            
     MOVED SCS CSHCR 2 (CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
SB 38 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/26/03                                                                
HCR 2 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 2/26/03                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor SB 38                                                                                             
HENRY KIN                                                                                                                       
VECO Alaska Engineering Advisor                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
COLIN MAYNARD                                                                                                                   
Representative for BP Engineers                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
CHRIS MILLER                                                                                                                    
Chief Mechanical Engineer for Design Alaska                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
VERNON BOYLES                                                                                                                   
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
JIM LAITI                                                                                                                       
Business Agent for Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 375                                                                          
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 38                                                                                            
RICHARD RUTLAND                                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 38                                                                                            
BILL SAGER                                                                                                                      
Executive Director of the Mechanical Contractors of Fairbanks                                                                   
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
Dennis Michel                                                                                                                   
President of American Mechanical                                                                                                
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 38                                                                                            
Steve Shuttleworth                                                                                                              
Building Official with the City of Fairbanks                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 38                                                                                             
Eugene Rutland                                                                                                                  
Executive Director of the Mechanical Contractors of Alaska                                                                      
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 38                                                                                            
Thomas Marsh                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks architect with Jantz Associates                                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
William Bruu                                                                                                                    
ICBO inspector from in the Mat Su Valley                                                                                        
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 38                                                                                             
Greg Moore                                                                                                                      
Nana Colt Engineering representative                                                                                            
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes SB 38                                                                                             
Joseph W. Geldhof                                                                                                               
Attorney at Law                                                                                                                 
229 4 St.                                                                                                                       
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 38                                                                                        
Robert Buch                                                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 38                                                                                          
Mary Jackson                                                                                                                    
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HCR 2                                                                                          
General Pat Gamble                                                                                                              
President of the Alaska Railroad Corporation                                                                                    
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HCR 2                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-5-6, SIDE A                                                                                                           
CHAIR THOMAS WAGONER called the Senate Community and Regional                                                                 
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. Present                                                                
were Senators Gary Stevens, Taylor, Elton and Chair Wagoner.                                                                    
The first order of business was SB 38.                                                                                          
                 SB  38-ADOPTION OF SAFETY CODES                                                                            
CHAIR WAGONER  advised members the  committee substitute  (CS) \I                                                               
2/25/03  Banister version  was adopted  as  the working  document                                                               
during the 2/26/03  meeting. He asked Senator  Therriault to come                                                               
SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT,  bill  sponsor, thanked  the Chair  for                                                               
giving the public time to review the committee substitute (CS).                                                                 
He is  now better able  to understand why the  Legislature didn't                                                               
deal  with this  complex issue  last year.  Some of  the concerns                                                               
expressed regarding the  CS are due in  part to misunderstanding.                                                               
Following are  responses to  questions and  comments raised  in a                                                               
recent email:                                                                                                                   
    · What is the purpose of moving the mechanical code from the                                                                
      Department  of Public  Safety to  the Department  of Labor?                                                               
      Answer:  Mechanical codes  were grouped  with plumbing  and                                                               
      electrical  codes  because  those "trade  codes"  currently                                                               
      require  individuals  certified   to  perform  certain  job                                                               
      functions to undergo continuing training.                                                                                 
    · What about a conflict created by created by two different                                                                 
      departments  under  two  different  statutes  adopting  two                                                               
      different  safety codes?  For  example,  the elevator  code                                                               
      versus  the sprinkler  code. One  code prohibits  any pipes                                                               
      that  convey liquids  in  elevator shafts  while the  other                                                               
      code requires shafts to be  sprinkled. Answer: This is part                                                               
      of  the problem  they  are  dealing with  and  part of  the                                                               
      problem that  was created when  the Fire Marshal  caused us                                                               
      to move  the mechanical  code to  the International  in the                                                               
      Department  of Public  Safety but,  a sub  category of  the                                                               
      mechanical code is  the plumbing Code in  the Department of                                                               
      Labor and is under the Uniform Code.                                                                                      
    · This bill specifies a proprietary code rather than                                                                        
      allowing code officials to  determine what is best. Outside                                                               
      groups  are telling  code officials  which code  they want,                                                               
      which  is  rather like  the  fox  guarding the  hen  house.                                                               
      Answer: This  bill does not  mandate that the  Uniform Code                                                               
      be adopted;  it allows the  Department of Labor to  adopt a                                                               
      mechanical code without specifying which one.                                                                             
    · Page 2 line 31 of the \I version CS references the                                                                        
      "Uniform  Building Code"  as adopted  by the  Department of                                                               
      Public Safety.   This reference is existing  statute and is                                                               
      part  of the  inconsistencies they  are trying  to clarify.                                                               
      New text is underlined  [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED]                                                                        
    · Page 3, line 25. Why delay the effective date for three                                                                   
      years  after adoption?  Code  groups  usually revise  their                                                               
      codes on  a three year  cycle. When code officials  adopt a                                                               
      new code  it takes  two years to  complete and  approve. If                                                               
      three  additional years  are  added, this  is into  another                                                               
      code  cycle.    Answer:   This  is  a  misunderstanding  of                                                               
      application.  There is only  a delay in effective date when                                                               
      switching from one  code group to another such  as from the                                                               
      Uniform  Code  book  to  International  Code  book.  Simply                                                               
      updating a  set of  currently used  codes would  require no                                                               
    · Page 4, line 14. Why is the effective date of the                                                                         
      mechanical  code  not  delayed  for  three  years?  Answer:                                                               
      Because they propose to take  the authority to adopt a code                                                               
      away  from the  Department of  Public  and give  it to  the                                                               
      Department of Labor and DOL would  need to be able to adopt                                                               
      a  code  right  away.  If   they  switch  to  a  completely                                                               
      different set of codes at a later date, there would be a                                                                  
        delay, but whatever set they adopt initially could be                                                                   
      updated with no delay.                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  apologized for interrupting  the testimony  to ask                                                               
if the  three year  delay would  apply if the  code moves  to the                                                               
Department of Labor  and the DOL adopts the  Uniform Code instead                                                               
of the International Code.                                                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said, "Not initially, but  thereafter if they                                                               
move to go  from one set of  codes to another there  would be the                                                               
SENATOR  ELTON asked,  "If  you have  identified  a problem  with                                                               
switching back and forth between  codes, why don't you address it                                                               
when  you first  switch? ...The  same problems  you're trying  to                                                               
avoid by having a three year  delay accrue the first time they're                                                               
switched also."                                                                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT  replied the switch  from the Uniform  Code to                                                               
the International Code caused  problems associated with training.                                                               
The Department  of Labor  must be  able to  take quick  action to                                                               
have something in place and yet  take care of the initial problem                                                               
of people not being properly  trained and prepared to switch from                                                               
one code to another.                                                                                                            
SENATOR   ELTON   remarked   the   Fire   Marshal   adopted   the                                                               
International Code plan several years ago.                                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT said he did,  but the switch was challenged in                                                               
court  and the  initial decision  is currently  under appeal.  If                                                               
that court  case is lost,  there may be  a return to  the Uniform                                                               
The  preceding  were   the  issues  that  were   brought  to  his                                                               
attention. Some were  based on misunderstanding the  way the bill                                                               
references existing statutes and  proposed new statutes. He hoped                                                               
the  committee  would  hear  from  individuals  in  the  business                                                               
community regarding the steps proposed  in the bill or areas that                                                               
were not anticipated. He asked  for support in making the correct                                                               
policy  calls.  The  fact  that   The  Division  of  Occupational                                                               
Licensing   recently  reported   problems   with  the   education                                                               
requirements,   and  the   ongoing   turf   battle  between   the                                                               
departments of  public safety and  labor, and the turf  wars that                                                               
exist between the people that  write and sell the different codes                                                               
shouldn't drive the  decisions or policies, but it  points up the                                                               
need  to adopt  a system  to address  the immediate  confusion as                                                               
well as  a system  for the  future. As  a department  proposes to                                                               
move from  one set of  codes to another,  there needs to  be time                                                               
for  individuals who  use  the codes  to  educate themselves  and                                                               
their workforce.                                                                                                                
CHAIR WAGONER asked members if they had questions.                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  asked if there was  a period of time  between when                                                               
the Fire  Marshal said  he was going  to adopt  the International                                                               
Mechanical Code and September 2002.                                                                                             
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  there was  some time,  but part  of the                                                               
confusion  arose  because of  the  feeling  that the  action  was                                                               
illegal and it was subsequently challenged in court.                                                                            
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if  there  has been  some  training in  the                                                               
International Code  since the Fire  Marshal made the  decision to                                                               
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  replied  some  people retrained,  but  as  a                                                               
result  of the  court challenge,  some did  not get  the training                                                               
they should have gotten.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  ELTON referred  to the  recommendation  from the  Alaska                                                               
Professional Design Council  that a public private  work group be                                                               
formed  to  address  the  whole   system  of  code  adoption  and                                                               
enforcement.  He  assumed the  work  group  would also  determine                                                               
where each  of the codes should  be housed. This is  a compelling                                                               
recommendation and  he asked whether  the sponsor  had considered                                                               
that approach.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR   THERRIAULT   replied   he   did   after   reading   the                                                               
recommendation, but he  isn't ready to form such a  group as yet.                                                               
If  legislators can't  come to  agreement, then  a working  group                                                               
might be in order.                                                                                                              
SENATOR TAYLOR asked  what happens if the court  decides the Fire                                                               
Marshal   did  not   have  the   authority  to   switch  to   the                                                               
International Code and the Legislature takes no action.                                                                         
SENATOR THERRIAULT  thought codes would return  the Uniform Code.                                                               
That would  solve the continuing  education problem, but  not all                                                               
the  problems would  be addressed.  For instance,  jurisdictional                                                               
issues would remain.                                                                                                            
SENATOR TAYLOR asked whether he  had considered simply addressing                                                               
the jurisdictional problem.                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT replied that is part of the proposal.                                                                        
There were no further questions from the committee.                                                                             
CHAIR WAGONER called the following individuals to testify:                                                                      
ROBERT  BUSH didn't  have  a  copy of  the  CS  and deferred  his                                                               
GARY  POWELL, State  Fire Marshal,  advised he  was available  to                                                               
answer questions.                                                                                                               
HENRY  KIN,  VECO  Alaska  Engineering  Advisor,  emphasized  the                                                               
mechanical code is an integral  part of the building code family.                                                               
The International Building Code,  International Fire Code and the                                                               
International  Mechanical  Code are  well  integrated  and it  is                                                               
critical they are  administered together. It's difficult  to do a                                                               
proper  building  design when  one  agency  is administering  and                                                               
reviewing two  of the three  parts while the  third part is  in a                                                               
separate  agency. The  DOL has  no means  to provide  plan review                                                               
services, which is critical. Construction  plans are reviewed for                                                               
compliance  with  the  applicable codes  before  construction  is                                                               
started. Typically DOL doesn't enter  the picture until it's time                                                               
for construction extensions. Without  knowing whether the initial                                                               
design  has been  reviewed  and accepted  as  compliant with  the                                                               
applicable  code,  a  developer  could be  at  risk  by  starting                                                               
He noted  continuing education is applicable  to everyone. Anyone                                                               
in  business  and  providing  a  service  would  have  difficulty                                                               
maintaining proficiency  without continuing education.  It's just                                                               
the cost of doing business.                                                                                                     
He recommended  forming a  task force or  work group  composed of                                                               
interested stakeholders.                                                                                                        
CHAIR  WAGONER asked  everyone to  limit  his or  her remarks  to                                                               
three minutes. He then asked Mr. Maynard to proceed.                                                                            
COLIN  MAYNARD, representative  for BP  Engineers, explained  the                                                               
Fire Marshal's decision  to switch to the  International Code was                                                               
not whimsical.  The Uniform Building  Code and  the International                                                               
Conference  of Building  Officials (ICBO)  no longer  exist. They                                                               
joined with two other building  code organizations and formed the                                                               
International Code Council.  These are the same  people that have                                                               
been  writing codes  for  the State  of Alaska  for  the last  50                                                               
years.   Three years ago  the Fire Marshal  had no choice  but to                                                               
switch  to the  International  Code because  there  was no  other                                                               
building code  available. That  has changed for  2003 and  a task                                                               
force could compare the two separate families.                                                                                  
If  the  court  decides  the   Fire  Marshal  acted  outside  his                                                               
authority  he  thought they  would  return  to the  1997  Uniform                                                               
Building Code, which  is no longer published  or maintained. This                                                               
would be an ICBO code.                                                                                                          
The plumbing  code is not a  subset of the mechanical  code. They                                                               
are  two  separate  codes  that  are  somewhat  related  but  the                                                               
mechanical code  is much  more related to  the building  and fire                                                               
code than to the plumbing code.                                                                                                 
CHRIS MILLER,  Chief Mechanical Engineer for  Design Alaska, said                                                               
his firm  was reviewing  the codes with  the State  Fire Marshall                                                               
before the September 2001 adoption  and has been working with the                                                               
new codes for 18 months.                                                                                                        
The City of Fairbanks, Anchorage  and federal military facilities                                                               
all adopt different codes and  architects and engineers must stay                                                               
current with  each jurisdiction.  Because they must  submit plans                                                               
that follow current  codes, they attend classes  to stay familiar                                                               
with  changes. Code  changes tend  to be  improvements, which  is                                                               
good for clients.                                                                                                               
He would like  to see all state construction  codes adopted under                                                               
a  process  similar  to  the Department  of  Public  Safety.  The                                                               
Department  of  Labor,  which  has  adopted  the  electrical  and                                                               
plumbing codes typically don't review  or amend those codes; they                                                               
simply  adopt them  as is.  His  firm doesn't  have a  particular                                                               
preference for either the Uniform  or the International Codes but                                                               
mixing and  matching is difficult  and may create gaps  that drop                                                               
issues. He recommended  all code adoption forces  be housed under                                                               
one  department,  but  the enforcement,  inspection  and  testing                                                               
could stay in the departments they are in now.                                                                                  
He opined  when changing  from one major  code group  to another,                                                               
the proposed delay may be warranted.                                                                                            
VERNON  BOYLES, 50  year Fairbanks  resident, testified  he holds                                                               
mechanical  administrator  license number  25,  which  is up  for                                                               
renewal every two  years. To qualify for renewal,  he must attend                                                               
two  eight-hour educational  classes that  pertain to  mechanical                                                               
and  plumbing  disciplines.  In  order  to  receive  credit,  the                                                               
Division of  Occupational Licensing must approve  the classes. He                                                               
completed two  approved courses for his  upcoming license renewal                                                               
only  to  find  out  the   division  now  only  accepts  programs                                                               
pertaining  to International  Code requirements.  He asked,  "How                                                               
much more  time and money  must I spend to  achieve eligibility?"                                                               
He urged the committee to adopt SB 38.                                                                                          
JIM LAITI,  Business Agent  for Plumbers  and Pipe  Fitters Local                                                               
375,  testified in  support  of  CSSB 38,  which  would move  the                                                               
mechanical codes under the authority of the Department of Labor.                                                                
RICHARD   RUTLAND,   a  mechanical   administrator   representing                                                               
himself,  testified in  support of  CSSB 38.  It would  allow the                                                               
department  that has  the authority  for inspection  to have  the                                                               
authority for adoption as well.                                                                                                 
BILL SAGER,  Executive Director of the  Mechanical Contractors of                                                               
Fairbanks,  said  he submitted  an  outline  to the  Division  of                                                               
Occupational  Licensing for  a  continuing  education course  for                                                               
both the Uniform  Plumbing Code and Uniform  Mechanical Code. The                                                               
courses were completed  and certificates issued and  now there is                                                               
some problem honoring  the courses. This change  is expensive for                                                               
a great number of individuals.  "Simply moving the administration                                                               
of the  Uniform Code to the  Department of Labor won't  solve all                                                               
the problems,  but it will  at least  take one department  out of                                                               
the mix and perhaps simplify the process a little bit."                                                                         
DENNIS  MICHEL,   President  of  American   Mechanical,  reminded                                                               
members   that   while   legislators,  building   officials   and                                                               
mechanical  administrators  are  trying  to sort  this  out;  the                                                               
workingman  is at  the heart  of the  issue. To  have one  agency                                                               
setting a  code as  it chooses, another  that is  responsible for                                                               
licensing and a third that  is responsible for examining the work                                                               
and checking the  qualifications of the journeyman  is asking for                                                               
confusion.  Because  the  Department  of  Labor  works  with  the                                                               
journeyman  on   a  day-to-day  basis,  he   thought  moving  the                                                               
authority into the Department of Labor would be beneficial.                                                                     
STEVE   SHUTTLEWORTH,  Building   Official  with   the  City   of                                                               
Fairbanks, advised  they would like  to go on  record reaffirming                                                               
the city's strong  opposition to SB 38. The  reasons are outlined                                                               
in Mayor Thompson's  letter dated February 18, 2003.  The city is                                                               
frustrated that  mechanical contractors must deal  with three and                                                               
four  agencies and  feels  the situation  needs  to be  resolved.                                                               
However, SB 38  isn't the solution because it allows  "the fox to                                                               
guard  the  hen  house."  The  Department of  Labor  is  not  the                                                               
appropriate  department  to  vest the  regulation,  adoption  and                                                               
implementation  of the  mechanical  code. It  makes  no sense  to                                                               
postpone the  effective date  of any code  for three  years after                                                               
its adoption as required by  Article 14. This puts municipalities                                                               
six years behind the current code.                                                                                              
They have sent a clear  position to two separate administrations.                                                               
They believe  in home rule authority  and one family code.  SB 38                                                               
clearly  demonstrates building  departments and  fire departments                                                               
have not  been contacted  to find out  how they  administer their                                                               
program.  He  urged  members  to  stay  away  from  such  special                                                               
interest legislation.                                                                                                           
He added the  city has yet to receive a  response to their letter                                                               
of February 18, 2003, which is also a source of frustration.                                                                    
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked  whether he  had  reviewed  the  committee                                                               
substitute  and  whether  his  comments  were  directed  to  that                                                               
MR. SHUTTLEWORTH  replied his  comments were  directed to  the CS                                                               
and apologized if he hadn't made that clear.                                                                                    
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS asked Mr.  Shuttleworth to clarify  what he                                                               
meant by special interest legislation.                                                                                          
MR.  SHUTTLEWORTH replied  there is  a strong  labor interest  in                                                               
maintaining  the   International  Association  of   Plumbing  and                                                               
Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)  based code, which has  been used in                                                               
Fairbanks. The Uniform  Building Code no longer  exists; it's now                                                               
with  the ICC,  which  is  basically "a  different  game plan  by                                                               
default...it's the  only one that's  out there." When you  try to                                                               
put  two codes  together that  weren't  meant to  be together  it                                                               
becomes difficult  to administer  at the local  level. This  is a                                                               
labor issue  and labor  issues shouldn't be  used as  an economic                                                               
tool to determine what code is adopted.                                                                                         
EUGENE RUTLAND, Executive Director  of the Mechanical Contractors                                                               
of  Alaska,  testified  in  support   of  SB  38.  He  represents                                                               
contractor/business men  and he disagrees  that this is  a labor-                                                               
based   issue.  Most   mechanical   contractors  and   mechanical                                                               
administrators perform  work and have licenses  for both plumbing                                                               
and mechanical  work. As  long as  the same  family of  codes was                                                               
adopted by  the state,  the fact  that two  different departments                                                               
did  the  adoption caused  no  problems.  However, two  different                                                               
departments have  adopted codes  from two different  families and                                                               
problems  have  already  surfaced. Previous  testimony  indicates                                                               
there  isn't  much  difference  between  the  code  families  and                                                               
someone  proficient in  one should  have  no difficulty  becoming                                                               
proficient in the other. The Fire  Marshal has said he cannot use                                                               
the Uniform Mechanical Code in  his adoption of the International                                                               
Building  Codes because  "it just  doesn't work."  The codes  are                                                               
similar  and  can  accommodate  each other  or  they  don't  work                                                               
together; it can't work both ways.                                                                                              
It  makes  sense  for  the  Department  of  Labor  to  adopt  the                                                               
mechanical  code.  It's the  only  department  involved in  field                                                               
inspections  of  mechanical  systems  and  mechanical  contractor                                                               
operations. The  argument that the  mechanical code  is necessary                                                               
to the  Department of Public  Safety overlooks the fact  that the                                                               
fuel gas  code, which  is in  the plumbing  code, is  adopted and                                                               
administered by the  Department of Labor and is  certainly a fire                                                               
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  whether  passage of  SB  38  would  made                                                               
administering the laws more difficult at the local level.                                                                       
MR. RUTLAND replied he didn't  think it would make any difference                                                               
to municipalities doing plan reviews.                                                                                           
SENATOR  TAYLOR  referred  to  testimony  indicating  there  were                                                               
inherent  problems with  unions  and their  involvement with  the                                                               
Department of Labor and Mr.  Rutland testimony that he represents                                                               
business  people. There  have  been a  number  of arguments  over                                                               
codes in  the last 18 years  and he assumes some  of the previous                                                               
comments come from  those conflicts. He asked whether  there is a                                                               
code that is favored or  disfavored by employers or union members                                                               
that figures into the current disagreement.                                                                                     
MR.  RUTLAND said  all the  people he  represents are  mechanical                                                               
administrators and they would naturally  favor the Uniform Codes.                                                               
By statute  they have been  trained and licensed under  that code                                                               
and are therefore more comfortable with it.                                                                                     
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if the  preference was based  on experience                                                               
and familiarity rather than a union or non-union question.                                                                      
MR. RUTLAND agreed that was the case.                                                                                           
THOMAS MARSH,  a Fairbanks architect with  Jantz Associates, said                                                               
he is  also the President of  the local ICBO chapter,  a group of                                                               
architects, engineers  and builders  who are involved  in staying                                                               
educated on  current code requirements. They  also participate in                                                               
the adoption of new codes every three years.                                                                                    
He supports the position paper  of the Alaska Professional Design                                                               
Council (APDC)  and Mr. Shuttleworth's comments.  Item number two                                                               
of the  APDC letter  that states  a solution is  to not  move the                                                               
Mechanical  Code  to  the  Department  of  Labor,  but  move  all                                                               
adoptions, plan  reviews and inspections to  a single department.                                                               
Fairbanks,  Anchorage  and  Juneau  have  adopted  this  type  of                                                               
system.   Item  number   three  refers   to  education   and  the                                                               
difficulties associated  with staying current.  The International                                                               
Building  Code  in the  International  family  of codes  was  the                                                               
result  of  efforts  to  build a  national  consensus  code.  The                                                               
difficulty in adopting  from two different code  families is that                                                               
one  family  references  and  cross   references  the  other  and                                                               
frequently there are holes not covered by one or the other.                                                                     
The  Fire Marshal's  adoption process  includes a  public hearing                                                               
process so  engineers, architects, contractors, and  laborers can                                                               
give input  regarding what changes  should be made to  the codes.                                                               
He then  cautioned members against  accepting a three  year delay                                                               
in the  adoption process. The  public hearings and  the amendment                                                               
process already provide a delay period.                                                                                         
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked which department should  have the authority                                                               
for adoption plan reviews and inspections.                                                                                      
MR. MARSH had  no particular recommendation, but  he does support                                                               
forming a task force because  no one department, as currently set                                                               
up, is appropriate.                                                                                                             
There was no further teleconference testimony.                                                                                  
CHAIR WAGONER asked Mr. Bruu to come forward to testify.                                                                        
WILLIAM  BRUU,  ICBO  inspector  from   in  the  Mat  Su  Valley,                                                               
testified in opposition to SB  38. Specifically he disagreed with                                                               
Section 4, [page 2] line 30 through page 3, lines 1-4.                                                                          
As a  building inspector, he  must be familiar with  both Uniform                                                               
and  International   Codes  because  the  date   of  construction                                                               
determines which  code was followed.  The difference  between the                                                               
Uniform Mechanical Code and the  International Mechanical Code is                                                               
almost insignificant.  "There are  provisions in those  two codes                                                               
that  are literally  work for  word." He  must stay  current with                                                               
both of  the codes  all of the  time and as  the codes  change he                                                               
must educate himself.                                                                                                           
He supports  the idea of placing  all the building codes  and any                                                               
aspect of the  building codes under one agency.  When he performs                                                               
plans review he  must apply the codes and the  State Fire Marshal                                                               
and municipalities do  the same thing. In its  present form, this                                                               
legislation  is  an   attack  on  home  rule   because  it  tells                                                               
municipalities they  can't adopt a  code they may want.  About 10                                                               
years ago  the three  original code  writing agencies  decided to                                                               
consolidate.  They  were  under  pressure  from  the  design  and                                                               
engineering  community   to  put   together  a  code   whereby  a                                                               
California designer could design  a building using national codes                                                               
and that  same building could  be built in Mississippi  without a                                                               
lot of  changes. The  design and  engineering industry  in Alaska                                                               
wants the same thing.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON thanked  him for  clarifying  the similarities  in                                                               
language and  for addressing the  local preemption  concerns then                                                               
pointed  out the  language on  page 3,  lines 1-4  concerning the                                                               
four dwelling units is not  the sponsor's language, it's existing                                                               
SENATOR TAYLOR had the same point with regard to Section 4.                                                                     
MR.  BRUU read  Section 4  subparagraph  (A) and  said it  speaks                                                               
specifically to Alaska  Housing and what they  finance because it                                                               
refers to  fewer than  four dwelling  units. Single  family homes                                                               
are a  major part of  the industry  as far as  mechanical systems                                                               
are concerned. By statute, the  State Fire Marshal's jurisdiction                                                               
is limited to four dwelling units and above.                                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR advised him this was existing law.                                                                               
MR.  BRUU  replied  subparagraph  (B)  proposes  changes  and  he                                                               
opposes  those changes.  He had  no  suggestions on  subparagraph                                                               
CHAIR WAGONER asked if there was further testimony.                                                                             
GREG MOORE,  Nana Colt  Engineering representative,  testified in                                                               
opposition to SB 38. He has  been involved in code adoption while                                                               
working  with the  federal government,  state government  and now                                                               
with the oil and gas business.  Although the language in the bill                                                               
is   a  bit   unclear,  the   assumption  is   that  moving   the                                                               
International  Mechanical  Code  from the  Department  of  Public                                                               
Safety to the Department of Labor  will result in the adoption of                                                               
the  Uniform Mechanical  Code. When  a  city or  state has  model                                                               
building  codes that  are  in different  families  there is  code                                                               
segregation,  which   means  the   codes  "don't   talk  easily."                                                               
Currently  there  is  considerable disruption  as  engineers  and                                                               
design professionals  work to interpret the  different codes. The                                                               
difficulties  would  increase  with  the  proposed  change.  Some                                                               
people have said the plumbing code  is a subset of the mechanical                                                               
code, but the  mechanical code is a subset of  the building code.                                                               
Design professionals  start with the  building code then  move in                                                               
and out  of the  various other codes  as the  project progresses.                                                               
Much  of   the  testimony  has   centered  on   the  difficulties                                                               
mechanical administrators have because  they are regulated by two                                                               
different entities.  Alaska Statute  requires them to  follow the                                                               
Uniform  Codes and  the superior  court  ruled the  International                                                               
Code is law.  He urged members to address the  training issue and                                                               
not change  codes to fix  a training problem.  Changing authority                                                               
won't change a training problem.  The State Fire Marshal has said                                                               
his   office   is   more  than   happy   to   assist   mechanical                                                               
administrators in  training on the International  Codes. If there                                                               
are still problems, change the  statute to align with the present                                                               
code basis, which is the International Code.                                                                                    
The Fire Marshal's  office provides plan review  services to help                                                               
planning  and  engineering firms.  If  the  mechanical code  were                                                               
moved  to a  different entity,  to which  office would  he as  an                                                               
engineer direct his plans for  review? Currently there is no plan                                                               
review  team in  the Department  of Labor  so the  electrical and                                                               
plumbing codes  aren't specifically  reviewed. If  the mechanical                                                               
code, which is such an integral  part of safe building design, is                                                               
moved as  proposed, it too would  be in that gray  area and would                                                               
have  no plan  review. The  plan review  process provided  by the                                                               
State Fire Marshal is valid.                                                                                                    
Currently the  International Codes  contain 208  cross references                                                               
between the building code the  mechanical code and the fire code.                                                               
Those  208  references  and  Appendix L,  which  deals  with  the                                                               
hydrocarbon  processing  facilities  on the  North  Slope,  would                                                               
require amendment if the legislation passes in its present form.                                                                
He  said  his firm  has  set  aside funds  for  him  to help  the                                                               
committee members in this process.                                                                                              
CHAIR WAGONER asked if there were any questions.                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked Mr. Moore to address the Appendix L issue in                                                                
writing and provide that information to committee members.                                                                      
He noted there might be need for a fiscal note if plan review is                                                                
required of the Mechanical Code.                                                                                                
MR. JOE GELDHOF, Legal Counsel for the Mechanical Contractors of                                                                
Alaska, stated he would try to clarify the issue and would                                                                      
therefore limit his testimony to what the issue was not about.                                                                  
     This is  not about  the adoption  of a  fire code  or a                                                                    
     building  code. It  is high-centered  on  the issue  of                                                                    
     whether or not the State  of Alaska had legal authority                                                                    
     to adopt a  mechanical code. It is the  position of the                                                                    
     mechanical contractors that the  four places in statute                                                                    
     where  it  says you  must  use  the Uniform  Mechanical                                                                    
     Code,  mean  something  and   short  of  a  legislative                                                                    
     enactment that  says we're going  to ditch that  and go                                                                    
     to the International Code, or  we're going to give some                                                                    
     administrative  body  the  ability  to  adopt  whatever                                                                    
     mechanical code they desire, there  is a legal problem.                                                                    
     I would  say it is  a legitimate  issue and there  is a                                                                    
     very good chance the supreme  court will decide whether                                                                    
     they are  going to say,  'Yeah they're places  in there                                                                    
     that  are  just  old  and.... they  mean  nothing,  the                                                                    
     administration can do whatever  they want.' Or 'No, the                                                                    
     right way to do this if  you want a new mechanical code                                                                    
     is to come  back and deal with the  Legislature and let                                                                    
     them fix  it.' Now,  the big challenge  for you  all in                                                                    
     any of  these things, particularly with  the mechanical                                                                    
     code is to,  if you can see a way  of removing yourself                                                                    
     from  having to  listen to  the endless  testimony from                                                                    
     all sides  about the  arcane nature  and whether  it is                                                                    
     labor  or management  or  good or  bad  or whether  you                                                                    
     supported  the design  professionals who  you refer  to                                                                    
     that tend not to do  the work or the municipalities and                                                                    
     all  that  stuff.  And,  I think  there  is  some  real                                                                    
     legitimacy in the President's approach  to - and I have                                                                    
     to say,  I wouldn't wish  this task on my  enemies much                                                                    
     less  my friendly  commissioner of  labor. You  need to                                                                    
     get the  decision on  which code will  be used  in here                                                                    
     out   of  your   legislative  hands   with  appropriate                                                                    
     guidelines and  get it to  an administrative  body that                                                                    
     will do  a legitimate, credible  job of making  it work                                                                    
     for everybody in Alaska. That's  your task and I - it's                                                                    
     all  balled up  not  in this  endless fighting  between                                                                    
     lawyers and  constituent groups.  But, if I  can answer                                                                    
     any  questions  you  have I'll  try  but,  the  general                                                                    
     approach  contained  in  the  committee  substitute  of                                                                    
     getting the arcane adoption of  any code and especially                                                                    
     this  one  out  of  your  legislative  hands  and  into                                                                    
     administrative  hands -  with guidelines  - on  how you                                                                    
     want this to work is sound and is commendable.                                                                             
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked for  verification  that  he supported  the                                                               
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
MR. GELDHOF  replied it is a  better approach than any  that have                                                               
been presented to date.                                                                                                         
SENATOR TAYLOR agreed  the ultimate solution has to  be one state                                                               
entity making  the decisions on  all codes. He asked  Mr. Geldhof                                                               
whether  he had  specific guidelines  to recommend  or were  they                                                               
already in the bill.                                                                                                            
MR.  GELDHOF  described the  legislation  as  logical because  it                                                               
reduces the  number or agencies  that deal with the  issue. There                                                               
is  logic in  placing  the mechanical  code  provisions with  the                                                               
agency  that is  dealing with  plumbing and  electrical, but  the                                                               
real  fight   is  whether   it  is  the   Uniform  Code   or  the                                                               
International Code.  Make it  work for all  the people,  not just                                                               
the lawyers and design professionals.                                                                                           
SENATOR  TAYLOR asked  whether he  intended the  guidelines would                                                               
come from a task force.                                                                                                         
MR. GELDHOF advised the members  to "use brute force analysis and                                                               
throw it down and rope it  up." Another task force would probably                                                               
provide additional  coverage of  what has  been heard  many times                                                               
CHAIR  WAGONER noted  there was  one  more person  to testify  on                                                               
ROBERT BUCH agreed  with much of the  testimony previously given.                                                               
"We're addressing  an issue that  is coming before  us nationally                                                               
and I believe  we're on the cutting edge of  making the decision.                                                               
It certainly would behoove all of  us to make that decision right                                                               
the first time." He supported passing CSSB 38.                                                                                  
There was no further testimony.                                                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT stated he values the opinions on both sides of the                                                           
issue. He said,                                                                                                                 
          I   have   worked    with   the   different   fire                                                                    
          departments,   building  officials   on  different                                                                    
          areas,  so to  have then  either love  or hate  my                                                                    
          bill  is bothersome  to me  because I  value their                                                                    
          opinion. ....One gentleman  said adopting from two                                                                    
          codes creates  holes. We  currently have  a system                                                                    
          where   you've  got   the  mechanical   under  the                                                                    
          International and the  plumbing sections under the                                                                    
          Uniform.  The  next  gentleman  said  although  he                                                                    
          opposes  the bill,  'You wouldn't  run a  railroad                                                                    
          this  way'   with  different  codes   calling  for                                                                    
          different  things and  the difficulty  getting the                                                                    
          codes to cross reference each other.                                                                                  
          There's some debate over the  three year delay and                                                                    
          whether it's  justified. That's  just a  number, I                                                                    
          think  maybe three  years when  you're going  from                                                                    
          one set of codes to  a completely different set of                                                                    
          codes, probably  three years is  too long.  I will                                                                    
          leave that up  to your judgment on  what a shorter                                                                    
          date that would allow  for transition period, what                                                                    
          date would make sense.                                                                                                
          No need to  rush to decide where to  put the code,                                                                    
          but  you  can  see   that  having  this  split  in                                                                    
          departments has lead  to a lot of  this year after                                                                    
          year agitation  that's brought  this issue  to the                                                                    
          Legislature  multiple  times. One  gentleman  said                                                                    
          this runs counter to the  Governor's attempt to do                                                                    
          things to  help Alaskan businesses. What  we heard                                                                    
          from a  number of mechanical  contractors, largely                                                                    
          out of  Fairbanks, who said the  current system is                                                                    
          a  problem. It's  a problem  for them  as business                                                                    
          Finally,  with  reference  to a  request  that  we                                                                    
          consider  a  task  force, I  think  Mr.  Geldhof's                                                                    
          comments say  that perhaps it's just  to the point                                                                    
          where  the   decision  maker   needs  to   make  a                                                                    
          decision. I  think we are  perhaps at  that point.                                                                    
          If,  as the  decision  making body,  we can't  get                                                                    
          there, perhaps the default should  be a task force                                                                    
          of some kind.  But, I'm not so sure  that, after a                                                                    
          length of  time, we won't basically  have the same                                                                    
          issues before us.                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT advised the bill is  not a perfect work product and                                                          
he looked  forward to working closely  with the committee to  get to a                                                          
point whereby a policy decision could be made.                                                                                  
He has no preference for either  the Uniform Code or the International                                                          
Code. New language that references a  mechanical code on pages 2 and 3                                                          
does not specify  a particular family while language on  page 2, lines                                                          
4-5 deletes  reference to the  specific "Uniform Mechanical  Code." He                                                          
agreed  with Mr.  Geldhof; legislators  should excise  themselves from                                                          
the process of adopting one specific code or another.                                                                           
SENATOR  TAYLOR asked  whether  the "Uniform  Mechanical  Code" was  a                                                          
copyrighted document.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  thought  Mr.  Geldhof  could  better  answer  the                                                          
SENATOR TAYLOR noted Mr. Geldhof nodded his head.                                                                               
SENATOR  THERRIAULT then  said, "You  would think  so, but  that's not                                                          
what  the court  found."  The  language in  Section  4  refers to  the                                                          
"Uniform Building Code" not a  uniform building code. The latter could                                                          
be  interpreted to  be  International  but the  former  could not.  He                                                          
admitted he was  perplexed by the lower court decision  and that's why                                                          
he thought the supreme court might reverse the opinion.                                                                         
SENATOR TAYLOR  asked the sponsor  whether legislators should  get out                                                          
of the  process. He  thought they  should, but  wasn't sure  with whom                                                          
they could place the authority. He  wanted to work with the sponsor to                                                          
resolve that and the delay issue.                                                                                               
TAPE 2 SIDE A                                                                                                                   
3:10 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON  was disappointed no  one testified on which  code makes                                                          
the most  sense for the people  that live in  the home or work  in the                                                          
building.  This is  an  important component  if  legislators make  the                                                          
decision. His  second observation was that  this administrative hassle                                                          
could be  solved if  the Legislature was  specifically directed  to do                                                          
so. "We have  new commissioners, we have a new  Chief Executive and it                                                          
seems to  me that  it's a failure  of the process  that we're  at this                                                          
point and  maybe we  ought to  give the new  people an  opportunity to                                                          
pick up that phone."                                                                                                            
SENATOR   THERRIAULT  said   conversations   he  has   had  with   the                                                          
commissioners lead him to believe  the tension between the departments                                                          
has continued  into the new  Administration. The division  between the                                                          
two departments  is set in  statute. If it makes  sense to put  it all                                                          
under one entity, the Legislature would have to make that change.                                                               
SENATOR ELTON  commented this  Governor has not  been hesitant  to use                                                          
Executive Orders.                                                                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN  thanked the Chair  for holding  the bill to  work out                                                          
more of the details. There is  only one other committee of referral so                                                          
it makes sense to continue to work on it in this committee.                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT  noted the  bill moves to  Labor and  Commerce next                                                          
and if it picks up a fiscal note, it would go the Finance Committee.                                                            
CHAIR WAGONER held CSSB 38 \I version in committee.                                                                             
             HCR  2-EXTEND ALASKA RAILROAD TO FT. GREELY                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER asked Mary Jackson to introduce HCR 2.                                                                            
MARY JACKSON,  staff to Senator Wagoner,  advised her explanation                                                               
was directed to  \Q version of HCR 2. The  revisions were made at                                                               
the request of  the department and increase the  viability of the                                                               
railroad  line by  recognizing economic  factors other  than just                                                               
the missile  base. The  first resolution  remained the  same, the                                                               
second added the Stryker Brigade,  the third was new to reference                                                               
the Pogo  Mine, the forth  was new to recognize  the agricultural                                                               
industry, the fifth  was slightly revised, the  sixth seventh and                                                               
eighth  were unchanged.  The  title was  changed  to reflect  the                                                               
changes and to include Delta Junction.                                                                                          
In  response  to  the  Chair's  question  regarding  whether  the                                                               
resolution indicated  authorization for  the project,  the answer                                                               
is no. Statutes are clear  that the railroad must get legislative                                                               
approval  for any  extension of  their lines.  The resolution  is                                                               
straightforward  and asks  the railroad  to  look into  extending                                                               
their lines. If they determine  it is feasible, they would return                                                               
to the Legislature for action.                                                                                                  
CHAIR WAGONER asked for questions.                                                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN  expressed appreciation for Ms.  Jackson's review                                                               
because she had concerns with the  first draft. She noted she had                                                               
not  heard  from the  railroad  regarding  the CS,  but  previous                                                               
correspondence   indicated   that  additional   maintenance   and                                                               
operation  expense is  a concern.  She thought  that was  still a                                                               
valid concern.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR WAGONER  asked for a motion  to adopt the CS  \Q version as                                                               
the working document.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON made  a motion  to adopt  the \Q  Utermohle 3/3/03                                                               
version as the working document.  There being no objection it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR LINCOLN  said she  had some  question about  the railroad                                                               
MS. JACKSON advised the fiscal  note was prepared by the railroad                                                               
and in it they noted there would be additional costs.                                                                           
SENATOR  LINCOLN interpreted  the  analysis section  to mean  the                                                               
fiscal impact is  a concern. She expressed a desire  to hear from                                                               
the railroad.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR WAGONER  said he has  spoken with the railroad  and because                                                               
the fiscal  note is zero he  won't hold the resolution.  The only                                                               
way there would  be a fiscal note is if  the Governor directs the                                                               
Legislature to proceed.                                                                                                         
When the railroad is spending  $32,000 per mile for operation and                                                               
maintenance, a line  extension of 70 miles would  nearly wipe out                                                               
their annual profit.                                                                                                            
GENERAL   PAT   GAMBLE,   President  of   the   Alaska   Railroad                                                               
Corporation,  testified the  railroad views  the resolution  as a                                                               
homework assignment.  As Senator  Lincoln says, they  would begin                                                               
to study  what is  feasible and  available in  the near  and long                                                               
term  to be  able  to generate  the revenue  that  would pay  the                                                               
railroad  operation and  maintenance. If  the Governor  signs the                                                               
resolution, thereby  tasking the  railroad, they would  begin the                                                               
process. To  this point,  they have had  no in  depth discussions                                                               
with  businesses  or the  military  regarding  what the  revenues                                                               
might be or how they might develop over time.                                                                                   
The generic route  has been surveyed several times,  but the next                                                               
step would  be to determine  the corridor  itself. This is  not a                                                               
right of way issue, it's  just determining through which 500 feet                                                               
the route  would be surveyed.  This would allow them  to identify                                                               
the number of bridges and the  type of construction that would be                                                               
needed.  With that  information  they could  project the  capital                                                               
costs for the 70 or 80 mile corridor.                                                                                           
The railroad  is ready and  willing to  undertake the task  if it                                                               
comes from the Governor.                                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON  directed his attention  to the last  "WHEREAS" and                                                               
asked if the language was  somewhat misleading because they don't                                                               
know whether  or not the  extension is consistent with  the long-                                                               
term goals of the railroad.                                                                                                     
GENERAL GAMBLE said the railroad's  long-term goals, as stated in                                                               
their  mission   statement,  are   the  community   and  economic                                                               
development  responsibilities.  This  is  consistent  with  their                                                               
There was no further testimony.                                                                                                 
CHAIR WAGONER asked for a motion to move the resolution.                                                                        
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  made a motion to move SCS  CSHCR 2 (CRA) \Q                                                               
version from  committee with individual recommendations  and zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER adjourned the meeting at 3:30 pm.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects